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In Search of A Method


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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:33 am    Post subject: In Search of A Method Reply with quote

Which Method – I want to pick a method and run with it –

More info;
I played 9 years from 3rd grade and just got burned out. I was an above average high school trumpet player, first chair and all that jazz. After a 50 year break (I’m 67), I’m two months in with mixed results trying to re-kindle a skill from decades past. My goal is to simply improve as much as I can during the next 12 months in terms of technique, range and endurance ultimately focusing on playing jazz renditions of old standards. In my brain, I imagine myself fluidly moving up through intervals, mixing in soft transitions from the low to higher registry that are to the envy and amazement of my fellow players. Anyway, that’s the image. I hope to play with others for fun or complements, but I need a good foundation from which to continue to improve and learn.

I have had a couple of recent lessons and worked on some exercises that are helping somewhat. However, I really don’t like my tone, particularly above middle C and forget about range. Everything note above middle C sounds fuzzier than the previous note until I pinch out maybe a cracked G. At the moment, from playing with too much pressure and/or not enough rest intervals and/or bad set-up, my top lip feels like a mild fever blister. I am taking a few days off to fully recover during which I am researching methods, etc. to hone in on one particular approach. Once I buy into it an approach, I get really focused and committed. Right now, I am neither. Maybe I am expecting too much too quick but I just want a good plan and then I will trust the plan.

I am blown away at the various opinions, approaches, etc. I have listened to youtube instructional videos from people like Wayne Bergeron, James Morrison and read opinions (sometimes passionate) on this forum regarding various methods, emboucheres, etc. I have watched people playing from Mendez to Wynton. Anyway, I am pumped up, ready and lost at the same time.

Back in the day, while I had a nice sound and good technique in the lower registry, I had limited range, topping out at high C on a really good day, but more than adequate to play the things we were playing. I was pretty much a single tongue player, OK on triple tongue but really struggled with double tongue. I really had to work (pressure?) at notes above G. I do recall having some success one summer improving range up to F & G above high C with the pedal tones exercises on the “How to reach Double High C in 52 weeks.” At the moment, I can’t even do a pedal tone.

Physically, I am in decent shape in terms of air supply, never smoked, etc. I have pretty good and even tooth structure. I have about 1/8” gap between my two upper front teeth, a slight overbite and a relatively flat chin. I currently put the MPC more on the upper lip that feels more natural to me as I don’t have much lower lip to work with. Sometimes I feel like I am almost losing the lower lip off the MPC on low notes and having to reposition the MPC to play higher notes. My MPC is positioned slightly off center to the left. If I try to center exactly, I get almost nothing. After playing, I get a defined MPC “ring” impression on the red portion of the upper lip.

Cutting to the chase - any opinions on a particular method given my particulars or advice on how to best make that decision? As I really think the lip pressure is going to be a big hurdle, I kind of like what I read about the Maggio or Gordon. Or maybe i am getting ahead of myself. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Alsorann
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a teacher.
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary,

Welcome back to trumpet playing! Regarding some of the issues you've raised, what did the person you were taking lessons from say? He/she is best positioned to help you assess what you need to do to improve.

If you are not satisfied with the advice you are receiving, you should consider finding another teacher. If you have a good teacher, and you practice (what he/she recommends) intelligently and diligently, you will make good progress. Unfortunately, good progress is not overnight success. It took you years to become a good trumpet player, and it will take you years to become good again and eventually surpass where you left off 50 years ago.

If additional lessons are absolutely impossible, then I think that Claude Gordon's "Physical Approach to Elementary Brass Playing" (which also requires St. Jacome's "Grand Method") or Bill Knevitt's "The Developing Trumpet Player" offer a great place to start. They feature progressive lessons. Coupled with an etude book such as Getchell's "First Book of Progressive Studies" or Hering's "50 Recreational Studies" you'd be off to a solid start.

Good luck!
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:04 pm    Post subject: In Search of A Method Reply with quote

Alsorann wrote:
Get a teacher.


Good idea - I have a teacher and have one more lesson before i am gone for two months. I will have the same discussion with him next week but I am trying to get as much perspective as i can in addition to his input. I have no reason to believe he isn't a great teacher, but i will be disconnected quite a bit and will be needing to work on my own mostly.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you played thru high school, I'd guess that you already know (have been TAUGHT) what should be 'coming out of the bell'. The goal now is to re-LEARN how to do it.

Likely, a major physical training effort will be to rebuild the strength, flexibility, and endurance of your embouchure. I suggest striving for the best tone, and play slow pieces that are within your good playable range - or just slightly higher. But don't try to quickly extend the high range unless you have the accompanying tone, etc.

And don't try long practice sessions - if your embouchure is getting tired, stop and rest for a bit. Don't 'push on' when you're tired, that just wears you down, rest and another short session will give better results.

Pretty much any method book will contain pieces with basic scales, intervals, rhythms, articulations, etc. They may seem boring, but their purpose is to provide the 'basic training' to develop you physically.

Jay
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DWallace
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:09 pm    Post subject: Get a teacher Reply with quote

I agree with that advice but is it harder than you would expect to find a teacher. I live in the greater Baton Rouge, LA area (home to LSU) and have contacted at least four people who were recommended. They range from professors at LSU to recent graduates. Unfortunately none choose to even respond to a text or email. Still searching however.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Get a teacher Reply with quote

DWallace wrote:
I agree with that advice but is it harder than you would expect to find a teacher. I live in the greater Baton Rouge, LA area (home to LSU) and have contacted at least four people who were recommended. They range from professors at LSU to recent graduates. Unfortunately none choose to even respond to a text or email. Still searching however.


Finding the right teacher is more important - I had similar luck on the email. Frustrated, i stopped in a local music retail shop. Fortunately, their guy is a really talented player and long-term teacher. So, i am going to take the info from the teacher and others and develop a program that makes sense for me and my schedule.
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GaryF
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Anthony Miller
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You seem like you’ve sorted it but I’ve just worked for 2 years on Bill Knevitt’s 52 week Crash Course Book and I can highly recommend it as an excellent structured method. Available at qpress now I think. Good luck.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:21 pm    Post subject: In Search of A Method Reply with quote

Anthony Miller wrote:
You seem like you’ve sorted it but I’ve just worked for 2 years on Bill Knevitt’s 52 week Crash Course Book and I can highly recommend it as an excellent structured method. Available at qpress now I think. Good luck.


Thanks Anthony - I'll check it out
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GaryF
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a method book, but a collection of playable pieces that will help build basic playing technique.
You can probably find an online free PDF download. The first several seem very simple, but playing them with good sustained tone is the goal.

Lyrical Studies for Trumpet. Giuseppe Concone

Jay
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Allen Vizzutti Series would be a good choice.

https://www.amazon.com/Allen-Vizzutti-Trumpet-Method-Technical/dp/0739019414?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_4
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bear30101
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at Greg Spence's "Windworks." It's a subscription video series. His approach to playing is a focus on efficiency and resonance and ease.
Jim Manley, an excellent player/teacher from your area, (check him out on Youtube!) recommends Spence.
Regardless of the method you choose, you might consider one habit:
Rest as much as you play.
And measured not in minutes at the beginning, but seconds. Play something very short on the piano, sing it, play it on the horn.
Repeat the process.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:34 am    Post subject: In Search of A Method Reply with quote

bear30101 wrote:
Take a look at Greg Spence's "Windworks." It's a subscription video series. His approach to playing is a focus on efficiency and resonance and ease.
Jim Manley, an excellent player/teacher from your area, (check him out on Youtube!) recommends Spence.
Regardless of the method you choose, you might consider one habit:
Rest as much as you play.
And measured not in minutes at the beginning, but seconds. Play something very short on the piano, sing it, play it on the horn.
Repeat the process.


Thx - RE: Rest - i ignored the same advice from my Teacher - part of sore chops issue
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GaryF
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure a book or series, singularly is your answer. Finding that teacher that fits you, drives you, and provides drills and exercises that reinforce your skills and grow your "chops".

Sometimes I find my aldult students to have too much information and bounce from one thing to another as they don't get results on a short term. Improvement at a quick pace doesn't happen. "Having been the top chair in my HS band 20 years ago" means little and could have been achieved with bad technique, bad habits, and little practice - I was that guy, 50 years ago, with no lessons-bad techniue and next to no knowledge of what I was doing-just a touch better than the other knuckleheads. When I started studying I had to start from the beginning, BUT that's another long story

Another issue with older students is "bad habits". Whether in playing, approach or practice habits. These are difficult to change and where the challenge is-you must trust your teacher-not comparing and contrasting approaches looking for the magic answer.

There are some commonalities to good approaches, I'll list some initial thoughts but this is not a conclusive "end all" list, just a general approach that supports many teachers specifics:

Practice is DAILY, broken into multiple sessions
Warming Up / Routine -> starts slowly, middle register, expands up and down (elements of trumpet intentionally and progressively added - Ready to play, moving air, buzzing, adding articulations, adding fingers/faster pace...etc.)
Scales, Arppegios, and other finger drills
lip slurs
lyrical studies
techincal studies
excerpts

Tone, Range, Technique, Endurance are built while doing all the above.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaferis wrote:
I'm not sure a book or series, singularly is your answer.

Another issue with older students is "bad habits". Whether in playing, approach or practice habits. These are difficult to change and where the challenge is-you must trust your teacher-not comparing and contrasting approaches looking for the magic answer.

Scales, Arppegios, a



I really appreciate input - for past 40 years, I have been trying to get better at golf, another endless pursuit, always looking for the next new "magic" club or training device rather than good instruction and fundamentals and wound up having a garage full of "magic". I don't to repeat that with this next endless pursuit.
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GaryF
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Don Herman rev2
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For self-instruction in chop development check out the Balanced Embouchure here on TH. Or any of the other methods in the dedicated fora; all have teachers able and willing to help from a distance. For sound concept, going it "alone", perhaps the best aides are a music player of some sort to listen, listen, listen to see (hear) what you like and a cheap field recorder (e.g. Zoom) so you can record yourself and compare. The sound in front of the bell is usually quite different than what you hear on the other side.

Many teachers offer distance lessons via phone, Skype, etc.

HTH - Don
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

50YrComeback wrote:
zaferis wrote:
I'm not sure a book or series, singularly is your answer.

Another issue with older students is "bad habits". Whether in playing, approach or practice habits. These are difficult to change and where the challenge is-you must trust your teacher-not comparing and contrasting approaches looking for the magic answer.

Scales, Arppegios, a



I really appreciate input - for past 40 years, I have been trying to get better at golf, another endless pursuit, always looking for the next new "magic" club or training device rather than good instruction and fundamentals and wound up having a garage full of "magic". I don't to repeat that with this next endless pursuit.


OH, you golf too! I find golf and trumpet to be very similar - many aspects of study and practice that are parallel.

Two things I wanted to add to my reply:

"it's the Indian, not the Arrow" - Tiger's game won't diminish much using my clubs, and my game will not improve ANY using his...

AND I find the biggest challenge with "comeback" students is that they have ideas of what their "problems" are, BUT those ideas are inaccurate. It's very hard to self-diagnose and get it right.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever method you choose in golf or trumpet playing the most important thing is consistency.
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Ed Kennedy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.jimmanleymusic.com/

This guy is in St. Louis and he is the real deal. Check him out.
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timothyquinlan
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you thought at Mitchell's four-part method? It is a great all rounder.

You can find it here.
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