Studying with Vacchiano: What was it like?

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by Anonymous, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Manny,

    Can you tell us what studying with Vacchiano back in the day was like. I have heard all sorts of stories from former teachers who worked with him but I would like to get your take. You have told us about what method books you have used and as I have heard there was alot of transposition. I also heard you never got to play what you prepared in lessons. You would always be sight reading something else.

    Would Vacchiano ever play in lessons? What would a typical lessons with him be like? Is that story about Miles / Vacchiano and the "cigarette" true? :D

    Thanks!
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Mike,

    My lessons with Vacchiano were as follows:

    Start with Arban's bass clef book and work on transposition and knowledge of the bass clef. We would go to Arban's and/or St. Jacome's and play arpeggiated studies probably down or up half a step. Next might be Sachse and/or Brandt. Phrasing and rhythm were a constant concern. If the 45 minutes weren't up we'd probably play from Charlier.

    Yes, you sight read every lesson. When you came out of Vacchiano's studio four years later you were a sightreading, subdividing, phrasing machine. If you had endurance and an upper register you got yourself an orchestra gig or became a valued freelancer playing the better gigs.

    My study of excerpts with him really didn't go into full swing until my third year when he was satisfied that he could call out an excerpt page and not have to fuss with transposition issues. His aproach was really to create a whole musician not just an audition winning machine. I'm so grateful that I got to study with him and Mel Broiles.

    Vacchiano played rarely but the times he did were watershed events. His sound was so loose and flowing. His articulation was solid and his sound gigantic. I loved hearing him play.

    He had one self-admitted weakness; he never felt he had a good low register and I guess I know where he was coming from. Maybe it was from that loose embouchure of his or the air leak from the side of his lips that prevented his lower register from being as solid as he would have liked it. But those were the days of great guys in the section like Jimmy Smith who had a fabulous low register and would play some things for him. That was very commonplace in those days in most orchestras and was not a big deal. Now, if you leave something out it's all over the internet along with the projections and predictions about one's imminent retirement. Sheesh!

    ML
     
  3. spirithorn

    spirithorn New Friend

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    Mar 3, 2005
    North Carolina
    Hi Manny -
    One thing I've been curious about. In your description of studying with Vacchiano (and others of his caliber), it seems that he dealt strictly with musical rather than the physical/embouchure elements of trumpet playing. It is assumed, when studying with a teacher of that caliber, that any significant enbouchure problems have been dealt with in advance? Kind of like descriptions of piano master classes with Franz Liszt -- you had the technique before you got there.
    Forgive me if this is a silly question.
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Spirit,

    I have to say that I can only speak for myself when it comes to mouthpieces and embouchures. I was fortunate to not have those issues to deal with when I went to school. Others had to have adjustments and he worked on those issues. Like any teacher, he was successful with some and not others. I changed mouthpieces as the mystique of big mouthpieces became more exposed to me. All the changes I made were on my own and he would address it if I asked him but otherwise left me completely on my own.

    There's a post somewhere around here that chronicles the mouthpieces I've played in a nice, chronological order to the best of my memory. I think if you "search" under Peppy or John Pettinato you'll find it for I mention his mouthpieces in my list.

    ML
     
  5. spirithorn

    spirithorn New Friend

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    Mar 3, 2005
    North Carolina
    Thanks, Manny -
    Apart from some breathing issues that you've mentioned in another thread, you must have gotten some very good instruction at the high school level. My typical (maybe) small town experience was that there was NO systematic instrumental instruction beyond the beginning band level (around 1963 for me). After that, you got absorbed into the Jr. High and then High School bands, and the stronger players emerged. I was one of the better ones in that setting. However, after laying off for several years, upon "coming back" I realized that I was doing almost everything inefficiently, so basically started to build a more "correct" embouchure from scratch.
     
  6. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Pianissimo User

    What story?
     
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Spirit,

    Hey, yeah, Spirit... I don't know that one. How about it?

    ML
     
  8. spirithorn

    spirithorn New Friend

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    Mar 3, 2005
    North Carolina
    Sorry Manny -

    That query about the Vacchiano/Miles story didn't come from me. I'm not familiar with it, but would guess it has to do with Miles' brief time at Juilliard.
     
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    WOOPS!

    Sorry... laziness will cause mistakes like that! So will inconsistent short term memory... .

    Hey, yeah, Mike... I don't know that one. How about it?

    ML
     
  10. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Pianissimo User

    duh! I've read Mile's autobiography and it says.. (I'll remove the profanities!!!)



    There was a white teacher named William Vachiano that I was studying with who helped me. But he was into $h1t like "Tea for Two" so he'd ask me to play stuff like that for him. We'd have arguments that became legendary among musicians in New York, because he was supposed to be this great teacher of advanced students, like I was. But me and that MF went around on each other's back a lot of times. I would say, "Hey, man, you're supposed to be teaching me something, so do it and cut out the BS". Well, when I would say something like that, Vachiano would get madder than a MF and turn all red in the face. But I got my point across to him."

    From MILES The Autobiography (Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe)
     

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