Mark B's Comeback Thread

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Mark B, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I once had the opportunity to chat with Roy Burns, owner and founder of Aquarian Drumheads. He rose to prominence drumming for Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, and made a name for himself as a New York session guy, as well as a first rate clinician. The reason he called me was because I had sent an email to Aquarian at the generic info email address basically to say that I loved using their Texture Coated head for my snares and to keep up the great work. My contact info was in my signature line and 10 minutes later Roy was on the other end of the line when I picked up. Couldn't ask for a nicer guy and he handles a large part of the company's customer relations himself, but I digress. (Roy has actually called me twice - the second time was because I had gotten a couple of heads where the texture coating came off and I emailed about the issue. That call was pretty much all business.)

    In chatting with Roy, at that point I hadn't yet started taking drumming lessons, but I was thinking about it, and I brought that up. Roy's advice to me was, "don't find someone who's going to tell you how to play, find a teacher who is going to teach you how to practice." His belief was that becoming an instrumentalist is more about fine tuning your personal approach to how YOU do it. So many teachers try to shoehorn their students into their own personal approach, and while there are generalities that work for the majority, knowing how to practice and why you are working on the various things you work on is also key to your development.

    At the end of the day a good teacher merely points out flaws you may not have noticed, and streamlines your approach by keeping you on a more narrow path toward your end goals. All of the rest of it is the work put in by the student themselves.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  2. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Yes, yes and YES! Well put, Patrick!

    Mark
     
  3. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Redlands, CA
    I hate to sound like I'm bragging because trust me, I have nothing to brag about. I am feeling pretty good, though, about my progress. Both last night and tonight, I feel like I'm really turning a corner sound-wise. I'm finally starting to raise my own eyebrow with the quality of sound I'm putting out.

    I've still a lot of work to do; my endurance isn't what it should be. I'm still stumbling over some fingerings and I'm really having to focus on keeping my embouchure still when rolling up an octave. Still, I see and hear progress and that's certainly encouraging.

    I'm so glad I started my comeback. This has been a tremendous thing for me personally. I won't go into details, but I really needed a confidence and morale boost and having this to think about and work on.... Well, not to sound corny, but I feel like a changed man.

    Wow, did I really just say that?

    Mark
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Mark, I think that it's important that a player recognizes when things are going well. It's part of what keeps us going as players, putting in what might otherwise seem like boring time in the practice room, working some of the same drills again and again.

    I'm not surprised that your sound is coming around though. you've been working hard on the right stuff, and as a result, your chops are becoming strong again and you are developing more focus.

    I wouldn't worry about your endurance so much yet though. In the practice room I'm good for about an hour to an hour and a half of structured practice with rest periods in between before I get to a point where I need to call it quits. I still have the endurance to get through a 3 set party band gig and still have chops at the end of the night - it's a different kind of playing and typically there is built in "rest" between songs, songs where I don't have a horn part or that I sing, on set breaks, and even in the songs themselves. I think you'd find that if you started up with an ensemble that you'd probably have as much endurance as anyone else.

    It may take a couple more months before you start to build the kind of consistency you are looking for, but it's going to come if you keep after it the way you have been.

    Sounds great man! I can't speak for others, but I know that your exhuberance and dedication to your comeback has been inspirational for me, so thanks for that!
     
  5. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    I thought it was perhaps time for an update on this thread.

    I've now had seven lessons and I have to say that I continue to be happy with my teacher. Based on what I've read here and been told, I think I'm receiving great instruction.

    My sound continues to come around and I feel like my endurance is getting better. The concept of resting between exercises was new to me prior to my comeback, but I have come to appreciate the breaks. I know they keep me playing better and longer.

    This month, my teacher has begun emphasizing music more than drills every other week. That just means more song type exercises from the book, but still it's a little bit of a break from the flexibility drills I've been doing so many of. The songs are very, very easy and my direction has been to play them as fast as I can without messing up. It's actually been a lot of fun!

    We really haven't worked too much on range, yet, but it's been brought up in conversation twice during my lessons. Apparently, when we start in on that, I will be having one hour lessons every other week. I'm not sure how he will manage that, as there is a young man that goes in right after me every week. The drills have been made to sound a little daunting, so I'm not sure what to expect. Whatever it is. I'll hit it head on and do the best I can.

    I continue to get praise from my teacher for the practice time and even my wife is complimentary of the sounds I've been making from the back bedroom. The neighbors haven't complained, either, so I guess I must be doing OK!! I did have a neighbor sneak up on me while practicing in the garage. It was a man and wife that were out trying to muster up some voters. They complimented me, but I discounted it as I figured they were sucking up. The dogs are another matter. Our little rat terrier was in the room last night and as soon as I started playing, he tucked his tail and scooted fast as he could!!!

    The wife's only real comment since my comeback is that I'm obsessed. My youngest daughter told me she's proud of me. Anytime you can get a teenager to say they are proud of you.... That's a good thing! Obsession it is!

    Mark
     
  6. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    My last couple lessons have been a little different. My teacher has me doing some of the exercises assigned and then spends time just talking, telling stories about this, or that. The first week it happened, I was kind of miffed because my thinking was that I'm paying for this lesson, I expect to play and be heard. When it happened again this week, it occured to me he knows I'm doing the work and he just wants me to slow down and rest during the lesson. He's always admonishimg me to take my time, pull the horn away from my face, etc. He still give direction and helps me understand why I'm doing things, he's just not as intent on hearing each and every assigned exercise to verify I've been working.

    To me, this signifies a turning point. Being accustomed to dealing with much younger students, I believe he's recognized in me a hunger to work hard and improve without a weekly prodding. I think it helped this week when he spotted in my case some pages from the Clarke Technical Studies. He made a comment about it and assigned some exercises farther into the book that are reminiscent of Clarke's exercises.

    Things continue to be fun and I feel like I'm making steady progress. I enjoyed a cool and damp weekend this past week getting in extra practice time. I practiced so much I made my face hurt a little. It was a good hurt, though!:roll:

    Mark
     
  7. SCV81

    SCV81 Pianissimo User

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    Mark, I enjoy reading about your progress. Keep on keeping on!:play::-)
     
  8. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Thank you very much! I'm really enjoying my comeback. I wish I had done this years ago!

    Mark
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I think that it's fantastic that you remain so upbeat and enthusiastic about it. I got a wild hair to play bass a couple of years back, took what amounted to about 2 off the cuff lessons, and just sort of lost interest. I'm not positive why although it probably boils down to the fact that I already play trumpet and drums, both of which take plenty of time on their own, and I didn't have a real goal or outlet for the bass.

    Your teacher undoubtedly appreciates your dedication and work ethic too. He knows you are going to end up going somewhere with it - community band or orchestra, big band, church work, etc. You'll be playing out somewhere at some point, and probably sooner rather than later! :D
     
  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Sounds like you are headed in the right direction! Part of every lesson I take is talking. Sometimes my 1 hour lessons last 2! I know my teachers are enjoying it as much as I am, and that really adds another layer of pleasure to the whole process.

    Congratulations and keep up the good work, Mark!
     

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