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Progress - Gordon Method is Working


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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:34 am    Post subject: Progress - Gordon Method is Working Reply with quote

Probably nobody in the world cares about this but me, but I felt like telling SOMEBODY, so here it is.

I started on the Claude Gordon curriculum about 18 months ago. At the time, I was a comeback player who hadn't played in decades. I could barely hit a C above the staff. I had no endurance and any note above top line G was a risky proposition.

Until last October I couldn't make time in my schedule to practice every day and rarely ever had the time to practice a full lesson (complete with 15 minute and one hour rest periods). Since October I have had more time and I am starting to see progress. Yesterday, I was able to play the chromatic scale from double high C down to F# below middle C. Now, my double high C does not sound like Wayne Bergeron's DHC, but I hit it and played the chromatic scale down. What a boost to my motivation.

I'm not a lead trumpet player. I'll never play a DHC in a performance, but still, it was a challenge and it felt good to meet it.

More importantly to my playing, my overall tone and endurance are improving. I'm seeing progress. I'm enjoying my playing. The Gordon method is definitely working for me.

Grits
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I most certainly care! A lot!!!

Glad to hear about your progress. Stick with it!

Cheers,

John Mohan
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trumpet.sanity
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heck yeah man!! Glad to hear you're making progress. And that first double C you played?? Just the first of MANY!!

Thanks for sharing, and glad your having success!! Well done sir.
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the encouragement. Only another trumpet player would understand.

Grits
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rcsiletzky
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is great. I used that same method years ago to do the same thing that your are doing. So happy to hear that it is still changing lives

Cheers
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rcsiletzky,

Thanks.

If I had the Claude Gordon method in my younger days, I would have known how to practice and would be a much better player today. Really, I was a little skeptical about learning to play in the high register. I thought that the ability to play above high C was in your DNA. I was surprised to hear that it is a technique that can be learned. I was even more surprised to discover that with the right exercises and enough practice, that even I could learn to do it. The high register isn't something that came naturally to me.

Also, if I had discovered Trumpet Herald earlier, I'd have gone flat broke and gotten divorced over buying all of the horns and toys I have read about.

Grits
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EricV
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to hear of your progress Grits, like you i had a long time off the horn (30 + years) and the CG method makes things happen with regular practice and time.

Its important to learn how to practice correctly, you probably already know of Jeff Purtle who is also in South Carolina like you. He is a certified CG instructor having studied some 10 years with Claude,and it could pay to have a few lessons with him to make sure your on track, i take Skype lessons with Jeff as i am in Australia and they work well. Failing that, his book Hit it hard and Wish it Well is a great investment and gives you all the info you need to develop good practice habits. You can contact Jeff through this forum or email at [email protected]

Hope this is of help, you probably know all about Jeff but maybe not.

Cheers
EricV
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric,

I didn't know that Jeff was in South Carolina. Thanks for the tip.

Grits
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gwood66
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a believer in the Claude Gordon methodology, or at least the way it is taught to me by John Mohan. Greg Purtle's website also has a lot of great information.
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lexluther
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I'm another Purtle student and all I can say is......Hard work, plus dedication, plus CG method, plus a solid instructor..equals GOOD STUFF!! Congrats!! We can go further every day!!!!
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RussellDDixon
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Used Systematic Approach for many many years as I had no access to a teacher ... no internet, no YouTube etc. Went in for a lesson with Bruce Haag about three years ago and he had me play one of the lesson's and told me I was doing everything correctly. Played from a pedal C to double C for him in that lesson which was the very first lesson I had ever had at the age of 52.

Depended on that book because it gave me scripted lessons to use.

Mainly play Long Tones, Clarke Technical Studies #1 and Schlossberg now along with a Range Study that Matt Anklan gave me to play at the end of my daily studies.
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Russell, thanks for the post. Our circumstances are very similar.

I suppose like most trumpet players, I may have a hidden urge to be able play the upper register like Maynard, but really that is not my style of playing. So, playing high notes wasn't the attraction of the CG method. It was the scripted lessons that got me interested in the CG method. The lessons seem to me to be pretty comprehensive. My progress seems to validate that. I noticed that my embouchure changed and strengthened over time and that my sound has definitely improved - at least, gotten closer to the sound in my head. The dexterity in my fingers has improved.

After listening to the guys on TH play, I realize how much improvement I need in all aspects of my playing. I've got a long ways to go (particularly in tonguing, lip flexibility and jazz articulation). But progress is a motivator and I'm sticking with the CG method.

Grits
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Schilke HC 1
King Master Cornet (1945)
B&S 3145 Challenger I Series Flugelhorn
A bunch of mouthpieces, none of which are the right feel, size, depth or sound - except for my Curry 3FLD.
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thehedge
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grits -

Can you describe how you got started with the CG method? You mentioned that until last October you did not have the time to put into it but now you do. What is your current daily practice schedule look like?

Also, it sounds like you have done this on your own, as opposed to with the guidance of a teacher/mentor, true?

Which books did you ultimately purchase and follow? Just enjoy hearing what others have done, especially when they have reached that "hey, this works" moment.

Congrats!
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
thehedge posted:

Can you describe how you got started with the CG method? You mentioned that until last October you did not have the time to put into it but now you do. What is your current daily practice schedule look like?

Also, it sounds like you have done this on your own, as opposed to with the guidance of a teacher/mentor, true?

Which books did you ultimately purchase and follow? Just enjoy hearing what others have done, especially when they have reached that "hey, this works" moment.


I heard about the CG method on TH. Then I did some research on it and what attracted me was that the method used the classic exercises but did so using a lesson by lesson curriculum. For me, that was the selling point. It laid out a logical method for using Clark, Arban, etc. I can't deny that the fact that it promised a systematic approach to mastering the upper register was appealing - I mean, who doesn't want to be able to play like MF, Wayne Bergeron, Jon Faddis or Cat Anderson? But realistically, I have no venue for playing big band stuff, as much fun as it would be.

I recently retired and decided to make time for practice. While working full time, I'd be lucky to get in 4 hours a week. Now, I try to play for 15 minutes, rest 15 minutes, and then play for 30 - 45 minutes in the morning. Then in the afternoon put in another hour. I am trying to get in a final hour in the evening to work on Aebersold stuff, but I haven't been very consistent with the last part. After a little over three months of this, I have decided that I need to buy a silent mute system so that I can start early in the morning and get three full sessions a day in.

My band teacher back in high school was a professional trumpet player. He taught me the very basics, handed me an Arban's and wished me good luck. Everything after that has been on my own. I'm big into self education. I have taught myself to play the piano and speak Japanese, so I know how to study and learn. Still, obviously, a good instructor would be of enormous value - especially when it comes to jazz articulation and phrasing. John Mohan and Pops may yet get a call for me when life settles down a bit - I have an awful lot going on at the moment.

As for the books I have purchased, I bought all of the ones listed in Claude Gordon's book, I don't remember them all off the top of my hand but I am using the Clark Technical studies more than the rest at the moment. I also have Arban's, Clark's Charcteristic Studies, and a couple of books on flexibility - oh, and the St. Jacome.

Now, here is where a teacher would really come in handy. I have decided not to advance to a new lesson until I have pretty much mastered the lesson that I am on. So, in 18 months, I am only on lesson 7 in the CG method. I did not advance much at all until October. Since then, I think I went from lesson 3 to lesson 7 (lost a lot of practice time over Christmas), so I am going a little faster now, but not a lesson a week, or even a lesson every two weeks. The fingering on the Clark Technical Study exercise 4 is kicking my butt. I can get everything smoothly except for the last measure on some of the exercises. I am stubbornly trying to master the last arpeggios, but some of the fingering is maddening. It would be nice to have a teacher say, "good enough for now, let's go on..."

Oh, also, I couldn't resist working on the etudes in Clark - they aren't in the lesson plan yet but they are a challenge I just couldn't pass up.

Long post, but, hey, you asked!

Grits
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Bach Stradivarius 37 (1971)
Schilke HC 1
King Master Cornet (1945)
B&S 3145 Challenger I Series Flugelhorn
A bunch of mouthpieces, none of which are the right feel, size, depth or sound - except for my Curry 3FLD.
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thehedge
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds great and thanks for the detailed reply! Congrats again.

どうもございまずいます (domo arigatou gozaimasu.)
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thehedge
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again Grits for your story. I have been reading through the TH.com forums for many years but your post has finally encouraged me to start the SA method.

I played for over 15 years back in the 70s-80s taking lessons from local teachers while in high school but, as many do, once work and family became the focus, I put the trumpet down. Looking back, this was one of my big life mistakes.

Fast-forward to back around 2000 or so and I started playing again and joined a small community band. I still had all my old method books and now had the wealth of information on "how to play". Sometimes, that information is too overwhelming and can lead to churning, i.e. start this method, jump to another, etc.

Anyway, the more I have read TH.com, I've noticed that a number of the more knowledgeable and proficient trumpet players (and instructors), including Jeff Purtle, John Mohan and Eric Bolvin, either studied with Claude Gordon or espouse his methods.

Last week, I finally purchased the SA book - already have many of the others that Claude uses - and have read through it once and will be starting my own journey now. As you noted in your posts, most of his book takes the mystique out of what and how to practice and play.

There will eventually be a time element involved, when his method appears to need several hours to complete a daily lesson but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

The timing for now fits my schedule as well since the community band I am in is in weekly rehearsal mode for this year's set of summer concerts. My hope is that by following the SA method for the next few months that by the time July comes around, I will be well-entrenched in it and making good progress.

I do have a couple of questions for you or others reading along.

The first deals with Claude's explanation of "Control of Air and Wind Power". I have read the other posts on TH.com describing the method including the recent "Chest Up" thread but am trying to follow what is written.

Claude's explanation of breathing and playing a single note state to "never let your air supply get below half-way. Keep filling up. blow when going uphill and ease off when descending." What is your interpretation of this? Take a big breath, blow and play a single note, keep blowing (and increasing volume?) and ease off (when getting softer?)? Then when about half-way empty, take another deep breath and continue with the same note or change to another?

Second question.

Claude states that there is no need to warm up but to start with the pedal tones every day. This is something I already do! Yea! The question is after playing the pedal tones, is there any recommended rest before starting the lesson for that day?

The SA details during each lesson when and how long to rest between parts. Just wondering if there is a rest period between the pedal tones and the lesson start.

Thanks again for the story of your journey and progress. It has encouraged me to start my own!
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thehedge,

Thoughtful post. I enjoyed it.

I am not competent enough to answer your questions.

As to wind control, I think one of the things about the Gordon SA is that the exercises teach you enough about wind control that you kind of learn to do it, even if you don't understand the theory. Similarly, it seems to me that the exercises train your embouchure without requiring you to think about the theory of the embouchure. I will say this: Gordon taught me that wind/breath control is important so I have begun taking a very brisk daily walk, 3 miles in one hour or less. The benefits have been notable not only in my trumpet playing but in my singing (and it reduced my blood pressure).

As to your second question, I simply have faith that Claude Gordon knows more than I do. If he says that there is no need for a warm up, then as far as I am concerned there is no need for a warm up. Actually, my experience is that the pedal exercise is as good a warm up as I will ever need.

Finally, and this has nothing to do with our post, yesterday, while playing Clark exercises, I finished an exercise that ended on a high A and just because I could, I added a glissando up to double high A. I have to say, I felt like Wayne Bergeron (even though I sounded nothing like Wayne Bergeron). It was a blast to be able to do something that I thought that I would never be capable of doing. I know that there are a lot of jokes on TH about screaming trumpets, but to tell you the truth, it is a heck of a lot of fun to do that. I don't know why, but it is.

All the best,
Grits
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Bach Stradivarius 37 (1971)
Schilke HC 1
King Master Cornet (1945)
B&S 3145 Challenger I Series Flugelhorn
A bunch of mouthpieces, none of which are the right feel, size, depth or sound - except for my Curry 3FLD.
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EBjazz
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thehedge wrote:


I do have a couple of questions for you or others reading along.

The first deals with Claude's explanation of "Control of Air and Wind Power". I have read the other posts on TH.com describing the method including the recent "Chest Up" thread but am trying to follow what is written.

Claude's explanation of breathing and playing a single note state to "never let your air supply get below half-way. Keep filling up. blow when going uphill and ease off when descending." What is your interpretation of this? Take a big breath, blow and play a single note, keep blowing (and increasing volume?) and ease off (when getting softer?)? Then when about half-way empty, take another deep breath and continue with the same note or change to another?

Second question.

Claude states that there is no need to warm up but to start with the pedal tones every day. This is something I already do! Yea! The question is after playing the pedal tones, is there any recommended rest before starting the lesson for that day?

The SA details during each lesson when and how long to rest between parts. Just wondering if there is a rest period between the pedal tones and the lesson start.

Thanks again for the story of your journey and progress. It has encouraged me to start my own!


As far as the breathing - Never get below half empty is just general advice when playing and practicing. That way the chest is always up and the air support is constant. Always take the same full, relaxed breath even if you are just playing one note.
Claude never said warm-up. However we practiced 14 hours a day so we didn't need to. The pedal tone studies are not warm-ups. I suggest a short warm-up before beginning the pedals. I have a book on warming up here: https://bolvinmusic.com/product/progressive-warm-up/
Also, in my 6 years of lessons with Claude, we never began with pedals.

Eb
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EricV
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have taken lessons for around 4 years with Jeff Purtle (came back to playing after some 30 odd year break, retired now with more time...so i thought!!) and i have just re-started with Jeff after a break for some other pursuits.

One word of caution to the hedge and the op, one thing i have learnt is that if you attempt systematic approach without at least a couple of lessons with one of these guys,Jeff, John or Eric, you will more than likely crash and burn because Claude never assigned the material to build up as quickly as it does in the book. He wrote the book in the late 50's early 60' at the start of his teaching career and refined it over many years. Like i said, i have been taking around 4 years and this week started lesson 51 in systematic, thats how long it can take, everyone progresses at a different rate.

Also, as Eb says, Claude apparently never used the term warm up, whatever was scheduled first in the practice day was your warm up, could have been anything and Jeff has never scheduled pedals first in my routine.

Best of luck with your progress
EricV
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Eric Bolvin posted:

Also, in my 6 years of lessons with Claude, we never began with pedals.


I'm so confused. I'm just a simple hacker trying to follow instructions.

On page 8 of Systematic Approach, it states the following:

"The pedal routine, therefore, is the first thing we play every day. There is no need to warm up or play preliminaries before."

Every lesson in the Claude Gordon Systematic Approach begins with pedal tones. I thought (perhaps quite incorrectly) that it was important to follow the lesson exactly as published.

So, does it matter what order you do the exercises? Does it make any sense to do the high register exercise before the pedal exercise? For that matter, does it make sense to do anything before the pedal exercise?

Perhaps the answer differs if you are playing 8+ hours a day (on many days I am happy to get in one hour and I never practice for more than 90 minutes in a single stretch).

By the way, I greatly appreciate the comments of folks like Eric Bolvin and John Mohan. I am keenly aware that they are under no obligation to waste their valuable time and experience answering my stupid questions. But if it wasn't for them, I would know nothing about Claude Gordon and I certainly would not have played my first double high C about 2 weeks ago (give or take).

Warm regards,
Grits
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Bach Stradivarius 37 (1971)
Schilke HC 1
King Master Cornet (1945)
B&S 3145 Challenger I Series Flugelhorn
A bunch of mouthpieces, none of which are the right feel, size, depth or sound - except for my Curry 3FLD.


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