Is there an Orthodox Technique - or is this always the Wrong Question?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sethoflagos, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    When I first started learning, life was so much simpler. We were told to buy our Arban Complete Method, start at the beginning, work our way through it to the letter, and those who made it to the end became good cornettists. And it was okayish for trumpeters too.

    And so I lived on in blissful ignorance until I joined TM, and suddenly life got a whole lot more complicated. Suddenly, it seemed that Arban had got it mostly wrong. The exercises were okay, but the techniques, well... they were soooooo 19th century.

    Quite naturally, I had an almost childlike enthusiasm for digesting all this new information before me, not to follow it willy-nilly
    (I'm 55 for Heaven's sake) but to get some sort of a grasp on which ideas were on which planet. Somewhere in amongst the BS surely I would be able to find the 'new synthesis'; a concensus view of what was now the 21st century orthodox revision of Arban.

    What I have found instead, is something I didn't expect. A peculiarly 21st century orthodoxy of only being allowed to discuss this area in metaphysical terms. So we have no orthodox method. Apparently. Only something unspecified on some far distant unspecified planet.

    {....Self-indulgent tripe deleted}

    I seem to have derailed my own thread at posting 1. Par for the course I suppose.

    The day started good, and it ended not so good. Off to bed. Goodnight.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I do just fine with 19th century techniques. The general principle of blowing into the little end, manipulating the sound with your lips, tongue, air, and the valves, and practicing doing that to get better at it hasn't really changed.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Nota bene: The following is purely my opinion.

    One of the "gifts" of the 20th Century is the fluoroscope applied to playing trumpeters. There exists a huge number of scholarly papers on what goes on inside the trumpet player's body while playing. This didn't really make trumpeters any better, but as areas for writing a thesis dwindled (the number of baroque ornaments is finite, for example) the science of trumpet playing became a hot topic. Meanwhile, teachers did what teachers do, which is to provide examples for the student to emulate. Arban, St. Jacome, Staigers and Clarke had published methods but there weren't a lot more until Charles Colins acquired a music typewriter. Towards the end of the 20th Century self-publishing became extremely easy, and new methods promising radical changes proliferated. The mechanistic view of how to play trumpet is firmly entrenched.

    The problem is that it is extremely difficult to describe how to play the trumpet at a high level in a manner that is accessible to all players. I would like to think my VULGANO RAY OF POWER and "magic bubbles" come closer to being universally understood because they include as few mechanics as possible.

    In 1948 Eugen Herrigel published Zen in the Art of Archery in which a "new" concept of pedagogy led, in part, to a counter movement. In 1974, Tim Gallway's The Inner Game of Tennis impacted trumpet teaching.

    It has often been said here at TM that it is impossible to fix a mechanical problem over the internet. None of us can accomplish anything near as much as a flesh and blood teacher. This is the reason for all the vague answers. As players we end up teaching ourselves.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
    Honkie likes this.
  4. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe

    I'll ignore all your pessimistic moanings and just ask you directly: What's the problem? And then I'll try and offer advice (or find someone who can), and send that to you.
    BTW: The parcel containing "your" Clarke and a few other little gifties just came back from the post for the second time - "Place unknown". So as I am going to Scotland on Friday, I'll take the stuff with me and post it from Edinburgh. The Scots should be able to find Askham Bryan, even if the Austrian mail system obviously does not.

    Just studied that parcel a bit closer. From the stickers and markings on it, it seems it did not go to the UK, but to the UAE... somehow, the automatic address reader mistook my - admittedly sloppy - writing (I had a bad accident to my right hand through putting it through a glass door, which cut a nerve and now sensitivity is almost nil in three fingers) and sent the parcel to a very wrong place. And the United Arban Emirates (sorry for the typo, but I just had to leave it in) did not find Asham Bryan...
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  5. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    It'd be interesting to see how many players actually read the notes (text) in the Arban Seth. Not sure if this should be an embarrassing admission, but beyond notes about articulation, Arban has only ever been a book of dots for me. It started when a teacher marked an exercise in pencil, one went home, practiced and reported back the next week for more. It was more interesting to read and play the music rather than the Arban instructions. Heck, I'm a bloke, Aussie and a trumpet player - you reckon I want to read the manual? :-)

    As to the question of orthodoxy, like you I'm less likely to post advice, even in response to a beginner or someone I think I may be able to help, than I was a year back. Where appropriate I just point to stuff that I've found helpful. A big reason for this is that "Orthodoxy" seems to cover a wide range of subtly different strokes for different folks. Looks like it's a good idea not to shout "eureka" when you find something that works for you judging by the responses to a recent poster who found benefits in the "Pop's" techniques!

    I think I'm on a roughly parallel path to you (couple years older, 18moths into comeback). Right now I'm deliriously happy with the results and a lot of what I've learned wasn't taught by the teachers I had all those years back.
  6. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Must be an Aussie thing, as like Tj my Arban's was never a "Start at the Beginning and work your way through it". My teacher would select the parts that aided me to get over technical issues etc. It was broken into parts, and even to this day, I cannot say I have played it all.

    I still use it to this day with my teacher. If I need help with double/triple tongueing, alternate fingering runs etc, then this is my bible. I always bring it along to my teacher when I am having issues, and he selects the pieces to work through and shows me so that I can get over my problem. All my teachers have always used it this way.

    If it was a "Start at the beginning and work through", I would have given it up in my teens.

    BTW - When someone asks a question on the forums. I think we value all inputs. Hopefully one of the replies will help the OP. What I have noticed, is that once there is a few relevant responses, then it does drift off topic. But I don't think that is offensive.

    I only get "Arc'd Up" when a character Assassination is taking place, or unjust/trolls are at work. We are all entitled to opinions, and differences of opinions are normal for discussion to take place.

    Sleep well Seth. Hear from you soon

    ps. Gee there is text in the Arbans...
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Isn't this the actual subject of the original post?
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Just learnt of a death in the family. Sorry if a bit of that leaked out.

    Being near York, in the good old days we were told to complete our address with "Nr. York", so the postman knew it was one of the outlying villages. So half my birthday cards took a detour via New York. Many thanks for your efforts and patience, Elmar.
  9. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I've written software that models the transmission of pressure waves ("acoustic behaviour") in pipelines and their fittings. If you could recommend the best of the bunch, I'd be really interested to see how these researchers have set about modelling the bit upstream of the mouthpiece. Just professional interest you understand ;-)

    Aren't these two statements contradictory?

    As a boy I learnt by a mix of rumour and experimentation how to physically manipulate a cricket ball so as to bowl a reasonably quick swinging delivery. At college we studied among other things boundary layer theory as applied to fluid flow around an irregular curved surface (generally known in the trade as "hairy ball theory"). This knowledge helped me bowl a better swing ball.

    The first sentence is interesting. Like the other three, it is literally true, but it also perpetuates a fallacy. I was never able to double-tongue properly until I got into a conversation here with (mainly) CornyAndy regarding the impact of regional dialects on the articulation of "ku". I can now double-tongue. So a mechanical problem actually can be fixed over the internet. Which is good because being where I am, flesh-and-blood teachers are non-existent.
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    What do you make of this little gem, tj?

    Is it beyond the wit of man to rewrite these two paragraphs into something that better represents current understanding, that best serves the needs of the majority of players, and above all is couched in similarly clear, easily understood language?

    This would then replace the Arban version as the Orthodox approach to playing technique. The approach that everyone should follow in the first instance until they ran into a problem relating to their own particular physiology or special performance objectives.

    Whatever you think of his own particular methods, at least Pops attempts to do this.

    Now we have no shortage of people on this site who will run around shouting "Snake Oil! Snake Oil!". But what do they offer as an alternative?

    Chiefly we get two different responses. Either "Guess" or "Trust somebody else to do the guessing for you"

    Where's my Arban...?

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