Did Your Teacher Play At Your Lessons?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by wiseone2, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Like pretty much everyone who's posted, my teachers played during lessons. Some gave more explanation to what they were doing (or thought they were doing) than others, but I find now that I often don't remember those explanations unless I wrote them down or recorded them. However, I can always remember the sound. My primary teachers: Scott Thornburg, Stephen Burns, and John Rommel all have very distinctive sounds that stay with me, but this is also true for people I've studied with for shorter periods.

    On a slightly different note, I have to say that I've had to work very hard in my own teaching to figure out just what and when to play for my students, in that making a positive impression is very important. If I step on something, whether difficult or easy, it's not very helpful to the student.

    Essential to this point is the idea of really listening carefully to them and being able to hear exactly how their playing differs from how "it should go", or to hear the musical alternatives to their rendition. If this is clear in my own mind, then demonstrating is easy. However, it really saps my energy and after two/three hours of teaching I'm mentally tired.

    Also important is the Arnold Jacob's idea of teaching being a "different hat" than playing. If I'm trying to explain something while playing, it usually results in a mistake. Switching back and forth between the playing and teaching "hats" is really challenging. My respect continues to grow for those teachers who've mastered the ability to play in lessons!
  2. gregc

    gregc Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 5, 2004
    New York, U.S. of A.
    From a students point of view: I really like when my teacher plays. I 'need' to 'hear' that tone, articulation, etc, as much as possible in order to have something to aim at.
    Does this strike anyone else? No matter how good a recording and how good a playback system is, it just can't seem to accurately replicate the sound af a 'live' trumpet. Listening to recordings don't seem to help me in my playing near as much as hearig live performance, and the 'one on one' really works for me.

  3. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Of my three main teachers, two of them played a great deal and one of them played not at all.

    Carmine Caruso's lessons were totally focused on mechanics and calisthenic practice. He did not play the trumpet, but instead focused on helping me execute things more cleanly and rhythmically. He said that if I wanted to learn how the music goes he could refer me to Jimmy Maxwell of Vince Pensarella (he kept stacks of their business cards on his desk). If I knew how I wanted the music to sound but wasn't satisfied with how I was executing things then he could help. He certainly did help!!!

    Leon Rapier was also a student of Saul Caston and Sam Krauss. He played a lot in my lessons (probably because I didn't have a clue!). He demonstrated simple things from Clarke and Schlossberg in addition to passages from pieces I worked on. He was a fabulous player and one of the kindest most loving people to ever hold a trumpet.

    Of course, 99% of William Adam's teaching is based on modeling. He plays everything in your lesson, starting with long tones and Clarke's right through the literature you are studying. He plays differently for every student and every lesson based on what he hears and observes in the student's playing. He would rather solve problems by giving the student a tailor-made sound to copy than by talking about how the body works.

    I have been so blessed to have worked extensively with these remarkable teachers and human beings.
  4. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    Re: Did your teacher play for you at lessons?

    Thanks for the link Wilmer - the Mahler dictionary is helpful!
  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    The best teachers I have had haven't played a great amount in lessons. The impact was made by what (and how!) they played.

    When looking at a piece or excerpt they would never play it first. They wanted to hear how I tackled a piece. If I was way off with interpretation, they would verbally suggest changes and then see if I could adjust purely on a verbal description. If I had a problem doing this, then the trumpet came out. Sometimes it was just as difficult to emulate a played style.

    I always enjoyed hearing them play, but I think this was made more so by the infrequency of it. If they had played every piece and every excerpt it might have become what is to be expected.

    One way of playing that I found very interesting (and frequently do myself) is playing the same passage in a number of styles, allowing me (the listener) to decide which was more appropriate. In some of the orchestral passages they would demonstrate it in emulation of other players - not to say that one is right or wrong, just to give the example of different approaches.

    When I am teaching, I don't play a huge amount. When I do it tends to be for similar reasons, either to demonstrate something technically specific that a verbal description might not suffice for, or to give alternative performance suggestions.
    I want my students to sound like them, rather than a bunch of TrumpetMike wannabes (God knows - one of us is bad enough!!)
  6. Kenzo

    Kenzo Pianissimo User

    Nov 18, 2003
    Bristol, Connecticut
    My teachers always played at a lesson. It was always an eye-opening experience to hear how things should be played. I was fortunate to have studied with Roger Murtha, Dan Patrylak and Joe Mosello. I had some coachings with Mr. Vacchiano (who did not play) and Jay Lichtmann (who did play). All my teachers taught and instilled the value of listening.

    For what it is worth, I play for my students as well.

    Kenny Roe

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