People/Places/Presentations with Leon Merian

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Liad Bar-EL, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Bryan Edgett's weekend with Leon Merian

    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Bryan Edgett" <[email protected]>
    > To: <[email protected]
    > Subject: Repost: My weekend with Leon Merian
    > > Dear Leon,
    > >
    > > Here is a repost of that which I posted to TPIN. Thanks again for a
    > > great lesson, a great performance, and being such a wonderful person.
    > >
    > > Warmly,
    > >
    > > Bryan
    > >
    > > The university at which I teach allocates a small amount of money
    > > each year for faculty development. This year, I decided that I wanted
    > > to take some lessons with folks whose approach to teaching was
    > > markedly different from that which I received through formal
    > > training. All of my teachers were predominantly classical players. I
    > > was left to figure most of the physical stuff out for myself.
    > >
    > > I did okay and have managed as a pro, playing well enough to land
    > > two
    > > full-time college jobs and to get some significant free lance work.
    > > I've had enough endurance for the work I've been called to do. But I
    > > have felt that something was inefficient about my playing, and that I
    > > had to work too hard, particularly in the higher register. No amount
    > > of focus on sound or wind seemed to help.
    > >
    > > I have corresponded with Leon several times privately about many
    > > matters during the past 6 months or so. I was thrilled to know that
    > > someone of Leon's pedigree and background found interest in TPIN.
    > > Remarkably, we found a weekend that worked for us and I scheduled a
    > > lesson with Professor Merian.
    > >
    > > Leon was waiting for me early Saturday afternoon, coming out of his
    > > door to flag me down when I seemed lost. When I arrived, he was
    > > working out last minute details for his big band's performance on
    > > Sunday and trying out a new horn. After exchanging pleasantries for a
    > > while, he put me through his well-practiced examination. With about
    > > 10 minutes of diagnostic tests, Leon identified several areas where I
    > > was much less efficient than I should be. None of them had to do with
    > > breathing (which he told me that I did correctly) or sound model. We
    > > went to work on the setup, the corners (which I had thought that I
    > > had in order) and some tonguing adjustments. We worked for nearly 3
    > > hours.
    > >
    > > I assumed that the lesson was over when Leon invited me to go
    > > downtown to have a cup of coffee. We sat down at a restaurant to
    > > discuss more of his pedagogy, his observations about my playing, and
    > > the like, and left two hours later. To say that Leon is a master
    > > teacher would be a vast understatement. His diagnostic skills are
    > > keen, his prescriptions direct, accurate and clear, and his follow-up
    > > acute and meaningful. Were I living anywhere near Sarasota, I'd study
    > > from Leon regularly regardless of the cost (which was extremely
    > > modest given what a person of his experience could charge.)
    > >
    > > I had arranged my lesson in order to be in town when his big band
    > > was
    > > performing. Due to some serious health concerns, Leon had been out of
    > > commission for quite a while with Sunday's big band concert serving
    > > as his first foray into public performance in a year and a half. Leon
    > > and his big band were featured at a local restaurant that promotes
    > > live music. The venue was somewhat small but jammed to the gills with
    > > people eager to hear Leon and his band, a group comprised of 15 guys,
    > > some of whom had played for name bands (Duke Ellington, Harry James,)
    > > and some younger guys including Leon's students. The band played for
    > > 3 hours with one break. Leon played all but a couple of tunes that
    > > featured the band. The sound that he gets from that instrument simply
    > > has to be heard to be believed. Beautiful lyricism, individual style,
    > > and fiery up-tempo energy characterized Leon's sound on Sunday. And
    > > this was his first time back in more than a year.
    > >
    > > Leon will be 79 in a few weeks. I could only wonder how many folks
    > > who faced the illnesses and the surgery that Leon faced at that point
    > > in life would have loved music enough to get back into the kind of
    > > shape necessary to play as he played?
    > >
    > > Most remarkably, Leon not only loves music, he loves people. He
    > > greeted the majority of people who came to hear him personally,
    > > warmly sharing mutual joy. That Leon is a wonderful person is
    > > apparent to all who know him. Perhaps you will recall that in the
    > > recent past, he endured the kind of insults on TPIN that drove other
    > > pros from the list. (Those of you who have been on the forum for a
    > > while will remember some of the more widely publicized cases.) But he
    > > stayed in spite of the cheap shots demonstrating a tenacity rarely
    > > seen among those whose accomplishments are as far reaching as Leon's.
    > >
    > > I will remember this weekend forever. Leon is a legend, a great
    > > teacher, a wonderful player, and an even better person. His
    > > biography, which I reviewed earlier, is a terrific read. His CD is
    > > well worth hearing. And if you get to meet him or hear him play live,
    > > don't miss the opportunity.
    > >
    > > Warm regards,
    > >
    > > Bryan Edgett
  2. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    This one is from Leon.

    > After preparing for a concert, Anne the harpist and Sam the trombonist
    > out to a discotheque. Sam's car wouldn't lock, but Sam was a good
    > friend
    > the club's owner.
    > So they locked their instruments in the club owner's office, and went
    > into the disco for some fun. By the end of the night, and having had
    > way too
    > to drink,
    > they went back to rehearsal, completely forgetting to take back their
    > instruments.
    > Anne told the conductor, "I left my harp in Sam's friend's disco."
    > (ala Tony Bennett)
  3. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Leon just celebrated his 83rd birthday, he is a product of the old school. He paid his dues.
    Get his book "The Man Behind the Horn," it will give you a very good idea of what it was to be a trumpet player in the big bands of the past.
  4. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    How is this for a birthday message sent to Leon?


    Happy birthday my friend!

    We have never met in person, but through our emails and one far too short telephone conversation, I've come to respect you for the truly wonderful player and human being that you are. You are and will continue to be a shining star in our who I feel truly privileged to have come to know.

    There are so few players left from that monumental time in American music making, let alone one who not only left a mark as a performer but who also helped shatter the color barrier and bring true equality to our profession. (As you know, it wasn't the players who had the problem, but the general public needed a bit of help to get their collective sh*t together.) You can be justifiably proud of your contributions to your country's art, culture and civil equality.

    I am humbled by your playing and by your courage as a human being and wish you many, many more years of happiness and good health.

    With great fondness, ton ami,

  5. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Just FYI, Leon has been taking Wheat Grass Juice for a couple of years now and he once in awhile sends me e-mail with thanks for introducing him to this wonderful energy healthful drink.

    He hasn't started mooooooooing yet like a cow so I guess he has not been "suffering" from the side effects. :lol:

    Liad Bar-EL
  6. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    More on resonance

    Mr. James B, I would like to start off by saying that I appreciate what you've said in your post on sound and tone. state that there are a lot of questions that you need to ask yourself before you even embark on what kind of sound you want......................I must say to you sir that I personally do not like all this sensory involvement or rather analysis of trying to *find out* what to do to produce this "desired" sound. What various musculatures should be doing to get this resonant sound. May I emphasize the fact [FACT] that your mind, yes the mind, will allow you to produce the character of the sound that you WANT. The timbre of the sound that you produce is a direct reflection of the sound that you have in your MIND........And if the sound that you are producing from your horn is not to your satisfaction, then you must change the concept in your MIND. You must do this FIRST before analyzing any mechanical functions. So that I may make my point crystal clear....your physical body will produce the sound that you want in accordance with the sound that you have in your mind.

    Yes, the mind is the primary ingredient which will determine the quality of the sound you produce. Therefore, the sound that each and every player desires should be well established in that person's head. That is why each person's sound, tone quality and resonance is unique and gives each one of us a very distinct identity. I have said this very thing in many other of my articles on this subject. Each player's sound is his/her most personal and distinctive characteristic And it is all determined by the MIND.......


    Leon Merian

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