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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Teacher question in the General forums; I am taking lessons at my University. My teacher is really trying to work with me on my breathing and ...
  1. #1
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    Jan 2009

    Teacher question

    I am taking lessons at my University. My teacher is really trying to work with me on my breathing and tone and playing music, not notes. For the most part, his methods have worked very well. My tone is far better than it was when I came to the school last August, and I corrected most breathing problems that I had before. The only gripe I have, is that my teacher is French. He really likes to play anything and everything pretty. Looking at what he plays, it is no surprise that he likes pretty music, but I have always been a fan of Russian and German music more than French. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but when I play a piece of music with my interpretation, he gets upset with me and tells me to play it very lyrically. I try to make the music sound exciting and wake people up, and to me his methods seem to remind me of elevator music. To add on to this, I used to just ignore his style advice, but now we've hit a dead stop in my progress because of my different interpretations. I play it the way he wants it, but I don't like it at all. should I look into getting a different teacher or just suck it up and play how he says?

    Also, I am switching from cornet to trumpet. I've been working on the switch since last July, and I still have a significantly harder time on the trumpet. Does anyone have advice on how to possibly progress more or make the trumpet playing feel more like play and less like work?

  2. #2
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Teacher question

    The same goes for you as many other players: if you know better already, why are you even studying with this guy?

    Could it possibly be that you have NO IDEA what your playing really says to other musicians (especially non trumpeters). Could it possibly be that you have no idea what is necessary to get a proper foundation on which all of your playing could benefit, could it possibly be that that you have a lumberjack approach and are too inexperienced to realize it?

    I have no idea about your history, but I have had similar experiences with players with a fair bit of natural talent and little competition during high school. Their opinion of themselves is often only justified in that context. The real world generally chews them up and spits them out if they do not get the message in more competitive environments.

    The best way to get better is to take the advice of players that know better (like your teacher) and not try and find ammunition from internet aquaintances that have no idea what your problem really is.

    I find it amazing that you do not find german and russian music lyrical. Some of the most poetic stuff ever written comes from there (Mendelssohn, Strauss, Schubert, Schumann, Bach, Tschaikowsky, Glazounov, Glinka.....) and the influence of the french on russian music is well recognized.

    Judging strictly on what you have posted, I would say that you have a lot to learn and before second guessing your teacher consider doing the following:
    buy a couple of Timofei Dokschizer CDs
    buy a couple of Sergei Nakariakov CDs
    buy a couple of Matthias Höfs/German Brass CDs
    Do a little research on Richard Strauss and Felix Mendelssohn. Analyse some of the scores.

    If after this exercize, your opinion has not changed, switch to percussion.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: Teacher question

    It sounds like you've gotten much valuable information from this instructor which helped you grow as a trumpet player. Maybe this is the part of the growing process that sucks. The sucky part being, that you've outgrown your instructor and do not wish to become his mini me. Maybe its time to find someone else.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2008

    Re: Teacher question

    I believe that what rowuk sais wery well can
    be true in your case.

    One thing that teachers often do is to embed
    things regarding tecnique and skills they want
    you to learn/work on into musical behaviours.

    In other words; your teacher tells you things he
    wants you do in terms of musicality/interpretation,
    but he may well have a technical aspect/agenda
    when doing this that you´re not aware of.

    I think you should stick with him until you´re certain
    that you can evaluate his methods!

  5. #5
    Utimate User tedh1951's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    Re: Teacher question


    Teachers have a habit of pushing their students in uncomfortable directions in the hope that they may reach what I call an "Ah Ha" moment. That is the moment when we as students (and no-one ever stops learning) go "Ah Ha" now I get it, that's what he wanted, or that was what he was talking about, or that's what he needed me to realise, or sometimes just - that's better, easier, faster, more beautiful.

    You seem to have advanced over time with this teacher - so what's your beef? How can you know the sort of music that moves him? You do know though what part of YOUR music doesn't inspire him. Trust him to lead you into a better place musically - but never forget to ask why.
    Last edited by tedh1951; 03-08-2009 at 12:37 AM. Reason: Spelling

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  6. #6
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: Teacher question

    Playing lyrically is the goal of any fine trumpet player. This is why we strive to emulates fine singers. The trumpet is not for bambast only.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
    Web Cam trumpet & jazz improvisation lessons

  7. #7
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    Aug 2008

    Re: Teacher question

    I have heard trumpet players who can play a scale so pretty it will make you cry. Chappy Perry (Principal, indianapolis Symphony) is one of those people.
    My advise if you are a developmentally young player is to be a sponge and learn as much as you can from your teacher...

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009

    Re: Teacher question

    [quote=soloft;420118 far better than it was when I came to the school last August, . ......... now we've hit a dead stop in my progress

    I agree with all the advice given. Last August, you say....been working with this teacher a year and a half?

    dead stop, you say? Ask your teacher if he/she feels the same.

    If "last August" was really only in 2008, stick around with this teacher.

    If your teacher agrees about the dead stop, ask why, and solve it.

    I feel one can become his/her own better player and avoid becoming the afore mentioned "mini-me", above, by the fresh experiences and techniques learned by several teachers in ones life. So, I feel, two years is about the longest duration I would go with any teacher.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
    Indianapolis, In

    Re: Teacher question

    One of the things your post brings to mind is are you aware of the technical aspects of playing some of the French school composers and method books? Do you know about Charlier and Chavanne and have you looked at their books? They are quite technical but at the same time expect you to play them beautifully. Even the most technical things can be played somewhat lyrically and sound gorgeous. Give your teacher some time do what he asks and see what develops. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It sounds as though you are in a college school of music how does your playing honestly compare to the seniors and graduates from your school? Please remember you can play things beautifully and technically correct. We are not playing trumpet for the most part to slap people in the face with our interpretation. Get some more playing time under your belt and experience and then see if you are a better player and musician. Have you ever heard Chicago Symphony recordings when Bud Herseth was the principal? Get some and listen to them. Maybe then you will know what playing with style really is.

  10. #10
    Forte User Bear's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Teacher question

    You like Russian music... take a look at the Pakhmutova Trumpet concerto.
    It's all about lyricism and has some Frencheques (triple patterns in the "2nd" movment) quotes in it. Maybe your teacher is trying to open your eyes a bit.
    The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.
    -C. S. Lewis

    Life is about learning; when you stop learning, you die. -Tom Clancy

    And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
    -Revelation 8:6

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