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jpellett
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Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 1859
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Random Stuff Reply with quote

I read this thread a few months ago and it really got me to approach my sound in a new way. I have been working to gain control of my overtones and can now usually hear and adjust the levels of 3 or 4 of them at a time. My sound has definately improved, but with this new awareness and control of my sound I am basically at a loss for what to do. It's no longer "does it sound good or bad?," but "is this harmonic too loud?, is this one too soft?, should they really be this present?, etc." Sometimes I can almost make the fundamental disappear and have the sound be almost entirely overtones, which seems like it means that it is a very resonant sound, but is it a good thing? I'm guessing no, but when I listen to Reinhold Freidrich I often think that his sound is almost all overtones with very little fundamental, though I've never heard anyone else that sounds like that. I figure that taking some lessons with a player with a great sound, now that I know exactly what I'm listening for, will be a big help, but I would still appreciate any thoughts on the matter.

On a related note, in the few months that I have been focusing like this on my overtones I have started to developed perfect pitch. It usually takes a bit of mental effort and sometimes over a minute of really concentrating on the sound, but I can now almost always identify a note I hear or sing a random note. I realize it may be a coincidence that this happened within just a few months of my new focus on sound, but is it common for Mr. Adam's students to develop perfect pitch? Before this happened to me I actually almost posted this question because I assumed that with his intense focus on sound it would make sense for his students to develop good ears.

Jason Pellett
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some great observations. There is a great diference between listening and really hearing. I remember that in one of my first lessons with Mr. Adam we sat quitely and he had me name the various sounds I could hear. As my concentration increased I could hear more different sounds, down to the clock ticking, the birds outside the window, etc. Rather than listen for specific overtones, I prefer to think of it as listening to the details of the sound. Not listening in this way is why so many state that this concept doesn't work. They hear what they think is a good sound but they really aren't listening to the details.

Your statement that you can make the fundamental almost disappear is exactly the type of sound manipulation that Mr. Adam uses in a lesson to correct a student's playing. He adjusts the sound from student to student and from lesson to lesson depending on what he hears in each student's sound on that day.

Your ability to hear and identify pitches is directly related to what you are doing. Mr. Adam says trumpet playing is 90% mental, 9% air and 1% evrything else. So when warming up we are doing so in the same way. Putting the mind in the right place is the warm up. After a short time on the horn, sight singing pitches becomes automatic and should be practiced with everything we play. Mr. Adam also reminds us that we will only become as good a trumpet player as the development of our ears.

I am not sure that actually identifying which overtone is predominate is neccessary, but perhaps the idea of the color of the sound is. I know that Karl Sievers likes to describe sound in terms of color to his students. A purple or golden sound, etc. can sometimes help something click in a students mind. I have had Mr Adam mention that "golden sound" many times.

I would suggest getting some lessons with John Head or better yet go to Bloomington and get with Mr. Adam. It is always better in person.

Thanks for asking these questions. It always gets me thinking in the right way.
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grooveduke
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Joined: 16 Dec 2005
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Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy B wrote:
There is a great diference between listening and really hearing.

I agree! That was a great thread.
Now, if we could get people to realize that the brain has stored sets of experiences that link a particular sound to the physical action required to get that sound (in the same way that we associate a speech sound with a physical action) maybe they would get why Mr. Adam seldom talks about what is physically happening. It is not because he doesn’t know, but because he doesn’t want to shift the goal from being sound oriented. It is the desired goal which initiates the response.

When my wife (an SLP) works with kids to fix speech sounds, there is certainly an awareness of what the tongue or lips are doing, but little nudges in the right general direction work better than explicit details of exactly what the oral cavity needs to do. General instruction, model the sound. Get them to listen. They hear (if they can hear) whether what they are doing is close or not. (Deaf people can also learn to speak, but obviously the feedback system is going to be different. Another discusson)

When a person has developed a kinesthetic response (even if it is not quite right), that is what they go with. They are used to what it sounds like and they know what they intend to say. In order to fix it you have to take a few steps back and teach them to hear the difference between what they are doing and what it should sound like. This ordinarily happens at a much earlier age when failure doesn’t have an effect on the self image. Which is yet another discussion.

The more we refine that mental picture, the better results the body can give. The more we practice (with that goal clearly in mind and as slowly as we need to be able to process the feedback we are getting) , the more positive results are reinforced.

Well, you all knew this, I just want to practice trying to say it as clearly as possible (did I succeed?). When we give the short answer (listen to the sound), people start to think its magic. When the truth is: it is hard work or as Mr. Adam used to say, “Mark, you have to practice your a$$ off.”

Speaking of which...
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Jonny Boy
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work guys!

JB
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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


Joined: 26 Nov 2001
Posts: 5335
Location: Bloomington Indiana

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

up
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jpellett
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Joined: 01 Oct 2004
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Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read one of Pat's old posts where he says:
Quote:
re: The imagination as the control panel: I find that with most students the first thing they learn to do is imagine the pitch of each note as they play. I usually start by having them imagine singing the phrase ("Dah DahDahGah Dah", etc.) with accurate pitch and consistent and crisp pronunciation.

Eventually they begin to trust the articulation/pronunciation to work reliably and they gradually find that instead of singing wiht the sound of their voice in their imagination they hear the trumpet tone. They begin to imagine the pitches with a trumpet timbre. In their mind they are "singing trumpet".

Gradually and over time their imagination becomes more vivid, they learn to trust their body to execute the musical commands without having to consciously micromanage the muscles, and they learn to concentrate and keep their mind almost totally into the sound. As they do so they can hear more and more details about how they intend the music to sound-dynamics, articulation, shadings, phrasing...MUSIC!!!

This is exactly what has been happening to me since I started to pay attention to the details of my sound (thanks for that description Bill; today it lead to a much more musical practice session for me than thinking about hearing the individual overtones). I have been able to imagine my sound so much more vividly lately, and my accuracy has increased incredibly. Not that I could always have the pitch in my head before, but even when I did, I still missed notes. It is amazing the difference in results when I hear not just pitch, but also vividly hear the sound. What I find bizarre though is that it has been almost 2 years since I took a lesson with John Head (I studied with him for 5 years during my undergrad), but I can hear his sound in my head more vividly now than I ever could when I was hearing him play regularly. I think it's time now to call up Mr. Head again and also try to figure out a way to get to Bloomington this summer.

Jason Pellett
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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason-

Yeah, Baby!
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