A Little Travel Rant

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by ecarroll, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Please bear with me as I fumble to make a point...

    In spite of my monthly commute(s) to work, I greatly dislike airplanes. For me, air travel is simple, boring, annoying, and every moment of turbulence is a cause for anxiety. It's like being at the dentist's office. Even the chairs are the same. Whenever I'm in a plane and suffering the white noise and airlessness peculiar to the beast I always suspect that the land we are overflying is rich and that I'm missing it all (I see the Grand Canyon twice per month, weather permitting) (Las Vegas too) (Beauty and the Beast). The greatest satisfaction in travel comes with discovery; the private thrill of putting the pieces together or seeing them in a new way.

    Flying for me is like a practicing a trumpet part without having access to the score, or tackling a difficult new piece without spending an hour just looking at it first.

    I admire intelligent, knowledgeable, literate, score-carrying musicians. Anyone who knows one scale from another, one composer's signature from another, or can sense the codes as they are passed back and forth between us. A musical landscape looks different when you know the names of things and can hear them--and, conversely, can look and sound exceedingly inhospitable and alien when things are nameless and inaudible. These simple bits of musical knowledge intensify the feeling of discovery. Every jazz musician knows this. Every composer/performer does as well. Many classically trained instrumentalists try to get by without. I know that for many years I did. I'd buy new stuff instead and have boxes of weird mouthpieces to show for it.

    How many of you know, or are practicing, your scales (the building blocks of music)? If not, you might start with Rob Roy McGregor's Daily Scale Builder (Balquidder BQ-59). . . and no, I don't have any financial consideration in this. Only concern for our collective musical souls!

    Your thoughts?

    EC


    "Music creates order out of chaos; for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous."
    -Sir Yehudi Menuhin
     
  2. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

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    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Agreed, scales are important. Pares Scales is a regular part of my routine. I do wish though that I had a more through book that had Dorian, Pentambic and all the other odd sorts of scales that are out there. Pares has a scattering of these in the back of the book, but I have seen a very old, out of print book with many of these scales. Do you know of such a book?
     
  3. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    W Scott,

    I'm sure somebody will chime in with a resource for modal scales (a simple google search will reveal a ton of them as well). One book can't be much better than another -- a scale's a scale -- but some collections might be more comprehensive than others. Keep watching this space.

    stcman,

    I know. Everytime I'm awakened on a long haul flight I'm reminded of Groundhog Day.

    Best,
    EC
     
  4. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    "Drudgeries" by Gordon Mathie

    "Extraordinary Scales" by Jona Dunstheimer

    Chris Gekker's "Articulation Studies"

    Also Mr. Haynie's book inspired by Ernest Williams "Technique Preservation," "Development and Maintenance."

    "Scales For Jazz Improvisation" by Dan Haerle. You can use your imagination to create all sorts of drill forms using this book.

    And as Mr. Jacobs would say, "Play your scales as if they were Mozart"!

    The building blocks of music are scales and chords, is that correct? :cool:

    Thanks for starting this thread!!! :grouphug:
     
  5. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
     
  6. timcates

    timcates Pianissimo User

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    Jan 17, 2004
    Texas - USA
    also check out Pat Harbison's Technical Studies for the Modern Trumpet (scalar stuff from Clarke and Arban slightly modified in various modes) - not comprehensive in terms of breadth of material but will get your creativity going if you're stuck (and the text on trumpet basics is really good) - TC
     
  7. tromj

    tromj Piano User

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    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    Allen Vizzuti has some neat studies for scale practice. I also like both Chris Gekker books.
     
  8. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Thank you Tim and Tromj. I really like Chris Gekker's materials, by the way. He's one of the few teachers that really addresses articulation--focus being the most neglected of the three "F"s (also flow and flexibility). A whole new topic to save for another day!

    Two little scale literacy observations, if I may. . .

    I had the privilege of teaching at London's Royal Academy of Music from 1996-1999. John Wallace, as you may know, was head of brass studies then (my title was the International Chair of the same). The trumpet class at the RAM was the best, top to bottom, that I've found anyplace in the world (probably still is). The school required that all students pass a scales exam (major, minor, diminished, augmented, whole tone -- ascending/descending (or reversed), legato, detached, staccato, etc.) each year in order to graduate, and one could sense panic during the week before the exam was to be held. The few who sailed easily through it were the few that included memorized scales as part of their daily routine. These were the students, not surprisingly, that were also playing the most difficult solo and ensemble repertoire. 'Nuff said.

    My friend Markus Stockhausen ( http://www.markusstockhausen.com ) joined the faculty of the final Lake Placid International Trumpet Seminar in 2003 to teach free improvisation and yoga. The 35 participants in the class included most of the "high fliers" (names that you might know) from the best North American music schools, including, as Charlie Gum commented on a new music thread in Wilmer's forum, a highschooler that absolutely knocked Tom Stevens out by playing Berio's Sequenza X.

    Mr. Stockhausen's first class started with everyone sitting in a large circle and playing scales as he called them out. To his astonishment (accompanied by lots of uncomfortable looking about), only a handful of the class could play the basic scales. Most, however, could play the daylights out of the Tomasi Concerto and passages from the Mahler Symphonies. I'll leave the subsequent conversations about professional prospects to your imaginations.

    Trumpet playing is the easy part, ladies and gentlemen. The art is in making sense of the music.

    . . . and that said, I'll relinquish my Sunday morning pulpit. Let's keep this discussion going?

    Thanks and best to you all,
    EC
     
  9. tromj

    tromj Piano User

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    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    I met you at RAM in 1998, and subsequently attended Lake Placid that summer. This was something you and John discussed in both places, (which is perhaps why it sounds familiar). Now I find myself doing the same thing with my middle school students. Needless to say, the ones who know their scales, usually play the best. Coincidence............?
     
  10. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

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    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    During my undergrad in France with Eric Aubier, we would have a contest every week with the 2nd Clarke study. Our goal was to see where Aubier would fold....took him 6 weeks, when everyone else did during the first two weeks. We did the studies normal, minor, diminished, augmented, with an augmented half step, whole tone...but the hardest one was one made by a jazz player...can't remember his name but everyone failed.

    Practice scales as much as you can, well and transposing (also being able to read the other clefs), you never know when you'll have to play a trombone or viola part at a gig.

    Thank you Mr. Carroll for sharing your knowledge with us.

    JC
     

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