Practicing Subdivision

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Runner, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Runner

    Runner New Friend

    Feb 15, 2005

    I've been lurking here for a day or two and finally decided I'd like to join the fun. Your playing has been inspiring me since I was in junior high.

    You've said in some of your posts that when you were at Julliard one of the things you spent a lot of time working on was sub-division. What were some of the practicing techniques you used to work on it? Thanks for your time.

  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Dear Runner,

    Very simply, what Vacchiano did with us is to constantly, and I mean constantly, make sure that we were aware of the smallest rhythmic values that were the undercurrent of a given rhythm. That is, if we worked on a dotted 8th-16th rhythm he would sing or tap the 16ths underneath as we played. he did this the moment he sensed us rushing the small notes. Any constant rhythmic figure would get this attention. Now, this may seem like normal fare for any teacher worth his salt but what made Vacchiano unique was that he never let up on it, even when you had it. He always found ways for us to play studies that went from duple to triple rhythms with constant vascillations between the two.

    He liked the Charlier studies for that reason: the rhythm and awkward keys. When we played excerpts, it was the same thing except he would make up words or a brief phrase to go with the rhythm.

    I wonder if today's young trumpeters would have the patience to study with a guy like Vacchiano. He was not at all into listening to you play solos. It was fundamentals constantly, a steady diet of it. To someone like me who was a good player but lacked so much discipline at first it was like water to a man in a desert. His method was like a game every Monday at 10 am. When he stopped teaching at Juilliard it was sad for me because in our conversations he would say things like "These new kids don't want to study with me because I'm not going to work on piccolo solos. They don't want to do the transposition; just solos."

    I heard well-known pros say things like "Well, all he's going to teach you is how they used to play in the Philharmonic thirty years ago".

    I don't know... there's a beauty to the simplicity of fundamentals, I think, that escapes many musicians.

  3. riffdawg2000

    riffdawg2000 Pianissimo User

    Jan 9, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    It's the difference between building a dirt wall or a brick wall....
    When it rains, the dirt turns to mud and oozes away ... the brick wall is constant...

    Same thing Vacchiano taught my college teacher, mentor, and friend from back in the late 40s & 50s! Now days, at 75+ this teacher says the same thing about the young players of today. The want to run before they can even sit up straight!

    Trust me ... at 35 I see my downfalls from my teenage years and my college years. After lying off for 11 yrs, coming back, and now studying with one of the members of the Atlanta Symphony...I can truly say that patience and devoted work ethic are the only ways to build a solid 'wall' foundation. I feel this is all due to the fact that I constantly build and reinforce my 'foundation' every day ... before I EVER touch solos or current ensemble repertoire. Sometimes, as a working 'IT' professional, time is short, and I may not get to the other stuff...BUT ... I always do my fundamentals routine...
  4. blutch

    blutch Pianissimo User

    Dec 25, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Manny and all,

    This stuff about Mr. V. is pure gold. I feel so fortunate to read in detail these techniques.

    Could you talk about the approach to transposition? I often have to introduce this to young undergrads and am always looking for efficient techniques and exercises for working on it. Did he use Sachse? What was the transposition "routine" like?

    If you didn't do solos what happened in juries at Julliard? Did you play excerpts or etudes instead?

    My Dean told me yesterday he would like to see more of our graduates auditioning for New World, Chicago Civic and smaller regional orchestra in the future, so I need to think about how to prepare them for that.


  5. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    being in pretty much the same boat as you I agree 100%....I have wasted too much time working on solos, picc and other wise, that i wasnt ready to play. I thought i could get around the horn pretty well and played some hard solos in college, but my chops would have a MAJOR crash and burn at least once a ever year or two.

    it is good ( though hard) when somebody sets you straight on things.

    I had to learn the importance of fundamentals the hard way.
  6. Kevin Hilman

    Kevin Hilman Pianissimo User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Salt Lake City, UT
    This thread has inspired me to really work on perfecting my rhythmic precision. I also recall reading in The Top 50 Orchestral Excerpts book (author's name escapes me) that lack of rhythmic integrity is the NUMBER ONE cause of audition rejection. Think about that...A player could come in and nail Brandenburg #2 with monster high range, beautiful sound, impeccable intonation etc. Then the same player could be crossed off the list because of misplacing those blasted triplets at the beginning of Mahler #3 (or is it Mahler #5?).
  7. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    I believe you're referring to Mahler 5.

    Edit: It's posts like this one right here that really demonstrate just how amazingly stupid I can be. Carry on...
  8. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Well, hold on just a minute, pardner...

    The triplets at the opening of Mahler 5 are stylized and meant to be late and rushed whereas the triplets in the first lick in Mahler 3 are in tempo and in rhythm.

  9. Kevin Hilman

    Kevin Hilman Pianissimo User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I was referring to the stylized triplets at the beginning of the Mahler 5. da da da dummmmm - da da da dummmmmm - da da da dahhhhhhmmmm etc...
    I guess I have a hang up with that one because with my (very) limited ability its hard enough to play rhythms perfectly 'as written' let alone trying to guess exactly to what degree an audition committee wants you to fiddle with placement.
    If G. Mahler had wanted it to sound like a triplet on the 6th beat of a 6/8 bar, I wish he would have written that way rather than a triplet on beat 4 of a 4/4 bar.

    Rhythmically challenged,
  10. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    "Fetes" get a lot of players ousted at auditions. Those darn dotted eight and sixteenths!

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