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Lindemann Masterclass in Arizona



 
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Lindemann Masterclass in Arizona Reply with quote

Jens presented a fantastic masterclass this morning. He communicates his ideas extremely well and had a nice structure to his presentation. As always he was lively and engaged the audience with fun stories, a great sense of humor, and a wealth of knowledge. I took good notes, so I’ll do my best to summarize what I learned. Find a comfortable chair because this is a long one!

He began with personal information about where he grew up and how he get involved in music (some luck was involved in giving him a really good start in music – with his Jr. High and High School directors) and really drew everyone in with his story telling style.

I learned that he studied with Dave Hickman at the Banff Center Summer Workshop after his first year in college (where he was in a law program!). This experience at Banff was pivotal for him because it exposed him to great players his own age as well as hearing Dave’s amazing sound up close. He then transferred to McGill and studied with James Thompson (who was Principal with the OSM at the time).

At this point he got excited about playing in the Munich International Trumpet Competition and worked very hard preparing with Jim Thompson. He knew in his heart that he wanted to be a trumpet soloist some day even though he was still very young. When he arrived at the competition he met many French and Asian trumpet players that were used to practicing 5 to 6 hours a day. Jens had never spent this much time playing and didn’t even know it was possible. He felt compelled to step up his time in the practice room (while at the competition) to feel like he was keeping up with the other players.

After about 4 hours in the practice room one day (before the competition), there was a knock on the door. It was Gabriel Casone. He saw the bruising on Jens’ chops and said, “You play too much! No practice today. Come for a cappuccino!” After the cappuccino Jens said, “Now we go back to practice?” Gabriel said, “No! It’s a beautiful day. Let’s take a walk around the lake.” After about an hour and a half Jens says again, “want to go back and practice?” Gabriel said, “No, no! Let’s go for another cappuccino. No play. It’s too much.” After about 5 hours Jens was itching to get back to practicing and Gabriel said, “OK. Now we go back!”

Jens was in the room ready for another big hour and a half practice session, and after about 15 minutes, Gabriel knocked on the door. “OK. That’s enough. No more playing! We go for another cappuccino!”

After we all stopped laughing Jens said, “I didn’t get it. Gabriel was an older player and he got it!” The message that he was telling Jens was that if you don’t know it by now, you don’t know it. Just relax! If you try to play this contest of “I can play higher, faster, or longer than you, you have the trumpet meat-head approach.” Jens ended up going no where in that contest and Gabriel ended up being a finalist.

Jens paid close attention to what he had learned from Gabriel. He went back to Montreal and met with Jim Thompson (who had heard the results of the competition) and he asked Jens, “So? You still want to be a soloist?” At this point Jens told us that Jim Thompson knew he didn’t have a chance and wasn’t going to go anywhere in the competition, but he also said that Jim never told him that he ever doubted his ability.

But here’s the point of his whole story, which is exactly why I love to attend events like this. Jim knew that Jens HAD to go to this competition to see what it was all about. He could have warned Jens about what he was up against, but it wouldn’t have mattered. He had to go through this trial by fire on his own. After this experience he was really ready to work (after surviving a lesson that he couldn’t learn any other way).

I know that I’ve had an experience like this as a player. When I had prepared as well as I was capable of at the time and still had endurance problems making it through a standard orchestral program on the principal book (a community orchestra), I was devastated. Of course, this is exactly the experience that was required for me to start asking the right questions to overcome my many deficiencies related to ease of sound production.

Jens said that after the Munich experience he entered 40 solo competitions over 8 years and he lost almost every single one of them. He said, “You don’t learn anything when you win something! This is just an affirmation that you were the best player on this one day.” Then he said, “You only learn something when you lose. Because losing SUCKS! It hurts.” He followed this with a great discussion and to summarize…Accept what the reality is and don’t shift the blame somewhere else when things don’t go well. Look at yourself and say, “Wow. I really didn’t play well enough. There were so many other players that were better than I was. And then think about all of the great players that you got to hear and learn from them!”

The next story was simply priceless...

After a loss at a competition Jens called his Dad, looking for the voice of comfort and on the other end of the phone he heard (in a strong German accent), "Vell...I guess it vasn’t obvious enough that you vere the vinner. Next time you should practice more and make it obvious. Don’t complain to me! Click..."

Ouch!

But then he alluded to the Olympic snowboarder that threw the showboating move on the way to a gold medal and had to settle for the silver. Take care of business and things will be more effective for you.

Another thing that was significant was that in these 8 years of competitions he always had a deadline and was always preparing literature. I know the four times that I have worked up auditions I have made more progress in my playing than I could imagine was possible.

There is so much more that Jens touched on in this part of his talk. Memorize to set yourself apart from the competition. Getting the horn and your attention out of the stand allows the music to change completely. It’s the human perception of communication with the audience. “Sharing” versus “imposing” the musical message. And on and on…all great info!

I also have to discuss his take on sound production (clearly my favorite topic). He said, “find the perfect point of balance, like a violinist would do on an open string”. He does this on the mouthpiece with breath attacks. He said, “really great trumpet playing has to do with coordination, not strength!”

Basic vibration with breath attacks is a very important component of sound production. Start your morning with this (he commented on how Hakan Hardenberger describes this – see OJ’s site). (Gentle mouthpiece buzzing).

Jens pulled a student up on stage (literally) and asked him to speak in a radio voice (after some great modeling from him). This creates a great posture (drawing the chin in slightly) and helps to develop a resonant chamber. Then Jens demonstrated some arpeggios with his head slightly extended towards the mouthpiece versus the chin brought in slightly (the radio voice posture). This is so similar to the David Krauss superhero pose that I picked up in Denver (great minds think alike!).

He went on to discuss breathing and talked about the “egg breath” (a deep sound on the inhale). He held his whole hand up with his index finger pressed against his lips from his chin up to his nose. He said, “tension is the enemy”. Since Allen Vizzutti was in the room, he commented that when he stands beside Allen he is very aware of the length of the inhale. Where possible, take longer, slower, relaxed breaths. It’s a very good way to diminish tension and harmful nervousness. I’ve found this to be true when I work regularly with my breathing bag.

He came back to breath attacks and said he picked them up from Alain Trudel (a trombone player) several years ago. Jens is a huge proponent of these. He then lay down on the stage and did a breath attack on a high E, pianissimo and stood up with a great sound!

I just loved this analysis of the breath attack and was really impressed with the thought that he has put into this important concept. You remain calm, cool and collected, take a relaxed breath and then “le moment de la vérité” (the moment of truth). The point where you strike the note (ictus) is the moment of truth. Right after that instant you’re back to calm. The only point of true tension is the actual act of striking. It’s a coordinated activity that involves your whole body when you’re playing the trumpet efficently. If you can get really clean breath attacks you’ll be teaching yourself this. You won’t have to rely on the tongue to release the note.

Wow! That’s why I came. What great information.

I asked my typical question (tied in to the voice impressions that Jens did throughout his class - hearing this sound in his head) and I really enjoyed Jens’ response. My question was something like...I always come back to the words of John Hagstrom commenting on the clarity and intensity of the sound in your mind needing to be so strong that it drowns out the sound coming out the bell. Charles Vernon talking about approaching the ideal sound in your mind with the sound that you can currently produce and bringing them closer together. And the words of Arnold Jacobs talking about playing two horns simultaneously, the one in your hands and the one in your head. John talks about immersion to get to this point. Literally bombarding yourself with music until it has penetrated. Jens told me that I need to focus on my musical imagination. I like that idea!

Jens finished his class by inviting his Wife up to the stage and they finished with a solo in the style of Raphael Mendez in line with the theme of the weekend. They both sounded fantastic!



Jens Wife found me afterwards and shared some ideas with me related to my question. What insightful comments she had for me! I am just amazed at what a great couple of days it has been!

This is not even half of what was presented today. I’m sorry I don’t have time to talk about Allen’s class, but it’s after 2 AM and I’m exhausted.

Thanks so much to Dave, Jens, and Allen for a very memorable couple of days of music making and conversation. I can’t think of a better way to spend my vacation!
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Derek Reaban
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Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest


Last edited by Derek Reaban on Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:20 am; edited 3 times in total
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your generosity of spirit and the giving of your valuable time in giving us such a detailed summary of Jen's masterclass, especially for folk on TH who are not able to attend such events.

As always, you are a great asset to this site.

Andrew
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Jim-Wilson
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew said:
Quote:
Thanks for your generosity of spirit and the giving of your valuable time in giving us such a detailed summary of Jen's masterclass, especially for folk on TH who are not able to attend such events.

As always, you are a great asset to this site.

Andrew


Couldn't be said better - but needs to be said many times again.

Jim
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A.N.A.Mendez
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was there for the concert, wish I could have gone the next day. What an event the music was, incredible experience.3 of the best with a truly great symphony.
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trumpetmike
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Derek - although it does make me even sadder that I couldn't get over there

Sounds like you left Jens' masterclass with a great deal of information and food for thought, thanks for feeding us
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pjbtrumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derek,

I was at the master class and you made it feel as though I was there again. Thanks to you I was able to relive all of those great moments.

Thanks for everything.

Paul
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew, Jim, ANA Mendez, Trumpetmike, and Paul,

I'm glad you all enjoyed my thoughts on Jens' class. Here's a little more to finish up the rest of my notes (in the next post).
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things that I experience when I attend masterclasses with really great players is the absolute overload of information that occurs! This same thing happened to me when I listened to David Krauss in Denver and then went right into the Michael Sachs clinic. Too much content! I feel like that Far Side cartoon with the one student who’s head is half as big as everyone else’s. He raises his hand and says, “May I be excused? My brain is full!”

With a few days under my belt to reflect on what I learned, and looking at my notes, there are a few other things that are worth sharing. I have two more thoughts from the Lindemann masterclass and a couple of things from Allen Vizzutti’s class. I’ve also included some pictures that my friend Tim Moke took.

This is a topic that I have written about in quite a bit of detail myself, so I just enjoyed the slant the Jens presented. The word the struck me about this concept was the fact that he chose the word Irony to begin the discussion.

He said that it is ironic that we have to learn to take a really full, open breath on the trumpet, when the fact of the matter is that we don’t really use that much air to play the instrument. A simple way to convey this idea to students, especially if they are ascending in register – even if it’s just a G on top of the staff where they start to push and fight against the instrument. He said to show them this...

Take the tuning slide out of the instrument and put one tube back in so that the other side of the tube is pointing back towards them. Play four of five ascending notes (C, C, G, C, E). There’s a lot of air coming out of the pipe on the lower notes, but by the time you get to the 4th or 5th note, there’s hardly any air moving through the pipe. With that simple visualization, it will start to dawn on the student that they don’t actually have to blow so hard. It seems that with their enthusiasm to make something happen, they’re overworking (or overblowing). This example is a tangible way to simplify the process of relaxing the body for better results in the process of sound production.



During the Vizzutti masterclass, he brought up a similar concept related to the leadpipe. He said that he picked this up from Anthony Plog. With the tuning slide removed from the instrument, he blew into mouthpiece (no vibration), and then slowly inserted the mouthpiece into the leadpipe as he continued to blow. When the mouthpiece was fully inserted, the pipe began to buzz. He took the mouthpiece slowly back out of the leadpipe and there was no buzz, only air. This is the idea that the lips don’t play the horn, the horn plays the lips. I like it when players that I respect describe sound production in this way.

After the question that I asked about hearing the sound in your head clearly before you play, Jens recalled the first time that he heard Phil Smith (Jens said he was 13 years old). He said that Phil played a cornet solo at one of his school functions, and Jens said, it sounded something like this...

I was amazed at how I was transported back to that school function. Jens’ conception of Phil’s sound was so strong that he said he could remember it in vivid detail. He couldn’t recall the name of the solo that he played the phrase from, but it didn’t matter. The sound image was etched in his mind with clarity and intensity. Really cool!

During the Vizzutti class, Allen was speaking and said, "who was the person that asked the question about musical imagination?" I raised my hand and he wanted to follow up on this question. He said that many players will not be intently aware of the sound that they are producing. We must all really focus in and listen in great detail to our sound. This next idea was very interesting. He played a G in the staff for about 10 seconds and said, "I hear a least three elements in that sound. There is a white noise element, a sine wave (the pure quality of the sound), and something that’s human in there – that’s moving. If you start to really listen to those elements, then with the goal in mind that you have set for yourself (the imitation of a great sound model) and your musical imagination you can begin to move incrementally closer to this goal".

My notes started getting really thin at this point, but this last thought was fascinating to me. Allen said that he had traveled to Japan many times over the years. He said that the Japanese language is very percussive in nature (requiring little air flow) and languages like English and the romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish) are "smooshy", where everything runs together, requiring constant air flow. He said that he has had many Asian students that have had challenges with sound production due to this ingrained approach to language.

I hope I get this example right. He said that the present tense versus the past tense in Japanese is developed at the end of their words. Here are two words and the way that they sound in Japanese (my apologizes if I got too many syllables in here!):

Born: aTataKati

Was born: aTataKaTaka

Then he said that he asked people randomly on the street if they could say, TKTK TKTK TKTK T and TTKTTK TTKTTK TTKTTK T at an extremely fast tempo. Everyone could do it. No problem!


The opening to Vizzutti’s class just floored everyone (an incredible version of Carnival of Venice that was beyond belief). It was a clear case of shock and awe! These are my last thoughts on the classes. Great stuff!


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Last edited by Derek Reaban on Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bob Parks
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments about Allen Vizzuti's sound concepts. I don't understand the "white noise" concept too much as it applies to trumpet playing. I guess trumpet sounds like that when you put a straight mute in and try to pop it out like a winecork with your own air support while playing as loud as possible (I've done this).

I do know that there is kind of a shwoopsh!!!!! in the sound especially on those high notes. I hear it a lot with Doc Severensign, May Nerd, and those guys more than orchestra players. Sometimes you hear that too with orchestra players that are going for it!!!!!! I like that!!!!

I wish that there was more of a chance to experience Vizutti's sound. It seems like he's always going so fast I don't get a chance!!!! The Carnaval of Vienus (his version) is my example. You know what I mean?

There is a lot to learn here. I think most players are born with a sound and that they will talk about it in abstract terms because they don't know how it is that they produce their sound, exactly.

I also don't undertand the part of the sound that is moving. Isn't the WHOLE sound moving? If part of it is moving what part of it is staying still? My dad's physics book says that sound waves move through the air. What part of sound isn't moving? If its not moving how will I hear it?

I really like talking about sound since it helps me get to that place that I want to be (my happy place!!!!). Thanks for the great post and I look forward to some gainful dicscourse!

GOD BLESS MASTERCLASSES!!!!!!!

BOB

1 Samuel 1:12

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swingintrpt
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derek -

Dude...Thanks! That was some VERY good writing about what was obviously an excellent pair of classes. It's now 2:38 in the morning, and I'm NOT writing my English paper, and I'm wishing I had no roommates and could get out the mpc. and the horns. THANKS!
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob,

The whole idea about musical imagination related to sound is to get us to be more detailed in way that we perceive sounds. I’m convinced that some players do this more easily than others, but the best players have learned to use their imagination to explore things that others have never imagined possible.

James Thompson at Eastman talks about sound begin comprised of many different components. These include tone, attack, note length, volume, vibrato, intensity, releases, etc. The sound of a player is a unique representation of what that player does with each of these components based on the music that they are hearing in their mind.

Now, with more imagination, you can look at the tone by itself. This is where Allen commented on the three things that he heard in his "sound" (I would call this tone). I’ve done lots of reading about this topic (to enhance my imagination), and I think that terms that you may have heard related to tone include core, periphery, and color. Core would line up with "sine wave" and periphery (what's happening around the core, sometimes called spread) would be the "white noise". It’s entirely possible that I missed something in Allen’s class (the color component), because when he talks about the human quality or moving element to the sound, I think of brilliance, vibrancy, and resonance.

This is the quality related to freedom from tension and pure connection with the instrument. Your mind guides you to this sound. You can never arrive at this sound by forcing or trying hard. You simply must “let” it happen.

Imagination is very powerful!
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MrV
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read this before but thanks for adding the link from your other post to this to remind me to read it again.

--MrV
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JoeCool
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang. I'm going to be in AZ next week and thought I might be able to attend...
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trpt.hick
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The classes above happened 4 years ago!
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This just gives fact to the theory that trumpet players are always late.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpt.hick wrote:
The classes above happened 4 years ago!


I realize that hence the mad face thingy. I opened this thread optimistically...
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vin DiBona wrote:
This just gives fact to the theory that trumpet players are always late.


Speak for yourself...
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