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Batman
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 4:22 pm    Post subject: The Common Quest Reply with quote

Citizens,
I think most will agree that a student desires to progress in his music career. For a trumpet player one would like to improve technique, sound, and like it or not range. The Adam's approach it seems is much like Stamp, don't worry about the embouchure, play with a great sound, and all other things will fall into place. What happens when the teacher is faced with a situation where this does not work?
A young player walks into your class and wants to be in your band. He plays with a great tone but his range is poor. He improves in sound and technique over the year, works hard over the summer and returns to school and your band with great sound, even his atriculation improves. He still has not improved his range enough to play a more physcially demanding part. He is a great sport and plays the 3rd part another year. Over the summer he takes private lessons, even takes a yoga class to learn the Adams concept of breathing. As has already been decided to progress in the upper register air must be moved faster. The kid comes back as a senior and wants to play the 1st part, he has the technical ability but not the range, you also note that he plays everything at FF as he concentrates on no lip tension and faster air. He doesn't mind sitting 3rd or 4th chair behind Juniors and Sophmores, he just wants to play 1st part thinking it may help him when he goes to college to get a music degree. What do you tell this guy? Do you tell him to practice more, put him on the 3rd part his senior year and till him that writing music can be as rewarding as playing it, or tell him to take everything he can't play down an octave? As a result of his failure he changes his major and puts his horn away in the dorm room closet until he meets some players at a jam session. He starts hanging out and playing some. One night the lead player happens to notice how poorly his embouchure is formed and gives him some advice on how to correct it. 1 year later the guy who played the 3rd part in your band has greatly improved his range and you run into him on a gig, he's playing lead. You notice he keeps looking at you and at the end of the night comes up to you and asks "don't I know you from somewhere?" Seriously, what do you tell him.

Batman
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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Batman/Tom said-

"The Adam's approach it seems is much like Stamp, don't worry about the embouchure, play with a great sound, and all other things will fall into place. What happens when the teacher is faced with a situation where this does not work?"
______________________________

First of all, I don't know anything about Stamp other than what I have read on this board in the past few weeks. Therefore, I can't address that part of your question.

There is no situation where this approach doesn't work IF (and that is a big IF) the teacher is competant.

In our (Adam & his students) approach to playing, the STUDENT doesn't worry about the embouchure but focuses on a beautiful sound, hearing the music, and keeping the air flowing. However, this does not mean that no one is observing the development of the embouchure. THAT IS THE TEACHER'S RESPONSIBILITY!

The teacher prescribes a custom designed set of exercises and pieces for each student and models an approach to those exercises and pieces (including demonstrating a concept of tone, articulation, dynamics, etc.) that will cause the student's ENTIRE BALANCED PLAYING SYSTEM (which, of course, includes the chops) to evolve into something more efficient.

For the student/player to think of anything except the musical demands and the flowing air is distracting from core business and causes counterproductive psychological and physical tension.

This does not mean that the chops are not important or that we do not end up with a beautiful and effective embouchure. The question is, "How do we get there?".

Watch and listen to Charlie Davis, Jerry Hey, Bob Platt, John Rommel, Chris Botti, Larry Hall, Greg Wing, Karl Sievers, Bob Baca, John Harbaugh, Randy Brecker, Liesl Whitaker, and on and on. You will see and hear people with beautiful embouchures, tremendous range, AND great sounds. However, we believe that the most natural, musical, and effective way to develop great chops is to:

1) Develop the ability to vividly imagine exactly how you want the music to sound and hold your concentration on this unwaveringly.

2) Establish a rich, consistent, energized, relaxed flow of air.

3) Get the most beautiful, singing, and resonant tone you possibly can and carry that sound into every dynamic, all registers, a variety of articulations, different styles, etc.

4) Use "the force" and let your unconscious mind make adjustments in your chops, tongue, pivot, etc. It is not good to be self-conscious when playing.

The teacher is conscious of the student's physical approach and needs. The student is music conscious. A good teacher removes the burden of analysis and physical adjustment and manipulation from the student and shoulders that weight him/herself.

Does that make sense? This isn't something that is best done by yourself until you are already a pretty darned good player. For this approach to work you need a great teacher/mentor..and none of his students can do this nearly as well as Adam himself (although a few come close). Adam still totally teaches and plays his butt off at the age of 84!

<font size=-2>[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2002-05-07 23:31 ]</font>

<font size=-2>[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2002-05-07 23:32 ]</font>


Last edited by PH on Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for Batman's hypothetical situation-

"A young player walks into your class and wants to be in your band. He plays with a great tone but his range is poor. He improves in sound and technique over the year, works hard over the summer and returns to school and your band with great sound, even his atriculation improves. He still has not improved his range enough to play a more physcially demanding part. He is a great sport and plays the 3rd part another year. Over the summer he takes private lessons, even takes a yoga class to learn the Adams concept of breathing. As has already been decided to progress in the upper register air must be moved faster. The kid comes back as a senior and wants to play the 1st part, he has the technical ability but not the range, you also note that he plays everything at FF as he concentrates on no lip tension and faster air. He doesn't mind sitting 3rd or 4th chair behind Juniors and Sophmores, he just wants to play 1st part thinking it may help him when he goes to college to get a music degree. What do you tell this guy? "

___________________________

In this situation one of a few things might be happening. First of all, I have virtually never encountered a player with a truly great tone and any real range problems (at least up to high F# or G). It all depends on what your definition of a great tone is.

It is likely that one or more of the following things are occurring.

1) The kid isn't putting in enough practice time. There is no substitute for work. Adam says, "I wish there was an easier way, but if there was a magic pill you could take to make you a great trumpet player we'd all be taking it".

2) The student isn't concentrating when they practice. It isn't just how many hours you practice. It is how present you are mentally and WHAT the mind is involved with that causes improvement.

3) The teacher has misdiagnosed the student's problems and has prescribed the wrong exercises and repertoire for that person's particular problems.

4) The teacher has not demonstrated the tone, dynamics, articulation, phrasing for the assignment clearly enough or often enough for the student. The student must have heard great playing and a beautiful tone in person often enough that they can replay that sound in their imagination at any time.

5) The student is not imagining the music clearly in all of its details. No one will improve their physical approach to playing in a meaningful way unless they constantly improve and refine their ability to clearly hear pitches and the desired tone quality in their imagination as they play. Eventually this imagining skill grows to include the ability to hear phrasing and musical nuance in vivid detail in addition to pitch and tone.

6) (closely related to number 5) The student is aspiring to a concept of tone that is thin, shrill, strident, tubby, woofy, dead, etc. A trumpet does not sound the same to the audience as it does to the player. The teacher must constantly model the desired tone quality for the student. As the student's tone is refined the physical approach to playing evolves toward the ideal.

7) The student's bad habits are so deeply ingrained and so drastic that it will take more time to fix the problem. It is not unusual for a college age or older student (who may have been approaching the trumpet incorrectly for 4-10 years) to spend 1 to 3 years breaking bad habits that developed from poor prior teaching before real progress can be made toward professional quality playing.

Bottom line: If the kid is practicing diligently on the right stuff with good concentration and a mature concept of tone for 2 years plus and he doesn't improve his range and every other thing I'll eat my hat.


[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2002-05-07 23:29 ]

[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2002-05-08 09:44 ]
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PH
Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator


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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Realize that this 1975 clinic is 27 years old and Adam has clarified his presentation a bit. Also, this was a brief talk at the 1975 New York Brass Conference which was transcribed (and not too well) with virtually no editing.

While it presents a number of important concepts this article is by no means an indicator of what the Adam approach (I repeat-it isn't a method) is in real life. I wouldn't disagree with anything in the article. However, if you want to really understand what we do you need to get a minimum of 10 to 12 lessons with Adam (or one of his better students). The next best thing to in-person study would be to repeatedly see the video series that is available at <http://www.roth-music.com/Bill-Adam/AdamVideo.html>
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trickg
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to jump in here and make a statement. In the years that I have been playing two things can be said about my playing:

1.) I have a good sound.
2.) I'm lacking in range and endurance.

I have been an advocate of playing to the music and not worring about the details and that has taken me a long way in the playing I have done. What has never happened is that my range and endurance have never noticibly improved. Sure, if I'm practicing and playing all of the time, the endurance factor is better but I am at a point in my life where I simply don't have the extra hours to devote to it.

A friend of mine was an advocate for Superchops and although his sound may not have been quite as good as mine in the normal (G on the staff on down) playing register, he could just nail a Double C (and higher) at will and could play for what seemed like hours without ever chopping out. The question is, would I trade what I have for what he has? More than likely.

What I'm currious about is whether the Adam or Stamp methods are natural, less radical approaches to the end result of what SC can give you. Will practicing the right things the correct way with the correct mindset cause an inefficient embouchure to correct itself so that you not only have a great sound, but you also have fantastic range and endurance?

Are the two methods (Adam and Stamp) really about more air, or efficiency of using that air and the mental game of playing the trumpet?

If someone could clarify this for me, I would really appreciate it.
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trickg-

"What I'm currious about is whether the Adam or Stamp methods are natural, less radical approaches to the end result of what SC can give you. Will practicing the right things the correct way with the correct mindset cause an inefficient embouchure to correct itself so that you not only have a great sound, but you also have fantastic range and endurance?

Are the two methods (Adam and Stamp) really about more air, or efficiency of using that air and the mental game of playing the trumpet?"

___________________________________

Everything I know about Stamp & SC I have learned from reading on this bulletin board. I would not pretend to tell you how those approaches are supposed to work unless I had spent years and years studying with one of the small handful of master practitioners of each method. I know how Adam (and Caruso) works, since those are my teachers and I have been immersed in those approaches for 30+ years. However, in no way do I speak for Mr. Adam (or Caruso) in my postings. These are my perceptions of what they do.

To my understanding, Adam's approach is more "natural" than just about any other approach on this board. The "Chicago School" is probably the other approach represented here that is most similar.

"Practicing the right things the correct way with the correct mindset..." WILL DEFINITELY "...cause an inefficient embouchure to correct itself so that you not only have a great sound, but you also have fantastic range and endurance".

The Adam approach is "...really about more air..." AND "...efficiency of using that air and the mental game of playing the trumpet?" It is both more air and more efficient use of air. That isn't an "OR" statement. As Adam says in the "1975 Clinic" (and many other places), the flowing air releases tensions in the body that cause problems with your playing.

It is important to be as relaxed as possible when playing. At the same time, it is important that your muscles feel energized and "ready to go" as you play. The feeling in your abdomen (for one example) should be like it feels as you are ready to jump into the swimming pool or right before you begin to swing a golf club or baseball bat. We achieve that balance between relaxation & energy (or I sometimes think of balancing "free" and "ready") by the flowing air and mentally imaging the tone.

I really can't address your personal situation without hearing you play in person. I need to hear your "good tone" for myself. My bet is that there is something lacking acoustically in your sound that is indicative of the reasons you can't develop your range and endurance.

One of the central aspects to Mr. Adam's approach (and one that obviously doesn't translate to a book or the internet) is that he changes each student's playing by changing their sound. He will listen to you play. By analyzing your sound he can tell where your body is holding unnecessary tension and/or causing turbulence in the airflow and the sound waves.

He knows that if a certain overtone is weak or not present in the harmonic spectrum of certain notes that the position of your tongue might be improper or that you might be retaining too much tension in your thorax (for two totally randomly chosen examples).

Adam will then demonstrate a sound throughout your lesson that you are to copy on each exercise or piece of music he has assigned. The sound he plays for you will be different than the sound he plays for anyone else (or for you next month for that matter). As you copy the sound model he presents your body changes the way it is working. The "bad habit" is replaced by a good one that is caused by learning to imitate the sound he has prescribed and demonstrated. Eventually, by focusing the student's ears on a personally prescribed tonal model, he causes each student to discover the best and most efficient way to play.

This "modeling" approach to teaching combines with a personally selected assignment of WHAT you are to practice plus a deep understanding of psychology (including motivational psychology & neurolinguistic programming) to help you discover your own natural and balanced approach to playing.

There are a lot of musicians who have sounds that I love for musical/expressive reasons. In the context of their art I would have to say that Chet Baker, 1950s Miles, Art Farmer (in the 1960s when he played trumpet), Blue Mitchell, and many other of my favorite artists have "great sounds" for the expressive purposes of their music. However, they don't all have a "great sound" acoustically. When we talk about a "great sound" in the context of Mr. Adam's approach we are talking about a tone that has resonance, opulence, core, richness... These are all terms that poorly describe what we are listening for. This is unbelievably hard to describe with words, but here I am on the internet giving it a foolish try.

For an Adam Student a "great sound" is one that has all of the harmonic spectrum present and balanced in the tone. When I play my long tones I feel like I am developing the fundamental and overtones in my trumpet sound as if I were standing in front of a brass choir tuning and balancing the notes of a chord until it sounds absolutely perfect. A great sound is both "bright" and "dark". The full harmonic spectrum is present in every note. This is what is called resonance, center, core, and a dozen other nebulous terms by different people.

A great trumpet sound has nothing to do with musical style. It has everything to do with producing the complete harmonic spectrum of tone. When this (our definition of a "great sound") happens you know that your body is working in sympathy with the physical and acoustical properties of the instrument. Adolph Herseth has this kind of sound. So does Arturo, Maynard (in the 1960s), Freddie Hubbard, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Maurice Andre, Vacchiano, and Doc Severinsen. Listen to these players and see if you can find the common qualities in their tones. It is hard to describe, but easy (I think) to hear.


[ This Message was edited by: PH on 2002-05-08 16:33 ]
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Emb_Enh
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WELL DONE PH..YOU HAVE TREMENDOUS AMOUNTS OF PATIENCE AND TYPING SKILLS....EXCELLENT STUFF!!--THANKYOU!!

Roddy o-iii<O
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roddy-

If my typing skills were so together I wouldn't have had to edit the darned thing 5 times!!!
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trickg
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! Thanks so much for the clarification.

About my sound, when I say that I have a good sound, that is to say that I have been told that I have a good sound and I've never really done much other than do a lot of playing to try to improve upon it, although once a couple of years ago I disciplined myself to do an extensive long tone warm up where I was focusing on less pressure and was also doing a lot of sound visualization. After about 2 - 3 weeks, it had a marked effect on my range and endurance on the Salsa bandstand. Unfortunately, we (The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps) got busy into the Spring/Summer season and that rountine fell to the wayside due to lack of time. One of the problems that I have always had with my sound is that although it sounds good up close, I've always had a problem with projection, especially when playing in a big band setting.

I have been uncomfortable trying to make a radical change to the way I physically approach the trumpet, but from what you have said in your post, maybe I was headed in the right direction and that type of playing/practicing should be re-examined.

Thanks for the post and the advice.

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[ This Message was edited by: trickg on 2002-05-08 13:59 ]
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Yoinks
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2002 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I guess Pat really summed up what I what I was planning to say in my promised response on the other thread. A lot of the things that I see you guys finding hard to swallow have a lot to do with Mr. Adam trying very hard to put into words what is really a sound thing. Also, like Pat said, to really understand it well, you need to go take a lesson from someone. It took about five seconds with Mr. Adam and I was a "believer for life" so to speak.

I will address one thing though. Some claimed he doesn't offer solutions to specific embochure problems he pointed out in the clinic. Exactly. All of it is solved by focusing on the sound, and your air. All of it, that really is it, and it really does work. The proof is in the pudding as they say, look at his students.

In short, I encourage everyone to at least one time be able to take a lesson from one of his top students if you get a chance. You just may be shocked at some of the things you can do if you don't put your mind to it.
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As infuriating as Batman/Tom's prompts were, I think this one deserves to be reread because I lay out a lot of Mr. Adam's basic principles as I understand them.

Last edited by PH on Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your understanding (and explanation) is good!

This question is more on the money than it's given credit for. The superchops method is VERY similar to Adam's approach. Remember Mr. Adam saying "out front?" This is the focus of the superchops method. Same goal.

The main difference is that Adam's is an APPROACH, while Callet's is a METHOD; and an extremely dogmatic one, at that. Most of Callet's students overdo the dogma, and even tone down the dogma of the teacher before they meet with much success. But like Adam, Callet "prescribes" excercises to fix chops. And Callet does it with his eyes closed! This ensures that he's basing his teaching on what he's determined is the only legitimate feedback; SOUND! Obvious similarity there. The difference is Callet does NOT bear the burden of being conscious of the embouchre himself, and the result is his students are less music-conscious, since they're burdened with embouchre-consciousness.

Even so, if you've made significant progress with Adam's approach, but lack any real progress in embouchre specific traits such as endurance (my problem) or range (your main complaint) it MIGHT be worthwhile to lightly season your practice with a taste of the superchops approach, or better yet, TCE taught in his later book, Trumpet Secrets. Lessons with Mr. Adam himself are a much better approach, but not available to us all. And I'd also experiment with a mouthpiece or two, just to be sure that isn't your problem, before allowing yourself to be embouchre conscious in the least.

Allen Vizzutti's response to this whole thing is worth mentioning: "you should experiment with tongue placement and movement to the extreme." I don't think you should re-vamp your whole approach a la Jerome Callet, especially if it involves anything unnatural to you.
Virtually anyone who's made any real progress with Superchops or TCE shares a common experience: if it works at all it works immediately, and only stabilizes while doing long tones. Again, Adam's approach directly addresses all of a trumpet player's needs, he'll just never give you direct, dogmatic physical direction the way Callet will. And Callet students always talk about slow, steady development!?! But the progress is made in sudden spurts!

So if you can get a sudden spurt out of Callet's method, incorporate that and stabilize it. Don't vary from Mr. Adam's approach. And don't think about Callet's ideas again until whatever "spurt" you got has become as natural as every other aspect of your playing, while following Mr. Adam's approach. If somebody could've told me this in '76, I'd be fierce!
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too bad about the kid with range problems. I have been studying with Adam since 1982. I have students in 9th grade that play up to high E, with braces.
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Jerry Freedman
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH

I don't know much about Adam but he sounds a lot like Caruso ( whom you are also familiar with)
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trickg
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - what a blast from the past! This thread is 5 years old! And yet, the information contained within is just as relevant now as it was back then.
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Jkobb13
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Where there is smoke there will be fire."
I was sort of like this student about a year ago.
Then I went to trumpet camp with Bob Bacca and a bunch of great Adam style players that really helped me get my mind into trumpet playing.
That week got me so much more focused and my range was right up there where it needed to be.
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