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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2001 2:31 pm    Post subject: GETTING STARTED 1 Reply with quote

The most important thing a player must have when practicing Caruso material is the right attitude: a clear understanding of what is being attempted and what is hoped to be accomplished. The wrong attitude can make the whole Caruso experience unpleasant, confusing and counter productive.

Caruso exercises are calisthenic. This means that they are muscle training and conditioning activities that have one goal in mind: to prepare the muscles to play music. They usually don't sound like music nor are they supposed to, necessarily. This is not always an easy mind set for a lot of players who have been exposed to most teaching methods that insist on using the sound of the student as a yardstick of success and correctness of embouchure. Not so with the Caruso method. The first things that you throw out are intonation, sound quality, accuracy of attack, etc., all musical attributes are disregarded. All the things that you have tried to accomplish in the past. I know it sounds weird. And at this point a lot of people might say, "Well, I can't see how it can help to make you a better player if you disregard all the things that make you a better player." And this is a good point. This also explains why Carmine had so many trumpet players come to him whose playing had become crippled (for any number of reasons), had tried EVERYTHING and were coming to Carmine as a last resort. At this point in their careers they didn't care how crazy something sounded, they had no place else to go. A great example of this kind of training was shown in the movie "The Karate Kid." Pat Moriaty had his young protege painting a car and doing other menial chores that were seemingly totally unrelated to Karate and hand to hand combat. But the repetition of the brush strokes was the beginning of the muscular conditioning that he wanted his young student to acquire (At least this is the way I interpreted it). Carmine used to use the example of football players jumping through tires during practice. And then asked, "Where are the tires during the game?" Jumping thru the tires prepared the athletes to play the game. Caruso exercises prepare the student to play music.

Many other teachers have incorporated calisthenic type exercises into their teaching, but have usually watered them down by requiring the student to be music conscious of tone, intonation, attack, etc. The Caruso approach sees calisthenic activity for what it is: muscular conditioning. If you want to practice music you work on etudes or exerpts. If you want to train muscles, you employ calisthenics. Of course, if you believe that the instrument is somehow played by means other than the muscles of the respiratory system and the face, then Caruso is not for you.

What you strive for is following a regimen and a practice modus operandi as expounded in the book, "Musical Calisthenics For Brass."

Once you have decided to operate with this mind set, you are ready to begin the exercises.

The following exercise schedule is the manner in which it was given to me by Carmine starting in June, 1973. It was assigned to me (basically) in two week intervals, as I was taking every-other-week lessons from '73' - '76.' The assignment of a new lesson every week (or every two weeks for that matter) should definitely NOT be viewed as the correct or even desirable manner in which to approach these exercises. I guess Carmine felt comfortable doing it this way with me. OTOH, he told me of one student who flew up from South America for a week to get six months worth of lessons. Each day was a different lesson, but the intent was for the student to wait a much longer time than one day before adding new material to his practice schedule after he returned to SA. It should never be felt that there is any kind of urgency to add new stuff or progress through the book. It is far more important that the muscles become familiar with each new demand than it is for new lessons to be assigned. With beginning students I have often limited the intervals to not going beyond 4ths or 5ths for the first year. But each student is different. If you are using MCFB without a Caruso teacher, give yourself more time before moving to new exercises. Remember, with these drills there is no rush.

The first exercise is called Exercise 1 in the book "Musical Calisthenics For Brass" (MCFB) but is universally referred to as The Six Notes. (Prior to MCFB Carmine had a publication called "Caruso On Breath Control." That book is now out of print, but in it Carmine referred to the first exercise as The Six Notes.) After acquainting yourself with the four rules, you are ready to begin.
1.) Do the Six Notes for a week. Once or twice a day is sufficient.
2.) Week 2, add Exercise 2, the 2nds, to your schedule. As the book instructs, rest 15 minutes before repeating the exercises but you may do Ex.1 and 2 in succession.
3.) Week 3, add the 3rds. Individual exercises (without repeating them) may be done in succession up to a 20 minute maximum before resting for 20 minutes.
4.) Week 4, replace the 3rds with the 4ths but continue doing the Six Notes and the 2nds. Also start doing the Harmonic exercise. (If the high C is too high for you to play at this time, move it down to the highest note in the harmonic scale that you CAN play.)
5.) Week 5, replace the 4ths with the 5ths, continue doing the other exercises and now add the Six Notes soft-loud-soft (SLS). It is important to follow the instructions in the text exactly as written.
6.) Week 6, replace the 5ths with the 6ths and add the D3 (D above high C) to the harmonic scale exercise (If the highest note was lowered as per week#4 instructions, try adding one more note at this time).
7.) Week 7, replace the 6ths with the Minor 7ths. Also replace the SLS Six Notes (the SLS Six Notes will probably not ever be practiced again) with the SLS 2nds.

*****By this time you should be doing the following exercises on a daily basis******

The six Notes (regular)
Regular 2nds
Regular Minor 7ths
Harmonic Scale
SLS 2nds

It is important to continue practicing all the normal non Caruso type studies from whatever general method book you happen to be using. Carmine used many other books and adapted them to suit his own purposes in conjunction with MCFB. Those books are:

1.) Technical Studies For The Cornet - Herbert L. Clarke
2.) Scales and Chords For Clarinet - Carl Baermann
3.) Daily Drills And Technical Studies - Max Schlossberg
4.) Rhythms Complete - Vol 1 and Vol 2 - Bugs Bower
5.) Enseignemant de la Trompette - Vol 1,2,3 - René Laurent

These books were all adapted in some way or another to function as purely calisthenic exercises. So, with this huge regimen of calisthenics, for me, musical practice has become mostly exerpts and specific solo material. At this time, I have little inclination to pursue further etude or method books, although recently I picked up a copy of the the W. Smith Top Tones book and took a look at some of those etudes. A beginning student would surely need a basic method book to be used in conjunction with a Caruso schedule.

More to come!

Regards,

Charles Raymond


Last edited by _bugleboy on Fri Dec 31, 2004 1:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2001 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Baermann book is the same one Charles speaks of and was published as Part 3 of the Bettoney-Baermann Complete Method for Clarinet.

I remember there being a book available in the late 70s or early 80s called "Caruso for Beginners". Does anyone else remember that? I don't have a copy.

[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2001-12-05 19:28 ]
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Wtrager
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2001 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I remember there being a book available in the late 70s or early 80s called "Caruso for Beginners". Does anyone else remember that? I don't have a copy."
Yes - I remember that book. It came right after the Hal Graham / Carmine Caruso break up. The book published with Hal Graham was the "Breathe Control" book. I also have the Carmine Caruso method for Band. That book I believe was late 60's very early 70's. In that book the 6 notes are referred to as the 6 Magic notes. When I studied with Carmine in the very early 70's ,Carmine referred to the 6 notes exercise as the 6 magic notes.
Sincerely,
Wayne
http://communities.msn.com/TragerTrumpetTalk
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EBjazz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. I think I'm starting to get the "modus operendi" as Charlie says. The book itself doesn't really explain how to use the exercises very well. But from reading these posts, I am getting a better understanding of the concepts. Thanks for being so thorough.
My questions begin with ex. 1 which I believe you call the six notes. Charley states;
<1.) Do the Six Notes for a week. Once or twice a day is sufficient.>

It is written with a repeat. Do I do the repeat?
What does "once" mean? This is not clear to me.
I am to breath in through the nose only. But do I have to keep my corners firm throughout the entire exercise. I can relax my corners while keeping the mpc in contact and breath in through my nose.
Somebody was talking a bit about the volumne level that should be played. Suppose you can play the exercise softly. Should it be played softly? Should it be played loud?
Thanks for the insights.
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carmine told me to play the exercises that had no dynamics mandated at whatever the most natural volume was for me. He said some people play them louder or softer. The important thing is to focus on the timing and keep the blow going at whatever volume.

On the SLS or LSL exercises the soft end should be ppp (so soft you almost lose the note) and the loud end should be fff (so loud the sound begins to distort). Carmine said that the only way you expand your dynamic range was by playing softer and louder than you can comfortably play after starting from you mp/mf embouchure setting.

[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2001-12-12 09:31 ]
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quoted:

*** My questions begin with ex. 1 which I believe you call the six notes. Charley states;
<1.) Do the Six Notes for a week. Once or twice a day is sufficient.>

It is written with a repeat. Do I do the repeat? ***

Yes. The exercise is the six notes with one repeat. You should read and follow the instructions exactly, absolutely as written. In this particular example a repeat is marked instead of physically rewriting the six notes and therefore having an additional eleven bars on the page. One student told Carmine he had done 25 repeats. Carmine's response was that it wasn't necessary. He didn't tell him NOT to do it; just that it wasn't necessary.

*** What does "once" mean? This is not clear to me. ***

"Once" means one exercise in its entirety. In its entirety (one complete playing) The Six Notes exercise is actually a 12 note exercise.

*** I am to breath in through the nose only. But do I have to keep my corners firm throughout the entire exercise. I can relax my corners while keeping the mpc in contact and breath in through my nose. ***

Carmine states at the end of Rule #2,

"While breathing, maintain the same mouthpiece pressure and tension used for the previous notes. Do not be concerned with sound or pitch."

So the answer is, "Yes." Think of doing his exercises as if breathing was unnecessary. If you could exhale somehow for 4-5 minutes then nose breathing would be an unnecessary part of the modus operandi (my term, not Carmine's). Because breathing IS necessary, Carmine made nose breathing a part of his method to keep the original setting in place throughout a given exercise and to maintain the lip tension and mouthpiece pressure throughout the exercise. The reason for this is to reduce the moving parts in sound production (for calisthenic practise purposes) to a minimum of one, the blow. Tension is not movement, but going from a relaxed state to a tensed state is. A lot of people mistakenly think that Carmine Caruso was preoccupied with the lips. His whole teaching method was aimed at isolating the air stream, which he called the blow, and developing it. In the grand scheme of sound production, the blow came second only to timing. In private lessons, Carmine had a great deal to say about the lips and what they should be doing. He had extensive lip building exercises and routines to develop the lips to be efficient in sound production. None of this is in his book, but will be presented, over time, in this forum by me and the other knowledgeable posters like Pat Harbison and Wayne Trager.

BY THE WAY, IF I MAKE NO COMMENT ON THE POSTS OF PAT AND WAYNE, IT SHOULD BE INTERPRETED TO MEAN THAT I AM IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT WITH WHAT THEY HAVE SAID. Both teachers should be applauded for taking the time to share their knowledge and experiences and I, for one, am grateful that they are willing to post in this forum. I'm also happy to be gaining new insights from their posts.

*** Somebody was talking a bit about the volumne level that should be played. Suppose you can play the exercise softly. Should it be played softly? Should it be played loud?
Thanks for the insights. ***

The exercises should be played at your most comfortable volume level. This, of course, does not apply to the SLS and LSL exercises. But for all others, play at YOUR comfort level. This will likely be different than someone else's and so different students may have different absolute volume levels. It is unnecessary to introduce any kind of dynamics into the exercises. Dynamics are addressed in the SLS and LSL routines.

I am unable to find any statement in Carmine's book that addresses the volume level of non SLS/LSL exercises. So a good point has been raised. If this is an oversight by Carmine then hopefully this thread has clarified that shortcoming.

Regards,

Charles Raymond



[ This Message was edited by: bugleboy on 2001-12-12 12:58 ]
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Redhothorn
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am very glad to have a person explaining this book and Mr. Caruso's philosophies. I see many parallels to the sport of powerlifting. You can actually develop a strong deadlift or squat never actually doing those particular exercises. I have no problem understanding the concept that these exercises are pure "isometric" exercises and not necessarily supposed to be "musical." Its nice to see old paradigms getting shattered. The embochure is a set of muscles that need to be worked and developed. I am going to begin following the advice here and trying to use my Caruso method book.

One question Bugle Boy ... if I am on a set time schedule (don't have alot of time to practice period) ... what do you suggest ? Maybe Caruso twice per day with some Clarke Technical Studies thrown in? Thanks.

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[ This Message was edited by: redhothorn on 2001-12-13 22:24 ]
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty,

If your practise time is limited to an hour a day then I would split it 30/30, Caruso and other stuff. You can't do much better than the Clarke book, but you would want to work in some scale and chord studies and some kind of etude book.

If you're not playing a gig, you need to have some music oriented stuff (like etudes) to let your chops get a chance to start using what they will be learning by doing the Caruso calisthenics.

Regards,

Charles Raymond
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Wtrager
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2001 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"One student told Carmine he had done 25 repeats. Carmine's response was that it wasn't necessary. He didn't tell him NOT to do it; just that it wasn't necessary."

Charly,
Thanks for stirring up some very dear memories. My father and I were at that lesson. The student was Victor Paz, who at the time was playing lead trumpet on the Dick Cavett Show (ABC). Victor told Carmine that he had played the 6 notes 50 times in a row (with the 6 notes being repeated that would amount to playing the exercise 25 times).
Carmine smiled and said, "That's not neccessary", and then stared in my direction, knowing full well that I would go home and try doing this same routine.
sincerely,
Wayne
http://communities.msn.com/TragerTrumpetTalk

[ This Message was edited by: bugleboy on 2002-10-30 12:05 ]
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brnt99
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2001 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a newbie checking things out. I have been doing the six notes exercise and I am seeing results.It seems logical to me that as one strengthens the lips that he should expand the six notes exercise upwards.So why didn't Caruso suggest this.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2001 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He does. You need to get a copy of "Musical Calisthenics For Brass."
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natchezz
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm starting my 6th week and I can play two notes higher in practice than before. Also, my upper range before the beginning is way more solid now. I have never experienced results like this using other methods!

My question - I'm adding the D3 to the harmonic scale exercise. Should I finger that set as 123?
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I understand this question correctly, you are adding the next harmonic after high C, which is D3. The fingering would be kept the same as the C3, open.

Did I miss the meaning of the question?
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natchezz
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2002 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm referring to exercise 4 on page 12. You say to add the D3. There are currently 7 play measures. After adding the D3, are there still 7 play measures? Are you taking the first one and turning the ending C3 into a quarter note and adding the D3 as a whole note for the new ending? Hope I have asked better this time.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2002 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirk,

Yes. The high C becomes a quarter note and the D that you add is a whole note. The number of measures with notes stays at seven. The next harmonic scale, the one played with second valve, has last note become a high C#, and it is held for four beats, the same as the High D. Each harmonic scale has the next harmonic in that scale added as whole note.

Regards,

Charly
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Goldenchops55
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2002 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am on week 3 of MCFB and the results are amazing. I hit a nice F over High C, Tuesday night during the Seconds study! Anyway, today I added the thirds. When doing the thirds, should I do the 6 note study, then seconds, then thirds, then wait 15 minutes and repeat the seconds and thirds again? I am a bit confused on exactly what order and how close together they should be practiced. Thanks.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2002 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do the Six Notes, Seconds and Thirds, one after the other with a 5-15 second break in between. You will remove the mouthpiece and start each exercise as a separate exercise. At this time proceed with your normal practice schedule. If you want to do the Caruso stuff again in the same day, wait a few hours. It would be unnecessary to do it more than twice a day.
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dales
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2002 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. Using your routine, I'd read it as: do the Six Notes, do the Seconds, wait 10 seconds and pick up where you left off in the Seconds, wait fifteen minutes, do the Seconds (without the 10 second break and resumption), do the Thirds, proceed.

[ This Message was edited by: dales on 2002-03-16 10:35 ]
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dales
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2002 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After some false starts, I've reached the end of my third week doing Charly's routine daily. During the second week, I started using it as my warmup instead of my second session of the day. It was hard at first to accept the idea of disregarding sound and feel, but when I saw Jeff Smiley's method discussed here on TH as also using exercises that don't necessarily sound or feel good but have corrective effects, I decided to give the Caruso routine a try. Because you don't have to change your regular routine, it has a low entry cost.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dales,

"I'd read it as: do the Six Notes, do the Seconds, wait 10 seconds and pick up where you left off in the Seconds, wait fifteen minutes, do the Seconds (without the 10 second break and resumption), do the Thirds, proceed."

Instead of trying to answer this, I will start over. I hope this will be clearer.

My original practice routine as given to me by Carmine Caruso.

1. Six Notes .......... wait about 10-15 seconds at end of exercise
2. Seconds (this exercise will have a second blow as part of the exercise)
........... again wait about 10 -15 seconds at end of exercise
3. Thirds .............wait about 10-15 seconds
4. Harmonics .......wait about 10-15 seconds at end of exercise

Continue on with Caruso exercises until you have been playing for 20 minutes. After playing for 20 minutes, rest 20 minutes and continue with Caruso material that has not been played yet for another 20 minutes. Proceed in this manner until all Caruso material has been played once. At this time practice non Caruso material: Arban, Clarke, etudes, scales, etc. It is not necessary to do the Caruso exercises more than once a day. If you choose to do them more than once, it would probably be more in your interest to have a long period of rest (several hours) between repetitions. Mr. Caruso had an approach to the Clarke, Baermann and Schlossberg books. He also preferred the Laurent etudes books and used the Bower rhythm book. When all of these books become an integral part of daily practice, PLUS the Caruso book exercises, the student will have several hours of practice regimen a day if he is scheduling it 20/20, i.e., 20 mins practice and 20 mins rest.

A few times a day, play a low F#, pppp, and hold as long as possible or 40 counts at mm 1/4 note = 60 (40 seconds), whichever comes first. Each time that you do this exercise, play the low F# with 4 repeats (total of 5 times) employing the Four Rules.

Regards,

CR
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