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19/30s exercise explained


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Fleebat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:00 pm    Post subject: 19/30s exercise explained Reply with quote

I posted a couple months ago in a thread about endurance, describing an exercise I call "The 19/30s." It's an extremely simple exercise. There's no magic in the notes or the sequence. The benefit for me comes from the approach: what you try to accomplish as you play the exercise, how you play it, etc. It's really just a vehicle for exploring a relaxed setup.

A number of people have sent PMs or posted in other threads saying that it was very helpful for them, too. Some requested that I write up a more fleshed-out explanation of the approach stuff. I was a little reluctant, as I don't see myself as any kind of chop expert (by a long stretch), and I hate the wars that get going here about one method versus another, one teacher's philosophy versus the next, how water comes out of a garden hose, and so on. But yesterday I sat down to write about it so I could post it. That's when I realized just how much it's all about the approach, that this was really what I'd stumbled onto that was so helpful. And I ended up with a long, LONG piece. I'm talkin' long, here. There's a ton of background (how I got to a terribly frustrating place, how I scraped and stumbled into the things that led to the exercise, etc.)

I decided to turn it into a PDF and provide a link for downloading rather than posting it as a topic. Please note that I don't claim it's built on new or original ideas, or that it's "better" than some famous teacher's approach. I have no interest in defending it against those who don't care to explore it, or who have decided the ideas at work in it are not for them. I don't have any interest in digging into what the physics of it might be. It's just something that, literally, changed my trumpet-playing world, and, apparently, has proven helpful for some other people here. It helped open a door to a way of playing that had always eluded me.

Again, there's a ton of background and philosophy in the PDF. If you just want to play through the notes, don't waste your time with it. You can find the same kind of exercises in any number of method books. I hope some are interested enough to check it out, and that some find it helpful.

Rusty Russell

Here's the link - no username or password required, access it with any browser: www.rustyrussell.com/1930s


Last edited by Fleebat on Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest... I was very skeptical about this article.

To be honest... it is some of the best that has come out of Trumpetherald.

Great writing and explanation.

Thanks for taking the time.
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Fleebat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for reading! And for the good word.

RR
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swingintrpt
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great read. Nice writing. Positive story. Thanks for sharing.
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nyctrumpeter
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to checking it out, I'm printing it out as I write this. My friend Lex says he likes it and he is a great judge of these things so I'll give it a go and see what happens.
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con brio
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good story. Nice contribution to TH.

I've been riding the "range and endurance" train for a while as I'm trying to get back in the shape I was a few years ago. Various things would click and then fade away leaving me frustrated and wondering if I was even on the right track. Your PDF seems to encompass everything I've been looking for and gives me some good direction now.

Thanks again.

cb
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veery715
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Rusty Russell!!

A great read sans a bunch of self-agrandizing nonsense. At lunchtime I go to a practice room around the corner and I am really looking forward to trying your 19/30s!

And I agree with others. I have a s*)tload of books and articles, but nothing that sits as well as what I have just read in your PDF.

asher
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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyc, I'd really be interested to hear your opinion and experiences with it! As I was writing to Rusty, I've never found a way to integrate these great concepts into my playing in such a direct and easy and non-time consuming manner. It's translated into increased playable range and more power and endurance. I definitely notice more power in the extreme upper register and so do others I play with. I don't think it's been even 2 weeks since I've been doing this, so I want to give it time before I comment more, but the results already have made this exercise far worth the small time it takes to do (sometimes I even do it 2 or 3 times a day) and, as Rusty says, it's not so much the exact notes or time limit of the exercise, but using the concepts behind it. That being said, the way it's set-up, middle range down to low F#, seems an excellent way of integrating these ideas into one's playing. I would imagine starting up higher would, for me, get more into the idea of a muscular building type of approach and I don't want that at all as I have plenty of that from a heavy playing schedule. All the best, Lex.
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Trptbenge
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty,

This was very well written and helpful. I remember your posts about your trip to see Jeannie and how helpful she was.

Your point about tension is so true. I have fought the tension problem constantly. In those rare moments where I am able to free myself from the tension I can hear the difference in my sound, my range and all aspects of my playing. It can inhibit correct muscle movement and sap energy.

I plan to use your approach. Thank you for the story of your journey. I think many of us can identify and benefit from it.

Mike
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jazztrpt
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty,

Thanks for posting that article. I found your experience to be very similar to my own in discovering how to play with a relaxed setting, especially in regards to the airstream.

My teacher in undergrad is the one who helped me to play this way. One of his teachers was Peter Bond, whose thoughts on this topic seem to be similar to the concepts that you uncovered.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

Jon
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Fleebat
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Guys

It's so cool to see people enjoying & maybe benefiting from this. I really think a lot of us have bumped into the same obstacles over the years.

RR
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TWEAK
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This article is....

AWESOME!!!!

Seriously, some really good stuff here. Glad I woke up from my nap (yes, I take naps) to find this here!
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jazztrpt
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fleebat wrote:
Hey, Guys

It's so cool to see people enjoying & maybe benefiting from this. I really think a lot of us have bumped into the same obstacles over the years.

RR


Yes, those obstacles are a drag for a lot of us and appear to be non-existent for others ("natural" players). I really think that most of the great players play this way even if they describe it as, "put some air through the horn," and, "focus your embouchure."

In my first lesson with Bryan Appleby-Wineberg (the college teacher I mentioned earlier), we pretty much worked on a low C the entire time. He would have me put the mouthpiece up without trying to form any sort of embouchure. This took several tries but when I was finally successful, the C that came out was quite flat, but had a beautiful, resonant sound.

The next step was to think of "holding back" the air, or thinking of the air as if you were singing in a falsetto voice. Other images he presented were to think about the air as if it was coming out of the back of my head, or out of the top of my head.

The singing idea actually helped to bring that flat low C back up into tune while maintaining (or not maintaining!) a completely relaxed embouchure. Over time we began to expand this low C up the scale until each note was as relaxed and resonant as the C.

My old habits do tend to take over when I feel like I have to "make" something work. I can usually get out of that by focusing more on sound, and thinking about singing in my head.

Another very helpful thought (that came from Peter Bond, I believe) was to think about the sound being created right at the mouthpiece or somewhere along the leadpipe, instead of at the bell of the horn.
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swthiel
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty,

My only complaint about your article is that I just read it at work and am going to have to wait a few hours before I give it a try. My teacher and I speak often about how much I get in my own way due to unnecessary tension.

Thanks for posting this!

Steve
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Fleebat
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon,

I think you're right about many or most of the best players playing this way. The ones I gravitate to seem to, anyhow.

If we look for a sense of overview, try to see the big picture, it can be said that everyone is really trying to get to the same place - generate a great sound and develop comprehensive, good facility.

Many years ago, I kept a busy guitar-teaching studio. I always had between thirty and forty students a week. Some were quite advanced, working players who gigged all the time, but most were teenagers or adults who were at some kind of intermediate level. Their musical and stylistic goals varied a great deal, but as their teacher one of my core responsibilities was to help each of them develop the fundamental skills common to any kind of playing. I collected and developed all kinds of "vehicles" that I used to help them accomplish that; exercises, certain tunes I had them play in certain ways that would require one or more of those skills, chord solos, etc.

If you get to see a number of people, over and over, work at a similar pursuit, you come to understand how important (and fragile) communication and interpretation are. I could tell one person, "Let your right hand fall onto the strings so that the side of your thumb is resting along them at a comfortable angle. Now curl your index finger up so it just meets your thumb." I'd slide the pick in between the person's thumb and finger, and pretty soon he was playing with a right hand that looked like Larry Carlton's! Giving exactly the same instructions to another person - even while demonstrating it with my own hand - would result in some twisted formation that wasn't going to work at all. This should have been a clue for me years later when I returned to trumpet playing - especially considering the fact that the technical things discussed by a guitar teacher involve clearly visible parts of the hand, while many things a trumpet teacher might suggest deal with hard-to-see or totally invisible body parts.

Every successful trumpet pedagogue first had to learn or develop a way of approaching things that worked, then collect various vehicles that promoted or demonstrated the specifics of the approach, and then build a "catalog" of ways to explain it all to students. I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be as a player, but I have finally come to a place where the stark, seemingly massive brick walls that constantly kept me from my goals - and from improving through thoughtful practice - have mostly crumbled. I really think I got to that place by finding the common principles in the philosophies/methods of several great pedagogues. When you see it in overview, so many of them are going for largely the same thing. Their "vehicles" are a little different, and their ways of explaining things vary greatly, but there's a lot of common ground as well. And the largest patch of that common ground, it seems, is doing away with tension.

After all the searching & rumination, and trying (! ... I'm not saying that I'm done with that... not by a long shot!), I kind of separate the great methods & philosophies into two large "camps." You have the "Meat Tweakers," and you have the "Stream Riders." I still think they're all trying to get to the same place, but they take very, VERY different paths to it. Tweaking the meat works for some people, apparently, and that's great. Years of that left me really frustrated and depressed about my playing and development. I think the problems can be traced to the importance and fragility of communication. Maybe I was like the second student in my guitar example above. Who knows? Who cares?

The players who inspire me all seem to come from the Stream Riders camp. And I can trace almost all of their backgrounds to some period of exposure to one of the great teachers/methods whose ideas and philosophy fall squarely in that camp. In checking this out (over a long, long time), I found what I believe are common principles in the ideas of Claude Gordon, Bill Adam, Jeanne Pocius, Laurie Frink, Alan Vizzutti, and others. To me, these are all "Stream Riders." It started dawning on me that, each time something from one of these pools of knowledge "worked" for me, I was arriving at exactly the same positive result. The vehicles varied some, and the explanations varied wildly, but each was bringing me to the same good place.

I've always believed that it's counter-productive to get caught up in the little bits at the expense of grasping the greater concept. And I believe that's what we, as trumpet players, do constantly. As I said in what's now being called "the article," I think that focusing on (and especially, arguing about) the relative merits of one teacher's belief that these notes must be played in a certain order and repeated that many times versus another teacher's insistence that those notes have to be played, in that order, and repeated this many times, is a huge waste OF time. They're vehicles. They are ways the teacher has found over the years of getting students to THAT place - of bringing them to a place where they can feel the sensation, solidifying things so the student can get there quickly and consistently, and then be able to apply that foundation to playing music. A teacher finds and tweaks the vehicles. They are all customized into things that he's comfortable explaining. He develops his "teaching chops" around presenting these vehicles and explaining them. Maybe he writes a book, or hands out lesson pages. In the margins, maybe he writes suggestions for how to play the vehicle - something that's proven helpful with many students over the years. And then, for decades, people treat that collection of vehicles and explanations as if it were delivered from a mountaintop on stone tablets. Every note must be played in exactly the way it's spelled out on the tablet. Every footnote in the book is LAW. Falling into this tiny world cost me years, I believe. It can (doesn't always, but can, and did in my case) keep people from stepping back and grasping the over-arching concept that is the real value of the teacher's ideas. It's at its worst when the teacher himself/herself believes in the absolute sanctity of every idea, vehicle and explanation. By far, most of the greatest teachers have said that we should take what works for us from what they offer. The very best, IMHO, tell us we should build on their ideas. Vehicles. Explanations. Anyway...

So the 19/30s are really just my own distillation, a vehicle I've settled on that consistently, quickly, gets me to that place. As I say in the PDF, the actual notes aren't all that important, except, I believe, that some manner of sustained airflow (long tones, or lyrical phrases) is important in getting things flowing. The things that really matter, in making it work for me anyhow, are the ideas I tried to describe in the numbered suggestions. I apply those ideas in practicing all kinds of "vehicles" - Arban. Clarke. Schlossberg. Frink. The concepts become habit, and are then your default way of playing when you play tunes, or arias, or solo pieces, or parts in your R&B band. I have some specific tunes that I use almost exclusively as practice vehicles, to get the concepts going or keep them in the "habit" category. "Round Midnight," for example. And when I learn a new tune, especially something that challenges me, I make it a practice vehicle for those ideas too.

In one of my groups, a guitar/trumpet/bass/drums outfit, we've decided to add Pat Metheny's "Bright Size Life" to our list. Well, I've played that tune for years on guitar. It's a little tricky on guitar, with some odd string skips and so on. But it's decidedly NOT a "trumpet tune." The opening line can be a nightmare if you're "flexibility challenged," and making it sound musical takes some work. As I first struggled through it, I suddenly found myself falling back into the "meat-tweaking" thing. Focusing on the difficulty of the passage had taken my eye off the ball, so to speak. I reverted to "doing things" with my face to get the phrase out, rather than allowing it to fall in line with my more-recently developed playing philosophy. That leap isn't clean... reset the chops... give a little lip squeeze to goose the change... where's my tongue? ... hey, why's the tone different when I land on that note?

To get back to my foundation, I did the 19/30s. Actually, it only took something like the "12/30s," and I was back on firm ground. Then I started playing the opening phrase of the tune as a vehicle ala the 19/30s, slowly, with the sound and the ideas in the numbered suggestions as my focus. Bingo. Within about ten minutes, I could make that tune sound smoother than I can on guitar!

I hope this helps. Maybe I should have made a PDF out of this too, but I figured, since the conversation was sort of opening up...

RR


Last edited by Fleebat on Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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EdMann
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty,
You're my hero. My revelations have been right alongside of yours, Bill Adam approach to the CG (for me, Maggio) thing. You also mentioned in your last post the idea of conceptualizing ideas as opposed to rote playing. I'd take that a step further, especially when dealing with a teacher who preaches serious dogma and then looks for emulation. Concept first, emulate later. When you get the sound you want, you'll hear it.

I think it was Eric Bolvin, the GC adherant and teacher in San Jose who said that he hasn't done pedal tones in a long time, but he "checks" it (correct me if I'm wrong, NoCal bro), doesn't do the whole twelve step program everytime he takes a drink, if you get my drift.

Happy playing!
ed
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bilboinsa
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rusty--I started it Monday after reading several of these threads. Between you and Nick D, we'll see how it goes!
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trumpetgeezer
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty, thanks so much for posting this. I can't wait to get home tonight and try it. I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks.
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Fleebat
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, All

I've been working for a while with some other "vehicles" that can be used to target more specific issues, like articulation, slurs, etc. When I feel like I have the descriptions/suggestions together in a way that could make sense to a lot of people, I'll do another PDF. Also, There's a thought that might be helpful in approaching any exercise or piece of music - it has been for me - that's sort of a general way "in" to the ideas behind the 19/30s exercise. When I get some downtime tonight or tomorrow, I'll try to put that together in a logical way & share it, too.

Just writing this stuff down, thinking about it to that degree, is helping me as I use it in my own playing. Life's a hoot, huh?

RR
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Relaxation Techniques by John Glasel.
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