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Lesson with Paul Butcher



 
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Trptbenge
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Joined: 15 Feb 2002
Posts: 2376
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many people that are familiar with GR Technology Mpc's have probably seen the listing of the Paul Butcher Model. But who is Paul Butcher. He is a friend of Gary Radtke and a former studio musician in Nashville. He has also toured with groups such as "Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass" - among others. A few years ago he and his wife moved to Florida where he plays gigs, gives lessons and teaches part-time at SE College in Lakeland Florida. His father was the professor of Trumpet at Univ of Wisconsin and Paul has studied with such teachers as Vincent Cichowicz and Bill Adam. Much of his teaching method is based on Bill Adam's methods. I was introduced to Paul by Gary Radtke last year at the University of Central Florida's Trumpet Day - which was organized by John Almeida. Just as a note Herseth will be at UCF next February 13th to give a Master Class for Trumpet Day.

The lesson: First of all Paul believes that many of the things he has read as being attributed to Mr. Adam are not what he remembers about the time he spent studying with him. However, he does say that Mr. Adam did tailor lessons to the needs of his students. Paul does the same thing. My needs were pretty specific and he focused on my particular needs in the context of the method he teaches.
One of my problems is that I had hit wall on my endurance. No matter what approach I took it wasn't improving and I couldn't figure out why. It wasn't very long that Paul said that I was fighting myself. I was dropping my jaw and pulling back by lips when I brought the horn up. Those two things right there can really affect my endurance. He wanted me to think of saying the letter "M" as described in the introduction to the Irons book. As it turns out this is a much more natural set-up. he also wanted me to use a smaller apperture(sp). Thinking of the letter M and not dropping my jaw helped with this. He had me doing breath attacks - first w/o my tuning slide in the horn and then with it in. Quite frankly, making this change is very hard to do. Old habits are difficult to break. However, when I was able to do it correctly, and it was still spotty at best, I noticed a difference in my flexibilty and sound. Next he noticed that my throat and shoulders were incredibly tense. We worked on relaxing them. He then worked on the placement of my mpc. as it turns out I was using too much pressure and putting most of it on my top lip. He had me think of anchoring the mpc on my lower lip. This will also help increase my endurance. He then gave me some Adam warm-ups to do along with assignments in the irons, Getchell, Clark and Arban books. He also gave me a method to improving my sight reading.

Pauls philosophy is that you don't have to kill yourself by overblowing. By playing more efficiently you can become a better player with more endurance. The results I am already getting have convinced me that this is true. Paul tore a muscle in his lip about 6 years ago and it has changed his approach to playing. I heard him do a glissando from low G below the staff to G above high C without any strain and without his embouchure appearing to change and without overblowing. alot of control.

He has students that study with him from around the country. Besides being a great teacher he is also a really nice, unassuming guy. He is really dedicated to having his students improve. I plan to continue to take lessons from him. I also look forward to continue to improve.

[ This Message was edited by: Trptbenge on 2002-05-30 07:11 ]
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Emb_Enh
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Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 455

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you found a good 'un.

Did Mr.Butcher tell of how he became unfortunate enough to sustain a lip injury?
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[Self Analysis and Diagnostic Trumpet Method]
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Trptbenge
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Joined: 15 Feb 2002
Posts: 2376
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roddy,

Paul said that he had gotten into the habit, especially on the road, of believing the old myth that you have have to blow hard and loud. He was basically abusing his lips. Then when he began having pain and problems he tried to fight through it instead of backing off.
It was only after having lip problems did he realize that there was a more sensible way to approach his playing.

Hopefully, we can all learn from this. I know when I was in high school and college hard and loud was the order of the day.
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_Don Herman
'Chicago School' Forum Moderator


Joined: 11 Nov 2001
Posts: 3344
Location: Monument, CO, USA

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice post! Sure you didn't mean to be in the Adam Forum? (Kidding -- the approaches are darn near identical, or at least very closely related, imho.) Sounds like the start of a beautiful, musical, relationship.

This is about what I'd expect from a good teacher of most any "school"; check the physical first, fix it, then move on to sound. The Chicago school, and I believe Adam, would fix the physical by using the sound as a guide for the student. (I recall stories of Mr. Adam playing "awful" just to guide the student to the proper sound... When the student "got it" and Mr. Adam reverted to his normal sound, the student was blown away by the difference!) Did y'all discuss sound concepts and/or breathing at all?

Two other questions/comments:

(1) Sight reading is something everybody needs to know. My teacher has me trying to sing through, to get pitches and sound concept, then play it the same way. Could you post what's helping you learn to be a better sightreader (seperate post, please).

(2) I'll expect a full report after you've heard from Mr. Herseth!

Sounds like you're off to a great start. Enjoy the journey!

Thanks - Don
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"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music." - Aldous Huxley
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4Him
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Joined: 22 Nov 2001
Posts: 277
Location: Tampa Bay Area

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also have been for a lesson with Paul. I've only been once-- which is in no way a reflection of Paul. He is a great guy and has an amazing story, not to mention his playing ability. I posted the following after my lesson back in April.

On 2002-01-04 19:59, 4Him wrote:
I recently had my first exposure to the Adam approach in a lesson with an Adam student. While the approach is dramatically different from what I have experienced for the past 35 years, it is intuitively meaningful and as someone else said in this thread, "a breath of fresh air..." For what it is worth, following are my impressions and interpretations following my first lesson.

Breathing- deep breath through the nose; this can be done quickly still filling the lungs
Lip Preparation, Mouthpiece Placement and Blowing- the positioning of the lips by articulating the consonant “M” leaves the lips in the appropriate position for playing. Maintain this lip position when the mouthpiece is gently brought to the lips. Keep the lips moist so that the mouthpiece can move around as needed while working to find the “sweet spot”. Begin the air flow by annunciating the “pooh” sound. This is an extremely gentle and free flow of air.
Muscular Tension, Consciousness and Sub-Conscious Conditioning- release the tension in the face, neck, shoulders and chest. For now, this needs to be a conscious effort (I believe in the future this will become a subconscious condition; in fact, it and all other thoughts about playing the trumpet need to become replaced by thoughts about sound and music). Stop thinking about playing trumpet as I know it from experience. From a meta-cognitive perspective, thinking about playing ultimately gets in the way of the music and the sound. Just put the horn to your mouth and blow (as quoted so many times throughout the forum)!
The Nature of the Beast (or the Trumpet) - the horn is engineered to produce notes. Too much blowing creates a “battle” with the natural tendencies of the instrument. (I probably need more information here to expand this train of thought into something more meaningful!)
More on Lips- the bottom lips provide a pillar of support for the mouthpiece. The upper lip should not be stretched thin by muscular tension in the corners thereby stretching the lip thin. More thickness in the upper lip provides more cushion and blood supply. The buzz comes from the soft tissue of the upper lip.
Teaching and Learning- I must become my own teacher with the guidance and coaching of a “kind and compassionate critic/mentor”. Developing through this process will be a function of my own self-observation and discovery along with the direction given by a teacher. Though we did not talk specifically (in the lesson) about this, I believe listening to music is also a critical component to being a musician. I think it helps on two levels. First, listening to great music takes you to the spiritual and emotional place internally where passion is kindled and rekindled. Secondly, it reminds you of what great music sounds like and feels like. For example, when I listen to Miles, I am reminded that there can be a spiritual and emotional connection to every note. When I listen to Winton, I am reminded that technically, it’s all possible. When I listen to Maynard, I am reminded that music can be vibrant and full of high energy.


It was good for me to go back over those notes. Paul is a great guy and I highly recommend him. I need to go back!

Ken
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lowendgruv
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Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a student of Paul Butcher, but I am not a trumpet player. I am a bass player and have been one of Paul's loyal students for three years now. not only does Paul teach brass and bass, but drums, guitar, and keys. The thing is, Paul is an amazing teacher at all of them.

Because of his past, Paul is the most gentle, patient man I know and I am blessed to consider Paul Butcher my mentor.
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