Am I missing something?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by 40cal, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    40cal said:

    Bruce said:
    Of all the words written in this thread, those two quotes made me stop dead in my tracks. One of them is the way things ought to be, the other is the way things are for me.

    When I trace my trumpet tree, there are some pretty big names in it; however, the weak links in terms of teaching are the people that I have studied with (whom I'll not name right here out of respect). Both of my teachers are great players -- one has held an orchestra principal trumpet spot for 20+ years and the other was fresh out of going straight through his BM, MM, and DMA.

    I was a music ed major in college, but I never had a lesson until I got to college, so I was behind from the beginning. Both of my teachers were etude checkers; or, as they called it, "teaching through the music." My introduction to double tonguing was being told "Say TaKa TaKa Taka. Ok, now go and practice it." That was after I was handed the Goedicke Concert Etude. My follow up to that was the Arutunian for my senior recital. Only on the oddest of odd occassions have I had either teacher use Arban. I did get a healthy dose of Clarke, Irons, and Ghitalla Articulation Studies from my first teacher. Oh, and lots of etudes from both -- Brandt, Bousquet, Top Tones, Charlier. I learned lots about style and how to make things sound good; yet, my playing has always been rough and inconsistent. As a result, I can do a great job of teaching others to play things that I have touble with myself. I can read the rhythms, follow all of the phrasing, but I don't have the basic mechanics to do those things myself.

    With both of my teachers, anything refering to technique was hit and miss. To me, I would be logical to make sure I could at least double tongue a scale up and down before I was handed the Arutunian, but I couldn't -- and still can't. NOT ONCE did I follow a systematic course of technical development. The idea that you are your own best teacher is simply a falsehood -- at least until you've been equipped to do so.

    Frankly, my playing is pretty pitiful for someone that spent five years in college and graduated from a large state university (however, I AM a kick ass music teacher :cool: ). No, it's not from lack of effort. I put the time in until it was no longer fun to play; and, by then, I knew I wasn't going to get any better with the instruction I was being given.

    So, that's one reason why some of us try out these different methods of playing -- we're making up for deficiencies in our own player, trying to fix problems that were never dealt with. And, I think, that's why a lot of us just end up putting the horn away -- out of frustration. There's nothing more frustrating than know what needs to be done to make a piece of music sound good, but just not being able to physically make it happen. You can hear the sound in your head all you want to, but sometimes you just can't do it.
  2. Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Rochester, NY

    Thanks! Although, after thinking things through, one concluding statement that I should have made is that it is the people who had teachers that really didn't reach them that are the ones who are seeking out teachers, "schools", or "systems" to help them to find that breakthrough... even if they have put their trumpets down for many years.

    The whole field of embouchure study is one that is relatively new. Well... 25+ years young, anyways. There are many trumpet players who have never had to worry about embouchure. And, as I stated earlier, the more efficient the embouchure, the fewer the differences are between the "systems".

    For those who are "looking", there are a lot of choices, as you've mentioned. Thankfully, we have internet sites like TM and TH to help people to find those "schools" or "systems". More importantly, through these sites, people are able to choose, based on how well each "system" communicates to them. I think that it's very healthy to discuss the mechanics of trumpet playing, so that our artform will continue to be passed down, and to flourish, for centuries to come.

    My true belief is that we inevitably teach ourselves, through understanding, and that we each end up with our own embouchure... which is "school free". :cool:

    Best always,
  3. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    Dec 13, 2005
    Allthough I ended up in a different field than what I had originally intended I think it has worked out for the better.

    I certainly miss certain aspects of seriously studying the trumpet, one of which is the proficiency that comes with it.

    I also have the problem of being able to hear the sound in my head, and not being able to play it. This becomes most frustrating when in years past, I have been able to play whatever lick I am now having problems with.

    After reading what you posted, I am even more grateful of the instruction that I have received in years past. Now I did not get along with all my instructors, (and some I figured I could take their ideas and make a BS sandwich out of them) but can think of a few that helped me develop as a player during some "key" times in my trumpet education.

    All that aside, I do find that I enjoy playing the trumpet even more now than ever. I realize that I will not play in groups that will reach the level that I used to take for granted. I do however have comfort in the knowledge that the people that make music with me share a common purpose, enjoy the comradarie that comes when people have a common goal and enjoy the diversity of the people that I play with. This notion for me is the reason I continue to play, and am now intent on improving my playing even more than ever.

    So in this respect I am blessed.
  4. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    Here are some suggestions for daily practice. 20-30 minutes a day with Herbert Clarke and Max Schollsberg should keep you in pretty good shape. The collection of Mendez solos that is published by Carl Fischer is fun and hits a lot of basics too. If you can find a copy of "Total Range" (it's been out of print for 20 years) that's also a good one since it's gives you a program to follow to work on your chops. I found my copy on Ebay. The new Hal Leonard Real books are good also fun to read through even if you don't improvise. Just play through the melodies. Mainly just have fun with it and play what you want to. Good luck.
  5. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    I have never felt I belong to any school or method or other unless it's the Barbara Butler school which consisted of something like this:

    1) Breath!
    2) Make phrases, make the notes connect
    3) Breath!
    4) Relax and don't be tense
    5) Breath!
    6) Play as if your life depends on it
    7) Breath!
    8) Sing through the horn, make your sound full of energy
    9) Breath!
    10) Warm up? We never cool down. The trumpet is a way of life.

    After my studies with Barbara whenever I ran into problems I would ask myself, what would she say? Luckily I had internalized what she had said so I knew what the answer would be, she's like a voice in my head. It has helped me immeasurably as a teacher. She had been influenced by Jacobs and Chicowicz, so I imagine I inherited some of that too. And of course at that time if you studied with Barbara there was a good dose of Charlie Geyer in there too, and vice versa I suppose. I feel really lucky to have had that experience.

    Michael McLaughlin

    "Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures." Samuel Johnson
  6. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    MM! Having studied with Barbara also, I second it all! We were fortunate to have excerpt classes with Charlie, so we did get a good dose of him. I also feel extremely fortunate for the whole experience. I never stop drawing from the knowledge gathered in those days.

    "Play as if your life depended on it!" LOL. I had forgotten about that one! Yes, yes, yes, I remember it well. Thanks MM. :-)
  7. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Remember the forgiveable and unforgiveable mistakes? The former is when your chops simply give out and you can't play anymore. It'll happen eventually. The unforgiveable mistakes are the ones that come from not paying attention, like forgetting a key signature or not playing a rhythm correctly or ignoring dynamics. Or do you remember the question. "Could you have played that any better?" If the answer was yes, ooh, it was your posterior! "Play it again, and pretend that it is the last thing you are going to do on this earth before you die!" I use these with my students all the time. Good stuff.

    Michael McLaughlin

    "Oats: a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people." Samuel Johnson
  8. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    Dec 13, 2005
    It's a good thing that I haven't been under the gun lately.

    I have made numerous forgivable mistakes, and even more unforgivable mistakes as of late! :D
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Two suggestions:

    1. Richard Shuebruck's is a twenty minute "vitamin" for the working trumpeter and is cheap!
    2. The Harold Mitchell method, if folowed correctly, will make you a well balanced monster by the end of book four, and makes you play in Eb minor sometimes as well. Great method, but as far as I know, out of print.
  10. bobtrumpet

    bobtrumpet New Friend

    Jan 4, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    Volumes 1 and 2 are back in print, FWIW.


    Bob Eye
    Dallas, TX

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