Placebo and the Art of Trumpet playing.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by HeySergei, May 26, 2007.

  1. Jon Kratzer

    Jon Kratzer Pianissimo User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Sergei you have many great points man. I couldn't agree more that it's so important to have a positive attitude when teaching students, if I had negative reinforcement I don't know how I would have developed. All I can say is when can I get a lesson? Lol. I love hearing new things from new folks. I had the great pleasure of studying with one of the earth's finest and nicest teachers, John Almeida. Studying with him was great, he was a ball of Sunshine and never was negative with me in 4 years, except when I needed a whack on the head lol, and even then it was just more of being Firm, not negative.

    Keep up with the positive! It's such a pleasure to see posts like this.

  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is a very interesting thread - especially the comparison to the old school players.
    I do not entirely agree with the club robinson approach to learning the trumpet though. Becoming very good is WORK and dedication. These days of political correctness only succeed in making the third rate feel better instead of EARNING and becoming better.
    If a student does pay attention, there is ALWAYS something commendable. The confidence that you can accomplish anything if you really want to only works if you are prepared to give everything to get there. Why lie about what that really means?
    The key to success is the balance between motivation and dedication. I hear too many players that play poorly but are very convinced that they are hot - because of the false compliments.
    The job of the teacher is to light the fire when possible, support the good asspects and give the student tools to handle the problems. Without structure, the teacher becomes part of the problem not the solution. If a student has not practiced enough before a lesson and gets compliments, where is the incentive to try harder? We do not need to kick laziness in the teeth, but the student that has not properly prepared for a lesson SHOULD feel guilty. The great players talk about shedding, THAT is a concept that is still needed today - that leads to success!
  3. HeySergei

    HeySergei New Friend

    May 9, 2007

    My intentions for this thread are to point out that we must remain positive. Believe me, I light fire under my students when it is necessary, how ever I never bring them down. John said it all when he said "except when I needed a whack on the head", being firm and motivational is very important. If you allow your students to understand that they really do not know as much as they think they do, but show them the beauty of this fact, you can allow them to grow.

    I have to admit, from what I can tell with you John you're a very natural player and you possess a great strength in self motivation, I've seen other students have great success with this. Rowuk, from you posts I can tell you're also a very talented and motivated player, and you've set out a path for yourself. I value your input, and respect your opinions. I never give a false sense of confidence, I only reinforce the truths about their playing.

    If you do not practise you will get no where. If you do not listen, you will not develop. If you do not have discipline, it will show in your playing. Remember, there is a difference between being positive, and being fake. Instructors who hinder the success of their students by being fake shouldn't be teaching. Those who are nice guys, with a firm strong hand to guide their students bring success. Raymond Mase, James Thompson, David Bilger, they all are nice guys with strong guidance skills, and damn fine players. I think they're doing something right.

  4. barato

    barato New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Somewhere in Ohio
    Trumpet playing is basically 100% mental. YOU have to believe that you can play and play well. Many people I know have the old fashion attitude that playing is too hard and that only the prodigies can play well. I say that is bull! Maynard Ferguson and them all believed that they can play and make a living out of it. If a player has a mental break down their playing is greatly affected. I agree with the original post of this thread. I always had placebos used on me during sports, school and music by my parents. They would bribe me with money so I would score the winning point for soccer or to get A's to show me that I can do it. Placebo is an affective method which I believed should be used with anyone who believes they cannot do something well without some intervention. All you have to do is show that they can do what they want to do and they will believe they can do it. Explain to them how to play and make it simple and easy to understand or else you confuse and discourage them. I like this thread and hope people can get something positive out of it. Happy Playing!
  5. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Jeeeez Andy, I don't know what I am trying to say. What I do know is that other people on this thread say it better than I. It's all in my head.

  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    we have a unique situation here at TM, we have dedicated players and teachers, we have students trying to second guess their teachers and we have trumpet owners trying to make a go at it without formal instruction.

    Like most of the methods available for trumpet, I sort advice into groups:

    1) for everybody
    2) for people that play quite a bit (not necessarily structured)
    3) for people that use a structured approach to their practicing.

    Every person alive needs positive reinforcement - you are 100% right. The players in groups one and two also need to get the fantasy out of their heads that anything can be for free.

    Those fine players AND teachers that you mention generally get more advanced "raw material" to deal with. They can prove that attitude and motivation can move mountains (because the necessary basics are there in sufficient quantity). The positive gives the player a lesson for life.

    This is something that the average school band director also faces right before any concert : 1+1 is MUCH greater than 2 (we have all heard the adage about a bad dress rehearsal leading to a good concert - I think school bands were the subject here!), with the difference that one week after the school concert: 1+1= 0.7 - especially if the concert really went well! Many of the kids get the impression that they are (too)good and don't have to work as hard anymore. The lesson is different here.

    This is my point, positive for one group CAN lead to overconfidence and laziness in the next. For many players a size 10 boot can be the optimal lesson at times............. If the student isn't ready to accept the boot, and runs to another teacher - they may just be running away from reality. We all need the capability to handle complements with grace, criticism with objectiveness, success with pride and failure with resoluteness. If the student/teacher relationship is sound, one or the other can get mad or even negative and something positive comes out of it. If one or the other has an attitude, then pure positive is not the solution.
    Last edited: May 28, 2007
  7. Tom Mac

    Tom Mac Pianissimo User

    Mar 11, 2007
    Nashville Tennessee
    A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. I had a choir director who would stop the choir and say, "That was absolutely beautiful, just one thing would make it better." Needless to say you can't wear this out but there are thousands of variations that make the same point. I teach Aikido (martial art) several times a week. Before I will criticise or correct a student (or the class) I do my best to identify what they are doing correctly and let them hear about that. Then they are listening when I add the "but maybe...." Heads go up and posture improves. Yee Haw
  8. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    I can't add much here except to related what my own teacher has done for me.

    I started taking lessons from him last September. Since that time he has given me the confidence to attempt pieces that I would not even have DREAMED of just 8 months ago! He has done this with basically two methods....postivie reinforcement...and always presenting a challenge to me (i.e. never letting me slack off). he is basically turning me into a better musician!

    On the other hand, as far as technique and fundamentals are concerned, I just can't get away with ANYTHING! (Note: I say that as a POSITIVE statement by the way). Let me get sloppy with the tonguing and see what happens! The man has turned humiliation into an art form! I can't count the number of times I have skipped a few practice sessions, walked into the lesson room and muffed up a passage, only to have him say "Listen to me" play the passage perfectly at twice the speed (or twice as soft, etc etc). And I walk out feeling good about the session!

    Frankly, I pay the guy almost $100/month. I don't want him scratching my ears and telling me what a good boy I am unless he means it (and he doesn't). If I am doing good, I need to know that (and I do), if I am screwing up I need to know that too (and I do).
  9. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

    Jun 17, 2007

    Great thread.

    I've always liked to be around and learn, from vital and positive people, particularly as i've gotten older. Not that i haven't been able to learn from fire breathers and negative motivators, despite it being more work. Although, i wasn't able to do that with painting. Unfortunately, i never came across any art teachers that had a lick of sense. It's sure good to read this doesn't hold with music teachers.


  10. brunets

    brunets Pianissimo User

    May 28, 2007
    This story is excellent! As my teacher tells me all the time: "your are asking yourself too much questions! Relax and let it play!"... And it works, really ;-)


Share This Page