First lesson of My Comeback

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Mark B, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. wolfmann

    wolfmann Pianissimo User

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    Aug 19, 2010
    Just jump into the community bands I wouldnt worry about your level of play.
    There are a lot of varied players out there.
    I once a LONG time ago joined the Valley concert and jazz bands (which is close to you).
    I just wanted to play 3rd in the concert band and fourth in the jazz band to see if my nerve damaged hand could come back.
    Next thing you know I was offered 1st in both.
    I declined the offer since I knew my chops were not up to it and my hand couldnt handle a fast riff.
    Yet they still gave it to me,I left shortly after since I was embarrassed that I couldnt cut it like I wanted too.
     
  2. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    I'm really stoked and really encouraged after tonight. Over the top, actually!

    I arrived for my lesson a few minutes early. The 3:30 student was a no show, so my instructor was practicing. Wow, this dude can play! I wasn't so intimidated this week, more thinking, "Man, I hope he can get me somewhere near that, I'd be happy as heck!" I stepped into the room and we started going through the routines he had me do. He was really happy with what a difference there was in a week. One of the warmups had some high work that he had skipped over initially, but decided to see how far I could go. I surprised myself and got a congratulations from my teacher when I hit a top staff G without too much strain. He was pretty happy with that. I told him I had been practicing what he gave me and then some, which raised an eyebrow. He asked me what all I had done and I showed him various exercises in the book I had skipped around to. He had me play a few of the exercises, was seriously jazzed and checked them off in the book, skipping ahead to some more difficult exercises. He rambled on for a couple minutes about music he had for me to play..... I mean excitedly, which got me excited. He snapped himself back to the here and now and said "first things first", then gave me more work, including a book of easy tunes with a play-along CD. He encouraged me a lot. I think I like this guy.

    Mark
     
  3. trish

    trish New Friend

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    Jun 10, 2010
    Good to read your comeback story, Mark. I picked up my trumpet after 32 years and joined a small ensemble right away. That was 2 years ago, and now I've hit a wall; just don't seem to see any improvement in range and endurance. The one thing I haven't done is take lessons. I think I need to take that next step!
    Trish
     
  4. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    Tonight will be my third lesson on the comeback trail. I was a little concerned that the work I received was too much; I struggled quite a bit early in the week. But, I did the work and repeated botches until I got them right. Somehow, I turned the corner on the work and blazed straight through in what I thought to be pretty good shape last night, just in time for my lesson. I'm not sure why, but when I demonstrate the exercises to my teacher, I'm as nervous as I was playing tryout pieces in front of the director in middle school! I want him to hear that I've practiced and that I take his advice to heart. I even went through a song from the songbook he had me pick up and nailed that last night, so I was pretty happy.

    The songbook is a story in and of itself. The book my teacher suggested is one containing all the old school Disney tunes. You know, The Mickey Mouse Club march, Zippedy Do-Da and such. Now, I'm not one to consider myself macho, or get too overly concerned about what others think, but I have to be honest. Standing there in that line with my trumpet case in one hand and a book with Mickey Mouse on the cover caused me to be a little self-conscious. What song did I elect to play? "SuperCalifornicatedgeriatricaxeman, of course!

    Mark
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    I think that there is usually some nervousness that goes on when a student is fairly new to taking lessons with a new instructor. While I have never really ever taken "lessons" I have gone to some folks here and there on occasion to help me to work some things out, (went to US Army Jazz Ambassador's lead trumpet player Jack Wengrosky for a lesson to help me get past some range/endurance issues I was having - mainly endurance playing in the G to High C range, and I've worked with my friend Scotty Holbert on some chops concepts) and there is always a bit of nervousness because you know you are being judged and analyzed. Eventually that goes away though - my son got to a point with his guitar teacher where their relationship is now more like a colleague/friend thing than a student/teacher relationship.

    I think it's good that your instructor is heaping stuff on you to work on. I know that back in the day, it was the way Mr C. pushed me when I was doing work in his church in HS that really pushed me forward and prepared me for what it was going to be like as an Army Bandsman. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish in just a few days if the pressure is on.

    I'm glad it's going well. You'll be right back in the saddle in no time! :-)
     
  6. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    My teacher did say that he wants to be careful not to give me too much too fast, so I'm sure it's a balancing thing for him, too. I'm thinking that in someways, teaching comeback players has got to be tougher than starting from scratch. I'm trying to be a blank canvas, but it's hard!

    You know, Patrick, the thing I remember most about Mr. C is that he made it pretty clear I should try instruments, because I sure as heck would not be a singer! LOL!

    Mark
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oh I don't know about that - Mr. C was pretty good at identifying kids who had a shot at doing something with music and he may have suggested instrumental music because he knew that the band program was a strong program at the time, and that you had the talent and potential to go somewhere with it. Often a kid who can't sing is also going to have issues with instrumental music. Mr. C wasn't really a singer - that's just what he taught for K-6. He was a classical pianist first and foremost, so he came to vocal music by way of instrumental music.

    I think that there would be a couple of challenges for teaching a comeback player. First, the combacker is going to remember how well they could play before their break, and they might try to come back to that level too quickly and wind up frustrated because it doesn't come back as quickly as they would like. Another challenge - and this would be for people who stopped just after high school or didn't gig or perform much outside of school activities - would be to keep them from falling into some of the bad habits they might have had the first time around.

    Otherwise, I think it would be easier to teach a comeback player because they would value it more and would work harder - they aren't going to take it for granted like some of their other students might.

    My thought is that you shouldn't try too hard to be a blank canvas - let youself fill in the space with the things you knew, although make sure to confirm those things first with your teacher. No need to recreate the wheel after all. :D
     
  8. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    That's where I'm at. I certainly didn't appreciate what I had. If I had it to do all over again, I would take full advantage of what Mr. Bragg had to offer, insted of being more or less forced to come in for extra work. 20-20 hindsight, here.

    Yes, yes, of course... I was talking more about wiping away bad habits and such. As an example, my teacher has been on me about the way I hold the horn and I've been working to correct that. There are a couple other things, but it's coming along.

    Mark
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Ah - I see. I agree that correcting anything you can before you get too far down the road is a good way to go.

    When I started playing again after my 18 month break, I had intended to do a complete chops overhaul with the idea that I could take the time to completely break things down and possibly re-teach myself how to use a more efficient embouchure. I ended up gigging way too regularly way too quickly. I had to perform and didn't really have the time or opportunity to break things down to zero and build them back up.

    I've always wanted screaming high range - never had it and probably never will. There was a time when I had a real issue with that, but I don't anymore - I just take it for what it is. I've got chops enough to do just about everything but play big band lead charts, and I'm finally at a place where I'm content with that.
     
  10. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

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    Apr 7, 2010
    Canada
    My first lesson taught me way more than expected. I was so scared and nervous to play in from of my teacher after a similar 35 year layoff my entire body was trembling; my arms and legs were shaking. As I gained more confidence with the teacher, I could actually play in a similar manner to what I do practicing on my own at home. She was actually very happy when I was able to play an Etude that I had not practiced in weeks. Not that I was particularly good. It was just that I went ahead and did it with confidence and without excuses. It meant to her that I was getting comfortable with "playing".

    This whole experience taught me something that I have actually heard the greats talk about. You play the trumpet with your whole body. Any nervous energy or week knees will take way from your performance. There is a component of my performance that is MUCH better not because I have gotten better technically; it because I am now playing more relaxed and less nervous about anticipating mistakes that I "will" make. I just play and I can do things "almost" as good as when I practice them on my own in private.

    You experiences are now reminding me of this.

    DK
     

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