Getting to the next level

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Nealium, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I found myself nodding along, having spent almost all of the last 35 years without a teacher (and when I had one it was irregular and informal), but I also found myself reflecting on the few trumpet lessons I've had and thinking every one of those taught me something useful and lasting, and (especially the later ones) provided feedback and suggestions for what I might focus on next, with some idea of how. Before the local university's music department was gutted to save some money I had approached the head of jazz there to consider me as an external student/mentee, but that didn't work out so well (no mutually convenient/possible times available) - but he did work with me for an hour at our first meeting which was brilliant, and I miss that.

    --bumblebee
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Bumblebee, that's similar to my own experiences. I did a single one-off lesson once with Jack Wengrowsky, former lead trumpet for the US Army Jazz Ambassadors. The reason I went to Jack was due to an issue I was having with endurance with my regular gig. There were some conceptual things he turned me onto - not really chops things - and in that one lesson, it got me where I needed to go with my gig, Kind of a, work smarter, not harder, approach, and it helped enough that I didn't follow up with him after that.

    Aside from that though, there are take-aways all over the place if you keep your mind open to them, and I've had the good fortune to have played alongside some pretty amazing players over the years where just being alongside, taking note of what they were doing, was enough to bring me further as a player. The rest of it boils down to putting in the work in the practice room, and applying those concepts to your practice so that it comes through in your performance.

    Again, I'm not a cut-above world-class player, and I know I have my own flaws, drawbacks and limitations, but I've been able to make my way with a lot of playing and performing opportunities over the years, so I must not be awful.
     
  3. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

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    My self taught journey has had me end up with horrible habits. Having a good teacher continues to allow me to reprogram/correct all the crappy bad habits and technique that were the fruit of that. Everyone's experience is different and everyone has different goals of proficiency I suppose.
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I have a couple of long-term bad habits as well, but I still play well enough to get the job done. It is what it is - at my age, I just don't have the desire to start over to try to modify the way I play. What I do works well enough, and that's good enough for me.
     
  5. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    I have to ask the question why is it always me, a number of people say get lessons and I am the one who is always quoted in posts like TrickG's. I assure you any advice I give comes from trying to help the poster and although you are right Patrick you can do it without a teacher this lad needs to get a fix fairly quickly as I read it, he hasn't the time to mess about fixing himself and probably in the process messing something else up. Rowuk says, stop making excuses and get professional help. You agree, I reiterate and you pick my post to quote to posit the opposite view. I just don't get it.
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    It may have been something I thought I perceived in the tone of what you wrote when you said:

    Fair enough I suppose, but I didn't really see it as a situation where the kid was making an excuse - merely pointing to the fact that there were some obstacles. Not every 17-18 year old kid has the kinds of tools or wherewithal to overcome those obstacles - money, time and transportation can be factors on top of a personality where they have yet to learn how to be a go-getter. Are Skype lessons free? Not that I've ever seen.

    This isn't the first time I've posted regarding the idea that a teacher may not always be absolutely necessary, and that there are other ways for a person to advance themselves as a player if they are introspective and thorough in their approach to the instrument. There are many, many teachers out there who do little more than assign various exercises, like so much homework, as their means of "teaching." Where does that really get a student that they couldn't do on their own if they are self-disciplined enough in their approach?

    I know a couple who moved to my hometown who used to do 4-hands piano works, and both were excellent pianists in their own right. I later learned that while she was always a piano player, and was classically trained all the way through college and into academia, he was actually a bass violin player who later learned to play piano. I was corrected one day in my assumption that she taught him how to play piano after they'd gotten together as a couple. Nope - she was completely hands-off. He taught himself how to play piano.

    I'm seriously not trying to pick on you - totally not my intent, but the quote from your post was the counter-thought to the point I wanted to make. If it will make you happy, I'll go back and remove your quote from my post.
     
  7. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

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    Never settle brother! But if playing gets the job done and your experiencing joy then good on ya!!

     
  8. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    No don't remove the quote, I'm not that daft but it does seem sometimes on here (and not from you but from others as well if there is a negative or opposite quote to be picked on out of a number my quote is the one that comes up) For once it got to me a bit, sorry

    A
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Short of a total embouchure change, my playing is what it is. Things I wish I had:


    1. Better range and endurance. Man, if I could put an extra 3-4 steps onto my usable range, it would open up some very cool possibilities to my playing. As it is, I'm good to a D/Eb above 2nd ledger C, with the ability to grab the E about 70% of the time, but if I was good to a G? It would be a different ballgame.
    2. Better, faster fingers. My 3rd finger has always been abysmal, and it's the one aspect of my physical technique that has always held me back. It's as good now as it has ever been, but congenital arthritis runs in the family, and I'm no exception - my hands can sometimes get a bit stiff, so I might be past the point where I can improve it much further.
    3. Tighter technique in general and better accuracy. It's possible that the slipperiness of my Schilke B6 - currently my only horn - contributes to this some, but I could probably dial it in if I spent more time practicing. I've never quite regained the technical accuracy and consistency I had when I was a full-time Army bandsman when I was 20-21. I'm a more musical player, but I was much more accurate overall back then. Then again, I was also behind the horn for 5-6 hours a day, almost every day of the week.

    Overall though, I'm ok with where I am as a player. I've done a lot of really neat, fun stuff with the horn, and I've never been without a gig for too long. I know my shortcomings, and I know what I can work on to tighten it up, but like with anything else, it's a matter of time, dedication, persistence and self-discipline. I'm a busy guy with a lot of irons in the fire, and I'm not willing to give up on the other things I do and enjoy in order to work on it as much as I should. I could improve those aspects of my playing, but I think the amount of time it would take to do it would be prohibitive to living a balanced life. But I do still have fun with it, and that has always been my golden rule - if it ever stops being fun, that's when I stop doing it.
     
  10. FireandAir

    FireandAir Pianissimo User

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    The thing about this though, is that the guy WAS taught how to learn to play an instrument by someone at some point. I've found my years of piano lessons useful while noodling with several instruments so far, because I know how to learn a musical instrument. So while I have no trumpet teacher (at this point), I do have nearly a decade of lessons from a very level-headed and demanding ex-nun who taught me about drilling and technique acquisition on another device, not to mention all the crap I learned on my own about slow practice, mental practice, and solution-seeking.

    I think a good teacher is one of many ingredients to mastering something, but it's a fairly important one to have. The only people that won't need it are exceptionally rare, and everyone will at least benefit, no matter how good they are. Even those exceptionally rare types will find it useful. Take the fellow you mentioned earlier who was told something simple and self-evident by a teacher. Sure, he could have done that on his own ... but he needed someone more experienced to tell him to do it. It's like the tale about some dude with a busted whatchamacallit who had a repairman come in, who looked at the device, banged one nail into it which fixed it, and sent a $50 invoice. "You want fifty bucks just for a threepenny nail?!" "No, I want $50 for knowing where to put the nail in."
     

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