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

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

  1. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    My condolences, Seth, concerning the death in your family.

    This unavoidable consequence of living shapes, a little, what follows. At the end of the day, we live and die. Most of us will leave behind very little of ourselves that will survive a single following generation. It is important for me to live my life well and uniquely, in a way that does not become overmuch a pale reflection of the lives of others.
    - When I began my comeback nearly three years ago and joined TM and TH, I was easily intimidated in the virtual presence of so many trained experienced players. In spite of the intimidation I still posted frequently and read more frequently. I got shot down a lot and became embarrassed often, but I persisted and learned. Over the course of time I came to fully embrace the fact that no members know it all when it comes to trumpeting, but by attending to many voices I assimilated information and began forming my personal trumpeting truth, so I could teach myself (VB's concept from a prior post to your thread) in a way that pleased me. For me, Arban's got it right and its applications are only limited by my imagination. Some days my practice is nearly entirely from Arban's. I begin with exercises that address my present goal and end with those stale 19th century etudes that teach me so much about dynamics, phrasing, supported sound, and ornamentation.
    - Consistent with what I have written above, I suggest you consider not worrying much about any "new synthesis" and focus instead upon creating your own personal synthesis.
    - Constraint of liberty in an internet forum is something self-imposed, I think. As long as a member is not obscene, profane, or troll-ish why should any of us feel constrained? The fact of the matter is that a month or two following any particular post, nobody will much care about something written that elicited disappointing responses.

    Somewhere a while back, a forgotten member wrote that effective practice boiled down to meaningful face-time on the trumpet leading to the trumpeter accomplishing his short and long term goals. I like this concept. I play for fun and personal satisfaction. If playing trumpet ever fails me concerning these motives, I'll stop playing.

  2. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    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.
    Probably not the best or recommended way to go through the book but you made it, Bravo!!
    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.
    TM is a blog site. If the way you do it works for you then tell TM to bite you.
    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.
    I'm not sure about a revision. Maybe it's more about "how" it's used. The Arban's was not designed to start at page one and go through it a page at a time. Just think, when Arban's is approached in that manner, the student must wait till the book is almost half done before they even touch on arpeggios.
    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.
    Yes!!! from a distant planet. Alright everyone, get on the bus. We're off to Planet Hollywood and I'm buying.
    While on the way, please get your Arban's out and put Tabs (those plastic separators that attach to pages and stick out so you can get to the page quickly) on these pages so you'll know what each section is:
    Please write these names on the Tabs and attach them (spaced like Tabs in an old phone book) on the following pages:
    I took the liberty to bold the sections so they can be printed out and used.
    Introduction--Page 10
    Slurring and Legato Playing--Page 37
    Scales--Page 57
    Ornaments--Page 90
    More Advanced Studies--Page 123
    Tonguing---Page 153
    The Art of Phrasing---Page 191
    68 Duets For Two Cornets---Page 246
    Concluding Remarks---Page 283
    14 Characteristic Studies---Page 285
    12 Celebrated Fantaisies Ansd Aires Varies---Page 300
    Diagram of 1885 Cornet---Page 348
    Arban's Original Text---Page 349

    Hope this helps
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  3. shooter

    shooter Piano User

    Jan 12, 2007
    To answer your question, there IS an orthodox technique.....and, it is Arban's. TM is mainly just a place to learn little tricks that may help you. I've picked up a few little nuggets using a Crown Royal bag over the bell to soften my tone a little; Or pronouncing the word "TOO" for getting richer high notes.
    As far as just picking up the horn and playing, nothing has changed at all from Arban's day. A trumpet today, like yesterday is still just a brass pipe with a series of bends, three valves and a mouthpiece.
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Much appreciated, Jim.

    Autodidacticism works for me also, Jim. But we all could use some guidance. I followed Arban quite religiously when I was younger, and consequently played using piece pressure for the upper register. And it served me well for over forty years, so long as I was only very occasionally asked to find a high E. The threads here have really helped me recently in many respects but I'm still sometimes left wondering if the approaches I'm trying will succeed in the long run, but leave me with a sound I didn't really want, or give me the sound only to fail eventually and as suddenly as the Arban technique did.

    It's sometimes a little frustrating to ask a straightforward question, only to run into a stock answer which you know the responder (however well-meaning) hasn't really looked at critically for a very long time. I know that I will never get a straightforward, reliable answer to questions beginning "What's the best method of...." but if you recast the question into a more edgy and unfamiliar "What's the worst method of...." you can actually get some very informative postings.

    As an example, I know the taxi fare from Victoria Island (where I work) to Alpha Beach (where I used to live) is 2,000 Naira for a local. If I ask "How much to take me to Alpha Beach?" the taxi driver will take one look at my white face and say "5,000 Naira". But if I ask "How far can you take me for 2,000 Naira?" he will reply "Alpha Beach" and I will respond "Okay take me there, I'll walk the rest of the way". A bit cheeky, but I avoid both an argument and getting fleeced.

    All in context, Jim. You have some understanding of my business. In normally commercial settings we use a strange language of euphemisms when analysing engineering risk, whereas the military prefer more reality-based terms like "kill-radius". That's worth a bit of worry. That and family.

  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I know how you feel regarding technique and advice. I was roundly criticized a few years ago for offering advice on chop development when one DID NOT HAVE ACCESS to a trumpet. I free buzz and mpc buzz with a B.E.R.P. when driving, shopping, etc.. HOLY FREAKIN COW!!!! Some posters where enraged at the balderdash I was peddling! I stuck to my guns. One of the critics now enjoys free buzzing AND has posted video of themselves buzzing a familiar piece of music done very well on you tube! One less vocal poster offered additional info to augment playing while away from the horn. That info has been most valuable to me. My advice is to consider the source of the info and if words like danger and irreparable harm/damage will come to you unless you do as they say are used frequently, hmm, not sure you really know what you're talking about . One Orthodoxy that will never change, you gotta practice!
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Won't you allow me a little poetic license? Many people find me a little ...erm... over-pedantic at times ;-)

    Unfailingly you do. :bravo:
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Sorry about your loss, Seth. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my mother's death.

    I've given your post a fair amount of thought. It should be noted that a single book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has hugely influenced my Weltanschauung, a major part of the metaphysical lens that I use to look at the world. The author, Robert Pirsig, addresses the question of Quality--what is Good and not Good, and divides (like a diamond cutter cleaving a gem) the the world into surface appearance (classical Quality) and underlying form (romantic Quality). He spent a great deal of time and energy trying to combine the two back into a single Truth and went crazy as a result, receiving State ordered electroshock treatments. The book is in large part, a look back as memories resurface.

    I think one reason the book resonated with me is that I too am considered by the State to be certifiably wacko. No electroshock, just pills.

    John Haynie did quite a bit of research back in the day, but I've been unable to find online images from his studies. I recall seeing them in one of those hard copy thingies called books in a library, but that was long ago. I did find this ( I have no range. :( - View topic: Trumpet Herald forum ) but didn't follow the links.

    I don't think so. Self-publishing has produced some gems, but garbage as well. Books still carry a degree of authority, a holdover from Medieval times. It used to be very difficult to get a book published. Now it is not, and anyone can write a method. Many are of the "this is what works for me; therefore it must be universally true and work for you as well" variety.

    I believe the key word is "experimentation." I was told for years by me trumpet professor to "lead with my air" when slurring from one note to another. It drove me crazy (not literally, the trumpet is not responsible for me being certifiably wacko) until one day I decided to experiment, by trying to emulate his slurs (beautiful to listen to) I discovered that by speeding my air (how? I dunno) to match what my body had memorized after hours of long tones of the new tone a split-second before flipping my lips into position for the next tone (also memorized) resulted in a beautiful "pop." By doing so I could pop slurs just like my professor (Gerald Webster, by the way) instantaneously from one note to the next just like a good English horn player can. Excited, I told my professor about my new discovery, and his response was to slap his forehead and say "That's what I've been telling you for years!"

    Granted, knowing some acoustics has helped my playing, but much of my insight has come in the form of metaphors or similes. I do, however have a very good friend and colleague who hates metaphors. "I just tell my students to say 'Tah,' says he."

    Agreed, there are some mechanical problems that can be fixed over the internet. If one wants to work on tongue arch, for example, and can flutter tongue, there is an easy way to work on that. If our tongue arch is correct we can flutter tongue that note. It would have been better if I wrote "it is extremely difficult to diagnose mechanical problems over the internet."

    Kudos to Andrew, by the way.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    News to me Seth. I'm ignorant that Arban had got it mostly wrong. Oh well. I still use it. I've not been active on TM much over the last couple years. Glad I missed the that part of the forum. Arban is my one big trumpet book. I'll stick with it.

    I bought the Vizutti edition of Arban when it came out. Don't recollect a section or sections from Alan where J.B. got it right or wrong. Admittedly, I have not looked at it in 3 years, and I don't use it. I got used to the page numbers in the Carl Fischer edition.

    Seth, I know you are quoting others . . . I don't buy what they are peddling.

    Seth, sorry if you've been roughed up. Some folks are jerks. Even more so online etc.

    I like to work and play nice with others.

    So happy you are part of Trumpet Master.
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I too read that book years ago and it's pretty amazing. I never did find any info in there to help me synchronize the carbs on my Honda 350 scrambler, though...;-)
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Edward Abbey wrote a review of it and was asked to do it a second time so he asked a biker friend to review it. The entire review was motorcycle talk and a blast to read!

    Pirsig's true fans are pretty devoted.

Share This Page