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A major difference between Flexus and Caruso?


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HJ
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

Hi,

Totally risking my life here, but anyway.

I am a devoted BE student and have nothing to complain about the results. Since I am always searching for new methods and points of view for myself and my students I ran across Flexus on this forum.

I have the MCFB book and tried to get the basic concept, but I did not get it to work for me. BE got my fundamentals right, so I don't think I want to go through a whole CC course (and if I ever consider this I will look into the getting started threads: great work!. At least made the whole concept conceivable again for me).

Just because I heard a lot of good stories about Flexus and because I was looking for some new ideas to do next to BE, I ordered the book. I took an evening to understand the basics, listened to the CD and decided that I want to give it a try. It covers all the technical stuff that everybody eventually has to study, so why not from this book. (It has a lot of interesting studies). The roadmap was very clear, and I just follow the guidelines in the book. And that is where I discovered why I think this book might work for me where the MFCB book does not. It is not about the roadmap, because if I wanted that I'd just look up the getting started notes on this forum. It is this:

'Maintain the mouthpiece pressure and placement and keep the lip tension constant during the rests. Keep the setting until no notes are sounding. '

This is one of the lesson notes of PH. I looked for similar wording in the MFCB book and at least I understand that Caruso also wants you to keep the tension etc. Just to bring the action down to one thing: the Blow.

This message is totally confusing to me. (Don't get offended, I only want to understand it, which I just don't. I know that the results for many people are great). How can a setting that eventually produces no note can be benificial. This is how I see it: you start off with a normal setting. Eventually your muscles sart to falter, no new blood to recover the chops and everything collapses. What is wrong in my understanding that studying this way only makes things worse (which obviously isn't true, since so many people DO benefit from it). Practicing on chops that produce no sound is giving the chops the message that this is the way to act. In other words: as well as you can teach your muscles to do the right things by doing it the right way (or at least giving them the right information, like in BE), you can teach them the wrong things by repeating the wrong things, like playing on chops that won't vibrate anymore. You learn them that it is OK that they don't vibrate!? What is wrong about this thought?

And now about Flexus. On page 12 it is clearly stated this way:'Long setting exercises are not isometric. Mpc pressure and tension in the corners should be relaxed during the measure rest.'

That was a big relieve to me. This way long setting is possible and I can at least imagine it to be beneficial.
The first time I played the six notes my eyes fell upon this statement and I wondered why Caruso was so hard for me. I looked it up and saw the difference, no tension in Flexus, tension in Caruso.

Any thoughts on this?

For the record: about two years ago I wouldn't have had a clue about how to play any of the exercises in Flexus. After two years of dilligent BE practice, most of the exercises are heavy but possible and a great workout. Maybe BE is as good a preparation for this kind of exercises than is MCFB. Not that this is very important. Do whatever works for you. Just wondering what other people have to say about this combination.

Bert
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robbie
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bert,
I'm no expert,but I did have some lessons with Laurie Frink(who co-wrote the book),and she is one of the best Caruso method teachers around.She gave me a full Caruso routine along with the exercises from flexus.So my isometric work was done with the Caruso,while the Flexus supplemented my practice.Laurie was very insistant that I continue to practice whatever other method I was using as well.I hope this helps but you really need to hear what PH or Charly have to say,they know way more about this than I.
Good luck,
Robbie.
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PH
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The number one point here is that CARUSO (MCFB) IS NOT AN ISOMETRIC APPROACH!!! Neither is Flexus, but Laurie states that clearly. MCFB does not and this has resulted in the single greatest misunderstanding of MCFB and Carmine's teaching in general.

Caruso is not about building muscles it is about synchronizing & minimizing the motion of muscles. In order to do this you want to reduce the number of variables. Bert rightly summarized the reason that Carmine wanted students to use the nose breath and keep the embouchure set during the rests. Doing this reduces the number of motions to one, the blow.

This keeps you from repositioning the mouthpiece during the rests and it also keeps you from moving the lips inside the mouthpiece during the rests. (Note: It is perfectly fine to move the lips inside the mouthpiece while you are playing. As a matter of fact, Carmine often said, "Work the lips." You don't move the lips during the rests!) The whole point of nose breathing is that it makes the student start the note after the rest with exactly the same embouchure setting as they finished the last note before the rest. Over time this teaches the body to use the most efficient lip position, mouthpiece placement, lip tension, etc.

How does this work when you are playing the exercises to "failure"? Read the Inner Game of Tennis. The unconscious mind is in charge and it works with the neurological system to find the most effective way to play through non-judgemental repetition of calisthenics. Over time the kinesthetic memory takes over and this translates into the ability to play music with freedom from mechanical problems.

If you think about how we learn other skills you will realize that we develop the ability to do things from repeatedly "failing". When I first tried as a little boy to shoot basketball free throws I missed 8 out of every 10 shots I took. By the flawed conventional wisdom ("If you make mistakes when you practice you will increse the likelihood of mistakes in the future.") I should have gotten increasingly worse at shooting the basketball because I was missing 4 shots for every 1 I made. Of course this is not how it works. My unconscious mind remembered how every shot worked and over time it led my body into more consistently following the path to success. The misses were filed away by my unconscious mind under "approaches to avoid".

The only way you can screw this up is by being harshly judgemental and attaching too much emotional significance to your "failures". If you attach significance to your mistakes your mind will be drawn back to them. (Can someone please tell Shaq to read this post!) If you keep your eye on the target and repeat the attempt unemotionally you will improve your percentage of success over time.

Carmine told me that if I was suffering from allergy or sinus problems & could not breathe effectively through my nose that it would be fine to breathe through the corners of my mouth as long as i did not disturb the setting of the mouthpiece on the lips. He also says this in MCFB at one point. He said that if I could keep the lip setting and tension the same and breathe through the nose it would minimize the likelihood that I would unwittingly reposition my lips inside the mouthpiece on the rests. This kind of unwitting repositioning is easy to fall into if you relax the chops and corners.

The problem is that far too many people misconstrue the purpose of the nose breath in MCFB and think that because they "feel the burn" that the purpose of the nose breath is to build strength through isometric exercise. This could not be farther from the truth!!! The purpose of the nose breath and keeping the lips set in MCFB is to avoid repositioning the lips! Sure it makes the corners burn, but so does practicing legato double tongueing slowly at a forte volume (for one example). That doesn't mean that that is the purpose of the exercise.

MCFB is designed to teach the body the most efficient way to play by improving coordination of all muscular activity by focusing on perfecting rhythm and developing the ability to play all intervals (the building blocks of all music) with maximum efficiency and minimum effort.

Laurie once told me that she allowed her students to relax their corners (but not reposition the lips in the mouthpiece) because she found that students tended to overdo the isometric thing when they kept the lip tension. She said that this over tensing of the lips was particularly a problem with people who only took a few or occasional lessons. With regular students she could spot the problems as they were developing, but if someone took a couple of lessons and then never came back she could never correct their misconceptions about the muscle building vs. coordination in MCFB and her own studies. Obviously, the potential for a misunderstanding such as this (and the resultant problems) is greater when writing a book such as Flexus than it is even in a lesson situation.

Laurie, correct me if I am wrong!


Last edited by PH on Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jerry Freedman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has come up before in this forum and over in Sam Burtis' forum. Some people remember CC saying to keep lip tension during the rests, some say CC only said to keep the same setting...for me its hard to keep the same setting without at least some continuous tension. My advice to you is to do what the book says. Laurie Frink has taken Caruso stuff to new places.

BTW I have a teacher who teaches a modified Callet approach ( modified Trumpet Yoga ) which isn't that different from BE and I do my teacher's stuff and CC.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:58 pm    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

HJ wrote:

'Maintain the mouthpiece pressure and placement and keep the lip tension constant during the rests. Keep the setting until no notes are sounding. '

This is one of the lesson notes of PH. I looked for similar wording in the MFCB book and at least I understand that Caruso also wants you to keep the tension etc. Just to bring the action down to one thing: the Blow.

This message is totally confusing to me. .... How can a setting that eventually produces no note can be benificial.


The simple answer is that it is. By applying his genius to the mechanics of trumpet playing, CC came up with (among other things) the long setting technique of calisthenic practice. By employing this technique with his students, CC observed that their progress was the most accelerated and that extremely dysfunctional/crippled embouchures responded and became healthy again. It really doesn't matter how it works ... it works! The question should be "why" does it work and not "how " or "how can it possibly," etc. The "why" would revolve around the science of muscle conditioning, development of reflex actions, conditioned response, etc. Maybe there is a course in a nearby university that would provide you with the answers you're looking for. Or a book that you could read.

HJ wrote:




This is how I see it: you start off with a normal setting. Eventually your muscles sart to falter, no new blood to recover the chops and everything collapses. What is wrong in my understanding that studying this way only makes things worse (which obviously isn't true, since so many people DO benefit from it). Practicing on chops that produce no sound is giving the chops the message that this is the way to act. In other words: as well as you can teach your muscles to do the right things by doing it the right way (or at least giving them the right information, like in BE), you can teach them the wrong things by repeating the wrong things, like playing on chops that won't vibrate anymore. You learn them that it is OK that they don't vibrate!? What is wrong about this thought?


The basic thing wrong with your analyses is that you are mischaracterizing/misrepresenting the CC calisthenics. No place does CC state that a student should be ""Practicing on chops that produce no sound." The "practicing" occured before the vibration stopped. The interval that hasn't responded is completed and then the effort stops for a certain time interval. No one is saying to practice with no vibration ... only that the student should complete the interval that has failed to respond. That is hardly practicing.

Pat has addressed this issue in his post. I only wanted to point out that CC calisthenics are NOT about practicing on chops that don't produce any sound. You play to the point of total fatigue and then you STOP. It actually seems very possible that a strong logical argument could be made that by practicing this way the student could eventually expect to extend the time that elapses before total fatigue sets in and would thereby increase his playing endurance.

HJ wrote:
And now about Flexus. On page 12 it is clearly stated this way:'Long setting exercises are not isometric. Mpc pressure and tension in the corners should be relaxed during the measure rest.'

That was a big relieve to me. This way long setting is possible and I can at least imagine it to be beneficial.
The first time I played the six notes my eyes fell upon this statement and I wondered why Caruso was so hard for me. I looked it up and saw the difference, no tension in Flexus, tension in Caruso.

Any thoughts on this?


Relieving the tension during the rests definitely makes the intervals easier. That isn't the way Carmine gave the exercises to me, however. But, he used to see me every two weeks and could see for himself if I was doing the exercises in a way that would be detrimental. Perhaps the difference between the 2 books is pedagogical. Maybe maintaining the tension is better if it is done correctly, but would be worse for development if done incorrectly as opposed to relieving the tension. I don't know. Carmine gave it to me one way and that's the way I've always done it.


Last edited by _bugleboy on Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PH
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:30 pm    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

bugleboy wrote:
...Relieving the tension during the rests definitely makes the intervals easier. That isn't the way Carmine gave the exercises to me, however. But, he used to see me every two weeks and could see for himself if I was doing the exercises in a way that would be detrimental. Perhaps the difference between the 2 books is pedagogical. Maybe maintaining the tension is better if it is done correctly, but would be worse for development if done incorrectly as opposed to relieving the tension. I don't know. Carmine gave it to me one way and that's the way I've always done it.


I think this nails it right on the head!
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HJ
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks for now for the great input. I have very little time, so I will respond to all the posts later. Already read some positive things, but I have to give it a closer read, to be able to really 'get te point'.

One thing I read from Charlie: it is not about HOW it works but the simple fact THAT it works that I should ask myself. I understand that. Things that work, simply work. But there are so many things that can go wrong (and DID go wrong, for that matter) that I want at least a hinge of the HOW and maybe WHY.
I read that that is just the way we learn (PH) (learning to walk, for instance, is a road with a lot of bumps and failure). That makes sense to me and conviced me of the basic principle a bit.
Anyhow, more later.

Bert
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HJ
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
The number one point here is that CARUSO (MCFB) IS NOT AN ISOMETRIC APPROACH!!! Neither is Flexus, but Laurie states that clearly. MCFB does not and this has resulted in the single greatest misunderstanding of MCFB and Carmine's teaching in general.


That is a great relieve and the mistake I always made in the times that I had a go with MCFB. In Flexus it is indeed stated clearly and that is why I brought it up here. I understand that the basic principle is the same: no isometrics intended.

Quote:

This keeps you from repositioning the mouthpiece during the rests and it also keeps you from moving the lips inside the mouthpiece during the rests. (Note: It is perfectly fine to move the lips inside the mouthpiece while you are playing. As a matter of fact, Carmine often said, "Work the lips." You don't move the lips during the rests!) The whole point of nose breathing is that it makes the student start the note after the rest with exactly the same embouchure setting as they finished the last note before the rest. Over time this teaches the body to use the most efficient lip position, mouthpiece placement, lip tension, etc.


The thing that bothers me is this: the Six Notes (also in Flexus) start with a breath attack to focus the lips. Only focused lips can produce a tone. You blow them into focus. That is the idea. If the tension is not releasedd between the notes there is less chance to blow the lips into focus again because they already have a certain setup. Also there is a tongue attack. So the idea of focused chops is very little. Wouldn't it be better to always use a breath attack and release the tension inbetween, leaving the mouthpiece at exactly the same place as the note before, thus eliminating the variable mpc placement, with the Caruso exercises? That way every single note or line you play is focused.
In MCFB there is one sentence that reads that you play a few second line G's (page 13) to get the feel of the G. IMO this is pretty important. I always interpreted this to be even a breath attack to get the lips focused in a non-manipulative way. I did Flexus today and started every exercise with a few G's with breath attacks to get the right initial setup. I personally think that the Six Notes are not enough to focus and setup the chops for all the exercises in either Flexus or MCFB. After a few exercises your chops are doing totally different things and the initial setup is forgotten.
I think....... any comments are welcome. I realize that it is maybe more confusion than wisdom, just my thoughts trying to grasp the idea.

Quote:


If you think about how we learn other skills you will realize that we develop the ability to do things from repeatedly "failing". When I first tried as a little boy to shoot basketball free throws I missed 8 out of every 10 shots I took. By the flawed conventional wisdom ("If you make mistakes when you practice you will increse the likelihood of mistakes in the future.") I should have gotten increasingly worse at shooting the basketball because I was missing 4 shots for every 1 I made. Of course this is not how it works. My unconscious mind remembered how every shot worked and over time it led my body into more consistently following the path to success. The misses were filed away by my unconscious mind under "approaches to avoid".


I thought a lot about this and how I learned to play the trumpet, and of course you cannot learn to play by doing it correctly from the beginning. That is stupid and impossible. How I understand it now is that you have to give your muscles the right exposure. That is how BE works and I presume that that is how Caruso works. Of course you cannot produce the right sound from the beginning, but for me (and I think it might be essential to really understand Caruso) it is hard to let go the idea of at least trying to get the right tone.
Let me give an example. Last year I did a lot of what I called 'darting'. I played one note and took the mpc off. After four beats I played it again. So I played a lot of first attacks. I tried to play five good notes in a row and everytime I missed one I had to go back to one again, again trying to hit the bullseye five consecutive times the only goal was to have a secure attack, which has always been a weak point in my playing. I think that this is totally opposite of Caruso's way of non-judgemental playing.
It helped me a lot and did a great job for my selfconfidence. I also felt that it focused my chops and helped me integrating the goodies of BE practice, not with long setting and trying to keep the same setting, but going with the flow and trying to feel the best possible setup for that one note.
I have to admit that if I play longer lines my focus is getting weaker. But if I do not have to play very long lines with some rests I sound stronger than ever. Maybe that is why I want to look into the Caruso way of thinking. I know that I have to be able to play longer lines as well.


Quote:

Laurie once told me that she allowed her students to relax their corners (but not reposition the lips in the mouthpiece) because she found that students tended to overdo the isometric thing when they kept the lip tension. She said that this over tensing of the lips was particularly a problem with people who only took a few or occasional lessons. With regular students she could spot the problems as they were developing, but if someone took a couple of lessons and then never came back she could never correct their misconceptions about the muscle building vs. coordination in MCFB and her own studies. Obviously, the potential for a misunderstanding such as this (and the resultant problems) is greater when writing a book such as Flexus than it is even in a lesson situation.


I think when practicing Flexus I stick to the notes that the two writers gave, so no tension. That seems to work for me. For the rest I have to do the exercises and see what happens over time. I have been doing them for two weeks now, so I can't really tell what it is going to do for me. But I like to play them and I am anxious about the results. Otherwise I have been doing some intyeresting technical exercises.

Bert

Laurie, correct me if I am wrong![/quote]
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HJ
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

bugleboy wrote:


The simple answer is that it is. By applying his genius to the mechanics of trumpet playing, CC came up with (among other things) the long setting technique of calisthenic practice. By employing this technique with his students, CC observed that their progress was the most accelerated and that extremely dysfunctional/crippled embouchures responded and became healthy again. It really doesn't matter how it works ... it works! The question should be "why" does it work and not "how " or "how can it possibly," etc. The "why" would revolve around the science of muscle conditioning, development of reflex actions, conditioned response, etc. Maybe there is a course in a nearby university that would provide you with the answers you're looking for. Or a book that you could read.


I have had some periods that I tried Caruso, but with not much success. Now that I am looking into it more seriously I understand some of the mistakes I made. I am just really reluctant to try methods that didn't have success in the past. And I have heard 'it simply works because it works' about a lot of different methods, that in the end did not work at all. Not that I doubt your integrity. I read a lot of great things in this forum, that is why I am slowly leaning against this direction and checking out how I could make it work.

Quote:

You play to the point of total fatigue and then you STOP. It actually seems very possible that a strong logical argument could be made that by practicing this way the student could eventually expect to extend the time that elapses before total fatigue sets in and would thereby increase his playing endurance.


I am not sure if I believe this. You may be right, technically, but the problem with this is how you recognize this point. If you don't recognize it it is disastrous and you are only forcing. Anyway, for me it is very hard to distinguish when I should stop if I try to apply this.

There is one thing that is very important in this. In Flexus it is stated very clearly and I think it should have been the Fifth Rule in MCFB: don't play on tired chops. Try to play on chops that are fresh and rest enough. That is a general rule, but it is easy to mistake MCFB as isometrics and the mistake to push yourself beyond fatigue is also easily made.
Quote:

Relieving the tension during the rests definitely makes the intervals easier. That isn't the way Carmine gave the exercises to me, however. But, he used to see me every two weeks and could see for himself if I was doing the exercises in a way that would be detrimental. Perhaps the difference between the 2 books is pedagogical. Maybe maintaining the tension is better if it is done correctly, but would be worse for development if done incorrectly as opposed to relieving the tension. I don't know. Carmine gave it to me one way and that's the way I've always done it.


That is only fair. I have to do a period of serious practicing and see what works and what does not. Thanks for the input.

Bert
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PH
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

HJ wrote:
bugleboy wrote:

You play to the point of total fatigue and then you STOP. It actually seems very possible that a strong logical argument could be made that by practicing this way the student could eventually expect to extend the time that elapses before total fatigue sets in and would thereby increase his playing endurance.


I am not sure if I believe this. You may be right, technically, but the problem with this is how you recognize this point. If you don't recognize it it is disastrous and you are only forcing. Anyway, for me it is very hard to distinguish when I should stop if I try to apply this.


There is nothing for the player to recognize. If you are practicing CC stuff and following the Four Rules you will find that no sound comes out of the horn before you will have done any harm to yourself.
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HJ
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:19 am    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

PH wrote:


There is nothing for the player to recognize. If you are practicing CC stuff and following the Four Rules you will find that no sound comes out of the horn before you will have done any harm to yourself.


I understand, but that is not my experience at all. After a week of dilligent practice this way I sounded worse than ever and it took me another week to recover. As a pro I cannot afford this kind of experiment. Of course I did something very wrong, but I amn not sure what.

Bert
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oj
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bert (and others),

Very good discussion here!

I first learned a little Caruso from Reinhold Friedrich. He had learned it from his friend and trumpet player Markus Stockhausen. (Markus was a student of Carmine.)

Friedrich said that using these exercises had helped him get a higher and more consistent register. When he first started doing it, he would do it only every other day.

Friedrich also pointed out: "As with all good exercises - Use common sense, do no not overdo it." He had seen people hurt themselves by doing it too much. Over the years I have also come across people like Bert who tried it but did not have any success.

Btw, Dave Hickman posted this on TH:
Quote:
This is why I have not had personal success with the Caruso method, per se, in my own playing. I have developed a modified version for myself, but in essence it is more like extended Clarke exercises. Many of my students have used the Caruso method and I have often taught it to students. Like many systems, it works fine for some. (I do NOT consider Caruso a gimmick, in case anyone was wondering!)


Ole

P.S.
I had a short interview with Laurie Frink about Flexus: http://abel.hive.no/trumpet/interview/flexus/
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One important thing to remember is that Caruso practice should not replace anything you are currently practicing. You should simply add Caruso (a little at a time ala the "Getting Started" thread). Caruso is an enhancement. Over time you might find that Caruso stuff makes it possible for you to experiment with eliminating certain other kinds of technical practice, but you will know when you get there and you will probably develop a sense for what kinds of things might no longer be necessary.

Another suggestion is that you should do the CC exercises no more than once a day. I know some people who do otherwise, but in my experience this is plenty. CC work is an enhancement to whatever else you do and is not meant to replace anything.

Balance in your practice is vitally important.

Carmine told me to never do the exercises on tired, swollen, or stiff chops. Therefore, sometimes it is helpful to do a light warm-up (leadpipe, a few long tones, a few Clarkes) before hitting the CC stuff. Some days you might just skip the CC until your chops recover from a hard gig, etc.

He also told me that until I got acclimated to this way of practicing that I might not want to do anything more than Six Notes on the day of an important gig.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:25 am    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

[quote="HJ"]
bugleboy wrote:


Quote:

You play to the point of total fatigue and then you STOP. It actually seems very possible that a strong logical argument could be made that by practicing this way the student could eventually expect to extend the time that elapses before total fatigue sets in and would thereby increase his playing endurance.


I am not sure if I believe this. You may be right, technically, but the problem with this is how you recognize this point. If you don't recognize it it is disastrous and you are only forcing. Anyway, for me it is very hard to distinguish when I should stop if I try to apply this.


If you are doing the exercises correctly there is nothing to recognize, there is nothing disastrous and there is no forcing, other than pressure, and pressure by itself is harmless as it is allowed in the Four Rules. The Four Rules are set up so that you can't hurt yourself and they are simple and clear. Keep it foremost in your application of the 4Rs that your playing (while practicing CC calisthenics) is not in any way supposed to sound like music. The only thing CC drills have in common with music is timing. Sound, tone, intonation, articulation, etc., are not part of the mix.

When you say, "Anyway, for me it is very hard to distinguish when I should stop if I try to apply this," it tells me that there is some aspect of the 4Rs that you are not following. Without seeing you I have no way of knowing what you might be doing, but it is probably something very simple.

Caruso is not the easiest approach to do on your own. My best advice to you would be to get a Caruso teacher, at least for a few lessons. If that is not possible then try staying on just the Six Notes for a few weeks, focusing on following the 4Rs to the letter, especially the foot tapping part which includes subdividing first into 8ths for a week and then into 16ths. Then add the Seconds after a month or so.
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PH
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:32 am    Post subject: Re: A major difference between Flexus and Caruso? Reply with quote

HJ wrote:
PH wrote:


There is nothing for the player to recognize. If you are practicing CC stuff and following the Four Rules you will find that no sound comes out of the horn before you will have done any harm to yourself.


I understand, but that is not my experience at all. After a week of dilligent practice this way I sounded worse than ever and it took me another week to recover. As a pro I cannot afford this kind of experiment. Of course I did something very wrong, but I amn not sure what.

Bert


I agree with Charly. It seems clear to me that if you are having thee kinds of questions and problems it is likely that you are not following the Four Rules religiously.

I wish I could watch/hear you play through this stuff. Do you have any way to send video?
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oj wrote:

Btw, Dave Hickman posted this on TH:
Quote:
This is why I have not had personal success with the Caruso method, per se, in my own playing. I have developed a modified version for myself, but in essence it is more like extended Clarke exercises. Many of my students have used the Caruso method and I have often taught it to students. Like many systems, it works fine for some. (I do NOT consider Caruso a gimmick, in case anyone was wondering!)



I believe it is common that the better the player is the harder it is for him to get into the Caruso approach, especially if the player comes from a traditional background. On the surface, Caruso seems to go against all the teachings of traditional trumpet approaches, and it is hard for many who have been brought up with those teachings to break loose.

I doubt that DH has ever actually practiced Caruso and wonder how it's possible for him to teach it. The only ones who don't improve with Caruso are ones who haven't carefully followed the Four Rules.

Another stumbling block good players often have when practicing CC is to satisfy the need to sound good musically when doing the exercises. Or at the very least to NOT sound absolutely awful, raucous, noisy and any other term that would describe gross nonmusicality. As Carmine says on p.9 of MCFB, " The discipline to feel is physical, not musical." Gotta break those chains before Caruso is likely to work well for you.

It has always been a rule of mine, if at all possible, to NEVER let anyone hear me when I practice the Caruso calisthenics. When I practice Caruso, it's just between Carmine and me. He's the only one who understands what I'm doing.
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oj
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bugleboy wrote:
It has always been a rule of mine, if at all possible, to NEVER let anyone hear me when I practice the Caruso calisthenics. When I practice Caruso, it's just between Carmine and me. He's the only one who understands what I'm doing.


Interesting you should say this, Charly.

When I met Jerry Callet last year, I knew he had been in the same building as Caruso (sometimes in the 1970ies). I asked him what he thought about Caruso. "I only heard out of tune playing coming from that part of the building", Jerry said.

Ole


Last edited by oj on Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oj wrote:
bugleboy wrote:
It has always been a rule of mine, if at all possible, to NEVER let anyone hear me when I practice the Caruso calisthenics. When I practice Caruso, it's just between Carmine and me. He's the only one who understands what I'm doing.


Intersting you should say this, Charly.

When I met Jerry Callet last year, I knew he had been in the same building as Caruso (sometimes in the 1970ies). I asked him what he thought about Caruso. "I only heard out of tune playing coming from that part of the building", Jerry said.

Ole


The real reason is that is very hard to NOT try to make the Caruso stuff sound musical if you know someone is listening. As soon as you start doing that you start losing the purpose and intent of the exercises ... and DON'T gain maximum benefit from them.

It's always better to practice Caruso alone and in an isolated and sound proofed room if possible.
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HJ
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bugleboy wrote:


Another stumbling block good players often have when practicing CC is to satisfy the need to sound good musically when doing the exercises. Or at the very least to NOT sound absolutely awful, raucous, noisy and any other term that would describe gross nonmusicality. As Carmine says on p.9 of MCFB, " The discipline to feel is physical, not musical." Gotta break those chains before Caruso is likely to work well for you.


I have been doing the BE exercises for over two years now, so I should be used to playing with an awful feel and sound. If there is another method where this applies it is BE. About forty minutes a day I rule out every thought of sounding great. And like you describe, there are exercises that I don't play in front of colleages or students. But I do them every day.

I am a little surprised by myself that I still am very cautious about the Caruso way. I think some of the Caruso way of thinking is in BE also. I don't exactly know what holds me back, maybe I can accept a horrible sound better if I play it on an embouchure that I don't use in my normal playing and of which I know that it will work in the end (like the Roll-in and Roll-out exercises in BE). The Caruso exercises are played on a normal setting and that is too close for comfort. If I even sound horrible on what is supposed to be my normal setup, I loose my selfconfidence, and that is worse than having a bad day or two.
So, I think you are right about the fear of sounding bad. I am not sure if I want to take the leap. BE is working miracles for me, so I don't need to go other places, but I really feel that Flexus is working for me, so I want to find out if the basics of this method (MCFB) could be something to work on, too.
I know, just try and see, maybe I will, maybe I will...


BTW I found another difference that made Flexus more acceptable than what I understood of Caruso before you guys jumped in. In Flexus there are a lot of exercises where it says to 'breathe through the nose and add as many beats as necessary'. In MCFB it says to breath through the nose. There are beats rest. (Most of the time four). Is it important to keep to these four beats? I can imagine because of the conditioning, timing and synchronizing the muscles involved. On the other hand, the way it is presented in Flexus gives more room to get enough air in to enable a steady airstream and that made a big difference to me. I think it is very hard to get the air where I want it through the nose and be able to deliver a compressed airstream to play the higher parts of both Flexus and Caruso. I like the relaxed way in Flexus. Caruso didn't want us to learn how to breath through the nose as quickly as possible I presume, in other words, that is not the goal, is it?
Bert
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Jerry Freedman
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can take extra beats, as long as you keep the beat going. I used to have this difficulty for a while with the harmonics...I would get a bit dizzy, so I would take an extra measure or so before going on. Its never been an issure for me in the intervals but I am sure CC would approve
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