Endurance and High Notes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RichK, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    rowuk sez:
    I find all of the advice in principle good, but none of it will probably help here. The chances of someone figuring out how to "structure" their development all by themselves with no formal trumpet training, is plain old pot luck.
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    Unfortunately, its just plain old pot luck even with formal training. You know as well as I that there are tons of people who have been exposed to formal training that still have no structured method of keeping in shape (which means they basically possess minimal skills). Life and learning is one big bowl of pot luck.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    In the case of this thread owner, RichK, I do believe that he would find the structure with a decent teacher. He has a lucid approach and defined his situation well.

    For me, formal training is NOT offering what the student wants, rather offering them what they need. If someone comes to me for lessons, I make it VERY clear that this is a partnership - my part is direction and theirs is dedication. Decent teachers know what is necessary and can zero in on that. Unfortunately, many teachers (doctors, engineers, construction workers, wife/husbands) are not good because they lose focus of the goals of partnership - or lose patience, or are too gutless to tell the truth.

    I do NOT consider it pot luck. Generally the person looking for services needs a clear, honest picture of the journey. Then they interview for a teacher that shares their goals. If a teacher is a baby sitter, what more can you expect than gu gu or ga ga. If the teacher openly confronts the student with what went wrong that week, they have a basis for getting better. If you are taking lessons and your teacher is only praise, I would start asking questions who should be the teacher.

    If the person looking for services is LAZY during the teacher selection process or in the demands of the weekly lesson, then they often deserve what they get.

    Very, very seldom do we get posts here about qualified partnerships failing. It is also my personal experience that the best students/teachers were those that told the truth instead of trying to make sure that they were "loved".
     
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Clarksburg, WV
    rowuk sez:
    For me, formal training is NOT offering what the student wants, rather offering them what they need.
    ---
    I totally agree.

    Rowuk sez:
    Unfortunately, many teachers (doctors, engineers, construction workers, wife/husbands) are not good because they lose focus of the goals of partnership - or lose patience, or are too gutless to tell the truth.
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    Ain't that the truth (especially the last part)

    Rowuk sez:
    I do NOT consider it pot luck. Generally the person looking for services needs a clear, honest picture of the journey. Then they interview for a teacher that shares their goals. If a teacher is a baby sitter, what more can you expect than gu gu or ga ga. If the teacher openly confronts the student with what went wrong that week, they have a basis for getting better. If you are taking lessons and your teacher is only praise, I would start asking questions who should be the teacher.
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    There's where the fly starts to get in the ointment.
    What makes even getting with a teacher pot luck?
    A lot of people who consider themselves "qualified" and even possess degrees and or diplomas are teaching and been doing it for years. I personally know (as I'm sure you do too) that this situation exisits and thrives.
    Yes! a great teacher IMO can never be repaid. While its true we give them money for their services, as years go by, we look back and realize that the knowledge they were able to impart was worth more than gold. Maybe the only way to give a great teacher something that helps level the field is for the student to apply what they learned and make the teacher proud.
    Then you got the a**h***s that also consider themselves just as good at teaching at the description above. Their students would say they had "formal training"
    The variables are profound when it comes to getting someone that:
    1)Is actually qualified
    2)Can pass the knowledge on
    3)Is a good fit for the two
    4)builts a relationship based on growth more than money
    5)Will actually tell the student the truth (that's why I like the Zoom H2. It saves me the necessity to say to the person "Wow, that really sucked!,,,ALOT!!")
    --
    The most we can do is the best we can. Only the student can teach themselves. We that call are selves teachers are only facilitators.
    knowledge might come from a great teacher one on one.
    It might come from an online course.
    It might come from a blog sight.
    All I know is , as a student (I think we are all students) if I want the knowledge (usually its some song or technique I can't readily do) then I'm gonna, use whatever resources I can muster to gain the knowledge and then work like hell to apply that knowledge in a musical fashion.
    Of course that too is pot luck!
     
  4. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

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    I'm in a similar place - played through 8th grade, then stopped, and came back 25 years later. I'm very definitely a casual player, comfortable playing easy tunes and not stretching for mastery. My most enthusiastic audience is my 2-year-old daughter, though I've played once publicly and will eventually get there again.

    Unfortunately, most of what I was taught involved pressure, though teachers were a little kinder when I had braces. One did an excellent job helping me improve my sound but avoided range entirely when I had those ugly metal bands put on.

    Everyone here seems to agree that pressure is the problem, and it is for me when I'm not paying enough attention - bad old habits resurface after decades. The answer for me has largely been to play exercises slowly, feeling the interactions of the mouthpiece, my lips, and my teeth to figure out how well what I'm doing works. Slurs are especially good for this, but I try to make sure I'm paying attention to how this feels in everything I play.

    I also make sure I'm not pushing it, especially when I haven't practiced in a while. It's easiest to fall back into bad habits when I'm tired or overreaching.

    Good luck!
     
  5. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

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    western Wyoming
    RichK... Your post was interesting, as are the responses. There are not many of us who had layoffs of 50+ years (in my case, 51)... As a recreational player, I have had a very successful 18 month comback and now have a good consistent playable range to D above high C, a good tone, and I play with a local community band. It took over a year for me to reach this level but I will emphasize that I am still not a pro or a teacher...

    I also had the same problem you had with excess mouthpiece pressure early in my comeback because I was trying to achieve a range beyond my ability level. After a few months I became more disciplined and tried to play as well as I could with regard to tone, articulation, mpc pressure, proper breathing, dexterity, etc while still playing "within my range." Playing "within my range" allowed me to learn to use less mpc pressure. In my case, I found that my range gradually improved without using excessive mpc pressure and probably improved faster than it had when I was trying to play beyond my limits. The other problem I had (since I am also retired) was trying to play too long and/or too frequently, which resulted in excess lip fatigue and at my age (74+) left too little recovery time. I pretty much followed Rowuk's (?) suggestions re: practice routine, using Arban's book for technical practice. Because lips generally become thinner as we age, the mouthpieces which I had used 51 years ago were no longer comfortable so I went with a smaller, shallower mpc (Warburton 2 piece). May have helped my range slightly (1 step -- maybe) but mostly more comfortable.

    One last minor point: Lung capacity generally decreases with age, and now I find it easier to play a horn with a smaller bore, ie, less than .460".

    The above for "what it's worth department." Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    JA
     
  6. jbkirby

    jbkirby Forte User

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    As a comeback player, I can attest to the value of having a qualified teacher to help you in getting back in shape. Fortunately, I have a great brass player as a friend whose masters degree thesis was in developing embochure, and his instruction has been very valuable to me. I know how effective he is because he was my senior high band director MANY years ago, and 'way back then he taught me how to extend my range on the french horn. It is very important NOT to develop bad habits that one will later have to break. Aside from putting me through breathing exercises (painful at my age) his "quick and dirty" advice for attaining a higher range is: "The more meat you can pack into the mouthpiece, the better."
     
  7. MTROSTER

    MTROSTER Piano User

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    Excess pressure is bad technique and if it's causing swelling of your lips it's really bad technique. You can permanently damage your lips, by causing scar formation which is pretty well irreversible. That is what done in Louis Armstrong. If you follow his career, later on he confined his peformance to singing only. The horn was never to be seen because he could no longer play due to lip damage.:-(

    Dr. Mike
     
  8. Back at it

    Back at it Pianissimo User

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    Western, NY
    Markie's post is significant in identifying some of the variable in the student teacher didactic. I personally think your point about building the relationship based on growth is very important. Growth of the student as well as growth for the teacher. I'm not a trumpet teacher but I would expect the best thing a teacher can experience is having a student develop to a fine player. If it is anything else then something is wrong.
     
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    New York State USA
    RichK,
    congrats for a comeback. I am coming back after a 7 yr hiatus (and at 45) - I feel young now after your post.
    Light pressure, thick lips, chromatic scales, air velocity, etc.
    it all seems overwhelming - I know.
    I personally changed from the "thin" smile lips - to a thicker "pucker" type -- anyways it was a difficult change, but that seemed to help the most.
    also to play with very little pressure is very helpful ****ok that is hard to define, it took like 6 months to a year to figure out that playing softly, and putting more lip inside the cup would decrease the pressure --and allow for extended play --- and that also comes with slow methodical practice.
    be patient with yourself -- try not to get frustrated -- and also try to have fun -- that is why we are supposed to play anyhow --- to have fun and make music
    ps. Doc Severensen is still playing into his 80's
     

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