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Starting to Practice the Systematic Approach



 
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2Dex2
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Joined: 27 Jun 2019
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Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:36 pm    Post subject: Starting to Practice the Systematic Approach Reply with quote

I recently started working through Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach to Daily Practice. I have worked through lesson one, and I am currently practicing lesson two daily.

Besides the instructions that Claude wrote in the book, does anyone have other useful advice for practicing the Systematic Approach? The material in the book about breathing has been very useful so far. In general, I play much better when I breathe as Claude instructed. Also, has anyone gone through the book? And if so, what are your thoughts on its effectiveness in improving sound, flexibility, articulation, range, etc?

Furthermore, is the book Hit it Hard & Wish it Well meant to be used in unison with the Systematic Approach, or is it another option to use Claude's teachings in practice?

I would highly appreciate anyone's thoughts on Claude Gordon and his pedagogy.[/i]
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I would highly appreciate anyone's thoughts on Claude Gordon and his pedagogy.


I have found Claude Gordon's books to be very useful. I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you take at least a few lessons from one of Claude's former students -- Bruce Haag, Jeff Purtle, John Mohan, Matt Graves, etc. -- to help you understand and get the most out of Claude's approach.

Regarding Systematic Approach specifically, those first few lessons can kick start improvements to range, flexibility, endurance and sound quality. Then as you get into lesson four and beyond you'll start to add technical studies and see improvements in areas like finger dexterity, articulation and tonguing.

If you are working with one of Claude's students you'll probably get into Daily Trumpet Routines pretty quickly as well. More good stuff there on articulation and tonguing, chords, etc. Thirty Velocity Studies is along the lines of Clarke's Technical Studies, but they include pedal tones. Fun challenge. Tongue Level Exercises is a flexibility studies book. Pedal tones are worked into some of the exercises, which are a good follow on to Smith and Irons.

Good luck!
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Trumpet Herald and in particular, welcome to the Claude Gordon forum!

Here's a few suggestions regarding Systematic Approach and the CG Method in general:

If you attempt to use Systematic Approach exactly as written, including the assigned material from other books, stay on each lesson for at least two weeks (perhaps even three as you get into the more intense lessons). Claude built up the material fairly fast in the book (he wrote it during the late 1950's early in his teaching career and as he became more experienced he tended to add material to students' routines at a slower, more conservative rate).

On the Part One exercises throughout Systematic Approach be sure to really blow until empty and then try to make a crescendo on the note as you run out of air (the note won't actually get louder as you are running out of air - the point is to really work the blowing muscles). Play these in a full, comfortable volume (not blasting). The point isn't to see how long you can make the last notes, the point is to get the air out and then work the blowing muscles at the end when running out of air.

Only hold the last notes of the Part Two exercises (the high notes) for a short hold, about 3 or 4 beats, just long enough to make a crescendo on the note.

As the book says, when you get to the highest arpeggio you can play on the Part Two exercises, make no more than three attempts (I actually suggest to my students that two attempts is enough if one is at the top of one's personal range). The Part Two exercises throughout the book are as much (or maybe even more) about gaining the "knack" or "feel" of the high notes as they are about developing strength. You'll gain that feel for the high notes as you approach the highest exercise you can play (it's not about making some "personal best" each day). This is important: When you make that last attempt at the highest exercise you can play, even if you can't reach the final high note at the end of the exercise, make sure you get a note, even if it is a step or two below the note you are attempting. This way, you end on a real note, and not just an "air-ball" or a completely missed note. This makes sure your lips are vibrating and you are playing a correct note even if it is not the note you are aiming for.

Regarding Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing: This is a fantastic text (with some illustrations) book that actually explains everything one needs to know about brass playing, and every brass player should have it, read it, and study it. It's just 35 pages long, but those pages are filled with a wealth of information.

Claude Gordon is the person most responsible for my having a great career as a professional trumpet player. I take credit for doing the work, but without his guidance teaching me "how, what and when to practice" I couldn't have done it.

Cheers,

John Mohan
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2Dex2
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you John and Dayton. Your advice is very helpful!

Even now, I feel much better playing the trumpet after I have practiced one of Claude's lessons. His idea of "building a strong foundation" is helping me a lot. Especially getting the right feel for all of the notes on the horn.
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Jeff_Purtle
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My ebook is meant to be a compliment to all the other mentioned books. I would say it’s a more expanded version of Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing by Claude. It contains all the DVD video by Claude previously for sale. I have written permission to use the video and was the only person Patty Gordon or her son Eric Swanson allowed to sell the video. What I did with the video for my ebook was adjust the color in Final Cut Pro X and add more modern lower 3rds and break it into smaller segments that coincide with the text I wrote in my ebook.

The content I wrote was designed to add a little more detail with some clearer illustrations and I added a chapter on practice routines that Harry Kim said was his favorite part of the book. I almost left that out until he said he liked it so much. I tried to list various method books and explain how to use them with the philosophy of Claude Gordon.

What you have to realize is that there is no set Claude Gordon routine and that the method really comes alive when an experienced teacher personalizes it for you. This is one of the reasons that Claude mentions “with personal use” in his certified teaching course, which I did with Claude. Claude wouldn’t allow but a few of his students to even take that course with him. Patry later sent the videos to others but in our classes with Claude he wanted to question each person in the class in front of the others so we knew why we would do certain things with certain problems. He also wanted to know that everyone in the class were beyond certain issues in their playing and certain issues with worrying about equipment or their lip or other stuff that sidetracks so many people.

Years ago I first created my site out of frustration with other info about Claude that was on the internet and contrary to what he said. I didn’t want to name names or call anyone out on anything because it is Claude that really figured it out. Just try to understand what he said and forget about nonsense that even some of his students get side tracked with. If you are discerning you can figure it out for yourself. Anyone that really has remained faithful to Claude’s teaching won’t have issues no matter what’s happened to them. I have gone through an embouchure change with Claude and dealt with replacing a crown on my fro t tooth and never had any issues in my playing since starting with Claude in 1984. It works! You don’t need something else to add to it. Stay focused on the central points he made. Secondary things will fall into place once the primary items are addressed.

My ebook has been for that purpose. I intentionally limited things so it only clarified what matters most.

I will have a booth at the 2019 ITG Conference in Miami. Please visit my booth. I will have a 43” 4K TV with a looped video of my ebook and an iPad that you can use to flip through the book at your own pace. I have a few limited times to do some private lessons while there. I will be staying at the event location. Contact me if you are interested in that. At least we can talk informally with brief conversation at the booth. My goal is to help as many people as possible and enjoy the event.

Harry Kim will be there with me and hanging out and attending various sessions. It should be a fun relaxed event.

My email and cell are the easiest way to reach me.

Jeff
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gwood66
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Joined: 05 Jan 2016
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Location: South of Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have taken lessons from John and own Jeff's book. I recommend both if you want to get the most out of the method and understand the Claude Gordon approach to trumpet playing.
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JorgePD
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Location: Lake Worth, FL

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I started playing again after a 40-year layoff I did a considerable amount of research on the different well known pedagogies. I spent a year trying different things and found Claude Gordon’s method to be the best fit for me. It’s very close to the way my high school trumpet teacher, Jack Pinto, taught and my progress with him was tremendous. So I know this method works.

I would also recommend taking lessons with one of Claude’s students. I’ve been taking Skype lessons with Bruce Haag for 5 months and I’ve had great improvement in all aspects of my playing. Having someone monitoring your progress and customizing your practice routine accordingly makes all the difference in the world. Bruce is a great teacher and I’ve read great things about John and Jeff, so I think working with any of them would be very beneficial.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Jeff's book Hit It Hard and Wish It Well:

GET THE BOOK. I think it is fantastic. Jeff takes full advantage of the e-book format and has placed a vast wealth of media and other resources into it that can be accessed as desired.

Sincerely,

John Mohan
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Trumpet Player, Clinician & Teacher
1st Trpt for Cats, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Evita, Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Grease, The Producers, Addams Family, Color Purple, In the Heights, etc.
Ex LA Studio Musician
16 Year Claude Gordon Student
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vwag
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

100% on board with John’s insights, they have helped me a ton.
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