Who did you stydy with?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by songbook, May 19, 2015.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I was at the First US Army Band on Fort Meade from late April of 1990 through the end of August 1992 - pretty much fulfilling my first 3-year enlistment in the Army, minus 9 weeks at Fort Dix for basic training, and 6 months at the School of Music in Littlecreek.

    I do love music, but sometimes I wonder about whether I care about it enough. I had an experience once that left me wondering about my involvement in music - I've always been active with it because it's just something I can do. I'm respected enough as a player that I continue to get called on to play by people I look up to, and I go out and gig and bring home a pretty decent amount of extra cash for my efforts, but at times I treat it like a job. It isn't that I'm not musical or don't play well enough - just not passionate enough.

    The experience I had was one night when I went out to an open mic night at this dive bar to hear a friend of mine play and sing. He was in a bit of a rut with his life, but used to play and sing in a local indie rock band when he was younger, so he was going to do this open mic thing and I went out to support him. While the folks getting up to sing might not have been polished musicians, the passion these folks put into their music was cool to see. These folks desperately loved it. I don't know if it's because they rarely get the chance to ply their craft for an audience, or if they truly have more of a love for it than I do, but they played and sang with the kind of guts that I'm not sure I ever have. Maybe it's a thing where after literally thousands and thousands of performances of one kind or another, I've taken too much of a business-like approach to it. I still love music, but I'm not sure I can remember a time where I had that kind of connection to it.
  2. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    I'm sure over the years you've given a lot of joy to many people threw your music.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Oh, without a doubt - even though my pedigree (or lack thereof) is far from impressive, my gig resume would be envied by many. I've played:

    • "Taps" at roughly 400 funerals
    • Events for two US Presidential Inaugurations
    • At the White House for the President of the United States and foreign dignitaries to include Nelson Mandela, Helmut Khol, the Emperor of Japan and Boris Yeltsin
    • Arena and stadium level shows for tens of thousands of people - notably the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics
    • Events that have been broadcast on television more times than I can count. This is both good and bad - if a show goes bad and it's being broadcast live on CNN and CSpan simultaneously, it's not exactly fun
    • Countless parades, concerts, shows, ceremonies, etc, in all manner of places
    • Etc.

    That's just the military band stuff. I've also done a lot of church stuff for weddings, holidays and other special events, Latin band club stuff, big band gigs, recording sessions for a couple of big band albums, a couple of other recording sessions with both trumpet and drums, wedding band receptions....

    I've been involved as a working musician since I was 17 years old - well over 25 years. It reminds me a bit of the interview with Russell Crowe (and keep in mind I realize I'm nowhere near the level of someone like Russell Crowe) when he was on "Inside the Actors Studio," the show that is taped with a studio audience of drama students at Pace University. He made the comment that he admired those who went out and studied acting, and that he'd always wanted to, but when he got started he didn't have the money or opportunity, and by the time he did have the money and opportunity, he was already working as an actor.

    Likewise, when I was coming up in my formative years as a player, coming from a family of modest means in SW rural Nebraska, I didn't have the ability to have a trumpet instructor except for my K-6 grade teacher (who later became my accompanist) and the 5 band directors I had in 4 years of high school. There were no trumpet teachers anywhere near my hometown, so what I learned, I pretty much had to garner on my own through listening to music, working in the practice room, and paying attention at the various honor band events and music camps I attended. Then I graduated high school and went right into the Army to be a bandsman, and the next thing I knew I was working as a musician. I mean, isn't that the goal of taking lessons, so that you can one day work as a musician? I realize that there are also personal goals for gaining technical proficiency, but as long as you're musical, you listen well, work with other musicians well, and have enough technique to get the job done well, isn't that the point of studying?

    I probably would have gone further if I had gotten some quality private instruction, but by the time I got my head screwed on a bit better, I was married and had a family, so rather than take time away from that, I just continued to work doing what I do. I'd like to think I've continued to get better and become more musical, but I never eradicated some of the bad habits that have kept me from having better chops, nor have I dug into the things that would have given me a foundation to solo in a jazz setting, although I still plan on doing that one day when there's a bit more time. Until then, I'll just continue to work as a musician in my current capacities.

    Sorry for the long post.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I would dare say that the "influencers" on my playing were as important as the teachers. I learned so much from Maurice André, Armondo Ghitalla, Adolf Scherbaum, Ed Tarr, Don Smithers, Heinz Zickler, Carole Dawn Reinhart records and to be truthful, they are still my inspirations today. Symphonic playing was influenced by Gil Johnson, Bud Herseth and countless others.

    It isn't the pedigree. Studying with someone special is only significant when the relationship is also very special. I have had lessons with "big name" teachers that were absolutely worthless looking at it from today.

    What I learned from the good ones was how structure builds the base upon which all consistency stems from. I learned a lot about the trumpet from some fine singers too!
  5. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    My dad, the finest pure ad lib player I ever heard.

    Gladney (Edwin) Head,
    Long time cornet soloist for Leonard B. Smith and the Detroit Concert Band.

    Chuck Peterson,
    Lead and "Hot" player for Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Alvino Rey and Tony Pastor among others.
    Chuck did the famous trumpet duel with Ziggy Elman on Dorsey's "Well Git It".
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Rowuk, you bring up a good point - I continue to be influenced by a myriad of players, but during my early years, biggest influences were without a doubt Maurice Andre and Wynton Marsalis, and of course, Doc Severinsen and Maynard Ferguson. :D

    I continue to be influenced by great musicians, but the list is also greatly expanded, and isn't limited to trumpet players. Something that fascinates me is the era in what I'd refer to as the golden age of recording, and the session musicians - particularly the Wrecking Crew, the Funk Brothers, and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, AKA The Swampers.

    With all of that said though, I will always regret not going the standard college route and getting set up with really good instructors who would have pushed me technically and musically, and who would have set about to eradicate bad habits in my playing that probably held me back from what I might have otherwise achieved. All in all, it's still been a pretty cool ride though. :-)
  7. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    Not long at all. Thank you for sharing your interesting musical journey. Go Cornhuskers!
  8. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Oh, LOL. No, I guess, then, that our paths wouldn't have crossed there. I was there 15 years earlier.

    I'm curious. Considering your limited "formal" background, how was the Armed Forces School of Music for you? Did you learn a lot? Just mark time to fill in the square? As you probably know, the Air Force does not send its musicians there, and I (I was Air Force) always thought that it might be fun to attend.

    (Regarding who was influential, I believe that's a different thread topic. We could write that list all day.)
  9. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    Long term study: my dad, Steve Chenette, Don Reinhardt, Arnold Jacobs, Joe Daley (improv), Leon Merian
    Short term: Ron Hasselman, Manny Araujo, Vince Cicowicz, George Bean, Russ Iverson, Bill Scarlett
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I did learn quite a bit, but not nearly as much as I would have learned if my head had been in a different place. I was 19 when I got there (turned 19 a week before I left for basic training in August after I graduated HS) so I wasn't thinking about it as much from the perspective of learning as much about playing as I could, but I was also doing the social thing. I think that part of it was that I assumed going in that I was going to be far behind everyone else and that I'd have to play a lot of catch up. I wasn't. Not even close.

    The truth is, I "skated" - I got good grades, but it wasn't like I was busting my tail to do it. Part of the reason I skated, academically at least, was because I was good enough that it wasn't drawing anyone's attention. Don't get me wrong - I always did my very best in rehearsals, but my work in the practice room definitely could have been better.

    We also had to do "units" - a block of practice time that consisted of 50 minutes in the practice room with a 10 minute break. The minimum number of units we had to do per week was 10, but it was strongly hinted that we should strive for 20. I usually cruised in somewhere between 11 and 13. :D

    There were some guys head and shoulders above me, but they were usually college grads who came to the military because they no longer wanted to teach music, or they weren't having a lot of luck finding regular gigs on the outside. And let's call it for what it was - there were a lot of college grads who came in who really weren't that great.

    My chops got better and more consistent due to the increased workload of playing for multiple rehearsals a day, and I did learn some functional stuff about theory - it filled in a lot of blanks for keys, scales, modes and that sort of thing, but the ear training portion, at least for me (I also had a singing background) wasn't difficult. One of the things I always found to be somewhat amazing was just how bad some of those "musicians" were with rhythm, time, and for some, and almost complete inability to sing anything.

    We had 3 auditions - incoming, the F1 (halfway) and the F2. (final) Incoming was just to establish a baseline, but you needed to score a minimum of 2.5 for the F1, and a minimum of 2.7 for the F2. I scored a 2.1, 2.55 and a 2.75, respectively. The scores were mostly based on one's ability to sight read effectively, but were an average of the score your instructor sent you in with and the score you got. I later found out my instructor sent me in for my F2 with a flat 2.7. JERK!

    Funny, I don't really consider my instructor at the School of Music at Littlecreek as one of my "teachers", which probably has something to do with the fact that he spent more time in my lessons blabbing about his anonymous pet student (who really wasn't anonymous) and how good he was to illustrate what he believed my failings to be. The reality was that his pet student might have been awesome in the practice room, but he wasn't anything to write home about in the rehearsals, where he mostly hedged on 2nd and 3rd parts while people like me stepped up to the plate to play lead. He did have a good sound, but it was unfortunate that it was almost never heard outside of warm-ups.

    I learned a lot about playing in a big band while at the SOM - I've got Marine Corps SSG (then) Matthew Farquhar to thank for that - I learned a lot from him, but he was just a director of a lot of ensembles I was in rather than a private instructor.

    Is there a limit to how many times someone can hijack a thread? :oops:

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