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Pandolfi part two?

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Monster Oil
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Joined: 16 Sep 2014
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Location: New London, CT

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: Pandolfi part two? Reply with quote

So it seems as though our Pandolfi Brass Chat really struck a nerve with a lot of people. We've had so many questions that we're going to do a part two!

What should we ask him?
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Location: Beavercreek, OH

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed part 1. A lot of what he talked about struck home with me reinforcing and honing my my own approach in playing and teaching. (I made it an assignment for my students to watch the Chat.)

How about a follow-up to breathing, speciffically the exhale. Specifically, in regards to a student that may be having tone issues.. without saying "blow more air" (which seems to be a very common band director answer to nearly everthing) what are some other instructions or specific drills that you would use to help move toward better sound?
Bach Trumpet Endorsing Artist
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Last edited by zaferis on Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great news! I thought the first Pandolfi interview was great.

I have two questions I've been wondering about since watching the first video. Maybe his answers to these questions would be useful for others too?

I understand his suggestion to play a second line G, let it float, don't push, and listen for it to hit a point of resonance somewhere during the taper. It seems more likely that I'd find this within a narrow range of volume. How does Mr. Pandolfi suggest I find this focused resonance across a wider range of notes and dynamics? Are there some exercises he recommends to extend this resonance, maybe long tones or something?

I understand his point about filling with air and letting it flow naturally without pushing. But at some point the flow of air out of my lungs will slow down, even before I've run out. Should I push out the remaining air, or refill once I reach this point (even though I still have some air left)?

Of course, I'd listen to anything else Mr. Pandolfi wants to talk about!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I thought it was a fantastic interview. I would really like to see him explain his tone production with a student playing, it was hard to imagine what he was talking about with the whole taper thing. Also, what kind of materials does he use to achieve this tone production practice?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great! That was a wonderful interview with some very interesting perspectives that have caused me to re-evaluate some things in my own playing as well as my teaching.

One of the things that I found interesting was his naming of James Galway and Tomfei Dokshizer as musicians whose sound he admired. Both of these players use vibratos that are certainly faster than the norm and would be frowned upon in most section situation situations these days. I would love to hear him discuss his sound concept in more detail.
Scott Apelgren
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:32 am    Post subject: Fantastic! Reply with quote


I am glad you got that well deserved positive feedback, I found it extremely interesting to hear from him as well! I know so many professional players who he has helped and have heard of his teaching for years. Thank you for doing this, and for doing the follow up! Also thanks for the whole series, you all do a wonderful job with the interviews.

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Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for doing this series. I thoroughly enjoyed this installment and found quite a bit of Mr. Pandolfi's advice relevant to the things I have been working on and it's been very helpful it all from his perspective.

My questions for Jim -

What are the most common ways in which students misunderstand your approach? Maybe a vague question - but I've only recently started to puzzle out how to successfully play 'smaller,' as you put it, without totally closing off - just from incomplete understanding of the concept.

How do you approach teaching range? I don't recall it being mentioned in your first interview.

What was your routine in preparing for auditions, and why do you think you had such consistent success advancing in them?

Thanks so much!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to know more about his eyesight issues, if he is comfortable sharing.
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


This is the first of your interviews that I’ve had a chance to watch. First of all, I have to thank you for the transcription that you provided of the interview. I know how much time it takes to do that work and I chose to read the interview before I watched it. For me, these ideas seem to sink in better when I read them, and it’s a great to have both options available, so thank you.

Ever since I heard David Krauss speak at the ITG conference in Denver in 2004, I’ve been thinking about many of the concepts that Jim Pandolfi talked about in your interview. David’s idea of the Superhero breath ties in so closely with how Jim describes breathing. I’m sold, and it’s great to hear from David’s teacher first hand.

When he talks about a small sound, I immediately thought back to a post on this exact topic: Think Small. In a lesson that I had with Russ Devuyst around 2000-2002 in Montreal, Russ told me that he was looking to develop a smaller sound with more core as opposed to a bigger sound. Hearing Jim talk about this can’t just be a coincidence, and I know that Russ studied with Jim’s father, Nedo Pandolfi. “If you want a big sound, aim small”. I’m wondering if that is what Nedo was teaching. And considering that Nedo studied at NEC in the 1950s, I’m wondering if that is what Marcell Lafosse was teaching. These are just connections that I’m seeing, and would be interested in the background.

The main idea that you highlighted from the interview, that “Playing well is loaded with paradox. It’s a world of opposites” is so true. Getting this idea out there in interviews is really helpful, and the details that Jim provided to support this concept gives everyone an opportunity to see it from his perspective.

I would be interested in Jim’s take on Credit Card tuning. Playing in a section like the Met with great players that all have a “singing sound” but who came at it from different directions. Clearly the sweet spot in the sound is different for different players, and for those “one half of the one percent of the best players in the world, that have “it” “makes for an interesting discussion. Does he go along with the Vincent Cichowicz idea of several “correct” trumpet sounds?

I have a friend who played in that EMF trumpet section in 1977, but studied with Ed Hoffmann instead of Big John, although he had studied with Big John at EMF in 1975. I know that EMF just recently had their 50th anniversary. I think it would be great to list everyone who played in those sections and who the teachers were. Maybe you could ask him more about his time at EMF and how the sections were divided up. I think they typically have 8 players each summer. Who was in the section with him and where did they end up?

There was one other thing that I read that stuck with me. When he was talking about playing in the Taper Zone, and then he said, “where the note really is alive and lives”. There’s only one other person that I’ve heard talk about the sound in this way:

Since the philosophy underlying each of these exercises is continual relaxation, each should be played comfortably, not forced or underplayed, but with a feeling of the resonance in the sound from the beginning – so that the sound “lives”.

Emory Remington

Emory Remington also talked about the conversational breath which lines up with Jim’s concept of breathing, and I’m wondering if he ever studied with Emory Remington or how these ideas found their way into his teaching. Jim was so animated about when the sound “turns to burn, that's a green light”. I’ve known a number of players with this sound, and he certainly captures that excitement in his words!

I know that there are a number of prominent players in the Pandolfi family who have had symphony careers. How did this influence him growing up?

Looking forward to Part II!

Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble / Symphony of the Southwest
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