Random Thoughts....

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JNINWI, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. JNINWI

    JNINWI Piano User

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    Granted, long tones, flexibilities, tonguing, are all important for healthy playing, and all help the body / brain zero in on the correct “Mechanics” to be able to repeat these notes. It makes me wonder what other players are thinking out there when someone writes a post about poor endurance, poor range or poor intonation, or “ I have a solo at a high school concert in 5 minutes and can’t play the double triple whatever and need to know WHAT to practice…HELP !!! etc…. or how to improve it and what you read is play this scale, play that arpeggio, then stand on your head for 5 minutes while deep breathing, then lay the horn down facing North/East and go wash the dishes but DO NOT dry them, THEN while holding the horn upside down play this scale and………. You get my drift here.

    In my experience with the horn, it’s not about WHAT you practice……all that gets you is bad habits, too much pressure, poor to bad breathing technique. For instance, in the beginning, your told to “Play this exercise” and because you do not know anything about playing the trumpet you use all the bad habits to play the exercise, pressure, poor set, un-supported breath, and all these habits were learned when I first started playing, because the people that put a trumpet in my hands did not know how to play correctly either. (Guaranteed income for a teacher anyway !! )

    My playing really turned on when I started listening to the players that could lead me in the direction of correct “Body Mechanics” when playing. Eliminating those long learned bad habits, pressure, poor breath, using un-needed muscle groups, correct oral cavity set-up, etc…. The biggest lesson I learned was that it has nothing to do with WHAT you practice, and has everything to do with HOW you practice. Learning to listen to your body and what it does to correct muscles for proper sound, and trusting that ! This is how I teach my students.

    I realize that many people that are on this site do not have availability of a teacher for various reasons, distance, cost, availability of a knowledgeable teacher, I’m sure the list goes on and on as to why they do not get lessons. And most important, teachers have to SEE what the student is doing so they can help them make the correct changes to their playing. So I was wondering what the thoughts would be to adding an area here on TM that talks about HOW to practice, correct mechanics, proper breathing etc….
    There are so many incredible players on TM that I’m sure could add to this. It may help those people that wish they had someone to at least provide some guidance to correct practice. I’m not talking about forum lessons or anything close to that at all. More about how you get your brain to tune into the sensitivities needed for the correct “Body Mechanics” to play correctly. Once you understand this it kind of puts you on the right path to learning to play correctly. I think I’ve seen Rowuk call it “ Automatic playing behavior modification”. Others on here understand this also. Then when you get a student that writes a post needing a Double / Triple whatever in the next 5 minutes you can say, Go here and start reading !!

    Just my thoughts…….
     
  2. jtpowell

    jtpowell Pianissimo User

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    Mar 15, 2011
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    I wouldn't go so far as to say it does not matter WHAT you practice. What you practice does not give you bad habits. If you honestly believe that you can throw out all your Irons, Clarke, Gordon, Arban and etc. books all today. If you do by the way PM me your address I'll pay the postage to my address. I'm definitely with you on the HOW but don't throw the baby out with the bath water. The How you do what you do gets you your good or bad habits, not the What, as a habit is after all your own doing of how you're doing whatever it is you are or aren't doing. Correct mechanics at some point in time has to be applied to that what.

    As habits take a while to break and establish there aren't always instant or quick fixes folks ask for from time to time here. While we may instantly achieve a bit of enlightenment things like range, flexibility, endurance, dexterity, breaking an existing bad habit, etc. simply require a wee bit more time. The best thing a brass player can learn, especially a beginning brass player, is patience.
     
  3. JNINWI

    JNINWI Piano User

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    Of course you need the books, my point here is the real improvement comes when you understand
    HOW to practice, not what to practice…
     
  4. jtpowell

    jtpowell Pianissimo User

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Cincinnati
    How you practice what you are practicing indeed. It's not one or the other you need both.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    My take needs a big picture.

    Basically, all we need is one book. It could be Arbans, Rubank or St.Jacome to mention a few. The important part is LEARNING not practicing. They are different. When we are awake during a practice session, we connect activities. That could be breathing and tonguing, seeing a note and hearing it, repeating a scale until the pattern becomes clear and repeatable, or many other things individually or synchronized. These "connections" are what help us move forward. Our body use, mind, hearing, breathing and ability to concentrate are the decisive issues.

    I have posted it before. Every brainlessly played note does more damage than not practicing. Getting better does not take that much effort. Learning what to weed out does. Once we get connected with our bodies, many things become obvious. If the mind/body/soul is the focus of our playing, many of the really dumb questions become self explanatory.
     
  6. JNINWI

    JNINWI Piano User

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    Thank you Rowuk..
     

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