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Doc Severinsen Practice Routine


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GarrettGorbyDCI
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:48 pm    Post subject: Doc Severinsen Practice Routine Reply with quote

Does anyone know his practice routine and or how many hours he practices everyday when he was in his 20's or even now?
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Rod Haney
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven read he still plays upwards of 8 hours a day.
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harryjamesworstnightmare
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember reading somewhere that he practiced as much as he needed to.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a number of years, but last I heard his daily practice continues to take hours.
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robbo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked with a guy who did witnessed how he went about business. He said that before the first gig Doc did a pretty big warm up, and then they did the gig. (Where he practiced in the interval). They then had to fly on a private plane to the next gig, where Doc apparently spent most of the flight practicing, and then did the next gig. (I don't imagine that they were lip thrashing exercises, but still....) He basically said that Doc was never without the horn in his hands.

I guess even us mortals find that just playing on gigs doesn't help us progress. You have to make sure that you can practice on gig days and still have the chops to get through the gigs.

Rob
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few years ago, there was a series of 3 videos where Doc gave a lecture on what he would practice and why he would do certain things. I think they were on You Tube.

Nothing was anything out of the ordinary that the rest of us haven't done or heard about or tried on our own.

The main thing I got from watching them was he would take his time, was never in a hurry, and did what he felt needed to be done to get his chops performance ready. He was very VERY picky. As an example, if he was playing Clarke Tech #1, he would not go to the next line until he was satisfied with how he played the current line (hope that makes sense).

I've also heard from someone I would consider to be a reliable source that, as previously mentioned, Doc was almost never without a horn in his hand. And that he would, often with no consideration to anyone else who might be around, suddenly start playing. Intervals, scales, tonguing - that kind of stuff. Almost like he constantly needed to be reassured that his chops were working the way he wanted them to work or that he was concerned they might get stiff.

I think the 8-hours daily practice is a bit much. Again, from reliable sources, I heard that 4 hours a day were more the norm, and that he preferred playing in bathrooms, because of the reverb from tiled surfaces.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A decade or so ago I saw Doc just once at UCLA. I was there early and was wandering the halls. To my complete surprise, I witnessed Doc emerger from a room, trumpet in hand, and head to the stairwell. I vaguely recall saying something brilliant like "hey", and Doc giving me a smile, a nod and a brief comment I can't recall, before disappearing through the door and starting playing.
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EdMann
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a couple of second hand stories, but they corroborate his habits of nearly non-stop playing. He was willing to risk getting fatigued rather than not have that sound of his, or of missing a note at the top. He was chasing that Harry James sound, and I guess the irony is that Harry rarely practiced, drank his way through gigs, got his teeth removed, and it didn't matter. But I digress...

I had heard that during meetings with Carson he would bring his mouthpiece and buzz whenever he could. Can you imagine? I guess they got used it. Another told me of his practicing between dress rehearsal and show. He just didn't trust that he could do this naturally, wake up and play a show. Personally I thought that sounded nuts, but look at the results. So I started doing long warm ups at home before gigs and rehearsals, and low and behold, I sounded better.

Thanks Doc for the inspiration and that sound in my head, and for playing along with Johnny on the broken cigarette case deal. And that WAS Don's fault!

ed
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1981 or 82, Chastain Park in Atlanta. Either the Atlanta Symphony or Atlanta Pops summer concert, with Doc as featured soloist. He was programmed to play at the end of the first half and again in the 2nd half of the concert.

I forget what selection the symphony was playing, but all of a sudden you heard that GLORIOUS sound from backstage. It did kind of throw off some of the musicians and others in the audience.

I knew what it was.

The orchestra finishes the selection and the conductor grabs the mike. "Well...I guess the surprise has been let out of the bag. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen - DOC SEVERINSEN!!!"

Good times.
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cbclead
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played in the University of Southern Mississippi's Night of 1000 Trumpets in 2001 and had the privilege of attending Doc's masterclass. I forgot the amount of time he said he practiced daily, but it was at least 8 hours. He did say he starts playing as soon as he wakes up, warming up while going to the bathroom. Much more dedicated than me...

Similar to cheiden, I was wandering around backstage prior to the show. When I looked up, Doc emerged from his dressing room and began playing in the hallway. I'll never forget that sound.
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The master class series of 3 videos I mentioned earlier. Not the best audio quality but the points get across. Best guess seems to be this was recorded sometime in the 90s.



www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u95lHDPqwI&list=RD7u95lHDPqwI&start_radio=1&t=3

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALVZ0HpgcFc

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s3LZdrZXB0
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Jeff_Purtle
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 1986 I saw Doc at the Hollywood Bowl and stuck around after to meet him. I studied with Claude Gordon and had heard that Doc practiced the entire Clarke's Technical Studies book everyday. Claude has assigned that to me and others and I wanted to ask Doc if it was true he did that. He was super nice about Claude, his teaching and his students. Then, he said, "You need Clarke and milk everyday! And, I still can't play that book!" I thought it was cool that someone so accomplished was so focused on improving his playing.

I also heard that he used to run 3 miles everyday and would practice 8 hours a day. You can play the entire Clarke book in a little over 4 hours. That leaves time for many other things.

I have met Doc several times and told him it was because of him that I first heard him play trumpet on Johnny Carson when I was in first grade and didn't let up on my parents until they got me trumpet. He's one of the greatest of all times.
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area51recording
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpthrld wrote:
1981 or 82, Chastain Park in Atlanta. Either the Atlanta Symphony or Atlanta Pops summer concert, with Doc as featured soloist. He was programmed to play at the end of the first half and again in the 2nd half of the concert.

I forget what selection the symphony was playing, but all of a sudden you heard that GLORIOUS sound from backstage. It did kind of throw off some of the musicians and others in the audience.

I knew what it was.

The orchestra finishes the selection and the conductor grabs the mike. "Well...I guess the surprise has been let out of the bag. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen - DOC SEVERINSEN!!!"

Good times.


I was at that show! Word had it that Doc was......less than impressed with the orchestra and wore them out about it at rehearsal. The show was FABULOUS though.....
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe Tony Scodwell will weigh in on this.

Brad
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The stories are pretty consistent about Doc being obsessive about practicing. I read that on recording dates back when he was a session player when they'd get a break he'd typically be off in a corner working on something with a mute in.

Someone told me that at one concert some of the orchestra members told them Doc was in the stairwell practicing and urged him to go seek Doc out - he went over to watch and when Doc noticed him he thought he was looking for an autograph and got kind of short with him - "Can it wait?" Apparently he's *very* focused and doesn't like being interrupted.
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rothman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing that produces awe imo about Doc's particular approach is less the individual performance, and much more along the lines of him being the most competent, prepared, ready to aim, shoot, fire, at ANY given moment in time. High pressure concert halls and the like.

Close your eyes and imagine the > most strenuous < college entrance examination, where a player must go in and convince a jury of peers how well he could execute multiple complex passages up and down the whole range of the horn, and to do it bright and early at 8AM sharp.....that is an awesome feat.
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Rod Haney
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rothman wrote:
The thing that produces awe imo about Doc's particular approach is less the individual performance, and much more along the lines of him being the most competent, prepared, ready to aim, shoot, fire, at ANY given moment in time. High pressure concert halls and the like.

Close your eyes and imagine the > most strenuous < college entrance examination, where a player must go in and convince a jury of peers how well he could execute multiple complex passages up and down the whole range of the horn, and to do it bright and early at 8AM sharp.....that is an awesome feat.


Who besides a 1st call studio player or soloist is required to do this. Many years ago when I was a lot more tuned in to pro players, only the highest level were required to be perfect for studio sessions which were one take type of situations. I only knew one pro (personally)out of many who could read anything without mistake and had the chops to play everything on the page pretty much regardless. And he was top call in LA, ex W Herman and Kenton ales Brown, Zappa and the Japanese cat who writes the impossible charts. I’m sure Doc in his prime could do this but can’t anymore. But it’s less than 1% of pros who could do this unless there have big changes in talent the last 50 to 55 years. I doubt there were ever more than 20-30 players in the US who could meet the demands you listed above. Long time ago I thought I might be able to reach that level, but I was never willing to put 8 hours or more a day to reach it and I’m now pretty sure that even if I had been as good as I thought, I would have had to have a magnificent teacher, just the right opportunities, and more luck than I have any hope to have to have even a low chance of playing like Larry. I played tournament pool and gambled and once ran 11 straight racks of 9 ball. That probably put me well into the 99th % of all pool players, then I met a guy who’s gamble was he breaks and runs out or he pays at 100 to 1000$ a rack, that’s when I realized that the very best are from another planet compared to the merely good.

My admiration for this type of excellence is huge.
Rod
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Denny Schreffler
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
... I witnessed Doc emerge from a room, trumpet in hand, and head to the stairwell.



Regarding Doc practicing in a stairwell as has been mentioned in a few posts, I was responsible for attending to Doc and his small entourage during their arrival and reh' with a major orchestra in 1970. Doc said that he needed to find a stairwell or shower room, or something similar in the ancient building, and he talked a bit about this.

Not meaning to speak for him (and trying to remember a conversation from almost 50 years ago and what I've thought about it on my own since then), Doc told me that the reverberation provided an immediate feedback of his sound production. Try it – you'll see what he means.

I made that part of my warmup at a few regular venues over the years and always felt that it was extremely beneficial.


-Denny
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rothman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rod Haney wrote:
..I would have had to have a magnificent teacher, just the right opportunities, and more luck than I have any hope to have to have even a low chance of playing like Larry.


. .Skinner ?

I've heard others compliment him to the hilt, as he apparently was one of the most complete players that anyone can recall.
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Rod Haney
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="rothman"]
Rod Haney wrote:
..I would have had to have a magnificent teacher, just the right opportunities, and more luck than I have any hope to have to have even a low chance of playing like Larry.


. .Skinner ?

I've heard others compliment him to the hilt, as he apparently was one of the most complete players that anyone can recall.[/quote

No Larry Ford from Ohio via NTS. Extremely good sight reader with all the rest. Best lead I ever knew.
Rod
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