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Wayne Bergeron Masterclass in Arizona



 
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Derek Reaban
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Joined: 08 Jul 2003
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Location: Tempe, Arizona

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:07 am    Post subject: Wayne Bergeron Masterclass in Arizona Reply with quote

I attended the Wayne Bergeron masterclass this evening at the Chandler Gilbert Community College hosted by Randy Wright. What a fantastic facility they have! I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This class was scheduled from 6:30 – 7:30 PM, and the time just flew by. I wish he would have had a 2 hour block so that he could have fielded some questions from the audience, but he certainly covered a lot of important material in the time that he had.

I had read through the ITG Interview with Wayne Bergeron prior to going to the class so that I would be prepared to ask some good questions. He covered some of the information that John Almeida discussed with him in the interview and then he went on to share a number of other revealing stories in a way that really drew in the audience.

He said when he was in Jr. High he was studying trumpet with his band director who was a really fine working trumpet player. He said this was about the time that he had discovered the recordings of Maynard Ferguson and Bill Chase and his trumpet instructor was always trying to introduce new music and players to him (with little success). Then his instructor played a recording of “A Taste of Honey” with Harry James for him and Wayne said, “This is stuff that my Mom listens to. Why would I want to listen to this?” Then when Harry James reached the cadenza at the end, Wayne said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing (that great high range). At that point he said, “Harry is in the club!” (meaning that he had a new player that he had gained great respect for and he was up there with Chase and Maynard). His instructor saw how appealing to his interest in great high note players had worked and then played a recording of Hot Canary by Maurice Andre. Yep! Another player made it into Wayne’s club! That’s a true instructor, finding a way to introduce new information in a way that the student will relate to immediately!

The story that really impressed me was when he told about playing a studio date early in his career. It was a multiple day session and he was playing 3rd trumpet (in a section loaded with impeccable players). On the third day, the other players on the job said, you’ll be playing the 1st part today. Wayne thought it was probably something that had a lead line that played to his strengths, and when he looked at the part it was a tune called “Lonely”. There was a brief string intro and then a soft, delicate entrance. During the masterclass, he modeled what he sounded like the first time he played it in the studio: an airball that finally responded in sound. The director stopped him and said, “Let’s try that again”. Then Wayne thought, “I’ll start this a little louder so that it will respond immediately”. The director stopped immediately and said, “That needs to be at least a quarter as loud as you just played it”. Wayne tried it a third time, and the director said, “Well, that’s better but can you play it even softer and with more of a classical sound”. With 80 string players looking right at him at this point he said, “Sure! And then he passed the part to Malcolm McNab!”

That got a good laugh! Then he went on to describe the lessons that he began taking with Boyde Hood, Malcolm McNab, and Uan Rasey to address response and soft playing so that he could become a more versatile player. That’s what really defines the great players. They’re always looking for ways to improve every aspect of their toolkit.

He said that Uan was the first person to ever talk with him about the aperture and how it must be like a pin hole when playing extremely softly. As he was describing his lesson to us, Wayne took out his tuning slide and mentioned that he always starts out his playing day on the mouthpiece / leadpipe combination with breath attacks which greatly improved his response and encourages a much smaller aperture.

He also commented that once this response is happening the overall character of the sound changes, and if you approach playing in this way, you can move from smaller equipment to larger equipment (mouthpiece) and there will be more overtone content and more colors available to the player. When he played that line from the studio session that had given him troubles years before, it was just impeccable playing!

When he talked about his lessons with Boyde Hood, he mentioned that he was doing a lot of mouthpiece buzzing and doing the James Stamp routine. He said that he would do 20 minutes of mouthpiece buzzing alone and then when he went to the horn, he felt like he wasn’t really warmed up. Then he commented that his buzz was just too loud to relate to the horn (it was as if he was trying to blow the end of the mouthpiece off). When he backed off on the volume, and found a way to relate the buzz to his actual playing, he discovered that he could get a much better sound when not forcing the vibration. Then he demonstrated the same thing that I’ve seen in many classes where he stared with the mouthpiece out of the horn, just blowing air through the mouthpiece while inserting the mouthpiece into the horn, and once the mouthpiece was in, the sound simply started without there being a “buzz”. It was the feedback from the horn that started the sound. He commented that this sound clearly is the better of two sounds.

He talked briefly about the breathing lessons that he took with Bobby Shew and said that you engage the rectus abdomimis muscle by pulling the navel in. The point is to concentrate the energy here. He went on to say that when he worked side by side with George Graham he was just amazed at how great George’s endurance was. George told Wayne that he would always play 100 percent musically, but only about 75 percent power wise, and this backing off of the sound didn’t result in any decrease in the volume, and actually improved the quality of the sound. This was a significant benefit to endurance and was what allowed him to remain strong for the entire job.

I also liked the fact that he singled out Jon Lewis and said that his sound was so clear and impeccable and then he said that Doc Severensen had the greatest trumpet sound of all time. It’s nice to hear who some of Wayne’s personal sound models are. He mentioned studying concepts from Maggio, Stamp, Claude Gordon, Bill Adam, and Caruso, taking the aspects of each that made sense for him (finding more similarities than differences).

After the class, I talked with a few players in the audience that I knew and I met Paul from TH (nice to put a face together with the screen name). Then I headed up to the stage to talk with my friend who plays the lead trumpet book with the CGCC Jazz Band (they were setting up for their rehearsal with Wayne). We work together at Honeywell and this is the first time that I’ve heard him play (nice group!). The band did a piece by themselves while Wayne was getting set up, and Wayne came out in the hall to hear the balance of the group. Then Wayne went up and joined them. All I can say is WOW! His sound is amazing live. I was sitting in the middle of the hall and then moved to the back to get a feel for the room. His lead sound was just like on his recordings and his jazz playing was really good too.

I’m glad that I had the opportunity to hear him. I had some really good questions prepared for him, but time didn’t allow for this. Maybe next time!

I also liked the Monette valve buttons that he had on his Yamaha. They were really good looking (I might have to get a set of those someday just for fun).

He’s playing a concert tomorrow evening at CGCC, and I’m sure it will be great! If you happen to be in the Phoenix metro area, this would be a good one to attend.
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest


Last edited by Derek Reaban on Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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healey.cj
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by healey.cj on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Yamahaguy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff, Derek. I'm also glad to hear he mentioned Doc...he's
my hero. Talk about a sound to emulate- can't go wrong there!
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here’s the link to the masterclass that Wayne gave at the ITG conference last year (just to give some more details of what he talks about in these sessions).
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Derek Reaban
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LaBestia
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the great post!

I have a question for you. After he moves into the horn with his mouthpiece(while he is blowin thru it) what does he actually?

In the past I have done this routine while buzzing on the mouthpiece and found it started me off a little on the tight side.

Tonight I tried going in the way you described and then playing middle c, g, and low c and it felt really good on the chops.

Thanks!
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In the past I have done this routine while buzzing on the mouthpiece and found it started me off a little on the tight side.

Tonight I tried going in the way you described and then playing middle c, g, and low c and it felt really good on the chops.


I’m glad you tried this and found some positive benefits. It’s an important concept that has been discussed in great detail by many really fine players.

This is something that I wrote related to a masterclass that I attended several years ago with the same demonstration Wayne discussed (except this time Allen Vizzutti showed the concept):

Quote:

With the tuning slide removed from the instrument, he blew into the 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 think the important thing to take away from this demonstration is that sound production doesn't necessarily need to follow the preconceived idea that the lips need to be buzzing to initiate the sound. If you allow the lips to respond to the horn, and start to vibrate based on the feedback from the instrument, the quality of the sound is going to be different than if you begin the note by starting with a buzz.

In the article entitled Basics for Beginning Brass by Allen Vizzutti, he discusses this in more detail: Vizzutti Article (If you haven’t read it, I would suggest spending a few minutes to click on this link). It’s a different approach to sound production, but it's one that deserves discussion because this is NOT the preconceived way that most players perceive the instrument to work. The tone quality that I personally want to achieve is through this specific approach to sound production.

The way that I see it, everyone comes to a fork in the road. One way points to buzzing the lips to produce the sound, and the other encourages allowing the column of air to begin vibrating the lips. Once I accepted this (alternative) idea, I was free to ask many more questions and explore this path (that I know many of the players that I admire are also traveling along). It's not about right or wrong, but for me it certainly was important to choose the path that I knew would point me in the same direction as those that I admire.

There’s other good stuff in this link.

Hope this helps.
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Derek Reaban
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LaBestia
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you again for the great posts and links!

Derek, with all the research you have done into the concept of resonance, I was wondering if any these great players/teachers
advocate Loud Practicing(as in FFFF). My understanding is that the great Mel Broiles liked to have his students practice alot at this volume . I am currently working out of the Anthony Plogs books and his last volume also deals with practicing at FFFF as part of your routine. Plogs suggests that as you increse the level of your FFFF sound(to the point of calpse), then you consequently increase your natural playing dynamics as a result.

Thanks again!
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With respect to FFFF practice, I would certainly be careful. While exploring the extremes and testing them is extremely important for growth as a player, I’m guessing that “a lot of practicing at this dynamic level” could be problematic. Crushing the sound can occur very easily, and if you spend a lot of time doing this, that may become your baseline. Peter Bond has made some comments related to this and I respect his opinion.

Wayne specifically commented that soft responsive playing was extremely difficult for him as a younger player based on this approach to sound production.

I think many students forget that playing loud must be done with a quality sound. In this way FFFF practice seems to be a danger zone, especially if done for more that just a few minutes a day.

Chris Gekker talks about an intelligent approach to loud practice that I think would be helpful for you to read in his Notes on Practice:

Quote:
For playing the big romantic and 20th century works, we need to build up our tolerance for playing at full volume. This loud playing should be as relaxed as possible so the tone will be warm and without strain. This relaxation can be achieved by pushing back our barriers of volume farther than we would ever be asked to play. Then we can perform within a zone of relative comfort.

I suggest 3-4 20 minute sessions a week, similar to the dynamic contrast routine described later. Avoid all-out sessions on consecutive days, if possible. You may benefit for a while, but remember that no muscle in our body responds well over an extended time to high-intensity demands on a daily basis - some kind of breakdown is inevitable. Balance the loud practice with soft playing as shown. Realize that significant results from this kind of program will take six weeks or so, at least.

Dynamic contrast practice, using excerpts.

A. Soft - warm up with Schlossberg #18, sotto voce, legato tongue, very slow. Then soft passages from La Mer, Fetes, Shostakovich Symphony No. 1, and Piano Concerto No. I (2nd mov't).

B. Loud - warm up with Schlossberg #30, building volume throughout. Then loud passages from Ein Heldenleben, Lohengrin, Mahler Symphony No. 5.

Use both Bb and C trumpets for all excerpts, when possible.



I would be very interested in reading other’s ideas on this, but I think a little bit of loud playing goes a long way. Don’t over do it.
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