Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car payment?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    As a former teacher (still tutoring music & math) I always believed that commitment and obligation was required on both sides: the teacher to do their best to inspire, guide and find the right 'key' that will help the student understand; and the student to work hard to master the lesson du jour. But personalities are an important factor on both sides. So is teaching style...but equally imporetant is the student's learning style. Some teachers teach the same thing to everyone and leave it to the student to be smart enough to sort things out. There's a big assumption there. Others teach to the individual. Either way, it's not until the student really gets it and owns it that the lesson has truly been learned.

    Over the years I've dropped a number of students who simply weren't doing what was needed, telling their parents I could no longer honestly take their money. Other teachers may not be so honest.

    "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" is so true...but so is the statement that the best students aren't so much taught as they are mostly guided.

    As Rowuk and others constantly remind us, improvement on the horn isn't just a matter of practice time - it also requires that the mind and ears be open and that every practice minute be directed & focused. Teachers can only do so much, after all. But the student also has to be aware of what is working for them or not; to be blindly accepting of whatever a teacher tells you is surely to become your own barrier to progress.

    Local 357 brings up a good issue. If progress is not being made then clearly one or more key factors is missing on one or both sides. There are so many variables between any teacher-student pair that it's impossible to say it's this or it's that. Each case is unique.
  2. brad361

    brad361 Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2008
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    While I agree that it is certainly possible (unfortunately) for a teacher to simply take money from a student and not provide proper instruction, I have to think those situations are the exception rather than the rule. One thing that I am always certain to point out to parents of a student is that the large majority of the student's progress rate will have to do with whether or not they PRACTICE, and practice the material I have suggested. Nothing wrong with the kid playing melodies out of a "Star Wars" book, for example, for fun (and I encourage that they DO some "fun practicing"), but they need to do that after they have done the lesson material.

    I occassionally will have a student sign on for lessons temporarily, meaning that the parent tells me they just want "lessons to help with the solo contest." While I'll accept those students, and believe that I can in fact be of help, I always make sure they understand that THEY have to do the work.

  3. 7cjbill2

    7cjbill2 Pianissimo User

    Mar 18, 2012
    Athens, GA
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    I had this problem, years ago growing up in NE PA which what caused me to drop the whole trumpet thing. Frustrated. I had a teacher who was a Superchops player, and he kinda-sorta got me on the path but I was never able to accomplish it perfectly. I think he knew the mechanics of it but couldn't recognise or teach it to someone else. Further, he was a Jazz player, and my heart was always in classical playing so there were just two different ideologies. He sub'ed at my HS one day and asked if I had a private teacher, so he obviously saw "something" in me. I changed after 2 years, with no hard feelings, and went to someone else who was a good player but didn't give me to "nudge" to improve like I wanted to do. I really hit a brick wall when I was about 17/18 years old and just couldn't improve and stayed a mediocre-to-upper-level player through college. :(

    However, in all that, I'm currently in the market for a good lesson teacher here in NE GA to help me get a jumpstart on the the near 20-year hiatus. I "want" to be a really good player, and play locally, and realize that I probably can't do it on my own especially with the embouchure battles I still currently experience.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    I wanted to mention one more thing.

    How do we measure relationships? In double Cs? In beautiful melodies? In how many seconds that we can play continuously? In the amount of weeks per range increase?

    No teacher has EVER stole my money.

    If I start to list the things that I deal with during lessons, there is a lot more than simple mechanics. Unlearning bad habits takes time, the emotional is very seldom integrated into the playing, teaching groove all need much more time than a high C or G.

    I teach my students to be able to play in the groups where I also play. There they can get the experience and save money for equipment and the life after Rowuk.
  5. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    In my short comeback time, I have had multiple teachers who all had a significant impact upon me and have taken me through a significant transition. There was my first teacher where I was so nervous to play in front of someone I was actually shaking during our first lesson. She took me through Rubank's Elementary Book. She had a plan for progress, for which I am truly grateful. But, she was not a trumpet player and I needed someone to answer questions that only a trumpet player could answer.

    Now, I have several teachers. I found a professional trumpet player who took me to the next level in a big way. He introduced me to Don Johnson’s and Chase Sanborn’s books, and put together a daily maintenance program for me to follow. He continues to introduce me to new methods. I attended a Don Johnson master’s class wherein I struck up a friendship with another retired trumpet professor. My teacher and I have both had a day long master class (FOR FREE!!!!). We met just out of love for the trumpet! And, we will do so again. I have also been attending a university performance master class and the person who runs the class is coincidently a trumpet professor and he has given me many helpful suggestions and spent time with me (FOR FREE!!!) that have helped me overcome major obstacles. And, I perform my daily maintenance with a music student who is spectacular and I have learned so much by osmosis. I continue to get lessons from all three individuals either in person or by phone. I am the luckiest trumpet student alive. I feel like I have crammed 5 years of progress into 2 years.

    I think there is another stage wherein I just focus on music performance and sight reading, and the person who does that with me will be my primary teacher for the next while.

    My advice would thus be seek out every one you can and just absorb what you can.

  6. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    Synopsis of my intent;

    1. First of all the post was largely speaking of those "chop doc" or high note gurus such as Roy Stevens was and certain other teachers/system writers propose and publish today. Perhaps even Claude Gordon was among this group too. While his system wasn't specific to high note production most cats who paid for his lessons went there to gain upper register facility and proficiency.

    2. That since the physical dynamics of high note production are simply not adequately provided in ANY literature today there is a strong likelihood that most systems will fail. At least for the average cat who is aspiring to become a Jon Faddis type player. He "ain't gonna make it" 9 times out of ten regardless of what he puts into it. A solid Double C will not happen in these systems either in 37 weeks or ever.

    3. That trumpet high note specialists are so heavily invested in their schemes that each is utterly unable to acknowledge the deficiencies of his system. Let alone open up the new ideas.

    There are several notable exceptions to "3" above. One is the late Maynard Ferguson, the other is Doc Severinsen. Although neither was specifically known as a teacher nor a chop guru they did however stress breathing. And for the student to look around to see what works for him. What ideas are applicable. While not exactly a magic bullet concept it is at least an honest self evaluation.

    Not so if you visit the various high note teachers on the internet. Each assures the student that he and he alone has the
    "answer". Strange since NONE of them have even a working understanding of the two main physical efforts required to play high notes.

    In their own way each is like a guitar teacher who can't find the bridge or tuning peg of his instrument! Though the trumpet teacher's lack of understanding is far less apparent. These type usually charge a fair amount of money for their literature and lessons. Meanwhile their kind will commonly attempt to tear me and my own ides to shreds while I provide everything I know to anyone who asks for it free of charge.

    Their methods are predictable actually. First thing i notice is that the completely disregard the subject material in my posts. next they will construct straw man arguments and put words in my mouth. And after that they may even accuse me of trying to con or take money away from the student. A form of what psychologists and criminologists call "Projection"...
  7. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    Local 357.

    Sorry I got off topic.

    I understand what you are saying. And, I do not disagree with it at all. I just do not understand the high note craze. I have been schoolled against it by all of my teachers who say that the higher range will only come with long term hard work. And, there is nothing that can replace that. No tricks, no secrets.

    Then the 100% cure for high notes came when sitting in front of a music stand in my community band, just barely if not at all, being able to play the notes within my range correctly, in time, in rhythm, in dynamic, with clear articulations. At that very moment, high notes became meaningless to me. Just reading the music properly, and sounding in complete control of the range I do have became my main priority.

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  8. Bluewater Jazzer

    Bluewater Jazzer New Friend

    Feb 27, 2012
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    I returned to the trumpet after a 47 year layoff. My teacher is Dave Caswell. Some of you may remember him with the Who from 1979-1980. He has also been with some other very fine groups. Dave has taught me more in 6 months then I ever knew after 7 yrs. of playing. But you do get what you put in. I have fallen in love with playing, I practice every day until my chops give out. I recently joined a symphony and jazz band. Dave said I would improve faster in a group, he is right. The band director also said, my chops would improve faster playing in a group, I believe this is what Dave was referring to and they are both right.

    Bluewater Jazzer

    Schilke S32-hd
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    P.T. Barnum didn't say it, but is often quoted as saying "there is a sucker born every minute".

    My personal take is that ONLY a player with a lead attitude/aptitude is going to be able to get anything useful from a high note teacher. The average student will NEVER have the slightest idea what it takes to lead a jazz section, to put that razors edge on the chords, trademark the overall sound of the band.

    I understand what Local is trying to say, I understand the obcession with players and high notes. Fact is the necessary musical intelligence is even HARDER to find than the mechanics. I am not even sure that someone can "learn" lead if they are not the alpha type. THAT is why I disagree. When the student does not bring the necessary attitude/aptitude, the lessons MAY help get some more notes but will NEVER develop the concept.

    The student is wasting the teachers time in that case, and THAT is worth money in my opinion.

    One of the first things that anyone looking for success needs is the ability to look in the mirror and see what is instead of what is desired. Before pointing a finger at The "Chop Doctors", it probably would be useful to take inventory.

    If we broaden the scope of the relationship, even a "Chop Doctor" can accomplish magic with the less talented student. That magic can be as simple as loving the horn more, getting church services played cleaner, finding a musical direction better suited for the student. We have, for instance one wonderful "Chop Doc" here at TM - Jeanne Pocius! Even if she NEVER was able to get one single player a double C (and I am convinced that she has helped many get better in this respect), her work STILL would be commendable. She gives the gift of music to those otherwise not in a position to help themselves in Haiti. In my opinion, a fantastic teacher worth whatever she costs, even if the double C is not there at the end of the day.

    So, moral of the story, we are responsible for what we do and that includes who we get lessons from. If we are paying attention, everything becomes clear.
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Re: Ever feel like all you're accomplishing is helping your teacher make his car paym

    I teach trumpet. That includes range, but a whole bunch of other stuff--sound, technique, and the all ellusive musicality. With a relaxed but working body we can achieve our goals and make music. Simple enough, and a whole bunch of "old skool" trumpet teachers have passed our craft along to younger folk.

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