focus??

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by babb9520, May 15, 2008.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
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    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Instead of patching the symptoms, lets try and find the REAL problem.

    The human being learns in several different ways. One is through pain (I burned my finger won't do that again!), by discovery (I didn't know that!) and by hope (this is our habit building process). Somethimes they are all related (we beat our face up, the teacher tells us that is bad and we start practicing pianissimo slurs and long tones in hopes that will fix it).

    A good teacher tries to squeeze as much into discovery and hope as possible - avoiding pain. The DIY trumpeter is pretty much shooting craps as they can only judge if something works for them AFTER it has been successful. The time it takes for that could very well have built a bad habit - prolonging the pain process.

    So now we come to motivation which provides fuel to endure pain, keep our eyes/ears open for the discovery or our hope up during the inevitable building stage. A good teacher motivates by saying kind things, providing opportunities or alternatives during the learning process. We need to also "practice" the concept of rewards for reached goals. That means that we set ourselves realistic goals in the first place. When we reach them, we do something as a reward. Whether that be a massage when reaching double C, an ice cream cone after double tonguing sixteenths at quarter=178, a steak dinner after repeating Clarke 16 times in one breath......................

    Getting our life in order means defining the present situation, dividing the necessary tasks into small achievable tasks and providing for rewards to reinforce in our brain that the journey was worthwhile.

    Most players that I have worked with NEVER thought about individual steps being so important. They looked at the task of playing high notes to be one single event - HOGWASH. Breathing is a task, chop strength, coordination between tongue, chops and air are others all related to this. We should also not forget that the high note needs to have musical context - that we also have to learn.

    Breathing can be worked on by swimming. We can practice swimming underwater to train ourselves how to breathe deeply. The goal could be to swim the length of the pool and back underwater (once, twice, three times). The reward is an ice cream cone.

    Chop strength we can work on with the Pencil exercize (search on it here or google it - we don't need to repeat it again). The goal is 2 minutes without a break, the reward is a day off from the trumpet (yes I am serious! rewards can also be subtraction!)

    Coordination is best achieved by slurs. I use Earl Irons book, although there are MANY other equally good ones. The goal is to play the triplet slurs at quarter=144 CLEANLY. It takes 6 weeks to get there then we get that steak dinner.

    Musical content can only be learned by exposure. Transcribe those high notes from a Jazz title or the Brandenburg and as your range increases, start working intelligently on it!

    I think you all get the point - break the tough stuff down into bits where we can objectively see/hear that we have reached the goal. Set the reward and go for it. Forget cheats like with computer games, they just distort reality and don't exist for the trumpet anyway!

    Maybe now some of you understand why that I think DIY trumpeting is not the serious way to become really good?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  2. R.A.S.

    R.A.S. Pianissimo User

    Age:
    60
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    1
    Oct 13, 2004
    Woodbury, Minnesota
    rowuk

    We must meet in person sometime! I love the way you think, and quite often the way you post helps me think through what I am trying to express in my own posts. At age 51, I don't see it as impossible to teach an old dog new tricks. I never have been that good a player or private teacher, probably just because I'm not as analytical as you are. We would surely hit it off, though I don't have any plans to visit Germany soon. If you are ever in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) - look me up!

    As for Rich Willey's book FocalPoint, it's the best thing I've ever practiced out of. Part of my D.M.A. thesis project was a comparitave analysis of the methods, etudes, excerpts and solos out there - and how to utilize them in a practical set of year-by-year lesson plans. [Not for sale, by the way! I may need it to finish the D.M.A. someday.] For this reason, I feel I've been exposed to more of what's in (and out of) print than most people. Rich is a genius, as well as a really nice guy. I got a workout last night, and never played above a G at the top of the staff! Can't wait to go higher (gradually) with this book.

    Please keep in touch!
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,953
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Ray,
    I will be 53 this year and my learning curve is as steep as ever. Even the "occasional" dumb question here that gives me the urge to flame, teaches me something.

    Yes there are dumb questions. Those are the ones asked without prior usage of the brain. Blogging is great training for stupidity. Quite often semantic puke gets more attention than quality. Too many bloggers have too much fun verbally throwing up on one another. It is a sign of the times........

    Congratulations on the G. If you worked hard for it (I'm sure that you did!), treat youself to something.
     

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