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John Mohan's Daily Practice Routine Journal


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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been awhile, so it's time for an update. Actually, I have to write two updates, as I've changed the routine twice now since my last post.

Starting on September 11th, this was my routine:

1) Irons Groups 5, 5B, 6, 6B and 6C, 7, 8 and 9 (the groups ending with letters are my own creation - I take the last exercises of Groups 5 and 6 and extend it through all 7 valve positions - in the case of my "6C" I do the 6B exercise, but one harmonic higher so it goes up to High C).

Rest at least 15 minutes (usually an hour or so).

2) Clarke #1 and Etude 1 Triple-Tongued.

Rest at least 30 minutes (usually an hour or so).

3) Systematic Approach Lesson 3 Part 1 in octaves (example: first exercise as written middle c, slur to middle b, slur to middle Bb, but then instead of holding the Bb as written, take a breath, and repeat the exercise down an octave with the normal long hold on the low Bb. This is a modification of the exercise that Claude did when he assigned it to me.)

Rest at least 5 minutes (usually about 15 minutes).

4) Systematic Approach Lesson 3 Part 2 as written, followed by Part 3 of Lesson 3 to relax my lips.

Rest at least one hour.

5) Daily Trumpet Routines Lesson 6.

During the 3 weeks that I practiced the above, I played the whole routine a total of 15 times. I had a pretty major case of the flu this past week (still a bit sick), so I didn't do the whole routine every day this week until yesterday and the day before. But now that I've done it 15 times (I usually move on after 14 times) it's time to move on.

Mouthpiece: I played the above on the Mt Vernon 3C until the last couple of days. Finally was getting a consistent G above High C with it, but anything above that was very sporadic. So guess what? I'm back on my trusty Bob Reeves 43C with the #24 Throat and the Standard Reeves #2 backbore (which is a bit bigger than a standard Bach Backbore). And with it, I'm getting notes up to DHC and beyond fairly consistently (as usual).

Life's a trade-off! With the Mt Vernon 3C, the sound is so nice and big, and controllable. But I lose everything above the G, and even the G is only there if I'm not tired. With the 43C, the upper register is significantly easier, but it's too bright for lots of situations. But, for those situations, there is my 43B which gives an even darker sound than the Mt Vernon 3C with an easier upper register than the MV3C (but not as easy as the 43C).

So for now, I'm practicing on the 43C and I might move my daily practice to the 43B pretty soon (that'll make playing stuff on the 43C really easy - kind of like taking ankle weights off and sprinting).

Enough about my mouthpiece fetish!

Starting today (Oct. 2), this is the new routine:

1) Irons Groups 5, 5B, 6, 6B and 6C, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (the groups ending with letters are my own creation - I take the last exercises of Groups 5 and 6 and extend it through all 7 valve positions - in the case of my "6C" I do the 6B exercise, but one harmonic higher so it goes up to High C).

Rest at least 15 minutes (usually an hour or so).

2) Clarke #1 and Etude 1 Slurred As Written (finally).

Rest at least 30 minutes (usually an hour or so).

3) The KTM exercise from Claude's book "Tongue Level Exercises". This is Exercise 1 appearing on page 8 in the book. You start on middle G and single tongue (using K-Tongue Modified tonguing) 16th notes for about 16 to 20 beats. Then rest as long as it took you to play the 16th note G's for the 16 to 20 beats. Then repeat on G#, then A, etc. up to Middle C, then go back down in the other direction until you get to Low C. For the next two weeks, I'll be doing this without a metronome, then in two weeks I'll start using the metronome, and keeping track of my speed. My goal is to get to where I can sustain single tonguing (KTM) at 16th notes 144 bpm on a consistent basis. When I first did this exercise with Claude in the '80's, I progressed from about 96 bpm to 108 bpm within about 6 months (not too impressive). Then, in August 28, 2000 I started doing the exercise again. By August 16, 2002 I was up to 126 bpm (tenacity at its best!). At various times since then I made it into the 132 bpm range, and on one occasion I managed 140 bpm. As it's now been several years since I did this exercise, I'm guessing that when I start with the metronome in a couple weeks, I'll find myself back in the 108 to 112 range (you lose it if you don't use it). That's okay: it just leaves more room for improvement!

By the way, if you're actually reading all this dribble, you are a major brass playing geek!

After the above, I'll rest at least 30 minutes.

4) Systematic Approach Lesson 4 Part 1.

Rest at least 5 minutes (usually about 15 minutes).

5) Systematic Approach Lesson 4 Part 2, followed by Part 3 of Lesson 3 to relax my lips.

Rest at least one hour.

5) Daily Trumpet Routines Lesson 7.



At this point, I think I've got my playing back into the shape where I am physically ready to work again. But I've got one more hurdle before I rejoin the Union and seek work here in Chicago: Sight-reading. I'm very concerned because not only has it been more than 6 years since I played as a full-time professional, but from 1999 until I retired in 2004, the vast majority of my work was doing musicals in Europe, the same show, 8 shows a week, 6 days a week. Hardly any sightreading, ever. It's been 12 years since I sightread at a studio session in Los Angeles! And first impressions count. It won't matter how strong I am, and how good my sound is if I don't sightread the book nearly perfectly when I get a job subbing for an established player. It won't matter how technically perfect I could play the book after thoroughly learning it - because if I don't sightread well on those first subbing calls I get, there won't be any more calls.

As Earl Nightingale said, "Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity - and opportunity is there all the time." He also said, "if a person does not prepare for his success, when his opportunity comes, it will only make him look foolish." Some of my neighbors that have noticed how I've greatly increased my trumpet practice have been asking me if I've sought work downtown yet. They are surprised when I tell them I don't quite feel ready yet. But I think it's better to be conservative in this matter. First impressions count.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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Matt Graves
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
By the way, if you're actually reading all this dribble, you are a major brass playing geek!


...I resemble that remark...

...practice, practice, practice!
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TupeloCOTA
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Matt. I appreciate these posts John, so keep it coming. As a DIY comebacker I find this forum and this thread in particular a great help. I am asking fewer questions because John is going through a lot of the issues and questions that I have with this thread. Its also nice to see how the methods look from the perspective of someone who studied with CG. Thanks to John and Matt both for help they've given me as well.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one's going to be long - you've been warned!

And here we are nearing November. I've moved on to the next level in my routine. I've added another Irons, and started on Clarke #2, which I will be running through all the articulation models on (KTM, K-Tongued, Double Tongued, then Slurred), 14 days on each model.

Normally, I would have a student progress all the way, or at least halfway through the Clarke book doing the various articulation models and repeating each individual exercise with just one repeat before going back to the beginning of the book and doing the slurred version with more repeats on each exercise. But I'm a fairly well-developed player, so I decided to go ahead and do two Clarkes a day. After my Irons exercises, I'm doing Clarke #1 slurred, 4 times each and doing them up to around F above High C to G above High C depending on how I feel, the velocity of the wind, humidity, etc. Then, after a rest I do Clarke #2, KTM with just one repeat on each exercise. I should mention, I'm also doing the Etudes after each technical study. On Clarke Etude #1 I'm able to play it three times in one breath, but I usually just do it twice in one breath, as I've got plenty more playing in the day ahead of me. On Clarke Etude #2, I'm playing it twice in one breath single tongued (KTM), though some days I laze out and take a breath at the repeat. Then, it’s on to my KTM exercise, SA, and DTR. The routine now looks like this:

1) Irons Groups 5, 5B, 6, 6B and 6C, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (the groups ending with letters are my own creation - I take the last exercises of Groups 5 and 6 and extend it through all 7 valve positions - in the case of my "6C" I do the 6B exercise, but one harmonic higher so it goes up to High C).

Rest at least 15 minutes (usually an hour or so).

2) Clarke #1 and Etude #1 Slurred As Written with 4 repeats on each exercise, up to around F or G above High C.

Rest at least 15 minutes (usually an hour or so).

3) Clarke #2 and Etude #2, KTM with one repeat on each exercise, up to around the one in Bb that goes to F above High C (though I sometimes stop a little earlier if they don't feel perfect).

Rest for about 2 - 3 minutes

4) The KTM exercise from Claude's book "Tongue Level Exercises". This is Exercise 1 appearing on page 8 in the book. You start on middle G and single tongue (using K-Tongue Modified tonguing) 16th notes for about 16 to 20 beats. Then rest as long as it took you to play the 16th note G's for the 16 to 20 beats. Then repeat on G#, then A, etc. up to Middle C, then go back down in the other direction until you get to Low C. After the above, I'll rest at least 30 minutes. At this point, after warming up on the first few sets of notes, I am comfortably tonguing in the 116 to 120 bbm range. I know this from watching my watch second hand. I'm still not using a metronome on these, as I want to be really solid on the exercise and playing very cleanly before I pressure myself to build speed. Will probably start using the metronome sometime during the next few weeks.

I usually try to rest at least half an hour at this point.

5) Systematic Approach Lesson 4 Part 1 in octaves (I play the five notes, then I play the same five notes down an octave, holding the last note). This is one of the modifications Claude did with Systematic Approach when I went through the book with him.

Rest at least 5 minutes (usually about 15 minutes).

6) Systematic Approach Lesson 4 Part 2 slurred, followed by Part 3 of Lesson 3 to relax my lips. (Again, playing this one slurred was one of Claude personal mods of the exercises he assigned me).

Rest at least one hour.

7) Daily Trumpet Routines Lesson 8 with all articulation models.

I started this routine about a week ago, but didn't play the whole thing every day. So far I've gone through the whole routine just 3 or 4 times.

By the way, I've switched mouthpieces AGAIN!

I'm like Goldilocks. The Mount Vernon 3C was too big. The 43C was too small. One of my best friends sent me a Curry 3C. and it's JUST RIGHT! I never would have thought I'd like it, because I had a (modern) Bach 3C and I hated the rim (so I had it cut and had the underpart fitted to my 43C rims). I still didn't like the Bach version of the 3C cup even when mated to the 43C rim - perhaps because in retrospect, the 43C rim is a bit too small for me, or maybe the shape just isn’t' quite right for me - though it felt pretty "right" when I used it for 1st trumpet on "West Side Story" during the winter of 2002/2003 in Basel, Switzerland and for the year and a half I did the Euro tour of the musical "Grease". But anyway, my friend sent me a Curry 3C. to try and I LOVE the thing! Unlike the Bach mouthpiece I had, the Curry 3C rim feels great, and it feels just exactly big enough, and though it’s slightly bigger and deeper than the 43C, the high notes still come out just fine on it. And the sound is great - very similar to what I get with the Mt Vernon 3C, but with less physical effort up high. I seem to be able to vary the tonality and style A LOT with it. I'll do a shout chorus or a screaming part from West Side Story and it flat out sizzles, then a minute later I'll do a Leonore call or the Mahler 5 opening and I can get this big symphonic sound with it. Imagine what I could do Orchestral-sound-wise with Curry's 3BC! This brings up another thing I like about Mark Curry’s mouthpieces - all mouthpieces within a number size range, have identical rims. So if a player chooses to use a 3C. for general playing, a 3BC for Orchestral playing (this is Curry's version of the Bach C-cup rim mated to a Bach B-cup cup shape), and perhaps a 3ZM for lead or rock playing, that player will have a consistent rim size and shape on all three mouthpieces - for around $66 each. The bargain of the century!



So anyway, I think I'm sticking with the Curry 3C. for now (the "." after the "3C" designates Curry's current post 2004 3C size). Prior to 2004 Mark made his 3C based on the Mt Vernon 3C which is bigger than the current Bach 3C. Since many players were falling into the things and hurting themselves, in the interest of safety and insulation from product liability lawsuits, Mark elected to go to the modern, slightly smaller 3C sized bowl for his post 2004 3C mouthpieces. To make it clear which is which, his post 2004 3C mouthpieces are labeled "3C.".

What was it Claude said about mouthpieces? Something like “find a good, open, common sense mouthpiece, and stick with it always”? Yea, something like that… Claude’s smiling right now, where he is. Because he knows if I had saved up all the money I’ve spent on mouthpieces, I’d have enough to finish getting my Private Pilot’s license!

I’ve found it. Now I need to stick with it.

Playing Results/Update:

Adding the second version of the Clarkes (slurred and starting to build up the repetitions on each exercise) is having a great effect on my range - especially my playable range. While I am getting to the Double C area during Systematic Approach more and more often, what's really exciting is my full power, able to slur, single, or multiple tongue range is now in the sold F# to G range. I can play any of the high licks from the shows I've done in the past that have G's in them and nail them every time now. I think I'm stronger up to that G then I was even when I was playing 8 shows a week.

And my consistency and accuracy are finally up to pro standards. I can play the excerpts (Mahler, Beethoven, Strauss, etc.) over and over without a miss. Gee, who would have thought that building one's practice routine up over a period of 10 months to the point where one is practicing nearly two hours a day would result in positive gains?!?!

I'm a happy camper at this point. As soon as I have a spare two or three hundred bucks, I'm rejoining the Union.

Best wishes,

John Mohan

P.S. While I am finding a positive correlation between good, consistent practice and playing improvements, I'm finding no such effect from spending lots of time arguing and posting in various threads here on the TH. In fact, it seems the more time I spend posting in the "Tongue Arch" thread, the less likely I am to finish my practice routine by the end of the day, the less likely I am to do the homework I need to do, the less I improve on the trumpet, and the less I improve on my academic performance at school. Hmmm...
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TupeloCOTA
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
P.S. While I am finding a positive correlation between good, consistent practice and playing improvements, I'm finding no such effect from spending lots of time arguing and posting in various threads here on the TH. In fact, it seems the more time I spend posting in the "Tongue Arch" thread, the less likely I am to finish my practice routine by the end of the day, the less likely I am to do the homework I need to do, the less I improve on the trumpet, and the less I improve on my academic performance at school. Hmmm...


Maybe you could multi-task and convert your tongue arch threads into a medical dissertation. Just think of it..John Mohan D.T.A.P (Doctor of Tongue Arch Physiology)......
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swthiel
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TupeloCOTA wrote:
Quote:
P.S. While I am finding a positive correlation between good, consistent practice and playing improvements, I'm finding no such effect from spending lots of time arguing and posting in various threads here on the TH. In fact, it seems the more time I spend posting in the "Tongue Arch" thread, the less likely I am to finish my practice routine by the end of the day, the less likely I am to do the homework I need to do, the less I improve on the trumpet, and the less I improve on my academic performance at school. Hmmm...


Maybe you could multi-task and convert your tongue arch threads into a medical dissertation. Just think of it..John Mohan D.T.A.P (Doctor of Tongue Arch Physiology)......

Good luck getting five "experts" in sufficient agreement to approve the dissertation ...
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TupeloCOTA
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm like Goldilocks. The Mount Vernon 3C was too big. The 43C was too small. One of my best friends sent me a Curry 3C. and it's JUST RIGHT! I never would have thought I'd like it, because I had a (modern) Bach 3C and I hated the rim (so I had it cut and had the underpart fitted to my 43C rims). I still didn't like the Bach version of the 3C cup even when mated to the 43C rim - perhaps because in retrospect, the 43C rim is a bit too small for me, or maybe the shape just isn’t' quite right for me - though it felt pretty "right" when I used it for 1st trumpet on "West Side Story" during the winter of 2002/2003 in Basel, Switzerland and for the year and a half I did the Euro tour of the musical "Grease". But anyway, my friend sent me a Curry 3C. to try and I LOVE the thing! Unlike the Bach mouthpiece I had, the Curry 3C rim feels great, and it feels just exactly big enough, and though it’s slightly bigger and deeper than the 43C, the high notes still come out just fine on it. And the sound is great - very similar to what I get with the Mt Vernon 3C, but with less physical effort up high. I seem to be able to vary the tonality and style A LOT with it. I'll do a shout chorus or a screaming part from West Side Story and it flat out sizzles, then a minute later I'll do a Leonore call or the Mahler 5 opening and I can get this big symphonic sound with it. Imagine what I could do Orchestral-sound-wise with Curry's 3BC! This brings up another thing I like about Mark Curry’s mouthpieces - all mouthpieces within a number size range, have identical rims. So if a player chooses to use a 3C. for general playing, a 3BC for Orchestral playing (this is Curry's version of the Bach C-cup rim mated to a Bach B-cup cup shape), and perhaps a 3ZM for lead or rock playing, that player will have a consistent rim size and shape on all three mouthpieces - for around $66 each. The bargain of the century!


John,
Glad you discovered the Curry line. I know that I'm a comebacker and shouldn't be messing around with mouthpieces, but I switched to a Curry 1.5 C when I bought a cornet. I wanted a cornet mpc that sounded like a cornet, not a trumpet mpc on a cornet shank so I picked up a Curry 1.5 DC and a 1.5 VC. The rims are the same on all of the 1.5 mpcs so I can switch back and forth without any problem. They play very differently, but the rim comfort is the same on all. I got a 1.5 TC also for fun. I thought it matched Jeff Purtles description of the CG ideal with a funnel cup and larger (23) throat. To me it plays very much like the 1.5 C, but a broader, rounder, darker sound. I am hoping to use it for church, maybe Bist Du Bei Mir or some of the more lyrical stuff would sound good with it.

Anyway, best wishes and keep the posts coming. This is a great thread.

Russ
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Russ,

The funny thing is, I'm back on my Reeves 43C!

Back and forth and back and forth...

I suppose if I was going to be limited to one and only one mouthpiece for everything, it'd be the 3C - it's a great compromise and I can play West Side Story or the Haydn on it - if I must. But the Haydn sounds better on my Reeves 43 Rim mated to a Bach 3B Underpart (with 22 throat and big backbore), and WSS sounds better on my 43C (the high notes are stronger and everything's brighter).

Since I'm not limited to just one mouthpiece, I think I'm going to go back to sticking with my 43 rimmed mouthpieces that I've done the majority of my playing on since 2002, using the 43B for most Orchestral-style shows, the 43C for shows like "Cats" and WSS and my 43/3B setup for true Orchestral playing. And there's always that 43M for when I want to hurt people...

If you're curious, my main 43C has got a #24 throat in it but is otherwise stock, having the Reeves #2 Backbore which is slightly larger than a standard Bach #10 Backbore. My 43M, which I very rarely play, has a #26 throat and the Reeves #2 in it. The 43B and the 43/3B both have #22 throats and big symphonic sized Backbores (the Reeves #3 and the Reeves "S" Backbores, respectively).

Best wishes,

John Mohan

P.S. Don't tell Claude I've been switching mouthpieces - he'd yell at me.
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Matt Graves
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,

You mean you're not playing the .470 bore horn and the CG Personal mpc ON EVERYTHING!!!

SHAME!


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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt Graves wrote:
John,

You mean you're not playing the .470 bore horn and the CG Personal mpc ON EVERYTHING!!!

SHAME!



I think I could, at least in terms of the underpart of the CG Personal mouthpiece... Hey, whatever Carl Leach and Lee Loughnane can do, so can I!


I do play the .470 horn all the time lately, and I do have a CG Personal Underpart that mates very nicely to my 43 rim - does that count?

In my defense:

Claude Gordon wrote:
The shape of the rim will vary with different players, depending on each individual's muscle structure, mouth shape, jaw formation, teeth and lip tenderness.


Vindicated.


Back when I was studying with Claude, I played a Bach 1-1/2C with a slightly rounded inner edge, a #22 throat and the backbore reamed out to the size of the CG Personal backbore. It was a great mouthpiece. But I was playing in the Los Angeles Jazz Workshop band next to Wayne Bergeron, and the tonality I was getting from that Bach mouthpiece wasn't exactly conducive to matching Wayne's sound, or for that matter, the sound that was popular in Los Angeles in the late ‘70’s and '80’s (can you say “laser-tone”?). So I went to Joe Marcinkiewicz and he made me a Custom Mouthpiece that had the same rim as my Bach, but a slightly shallower cup. Just slightly shallower - nothing real radical. When I showed up at my next lesson with it, Claude wanted to inspect it. He looked at the cup and stuck his finger in it to feel how deep it was. He muttered a bit and grumbled, "This isn't good." But I stuck to my guns and used it for most of my LA work and continued using it in Germany through my time playing 1st for "Cats". It's in these pictures:







I have to admit, I’ve felt a bit uneasy about sharing the fact that I've been moving around in terms of mouthpieces a lot lately. It's a bad example to set for developing players. Everyone should bear in mind:

• I've been playing for more than 40 years.

• Though I've switched around a bit lately, the mouthpieces I've been moving between (a Mt Vernon 3C, a modern version of a 3C and a Reeves 43C) are not very different from each other.

• All three of the above qualify as "general purpose, middle-of-the-road-sized mouthpieces".

• Perhaps most important: I have no playing obligations of any kind at this time. I started seriously practicing at the beginning of the year, and I've reached the point where my playing is back at the professional level it was when I was working full time, but I have not rejoined the union and I have not "hung out my shingle" yet. So if I screw up, I can take the time to recover. I would never be switching around like this if I had any playing obligations, professional or amateur.

One last thing regarding mouthpieces and sound: I’ve noticed a shift in the studio scene in Los Angeles. Back in the '70’s, '80’s and even '90’s, the typical trumpet sound was very bright – big band lead and/or the Jerry Hey - Chuck Findley - Gary Grant Rock/Pop sound that dominated so many of the great Pop albums of that time, from the Manhattan Transfer to Michael Jackson. Some players, such as Malcolm McNab were using more symphonic type equipment but for the most part, the studio players – especially the TV show players - were using really tiny, shallow mouthpieces. Now things have changed, perhaps mainly due to economics:

These days, most studio recording that uses full brass sections tends to be more symphonic in nature. And the working brass players are adjusting to this. Jerry Hey played a Reeves 43S for years. Now he’s playing on a Bach 3C size mouthpiece. For years Wayne Bergeron played a shallow version of a 10-1/2C. I think he’s doing most studio work now on something with a 3C sized rim. For years Rick Baptist played a custom Marcinkiewicz mouthpiece that was similar to a shallow 10-1/2C. Now Rick’s playing a LOUD brand mouthpiece with… a 3C sized rim and a cup with slightly more cup volume than a 3C cup (according to the LOUD website).

Physicians have a saying: If you see a pasture in the distance full of animals that are either horses or zebras, they’re probably horses. Go with what works for the majority of the working players: a normal, common sense mouthpiece of about the size of a Bach 3C.

And one last note: The best, most consistent professional players I’ve worked with during my career were the ones who stuck with the same mouthpiece, decade after decade.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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Matt Graves
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly meant that in a "tongue in cheek" way, John.

I would never criticize you for your choice. Recently, I have been using a Benge CG 1 on lead parts instead of the CG Personal which I practice on every day. Going against the majority opinion, I find that my upper notes are easier and much brighter with the wider rim size of the Benge CG1. I just happen to be one of those players whose higher vibrations get more and more restricted by smaller rim inside diameters. Funny about Claude mumbling about the mouthpiece you mentioned above...I bet the Benge CG1 is close in shallowness! Oh well!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John:

My version --"when you hear hoof beats it's probably not zebras". Usually I use it in the context of trying not to get too esoteric in worrying about the most unlikely diagnosis. Probably fits for mouthpiece worries too. I've tried 100's of mpcs over the years and always come back to the bigger drill size (#22) and a modified V cup (not as deep as the CG). The reason for me is ENDURANCE. The tight stuff doesn't allow me to blow with a big sound all night . Kanstul makes one for me that is based on a Vizzuti rim (a little smaller than a 3C,very smooth/doesn't cut) with a little longer backbore than a CG. I'm glad the LA sound is less laser-like. The modified Vizzuti still gets a good edge when I want it (which the CG doesn't). I keep hearing CG saying "lst comes tight equipment then comes no endurance then comes no sound". Every time I get too far from that I get in trouble.

Glad your back to practicing. For me missing a day of practice is like missing desert. After all these years it's like meditating for me. It gets me out of the stress of the rapid-fire world around us.

Best of everything in all your endevaors,

Larry
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt Graves wrote:
I certainly meant that in a "tongue in cheek" way, John.


I knew that Matt - I was just continuing the joking, and then found myself writing one of my long entries, and before I knew it, a lot of time had passed! But I hope what I wrote is useful to people.

Best wishes,

John

P.S. Always remember, even though I let you share my birthday, I am older than you, and that means I am wiser.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trptdoc wrote:
Hi John:

My version --"when you hear hoof beats it's probably not zebras". Usually I use it in the context of trying not to get too esoteric in worrying about the most unlikely diagnosis. Probably fits for mouthpiece worries too. I've tried 100's of mpcs over the years and always come back to the bigger drill size (#22) and a modified V cup (not as deep as the CG). The reason for me is ENDURANCE. The tight stuff doesn't allow me to blow with a big sound all night . Kanstul makes one for me that is based on a Vizzuti rim (a little smaller than a 3C,very smooth/doesn't cut) with a little longer backbore than a CG. I'm glad the LA sound is less laser-like. The modified Vizzuti still gets a good edge when I want it (which the CG doesn't). I keep hearing CG saying "lst comes tight equipment then comes no endurance then comes no sound". Every time I get too far from that I get in trouble.

Glad your back to practicing. For me missing a day of practice is like missing desert. After all these years it's like meditating for me. It gets me out of the stress of the rapid-fire world around us.

Best of everything in all your endevaors,

Larry


Hi Larry,

Yes, your version is the correct version - now that I read what you wrote, I realize that I lost the "hoof beats" part of the saying somewhere in the recesses of my hippocampus...

That mouthpiece design of yours seems really good - I'm sure Claude would approve.

It's interesting to me what you and Matt wrote regarding the mouthpieces. I can relate to both your experiences. What you wrote concerning tight equipment killing endurance is so true. And what Matt wrote about bigger diameter mouthpieces making high notes easier for him is also true for me to an extent. It seems when the rim is bigger, it takes more physical effort but the "feel" of finding the notes is easier, and when the mouthpiece is smaller, less physical effort is required, but unless I'm totally fresh, I can't get my lips to vibrate above around G on top of High C. I'm sure the best thing for me to do is to just keep practicing and getting stronger - - and I'll probably find that as I get stronger I will prefer to slightly bigger 3C diameter to that of the 43C - but for now I'm sticking with the 43C.

Best wishes,

John
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time for an update!

More mouthpiece safari! I'm back to playing everything on the Mt Vernon Bach 3C. Everything is so much easier (well, except the really high notes, though at this point my playable range on the MV3C is pretty much as good as it ever was on anything else, big or small). The high notes are not "easier" or "harder" on the MV3C than they were on the Reeves 43C - just different. They seem to take a bit more physical effort, but in terms of finding the "feel" or "knack" of the extreme notes, that part of the equation seems easier to me on the MV3C.

Articulations on it are WAY cleaner, the sound can be WAY bigger, and broader - or I can play softer than I ever dared on the smaller mouthpieces I've used since 2000 (I could play just as soft on them, but the chances of an air attack were keeping me from trying to play too softly). And I can really shape the tone more with the MV3C - darker for things where it should be darker, and brighter for things that should be brighter.

I believe now more than ever that Claude, Bach and Schilke were all correct in their opinions about mouthpieces. Play a nice, open, fairly large mouthpiece and stick with it always. Physically, you'll develop into it and progress. In my experience, there are limits that come into play when using tight, smaller mouthpieces (or even open, smaller mouthpieces if they're too small for your face). Sure, the F above High C will feel a little easier - until you've been playing for more than 5 minutes and can't "find" the note because there's not enough room in the mouthpiece. I think it's okay to have a second mouthpiece that is a bit shallower if you need a very bright sound for some situations, and the converse, a deeper mouthpiece for those really dark, orchestral moments. But to me, a fairly large diameter is best and if one chooses to have slightly shallower and darker options, they should all have the same (fairly large) cup diameter. Of course, that's just me. There are certainly folks out there that do very well, and even need small diameter mouthpieces. But I think they are in the minority. Too many well-intentioned members of the majority waste their potential careers trying to force-fit their way into that minority.

Mouthpiece lecture is now over. My daily practice routine now looks like this:

1) Irons Groups 5, 5B, 6, 6B and 6C, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 (the groups ending with letters are my own creation - I take the last exercises of Groups 5 and 6 and extend it through all 7 valve positions - in the case of my "6C" I do the 6B exercise, but one harmonic higher so it goes up to High C).

Rest at least 15 minutes (usually an hour or so).

2) Clarke #1 and Etude #1 Slurred As Written with 4 repeats on each exercise, up to around F above High C (I was running these up to G above High C, but though I could do it, it was a bit too much and leading to over-practice, "tearing down instead of building up" feelings).

Rest at least 15 minutes (usually an hour or so).

3) Clarke #2 and Etude #2, KTM with one repeat on each exercise, up to around the one in G that goes to D above High C (again, I was taking these up higher, but I was tearing down instead of building up). Note that I am still using KTM on these and haven't moved on to K-Tonguing them yet. Why? Because I'm enjoying what they're doing for me with the single tongue (KTM) and I don't want to move on yet.

Rest for about 2 - 3 minutes

4) The KTM exercise from Claude's book "Tongue Level Exercises". This is Exercise 1 appearing on page 8 in the book. You start on middle G and single tongue (using K-Tongue Modified tonguing) 16th notes for about 16 to 20 beats. Then rest as long as it took you to play the 16th note G's for the 16 to 20 beats. Then repeat on G#, then A, etc. up to Middle C, then go back down in the other direction until you get to Low C. I'm doing these now at 120bbm. After the above, I'll rest at least 30 minutes.

I usually try to rest at least an hour at this point.

5) Systematic Approach Lesson 5 Part 1.

Rest at least 5 minutes (usually about 15 - 20 minutes).

[b]6) Systematic Approach Lesson 5 Part 2, followed by Part 3 of Lesson 3 to relax my lips.
(Again, playing this one slurred was one of Claude personal mods of the exercises he assigned me).

Rest at least one hour.

7) Daily Trumpet Routines Lesson 9, both sections, with all articulation models.

8 ) Every third of fourth day I run parts of various Musicals I've done in the past (mainly Phantom, Evita, West Side Story and Cats as they are my favorites). The neat thing is, it's been long enough since I played the shows that this is giving me a bit of sight-reading practice at times.

I've been tending to do my whole routine on one day, and then just some parts of it on the next day (Irons, Clarke #2, and the KTM and Arbans multiple tonguing material), and I tend to feel nice and fresh all the time. But I'm not sure if it's because I've been doing "heavy day / light day" playing, or if it's because I cut the highest exercises from the two Clarke Studies. To find out, for the next 7 days I'm going to try to be sure and do the whole routine every day and see whether or not this "overtired" feeling comes back.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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1st Trpt for The Color Purple at The Mercury Theater, Chicago
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Evita, Grease, Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.
14 Year Claude Gordon Student
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asndy1982
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:

What you wrote concerning tight equipment killing endurance is so true. And what Matt wrote about bigger diameter mouthpieces making high notes easier for him is also true for me to an extent. It seems when the rim is bigger, it takes more physical effort but the "feel" of finding the notes is easier, and when the mouthpiece is smaller, less physical effort is required, but unless I'm totally fresh, I can't get my lips to vibrate above around G on top of High C.

John


Correct me if I am wrong. Does this have anything to do with the lips natural swelling from pressure? It takes a certain amount of pressure to play notes above a High G and on a wide rim mouthpiece there is just more space to allow the lips to swell and still vibrate well, correct? As with a small rim there is less space and as the lips swell from necessary pressure it hinders a free vibration.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

asndy1982 wrote:
John Mohan wrote:

What you wrote concerning tight equipment killing endurance is so true. And what Matt wrote about bigger diameter mouthpieces making high notes easier for him is also true for me to an extent. It seems when the rim is bigger, it takes more physical effort but the "feel" of finding the notes is easier, and when the mouthpiece is smaller, less physical effort is required, but unless I'm totally fresh, I can't get my lips to vibrate above around G on top of High C.

John


Correct me if I am wrong. Does this have anything to do with the lips natural swelling from pressure? It takes a certain amount of pressure to play notes above a High G and on a wide rim mouthpiece there is just more space to allow the lips to swell and still vibrate well, correct? As with a small rim there is less space and as the lips swell from necessary pressure it hinders a free vibration.


I think so. At least for me that's how it seems. I'm not sure if I'm naturally predisposed to doing better on bigger mouthpieces, or if I do better on bigger mouthpieces because that's what I've played on for more than 40 years. I sometimes think that if I took a year off with absolutely no playing and started over on a tiny mouthpiece, maybe by then my lips would get used to a tiny mouthpiece. Or, perhaps, the way my lip is sized and shaped is just the way it's sized and shaped, and no matter what, a tiny mouthpiece for me would be like a size 4 shoe for me (not good!).

But either way, when I listen to other players, the sound I love and want comes from players like Arturo Sandoval, Claude Gordon, Bud Herseth, Uan Racey, Larry Elam, and others who tend to play bigger mouthpieces.

Listen to the Dance Hall Sequence in the film soundtrack from West Side Story (actually, in the film version, it's called "Dance At The Gym"). In particular, listen to the first section of it, entitled "Blues". The shout chorus in it goes up to G above High C. That's Uan Racey playing it - on a mouthpiece at least as big as a Bach 1, proving that it can be done.

Listen to the opening scene in the Arturo Sandoval movie ("For Love or Country - The Arturo Sandoval Story"). The movie stars Andy Garcia, but Arturo himself performs on the soundtrack (of course). In that opening scene, Arturo is playing hot jazz stuff - incredible improv, with huge, full, clean sound. Then near the end of the song, Arturo hits the second to the last note of the song - a gorgeous, ringing F above High C. Wow! But then, comes the last note of the song: a full power, cleanly tongued F above Double High C. And all on a 40 year old Bach Mt Vernon 3C. That's the sound I want, and that's the range I want. It's a lofty goal, but that's what I'm shootin' for. I don't think I could ever reach that goal (not just the range, but the sound) on a 6A4A or other similar mouthpiece. But with enough practice and development, I might be able to pull it off on the bigger mouthpiece. And hey, the main part of the goal is the sound I can get on the MV3C throughout the main part of the register - and I'm already achieving that part of the goal. The notes above G above High C are just extra frosting on the cake...

Bringing you another long answer to a short question,

I am sincerely,

John Mohan
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asndy1982
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:

My daily practice routine now looks like this:

1) Irons Groups 5, 5B, 6, 6B and 6C, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 (the groups ending with letters are my own creation - I take the last exercises of Groups 5 and 6 and extend it through all 7 valve positions - in the case of my "6C" I do the 6B exercise, but one harmonic higher so it goes up to High C).

John Mohan


I am playing out of the Iron's book also; First thing each day actually, and seeing good improvement overall. Lesson 11 in particular is interesting. It starts on a lower partial than most of the rest of the book, something that IMO changes the feel of an exercise, for me at least. I noticed this about the Smith stuff as well. What's your take on this?
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meoates1
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this thread John- I have enjoyed reading it. As someone on a come-back of sorts myself, I have appreciated it.

RE: the question relating to larger mp and lip intrusion into the mp. I think that we definitely adapt to our MP by intruding more lip into the mp in order to achieve our sound goals. Since everyone has different physiological set-ups as well (lip size, mouth, jaw shape etc.) it is pretty hard to determine all the variables that can potenitally affect the overall volume of the mp cup when you are playing. I played a 1.5 C for dog years- completely fell in love with the sound and warmth of it. But I was struggling- a lot of the work I was playing was pretty demanding and the 1.5 was killing me slowly. I remember on my first "gig" with the Disney College Band- playing the whole summer on a 1.5C. How I wish someone early on had told me that I was trying to "Drive a nail with a screw driver." I went to Bob Reeves and asked him to help me- he created a shallower mp for me to play with a 1.5 rim on it- the first day on the gig when I tried to play it I completely fell apart! I couldn't play at all because I had intruded my lips so far in the mp (that I and I am sure my chops stayed pretty swollen.) So, I had to tough it out on the 1.5C, and the Bob Reeves mp has sat in my closet ever since. After that summer I started testing out different pieces... and had to "relearn" to not intrude so much. By doing this I found that I could play much smaller mp's - something I had not been able to do before. For years I switched a lot between a Wick 5E and Bach 1.5C. Why not just get a 3C you say? I had a sharp point on a tooth, and rims that width seemed to sit right on it! For me both mp's have been "cheater's" in the sense that they make it easier for me to get a certain sound in the context I need it. For me, at least, every single mp is a compromise that I make to meet certain musical demands. There is definitely something to be said for a good middle of the road mp (like a 3C) until your livelihood depends on you having a special "sound."

Also, just a thought- but while much has been made of Arturo playing on a 3C, and byron Stripling playing on a 1C, or the other guys out there playing on larger equipment, there are other guys out there playing on small equipment and sounding great too. Wearing Michael Jordan's shoes won't make you jump like him. (I know you know this- ! Not trying to be a smart aleck.) I'm just reminding the younger set that SOUND is the only thing that matters- it doesn't matter if you play a 1x or a 6a4A- if you SOUND great, noone cares! Arturo plays what works for him- what works for you may be something different.

Best wishes with the comeback John! And Btw, I am envious you still get away with the larger equipment! These days I only occasionally get to use the 1.5C to "cheat" to make me sound more like a symphonic trumpeter!
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

meoates1 wrote:
Thanks for posting this thread John- I have enjoyed reading it. As someone on a come-back of sorts myself, I have appreciated it.

RE: the question relating to larger mp and lip intrusion into the mp. I think that we definitely adapt to our MP by intruding more lip into the mp in order to achieve our sound goals. Since everyone has different physiological set-ups as well (lip size, mouth, jaw shape etc.) it is pretty hard to determine all the variables that can potenitally affect the overall volume of the mp cup when you are playing. I played a 1.5 C for dog years- completely fell in love with the sound and warmth of it. But I was struggling- a lot of the work I was playing was pretty demanding and the 1.5 was killing me slowly. I remember on my first "gig" with the Disney College Band- playing the whole summer on a 1.5C. How I wish someone early on had told me that I was trying to "Drive a nail with a screw driver." I went to Bob Reeves and asked him to help me- he created a shallower mp for me to play with a 1.5 rim on it- the first day on the gig when I tried to play it I completely fell apart! I couldn't play at all because I had intruded my lips so far in the mp (that I and I am sure my chops stayed pretty swollen.) So, I had to tough it out on the 1.5C, and the Bob Reeves mp has sat in my closet ever since. After that summer I started testing out different pieces... and had to "relearn" to not intrude so much. By doing this I found that I could play much smaller mp's - something I had not been able to do before. For years I switched a lot between a Wick 5E and Bach 1.5C. Why not just get a 3C you say? I had a sharp point on a tooth, and rims that width seemed to sit right on it! For me both mp's have been "cheater's" in the sense that they make it easier for me to get a certain sound in the context I need it. For me, at least, every single mp is a compromise that I make to meet certain musical demands. There is definitely something to be said for a good middle of the road mp (like a 3C) until your livelihood depends on you having a special "sound."

Also, just a thought- but while much has been made of Arturo playing on a 3C, and byron Stripling playing on a 1C, or the other guys out there playing on larger equipment, there are other guys out there playing on small equipment and sounding great too. Wearing Michael Jordan's shoes won't make you jump like him. (I know you know this- ! Not trying to be a smart aleck.) I'm just reminding the younger set that SOUND is the only thing that matters- it doesn't matter if you play a 1x or a 6a4A- if you SOUND great, noone cares! Arturo plays what works for him- what works for you may be something different.

Best wishes with the comeback John! And Btw, I am envious you still get away with the larger equipment! These days I only occasionally get to use the 1.5C to "cheat" to make me sound more like a symphonic trumpeter!


Yes, all very true. I hope I've made it clear that while I seem to need fairly good-sized mouthpieces (Reeves 43C is pretty much the minimum for me), and while I think most other players (the vast majority) are served well by middle of the road, 3C sized mouthpieces (or bigger), there are those out there that for whatever reason, do get the right tone on much smaller and/or shallower pieces. I have a former student (a TH member himself) that sounds as dark on his 43M as I sound on a 43B. And as I pointed out in the past, my colleague on "Der Glöckner von Notre Dame" played that rather dark, orchestral style show on a Reeves 43ES (ES standing for Extra Shallow) and sounded quite symphonic on that bent dime of a mouthpiece. I can't hardly get a middle G out of a 43ES.

And regarding other great small-mouthpiece players, there's fellow Claude Gordon student Bob O'Donnell - arguably Claude's best Protege - and anyone can go to the in-house Kanstul Comparator at http://myplace.frontier.com/~vze8iort/kanstul_mpc/CompareJR_FF.html and see that O'Donnell's mouthpiece is about the size of a Schilke 10A4A (it makes a 14A4A look huge). Anyone interested in hearing how fantastic a player Bob is can listen to any of several TV show themes from the '70's and hear Bobby soloing - that's him doing the CHiP's theme up to G above C over and over. Then there's him again playing the lyrical trumpet solo on the theme to the Love Boat. In Claude's opinion, Bob (has) attained Virtuoso status as a player - it always irked Claude that Bob "settled" for a successful studio career instead of going for soloist status. I think I'm digressing a bit here.

Best wishes,

John
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