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A Balanced Approach to Playing


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Nonsense Eliminator
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry --

Certainly, Mr. Adam is a special teacher. I don't expect to ever have the same kind of ability he has to prescribe exactly the right sound to achieve the results he wants. But the essence of his approach is its simplicity, and any successful Adam student comes away with a very strong concept of what constitutes a "good trumpet sound." I might not be able to diagnose or demonstrate precisely the same sound as Mr. Adam would, but even my "normal" sound is going to be pretty close.

I won't attribute this line of reasoning to anything but my own demented brain, but if I'm going to try to deliberately change my sound to address a particular issue with a student, basically I just try to go a little farther in the direction the student needs to go. For instance, it's not uncommon for people to have a sound that's a little tubby and unfocussed. So I make a conscious effort with students like those to play with a sound that's perhaps a bit more brilliant than usual. That aside, though, the most important parts of this method are recognizing and learning to conceptualize a "good trumpet sound" and then really insisting on that sound 100% of the time. There are many Adam students who understand the fundamental concepts well enough to convey them quite well. I don't think any of us would claim to be as effective as Mr. Adam, but as far as I'm concerned even a mediocre copy of a good map is more useful than a perfect copy of a bad one.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Adam tells us that the most important element is common sense. That being said, we must understand that what is being taught is a concept. Once the concept is understood one must use common sense and experience to figure out the best way to convey the concept to the student. As Richard says, it may be best to present a sound model that goes a bit far in the direction the student needs. It may also be best to at first imitate the student then lead them slowly to the goal. When I ask Mr. Adam about a student's specific problem he gives some advice but invariably states that we must come up with our own way of explaining the concept, "do and say whatever you can think of until the kid gets it". Mr. Adam has experimented and learned much over the years and at the age of 90 is still learning. I came up with a way of helping a student be aware of the energy low in the gut and told Mr Adam about it. He thought a few seconds and said, "That should work. I have never thought of it that way". This is an evolutionary thing and that is another reason there can not be a book. As long we as teachers keep an eye on the basic thing Mr. Adam teaches, we should be OK. The problem lies in those who still have a grain of doubt and read too many forums, straying away from the basic message.
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Jerry Freedman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This is an evolutionary thing and that is another reason there can not be a book. As long we as teachers keep an eye on the basic thing Mr. Adam teaches, we should be OK. The problem lies in those who still have a grain of doubt and read too many forums, straying away from the basic message.


Caruso had pretty much the same problem. There is a lot that is not in MCFB. Laurie Frink apparently is carrying the torch but she spent a lot of time with Caruso and she is taking it somewhere alse. The Reinhardt students are doing similar thngs. Without a book, the teachings will eventually mutate. Whether the mutations are beneficial remains to be seen
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amtrumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy B wrote:
I came up with a way of helping a student be aware of the energy low in the gut and told Mr Adam about it. He thought a few seconds and said, "That should work. I have never thought of it that way".


Just out of random curiosity, what way did you come up with? I had a "light bulb moment" about this concept a few weeks ago in a lesson, and I'm trying to find a way to explain the idea to a friend of mine (who thinks the way I got it sounds silly).
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amtrumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry Freedman wrote:
I usually don't read this forum but I was poking around today. I have only one comment. This sounds like a very teacher dependent method. Mr. Adam has an almost mystic perception of trumpet sound and control over his own embouchre so that he can listen to a student, figure out what the issue is, if any, decide how to fix it and come up with a sound ( along with a chop setting to produce it) that will point the student in the right direction. This ( and the Caruso method has similar problems) is almost magic. I am almost certain that Adam could measure the radius of the lake by pacing it off. How does a student of his, a mere mortal, carry on the tradition? Again, I have the same question about Caruso and I bet that Reinhardt, despite his intricate embouchre taxonomy, taught the same way. Buying the Encyclopedia, MCFB or the Adam videos would only be a poor approximation.


I've thought about this some, as a student of two Adam students. Let me start out by saying that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Adam, so everything that I know about him is secondhand. What follows are my own thoughts, based on my experience with his students.

I had a lesson with one of my teachers recently, and he talked about how Adam only gave his students what they needed, so some aspects of his teaching might vary widely from student to student (although the basic approach is the same). He said it was like 5 blind guys trying to describe an elephant, and they're all holding on to a different part. One guy has an ear, and he say's it's thin and papery, but another guy has the leg, and he says it's huge and solid, like a tree trunk. They both have a part of it but no one has the whole thing. Adam's students all have their own experiences with Mr. Adam to use in their teaching but no one of them can teach exactly the way Adam taught.

I don't think this is a problem, though. It seems to me that it would be a problem if a teacher just tried to repeat everything Mr. Adam taught him, because (a) that might not be what a particular student needs, and (b) everyone has a unique personality that will affect his teaching style, so trying to exactly imitate Mr. Adam would be silly and pointless. A good teacher (like Billy B) will be able to experiment and figure out what works for each student- as well as develop his own style- while staying within the framework of Adam's ideas. I am fortunate to have two wonderful teachers, both Adam students. They both teach from that perspective, but their actual teaching is totally different. They have different ways of communicating the same concepts, and they both get results. What separates poor teachers from good teachers and good teachers from great teachers (in any approach, I think) is their ability to combine what they've been taught with their own experience (read: trial and error) and come up with their own way of getting their ideas across.

Regarding the approach being "teacher dependent," I see no problem with that. I trust my teachers.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

amtrumpet wrote:
Billy B wrote:
I came up with a way of helping a student be aware of the energy low in the gut and told Mr Adam about it. He thought a few seconds and said, "That should work. I have never thought of it that way".


Just out of random curiosity, what way did you come up with? I had a "light bulb moment" about this concept a few weeks ago in a lesson, and I'm trying to find a way to explain the idea to a friend of mine (who thinks the way I got it sounds silly).


While sitting, holding a soccer ball between your knees puts just enough firmness in your lower abdomen.
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cshuetva
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy B wrote:
amtrumpet wrote:
Billy B wrote:
I came up with a way of helping a student be aware of the energy low in the gut and told Mr Adam about it. He thought a few seconds and said, "That should work. I have never thought of it that way".


Just out of random curiosity, what way did you come up with? I had a "light bulb moment" about this concept a few weeks ago in a lesson, and I'm trying to find a way to explain the idea to a friend of mine (who thinks the way I got it sounds silly).


While sitting, holding a soccer ball between your knees puts just enough firmness in your lower abdomen.


I agree with you Billy on the firmness of the lower abdomen. This seems similar to the vocal breathing methods which you can feel your lower spine are pushing downwards rather than upwards. If seems many of my brass teachers as I was growing had the wrong concept of breathing which actually caused more tension.
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Viktoras
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:15 am    Post subject: Energetic air Reply with quote

Pat, in the first post of this sticky thread you said that:

"The primary focus is first and foremost on sound and secondly on a free and energetic delivery of the air. "

I can understand that you can work on your sound awareness by listening to great players and imitating them, but how Bill Adam and his students proceed in improving the delivery of air and making it more energetic?
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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


Joined: 26 Nov 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out my response here. http://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1154892#1154892
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