Does the teacher make the performer?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpettrax, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

    Mar 18, 2006
    Getting off the topic a little bit - I have a teacher that believes that EVERYONE has the potential i.e. "it" to be a professional. I'm not trying to talk for him, but I believe he feels that "it" depends on how bad do you want it and how hard are you willing to work to get it done. I don't know if he's right or wrong, but it sure helps me keep the dream alive. I think it was Soar Bell that had a quote on his signature that said something like this: "It's never too late to become what you might have been". Wow!

    I'd really like to see some responses (from the pro's and teachers) regarding your opinion as to whether everyone has the potential or "it" inside them.

  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I would have been an awesome middle linebacker if not for my size and speed, and would have loved doing it, but I ain't got the build for football! It is likewise with the trumpet -- some people who love the trumpet just can't play it like it is supposed to be played. No hard feelings, it just is. Likewise, some people are simply built to be monster players with little or no effort -- the "natural talents."

    Fortunately, the game isn't about being the best trumpeter, but about making music the best we can, which opens a lot of doors to the "less talented" who just happen to be able to show up on time, be nice people and play their butts off on the things they are able to play. Are teachers important? Heck yeah, but not for chops. We learn style from great teachers and aquire the chops as a means of playing in that style.
  3. Joe DiMonte

    Joe DiMonte Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 30, 2006
    After being a teacher for 30 years I'll put it this way -- a bad teacher can ruin a good student, and a great teacher can't make a bad student great.

    Well said !

    It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius,especially ambitious young men and women - Louisa May Alcott
  4. Joe DiMonte

    Joe DiMonte Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 30, 2006
    I would have been an awesome middle linebacker if not for my size and speed, and would have loved doing it, but I ain't got the build for football!
    <<Vulgano Brother

    Don't sell yourself short.
    Had you attended Penn State,a Brooklyn native named Joe Paterno (born
    Dec 21,1926) would have had you in the NFL and quite possible in the
    Hall Of Fame,Canton,Ohio.
  5. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    To make a living as a professional musician requires an extremely fine sense of pitch and tonal memory. Add to that the physical attributes that are needed to excell on a given instrument. I would strongly disagree that everyone has "it". Very few have enough "it" to actually make it to the top. Personal desire and extreme work ethic are also necessary. I believe that just about anyone can learn to be a decent player if they are willing to do the work. But some of us (i.e. me) won't make it to the top no matter how hard we try.
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I'm going to agree with Mike on this one. We all have seen or know people who just seem to get it at a quicker pace. Example: I remember a few years ago (not that many...about 4, I think) I was teaching a beginning flute group. NONE of these kids had played flute before. It was quite a mix of abilities. By the second lesson, one girl had learned, by ear (completely misfingered, but the right notes were coming out anyway) Mary Had a Little Lamb. She came to the next lesson playing the theme from Shrek. Right fingerings, this time. "Listen to what I can do!" (I can still hear that little voice). (She writes her own songs now, as a 9th grader). In 3 lessons. Contrast: by the 3rd lesson, I had a couple kids playing Mary Had a Little Lamb, roughly, and some still struggling with how to put the thing together. Some waited until I said "Put your flutes together!"

    That drive that makes kids say, "Listen to what I did!" is one of THE key elements in successful musicians. They don't show up to their lesson and wait for their teacher to tell them what to do. Instead, they show up and show their teacher what they would LIKE to do. Barbara Butler talked about this at ITG this past year, and it all made so much sense to me. She told us how Bud Herseth would show up to his lesson and say to his teacher: "Ok. I'll play (insert etude, solo or exerpt here) now". :play: "Now, this". :play: "Now, this". :play: He did not wait for anyone to tell him "Ok, Mr. Herseth, I want you to work on Charlier 1 & 2 for next week. In addition, blah blah blah". THAT is the difference. The "fire in your belly", as someone's tag line says.
  7. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    I find that story impossible to believe.
    If we are speaking of a student (Bud) telling his teacher (Georges Mager) what he was going to play, then not waiting for feedback from his teacher, THE First Trumpet player of the Boston Symphony.....makes for a nice story, but I doubt any teacher at that level would tolerate a student with that sort of attitude.

    I saw Pablo Casals working with Yo-Yo Ma at Marlboro. Ma was 18 years old and was ready to begin his career. Casals was 93 and a living legend. Who do you think did the talking, and who do you think listened to every word spoken?
    Every great musician I have met, and interacted with IS a student, they never stop listening to other musicians and growing by that experience.
  8. wrbandel

    wrbandel Pianissimo User

    Mar 9, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Thanks Wilmer, that is something we should ALL take to heart.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The statistical bell curve probably works for trumpet players too. 15% no chance, 15% "great" and the rest good enough for most audiences.
    While the critical positions like lead trumpet in Tower of Power or a position in any of the major orchestras are just not available to average to very good players, they could still play Holst "the Planets" with a good community orchestra or Mac Arthur Park with a decent amateur big band though.....
    Being a "great" player has nothing to do with how that greatness is used. There are many great players that are happy being teachers from the start, or have left major orchestras to go to teaching (Ed Carroll probably could offer insight here - he has done it all).
  10. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA

    I'd say:
    5% no chance
    20% very weak players
    25% pretty good players
    25% good solid HS and Cllege level players
    10% classic overachievers (high school soloists and section leaders)
    10% super overachievers (high school all state and college soloists)
    4% The super fine players (guys who are really good enough to make par-time $$$)
    1% The pro level player - the guy who could quit his job and have a chance making money in the real world.

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