Monday, 12/14/09, I had a 2 hour video lesson using Skype with Lynn Nicholson. This was my first lesson through the internet. In this post, I want to describe the experience; will not share the unique elements of Lynnís methods. That is his product to share and sell.
Lynn started off by stating he talks a lot, so stop him and ask questions. Also, what he was going to teach me was not like a school course but more of a Zen thing. To be observed and absorbed.
A week before the lesson, he sent me an audio warm-up file. He would play and leave space for the student to echo what he did, and then he would play again. The video lesson was similar. No written out exercises, just listen and play after him. Although I have had lessons with Wayne Bergeron and Patrick Hession, and met several other big names, was filled with nervous energy when I started playing in front of Lynn.
At the start of the lesson, he stated the goals.
1. Add a 5th or an octave to my range.
2. Not change my current chop set in my current range.
3. Not affect my current gigs.
We talked about mouthpiece type. Lynn plays one like Maynardís from 1950ís. He recommends mouthpieces like it for training the chops. Several mouthpiece sources have them. He listed a few to choose from, if I want to get one.
During the lesson, every 20 minutes or so, he would say it was time for a quiz. He would emphasize the points covered since the last quiz.
He made a thorough assessment of my playing, such as: way I held the horn, horn angle, mouthpiece pressure on my chops, breath support, and probably other factors he just did not tell me he observed. Looked closely at my chops, lips, teeth, and breathing technique.
The amazing part he shared was that if he knew then what he knows now, his playing career could have been so much easier. He was working too hard back then. Just think, this is the guy holding his horn with his finger tips in the ďAt the TopĒ video, playing G above double high C!
At the conclusion of the lesson, he listed the specific focus points for me to practice. He let me know, he is available for follow-up questions and advice.
This lesson was a very positive experience for me. Even though the lesson was not in person, I found the use of Skype to be effective. Lynn was able to demonstrate what is necessary to build the physical aspects of trumpet playing.