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A Quiet Mind


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rhodf
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: A Quiet Mind Reply with quote

As many of you may already know, Pat Harbison and John Raymond did a live video yesterday of them doing the routine together. I really enjoyed this and appreciate them taking the time to film their usual Friday session.

I do not have someone that I can trade off with when I practice, but I still rest between the exercises as if I was playing with someone else. Keeping my mind in the sound, I have noticed that my sound changes as I get toward the top of the staff. It loses some of its sparkle and resonance. I notice it first when doing the long tones and then into the slurring exercises. Sometimes the sparkle comes back when doing the upper register exercises, but sometimes I just can't get the higher notes to have the clear resonant sound that is in my mind during a practice session.

With this issue in mind, I decided that I would take the opportunity yesterday and play along with Pat and John as they did the routine. Almost magically, the sound was great toward the top of the staff and above. Better than I have sounded since, well the last lesson that I had with Karl. After some thought, it hit me that there is more of a benefit than just enforcing rest when trading off playing the routine. You are almost forced to practice with a quiet mind.

When I practice by myself, after each long tone or exercise, the note/sound judge in my mind evaluates what I just played and compares it to what I imagined and then gives suggestions on what I should do for the next long tone/exercise to make it better. When I played along with Pat and John yesterday (or in a lesson), I don't have time to think. Yesterday, I was listening to their sound model intently and then as soon as they stopped, I had to jump in and play without any real time for self-evaluation or internal coaching or I would miss the next long tone/exercise. I just played without conscience thought. My mind became quiet with the singular focus of listen/copy/listen/copy with no internal instructions or judgements. It sounds crazy, but when I can shut up the internal coach/critic, I do play better. It is difficult, because there is the uneasiness that if you aren't giving yourself all of these instructions prior to playing that you are going to mess up. It is a trust issue for sure. This is another benefit of playing the routine with someone else that I have never heard anyone mention before.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Adam had this figured out from the beginning. The older I get the smarter he becomes!
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robertmooretruro
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this video available? If so where could I find it?
You make a good point. I usually go through the fingering and hear the sound of what I am about to play next while I'm resting instead of thinking about what I just played.
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PH
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhod! That's great. I'm glad it helped. We are definitely going to do it again, and are beginning to talk about a series of podcasts as a future project. I have several friends who made practice recordings by editing themselves out of lessons with Mr. Adam, so they can listen to Adam play and then respond as they did in the original lesson.

robertmooretruro, the video was originally a Facebook Live session. If you are a Facebook member you can find this on John Raymond's page. https://www.facebook.com/jraymondmusic/videos/876878202479458/?hc_ref=ARSkcf-kUzHBBM15Rr5_lx7woQvyAyZN15CWOIqs8aKjfuTdqsoMlh4uOXyxfLCy_Vk&pnref=story
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vwag
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FB link doesn’t work for me. Is there a keyword query I can try? Love to see this too.
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robertmooretruro
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much. Can't wait to watch and try to play along and try to quiet the mind.
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R Moore
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PH
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vwag wrote:
The FB link doesn’t work for me. Is there a keyword query I can try? Love to see this too.


You might have to friend johnraymondmusic in order to see it. Not sure how the settings work.
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MPWall1
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
I have several friends who made practice recordings by editing themselves out of lessons with Mr. Adam, so they can listen to Adam play and then respond as they did in the original lesson.


This is genius! I have my lessons on cassette tape and need to figure out how to do this.

I also watched the video and thought you guys sounded great! What really gets me is how you both improved over the course of the routine. I thought you sounded tremendous from square one, so it was very impressive.

Michael
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RandyTX
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having never studied with Adam directly, I'm a little confused by what's actually being done during the first 5 minutes with the leadpipe removed in the video linked above. In particular, they go back and forth on the same held note the entire time, but I'm not clear on what the goal is of that portion, since apart from some minor pitch changes at times, I'm not clear on what they are trying to accomplish.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RandyTX wrote:
Having never studied with Adam directly, I'm a little confused by what's actually being done during the first 5 minutes with the leadpipe removed in the video linked above. In particular, they go back and forth on the same held note the entire time, but I'm not clear on what the goal is of that portion, since apart from some minor pitch changes at times, I'm not clear on what they are trying to accomplish.


I would suggest you read all of the "stickies" in this forum.
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RandyTX
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I'm not asking something as basic as 'why play the leadpipe' but rather, why go back and forth for such a long time. like they did in the video.

Maybe the speakers on my computer are crap, but I couldn't hear much, if anything, changing sonically during that several minutes of back and forth. Is it all about feel, airflow, something else?
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PH
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RandyTX wrote:
... Is it all about feel, airflow, something else?


To a certain extent the answer is "Yes." It is about feel...the feeling that the chops are ready to go on to more ambitious stuff, the feeling of the air flowing without excess tension or inhibition, the sound of the note (timbre, evenness, steadiness...). You know when you are ready to go on, at least I do now.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our focus must remain on the sound. Adam tells us 90% mental, 9% air, and 1% physical. Achieving this balance is the primary objective of playing the lead pipe.

I remember discussing with a colleague that I never really felt warmed up until the middle of the second set. His comment was I was focusing on how it felt rather than how it sounded. Pat and John were most certainly aware of the 1%, but the 90% was on the sound.

I might add also the importance of simply observing your practice mate's playing as well as your own without judgement.
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markp
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to playing along with these guys on the video. I've heard a lot about the Adam approach for many years, and am delighted to see such a simple tool offered to the public.

Daily routines lasting hours, seems to be at the heart of the Adam approach. It has obviously paid dividends to the many professionals who follow the philosophy. I've read that Doc Severinsen did a similar routine.

But.....some great players don't think all that practice of fundamentals is necessary. Bobby Shew, for instance, told me in a lesson that after a short buzzing session, you should be ready to go. Why spend time on long tones and such, I paraphrase Bobby, when you could be playing music?

A former student of Jens Lindamen told me this weekend that there was no such long routine that his students had to follow. They were assigned a solo or etude. When a weakness was uncovered, specific technical exercises were prescribed to fix that specific problem, not hours of drill.

I respect both schools of thought. What do Adam followers have to say about this issue?

I know that Pat Harbison, John Raymond and Chris Botti are all great jazz players. Playing jazz, regardless of your trumpet chops, takes thousands of hours of devoted to practicing scales, chords, patterns, tunes in all keys and transcribing.

Did/do they really do three hours of the Adam routine each day and follow it up with three hours of practicing jazz?

Remember, Charlie Parker spent up to 10 hours per day practicing--and it wasn't long tones.
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My warm-up takes 10 minutes if that's all the time available. A few notes on the lead pipe, a few long tones, a couple of scales or a Clarke study and I'm ready to go. My routine is a matter of practicing to develop my relationship with the instrument. If I warm up for 10 minutes I can play anything I need to. If I can practice for a couple of hours to get in phase with the physics and laws of nature before I hit the gig or rehearsal, I can play even better and my tone improves, my endurance increases dramatically, etc.

I learned most all of my jazz stuff playing the piano, transcribing and listening intently to music. Much of this work happens when I'm resting my chops. If I can hear and I know the theory from my keyboard work it is a very simple process to transfer that to improvising on the trumpet....AS LONG AS THE TRUMPET IS NOT AN OBSTACLE.

And while these days my busy life and career might hold my daily practice down to a couple of hours of routine and an hour or two of working on musical things, back in the day when we were all studying with Mr. Adam I was putting in 4-6 hours per day playing routine type things he assigned, 2-3 hours per day working on jazz things, and at least a couple of hours per day playing with people. This was the norm for Adam's students during the years I was studying at IU. If I wanted to be a professional in any other field I would spend 8-10 hours per day at work. I've always wondered why musicians think that spending less time developing professional skills in a field they supposedly love was even an option. If someone aspires to be a professional level trumpet player they should expect to practice around 8 hours per day for a considerable period of their life.

The 10,000 hour rule is real!
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, John and I plan to do this again some time within the next week or two (probably the first week in November). Watch for an announcement. In the meantime, if you have questions you would like us to address, please post them here, send them to me in a PM or post them on either John's or my Facebook wall.
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tim_wolf
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
If someone aspires to be a professional level trumpet player they should expect to practice around 8 hours per day for a considerable period of their life.

The 10,000 hour rule is real!


I'm not disagreeing with this, but I can't help but wonder how some players make it to the top with far less practice. Chris Martin has said he never spent more than two to three hours a day practicing while at Eastman. I heard an interview with Malcolm McNab and he stated he never practiced more than two hours a day.

I don't know; maybe it's different with commercial players. I've read stories about the studio scene in LA back in the day, and how you could literally work 24 hours a day, there was so much work available. Obviously, a symphony trumpet player is never going to have to play as many hours as a commercial player does (or did!).

If a serious student started doing three hours a day from ninth grade (or seventh grade like Vince DiMartino!) through graduate school, they'd have their 10,000 hours in.
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Nonsense Eliminator
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's any question that generally orchestral players spend less time with the horn on their faces. Obviously, the physical and musical demands are different; I don't know whether that accounts for all of it or there's something else at play as well. But if you look at Louis Davidson's book Trumpet Profiles (which consists of surveys he sent out to prominent trumpet players) there's a marked difference between how much time jazz and classical players spent practicing. Pretty much all of the classical players were in the 2-4 hour range. I'm certainly not Chris Martin but 2.5-3 hours is a good day of practicing for me. My sense is that most of the people I work with would say about the same.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why spend time on long tones and such, I paraphrase Bobby, when you could be playing music?

For the same reason athletes practice fundamentals.
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Steve A
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nonsense Eliminator wrote:
... Pretty much all of the classical players were in the 2-4 hour range. I'm certainly not Chris Martin but 2.5-3 hours is a good day of practicing for me. My sense is that most of the people I work with would say about the same.


This isn't specific to Mr. Adam's teaching, so I'm sorry if this is deemed off topic, but I saw this video recently, and found it a fascinating perspective on practice time/timing/purposefulness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5FvULGshhw

Quick synopsis - Christian Lindberg practices in four 24 minute sets through the day, interspersed with different physical exercises, types of work (conducting, composing). If he can maintain all his skills, and learn the quantity and difficulty of music he tackles in 96 minutes a day, I think it's worth giving some thought to the ratio of time spent/purposefulness in our own practice.
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markp
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
By the way, John and I plan to do this again some time within the next week or two (probably the first week in November). Watch for an announcement. In the meantime, if you have questions you would like us to address, please post them here, send them to me in a PM or post them on either John's or my Facebook wall.


When you're doing the Clarke #1 studies, I notice that you are not following the dynamic marking of "pp" in the original book, but rather using a full, big sound. Is this something you vary from time to time, like the other elements you mention, or do you play at a louder volume because you are focusing on your sound?

Do you ever play them soft? When I play them at a comfortable volume, they feel easy and satisfying to me. When I play them at pianissimo, they are much more challenging and difficult, especially in the upper register. Was Clarke looking to develop something other than Adam was when he wrote them this way?
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