Practice/technique

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by chrisvenditti, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. chrisvenditti

    chrisvenditti New Friend

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    Aug 17, 2005
    Ed,
    I would be really interested to hear what your thoughts on practicing and technique are. When you were a college student what were you practicing, and how much were you playing? How do you break up your sessions? Lastly, how do you warm up. Thanks for the insight!

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
    8
    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Chris,

    That's a huge topic and one that I'll take a crack at, but I'd prefer to wait a day or two. We lost an important trumpet teacher yesterday (you should hear Tom Stevens tell Vacchiano stories sometime) and I'd prefer to take a beat before answering...

    I hope that you understand

    Best,
    EC
     
  3. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
    8
    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Chris,

    As I mentioned above, this is a huge topic and one where different points in my response can be debated.

    I think that it's fair to say that the amount of time spent practicing greatly influences the amount of time that it takes to reach a certain goal. We haven't met, but judging by your former school and the one that you're attending now I assume that you have set your sights on being a professional player (perhaps even one that raises the bar a little) and that you're putting in at least three hours per day in the practice room. The key, as you probably know, is the quality and efficiency of your practice . . . and the key to that, in my opinion, is found within your own ability to concentrate.

    I believe strongly that many students suffer from distractions while practicing - a cell phone ring, worrying about events beyond the door, short attention spans from watching too much television, etc. What separates the practice of somebody like Hakan from the practice of most others is the way he was able, over time, to train his total concentration. His rare ability to remain on task for 80 minutes results in four hours of practice per day while others (who can only stay in the saddle for an hour) are practicing three. Pity those who can only concentrate for 30 minutes. I hope they have wide-open schedules!

    After that, it's only a matter of being truly comprehensive (working on your liabilities as well as remaining in touch with your assets) in your daily practice - covering absolutely everything that you can each. Make a plan and execute that plan. Evaluate your execution. Make a new plan, based upon your evaluation, and execute it. Evaluate your new execution. If you're happy with the result, repeat it a few times before going on. Find a balance between your imagination, your ear, and your horn.

    How sessions are broken up depends entirely on the needs of the person doing the work. Some need more work on flow than others. Some need to spend larger chunks of time on flexibility, articulation, or extended techniques. All need musical challenges (and most need to expand their own self-imposed musical boundaries).

    Lastly (cue: drum-roll) I'm not very keen on wasting time “warming up†other than the few minutes that it takes to find out where things stand at the moment. I encourage my students to get into fully concentrated building mode as quickly as possible. This might mean exercises that are commonly used by others to warm up, but I prefer an active, not semi-passive, relationship to the work at hand.

    I'm looking forward to reading responses.

    Best,
    EC
     
  4. chrisvenditti

    chrisvenditti New Friend

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    Aug 17, 2005
    Ed,
    There is some great information here. It helps to hear that information again in a new and different way. I have been mulling over the idea of "warming-up" for a long while. I suppose learning what is best for each individual person is an on going process. For me, the most striking thing you said was that you "prefer an active, not semi-passive relationship to the work at hand." I think that sentence sums-up the whole post in a nut shell.

    .....darn I am going to have to start using my brain. This may get me in trouble. :)

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  5. JunkyT

    JunkyT Pianissimo User

    133
    1
    Jan 6, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    hi ed,

    i'm new to TM (migrated over from THat oTHer place) and your forum, but i've been reading you thoughts, and those of the posters here, with great interest. i'm wondering if you could elaborate on the quote above, as it pertains to the difference between warming up and practicing. i'm not sure i get your distinction.

    i love your thoughts on concentration, though. i've taken lessons recently from two real pros (brian lynch and tom marriott), and both echoed similar sentiments.

    thanks for all your work on this forum!
    jason
     
  6. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Hi Jason,

    Welcome to both the site and the forum.

    I've experienced students over the years that were making a sizable daily commitment in the practice room but not progressing at a sizable rate. I've also had students who were able make huge changes in their playing in a matter of weeks. In retrospect, I'm certain that the difference between the two rests in making a comprehensive practice plan (focusing on liabilities, instead of constantly re-hashing assets) and total concentration whenever the horn is on your face. This tuned in, "hyper-sensitivity" to all aspects of your work is a pathway to developing intuitive playing.

    The term "warm-up" often becomes a catch basin for passive, non-imaginative, practice. I'm a strong believer in building basic trumpet technique via many of the principles and exercises that many "warm-up" with, but through concentrated work . . . not by meandering around for an extended period of time, like a bee searching for pollen, testing this and that.

    It's only a mind-set, but one that is pro-active. There are only so many hours available to practice. It's important to maximize our work in them.

    Let's keep this discussion alive.
    EC
     
  7. JunkyT

    JunkyT Pianissimo User

    133
    1
    Jan 6, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    thanks for the response, ed. i appreciate your mental approach to the horn.

    i find as i get older that this is not only true in most aspects of trumpet playing, but in life itself.

    cheers,
    jason
     

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