Lesson plans

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jude, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2007
    One of the most useful pieces of advice I've seen here for comeback players is to get a teacher. I've been taking lessons for six weeks now, and I'm not sure my teacher knows what to do with me. (I didn't think to ask whether he'd ever taught an adult before - there may be a politeness factor.) He never suggested a particular method book and does not assign lessons in the ones I ended up with (Rubank's Elementary and Sandoval Part One), so I just proceed as seems best and go in for checkups. If I suggest things (ideas stolen from here or books) he's usually agreeable - for example, alternating playing phrases, as mentioned by rowuk recently.

    I'll probably ask at some point whether he has any specific recommendations (so far it's 1-take the horn out of the case, and 2-blow it). If he asks what I'd like to do, it would be good to be ready with some suggestions - anybody willing to share? For example, is it generally better to go through the 4 Rubank books before starting Arban etc.? What about memorizing tunes? (I have the memory of a pet rock, but maybe it's good for you?) Listening and imitating last week - during the snowstorm - resulted in the best lesson I've ever had, BTW. I'm going to push to make this a standard part of all lessons from now on. Or maybe just asking him to play for 30 minutes and listening carefully would be even better?

    Jude
     
  2. s_hill2

    s_hill2 New Friend

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    Jun 10, 2005
    Jude -
    It sounds to me as if you are already a pretty good player. I've been a student of the trumpet for a good while, and I've been a teacher of a number of different things (never trumpet though!). It's easy to teach someone who is brand new to what they're doing - almost anything you offer them will be useful. It's much harder to teach someone who is already fairly sophisticated - you have to figure out what they need and often you have to find a new, creative way to meet that need. It seems to me that to get the most from your teacher you should probably try two things:

    1. If you fear you might have some really basic weaknesses, ask your teacher about those. I don't mean the usual stuff that we all try to work on every day (will anyone out there claim to be satisfied with how s/he handles air? articulation? intonation? anything?). Simply put, do you think something's wrong? If so ask your teacher.

    2. Tell your teacher what you are trying to achieve. Do you know what you want to achieve? If it's "just" being a good all-around trumpet player, then your teacher might have a hard time giving specific suggestions. It may be enough that you have a lesson and that you are always thinking about advancing all of your skills as you try to get ready for the next one. But if you are specifically trying to develop improvisational skill, or a great upper register, or a classic orchestral sound or whatever, then your teacher should be able to devise ways for you to work on that.

    Finally, if your teacher can't really give you anything useful with prompts like those, then maybe you should move on to another teacher.

    Good luck. I was a comebacker once, so I empathize with the challenges.
     
  3. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2007
    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Steve. You make good sense. I've taught, too, and I see what you mean - I spent three years in Prague, giving English lessons, among other things, and for the more advanced students I spent more time analyzing and prepping than teaching. I got some great (as well as some not-so-great) ideas from forums for teachers of English as a second language then and figured everybody here, too, must be just dying to discuss theories of trumpet pedagogy. Bad call, I guess.

    Jude
     
  4. Bill McCloskey

    Bill McCloskey Piano User

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    Apr 22, 2007
    My experience with teachers (as a comeback player) is to take a few lessons from a variety of teachers at first, take everything they say with a grain of salt, take what you need from the lesson and then probably stop taking lessons as soon as you can.

    After that it is just work.
     
  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    I told my teacher I was very interested in Jazz. She said she couldn't help me much with improv - she is a classical player, but I said OK, I have been improvising for years on other instruments. So she is helping me develop a good sound, lip flexibility (slurring interval studies), and exercises for my fingers. She's picked studies that are interesting to me. And she's worked with me on modal studies, since she does know they are applicable to Jazz. And more than a teacher, she helps me with life too. (I got lucky!)
    You need to be able to verbalize what it is you want so your teacher will know. Mind reading isn't part of the pedagogical process. Help him to help you.
     
  6. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2007
    You know, after reading Steve's reply, I remembered how relieved I was after the first lesson that the guy hadn't asked what I wanted to do with the trumpet, because I didn't have a good answer (barely an excuse, even). Mind reading may have been what I was hoping for. Or magic: "Get a teacher" (and leave the driving to him. Sort of.) I've been a little nonplussed at essentially being put in charge of designing my own curriculum, but it's given me a chance to try out a bunch of ideas I've come across here and elsewhere, and things are actually proceeding faster than I dared hope, so I've got no complaint on that score.

    I'm going to suggest we start doing something about jazz after Christmas - he keeps improvising around whatever I'm playing: maybe I should have picked up on the hint before. Any suggestions for materials? (He's sure to ask what I want to use, even if he suggests something else.)

    I appreciate the input - maybe the answers, like the notes, are all in there somewhere, but I've been blowing more than thinking lately.



    Jude
     
  7. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2007
    A teacher - good, bad, or indifferent - provides an audience, if he/she does nothing more. I wonder whether people who play every week for a person, and a critical one at that, standing only 3 feet away, are as worried by performance anxiety as those who teach themselves, working away "in the privacy of their own homes"?

    Jude
     
  8. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Ithaca NY
    I always have anxiety at my lessons. Remember how you'd say Mommy, watch this! And would then fall on your face? It is appropriate to feel that way, because eventually it translates into boosting your performance, even if it causes you to stumble at first.
     
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Do you like standards? If so check out Jamie Aebersold's stuff. It's Music Minus Trumpet on CD for Jazz standards. Each CD comes with music in a book, and there are several "basic" volumes for learning to improvise. I end every practice session with a few tunes from them.
    Thursday nights I try it out at an open jam with a jazz trio, often with good results and a ton of fun. Sometimes, admittedly, I butcher a tune. (folks applaud anyway) But you can't gain anything without risk. I don't let it bother me and try to do better on the next one. The drummer says you need a thick skin to play in public, especially when there are young, hot players who can blow circles around you. But you can learn from them if you are open-minded.
     
  10. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2007
    Ok, now there's an idea - and Christmas is coming up! (The nice new cornet case doesn't work for my horn, but a couple of these should do just fine.) I'll let my teacher worry about finding modal studies and what-all.

    Are you saying you don't have to be absolutely perfect before you start? Amazing. I was thinking about starting maybe with an Oktober Fest someday, when nobody would be able to formulate any very detailed criticisms, or at least, articulate them...
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2007

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