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Some Vincent Cichowicz Questions


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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2002 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I have read articles in the Instrumentalist Magazine (Aug 85 & Jan 96)Brass Bulletin (104 IV 1998) and the ITG Journal (Dec 9 there are a few questions which I hope an ex-V.C. student might be able to answer for me which are not entirely covered or clear in the above articles.

1. In the Brass Bulletin article it mentions that each beginning student received a progress chart with a basic daily programme:

Buzzing with the mouthpiece
Slow slurring exercises(with instrument)
Clarke and his Flow Studies
Lyrical Exercises
Scales and Arpeggios (for articulation)

Can anyone confirm and maybe elaborate on that?

2. Was this sequence used in every lesson with V.C. or only until he was happy it was being used correctly and presumably became the "warm-up" prior to a lesson.

3. Was there a typical pattern or sequence the lessons took. Where does Transposition, Orchestral Excerpts, Etudes and Repertoire pieces fit into all this?

4. In regard to Etudes, I used to think that when he mentioned the Bousquet 36 Celebrated Studies for example, that this would be studied #1 to 36 over a year. But in correspondence with someone else last year, it seems that he used to select certain etudes so as to deal with particular problems. Any comments on how he used etudes would be welcome.

5. In reference to the "Trumpet Flow Studies" book by V.C and Luther Didrickson. There are some Slur Exercises on pages 1-4. Are these the "slow slurring exercises" referred to in the basic daily programme? And where do the other studies in the book fit in with the Clarke Flow Studies(Technical Studies), Lyrical Studies(Concone & Bordogni etc) and the "Russian Studies"?

It would be nice if Vincent Cichowicz would write a book to give us the benefit of his knowledge and experience of many years playing and teaching. He has mentioned (a couple of times) it is all in his head ready to be put down on paper but alas, no sign of it so far.

Thanks in advance. You can also e-mail me if preferred.

Andrew Tomlinson




[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2002-08-18 05:19 ]
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is anybody out there?

Andrew Tomlinson
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_Don Herman
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a couple of threads below, and I believe Dave Bacon (dbacon, a TH poster) took lessons from him so you might give him a holler. There has not been a lot of response regarding he whom I consider one of the "other" legends of the Chicago School...
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2002 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Don, I was beginning to feel a bit lonely.

It certainly is very disappointing, I've tried a few times to draw out these V.Cichowicz guys but they are very reluctant to share anything with us. Perhaps they took a vow of silence at Northwestern University.

When I see how willing students of Claude Gordon, Bill Adam, Carmine Caruso, Jimmy Stamp, and Jerome Callet are to share their knowledge and experiences it makes me very envious.

As you say, Vincent Cichowicz was an important pillar of the Chicago School of Brass Playing along with Arnold Jacobs & Adolph Herseth. I would also include Philip Farkas. I've seen a few adverse comments about his "Art of Brass Playing" from Vizzutti and others but I think it's a great book-very analytical-but Jacobs could be as well. I also like his book "Art of French Horn Playing" full of sensible and homely advice parts of which are applicable to other instruments.

Andrew Tomlinson

"No matter how many high notes you can play, how much technique you have, or how loud or soft you can play-you do not have anything unless you can pull it off when it is time to do so" Malcolm McNab

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2002-08-24 04:59 ]
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Bill Dishman
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was fortunate to attend a Cichowicz master class here in Gainesville, Florida a few years ago. Wonderful experience (as an observer) and I have the notes if anyone wants them. Informal and personalized.

Bill Dishman
Gainesville, Florida
afn54653@afn.org
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johnski25
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'm going to reluctantly put my 2cents in here. I had the great fortune to study with Vincent Cichowicz when I was in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He has been doing those summer sessions for almost 2 decades now. I think I understand
why many Cichowicz students don't come out and write what the "Cichowicz method" is. The reason being that Cichowicz was very, very flexible in his approach to each and every student. I've never met anyone who puts as much thought into how and what to say to a student. His wealth of metaphors is astounding.

I've taken lessons with a handful of Cichowicz students as well and each of them had a different approach to playing the trumpet even though they were all based on the same concepts. What I mean by that is Cichowicz would explain things in different ways to different students in order to get the disired result. The outcome being that many of students have different methaphors in their heads on how to play the same exercises. This is also the reason I believe he hasn't written a method book. He is a students teacher, in the now and for the individual.

As far as the practice regimen that was outlined in this topic, it seems right on.He pretty much did the same routine with everyone. with the section at NYO, we did a run through of his practice routine every morning before starting in on our rep. It was through these materials which he could illustrate his concepts of flow and sound production.

I was just playing duets a couple weeks ago with another trumpeter who played in NYO with Cichowicz and I brought up a certain methaphor which Cichowicz used a lot with me, over and over. He had never heard of it and said that Cichowicz had never said that to him. So there you go.

Anyways, I hope that helps clarify the lack of response on an "overall impression" of Cichowicz's teaching.

Cheers,
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weekendwarrior
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either that, or there a lot of former students who are pissed that they spent $$$$$ for Northwestern and didn't get to see him every week.
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weekend Warrior - I think that remark is a bit unfair to the late Luther Didrickson - but I know what you're getting at.

John - Thank you for making some useful comments about Vincent Cichowicz - it sounds that like many great teachers he worked with each individual student according to their needs.

Perhaps you could tell us a bit about how you found Vincent Cichowicz as a teacher, how he helped you and what concepts you found most useful, and maybe tell us a bit about the materials he used the most often with you.

I'm sure this would be of great interest to the rest of us who were not able to study with the great man.

Andrew Tomlinson
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NYCTPT
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody went to N'Western not knowing the situation. Somtimes when encountering a teacher like Mr. Cichowicz it's better to not have a weekly lesson. Since the concepts he addresses are very simple, yet profound, it can be better to let things sink in over some time. I studies with a student of Mr. Cichowicz for my undergrad and we had lessons (roughly) every ten days. We also had rep classes and such in the midst of this. It was a great way to learn!
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johnski25
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew et all,

I'll see if I can get into what I learned from Cichowicz a little bit here. At the National Youth Orchestra of canada the trumpet section (usually 4, depending on government cutbacks that year) works with Cichowicz usually twice a day for two weeks as a section, plus an individual lesson once or twice a week. These sessions we did were quite long, like 2-3 hrs at a time, plus rehearsals makes for long playing days.

Anyways, working in this fashion, with three other guys is very effective. It always keeps you motivated and you learn tons about section playing. Every morning we would get together and he'd run us through his routine. It always varied a little, but was pretty much the following, if I can remeber correctly: We'd start by doing a couple upper body stretches, followed by a few deep breaths. After this we'd play some simple melodies in unison on our mouthpieces. Usually we'd proceed each exercise in the warm up with a wind pattern. If anyone doesn't know about Cichowicz's wind pattern, that could be discussion for another thread. Then we'd play his flow patterns in unison, working on free air movement and a uniformed sound between us. After this we would do quite a bit of tongueing out of the Arbans book. I think a lot of people overlook this part of his teaching. He really stressed this aspect with us, working on clean attacks and a free moving tongue on a bed of air. Then we would play some Bach 4-part chorales, working on intonation and a ringing blend of sound. After that we'd jump into the rep we were doing in orchestra.

The thing about Cichowicz is that he is like Yoda. He never says anything that isn' t worth saying. He is very careful about his choice of words and how he explains something. His mere presence is relaxing and it transfers into your playing. Like I said before, he has a seemingly infinite amount of methaphors on hand to explain every phrase or problem. He has high praise for "The inner game of tennis" and he has obviously incorporated some of that into his teaching.

One of the things he said to me that hit home was "Match your sound to the quality of your voice, your sound." I wrote down this simple statement and it keeps having profound affects on my playing. I'm sure there are tons of statements that he has told a lot of students which hit home for each of them.

Anyways, hope this is interesting to some..
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your contribution. I'm just surprised at no mention of Clarke "Technical Studies" or the famous "Trumpet Flow Studies".

Andrew Tomlinson

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2003-04-30 14:30 ]
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johnski25
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andrew,

Well if you mean the flow patterns then I did mention those. If you mean the etudes in the "lyrical and flow studies" book then no, we didn't use them much in our sessions. But we did use them a lot in our private lessons. I guess I forgot to mention the Clarkes. We of course did these too. In the group sessions and private lessons. He would get us to play them in octaves. If two people can play clarke 2. in octaves in tune and with matching ring in their tone, then they will be able to play in the orchestra very well together.

thanks for reminding me.
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John

I think there might be a slight confusion over the term "flow patterns", I think you are referring to the exercises at the beginning of "Trumpet Flow Studies" book (I still have the earlier edition) especially the one marked VC1. (called a long tone study by Bruce Briney and VC in the ITG Journal article Dec98)

There are certainly some new things coming out which I haven't seen mentioned in reports of his masterclasses. The stretching exercise and the deep breaths, and the tongueing from Arban, Clarke 2 in octaves etc.

Interesting

Andrew
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david johnson
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andrew:

i studied w/2 vc students. here is the practice pattern i was taught:

1) arban warm-up of gradually increasing intervals by alternating 2 of the very early exercises in that book
this was replaced a few years later with something similar that was a little like a stamp exercise
2) 3 arpeggio studies, slur & tongue, from early arban
3) all major scales, slur, twice per breath. articulated scales were added from the williams scale studies
4) clarke technical studies 2 (varied articulation) & 4 (slurrred).
after we did this, with a lot of 'i play, you copy', every lesson, we then moved to the assigned etudes.
5) sometimes duets were added

that's the pattern & the literature used with me.

dj

[ This Message was edited by: david johnson on 2003-05-03 04:19 ]
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Vincent Cichowicz Questions Answered! (Part 1)

I managed to contact an ex-Chicowicz student who is now a Professor of Trumpet, and this is what he listed and said covering Questions 1 & 2:


Mouthpiece Buzzing - simple scale patterns

VC1 - moving long tone (in flow studies book)

Clarke:Tech Studies - 2,3,4,7 (linear studies generating from low register)

Flow Studies - (an expansion of the single line Clarke study into one page and multiple phrases/breath)

Vocalises - Concone, Bordogni/Rochut, Russian Studies (at end of flow study book)

Articulation - Arban, Williams Scales, Schlossberg



He wrote: "Mr Cichowicz's regime was very strict and I think that is why it was successful with so many students. The fundamentals you describe in item 1 were used with all students. Younger students would spend 30-45 minutes in each lesson working on these items. More experienced students would still spend 10-15 minutes of each lesson working on basics. This devotion to fundamentals became part of my life and I think it ultimately made me a more consistent player via the thought that "consistent playing comes through consistent practice." Even when I was on the audition circuit and specifically went to VC for counseling on excerpts, we would spend 10 minutes early on working through Clarke and flow studies."

"I use this routine for myself and for all my students varying the degree of difficulty in the materials for different age groups. I've found it to be highly successful!"

Hope this is useful.

Andrew Tomlinson

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2003-05-03 08:03 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2004-01-16 08:07 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2004-01-16 08:07 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2004-01-16 08:08 ]
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Vincent Cichowicz Questions Answered! (Part 2)

Q.3. "Literature (etudes, solos, excerpts) took on a secondary position in the lesson to the fundamentals. In fact, it was often conceptual in the sense that we would apply these preliminary ideas to the literature. Frequently, we would not get through an entire piece but play sections and relate fundamental concepts of tone production to sections and phrases."

Q.4. "In my contact with VC, he never followed the numeric order in any etude book. He freely chose etudes that addressed specific issues whether those were single tongue articulation, lyrical playing, multiple tonguing etc. Transposition was often involved so we were playing Charlier on B flat, C and exploring common transpositions. It was especially useful to play some of the Charlier etudes on C trumpet and transpose for trumpet in A and B flat."

Q.5. "I'm glad you have the trumpet flow study book. It's a wonderful source. While there are 3-4 slow moving slur studies, we almost exclusively used the tried and true VC1, which is the G,F#,G,A,C,A,G,E,C example that gradually ascends to high D at the end of the page."

Andrew Tomlinson
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_Don Herman
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The veil begins to lift... The "flavor" matches what I've read in the ITG articles and elsewhere.

Thanks, Andrew! - Don
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I got so frustrated that I couldn't get any answers to my questions, so I decided to ask someone who could answer them.

I think there are some observations that can be made about this topic.

1. Just because someone has studied with VC doesn't necessarily mean you are going to be taught the VC "method". If the same person has studied with another teacher as well, it might be that elements from both schools will be combined. Or by choice, or by trial and error they may have found a sequence of exercises that works better for them or their students.

2. I don't suppose VC would want to produce carbon copies of himself!

3. If you read the ITG Journal article (Dec 9, you will understand that like any teacher their methods evolve and change over time. For example, the air patterns exercise (no instrument or mouthpiece) is not mentioned in my Professors' example but was mentioned by John Fraser. This is because it was only discovered at a later date.


Thanks for everyone's contribution.

I'm sure there's a lot more to explore.

Andrew Tomlinson

[ This Message was edited by: Atomlinson on 2003-05-03 16:18 ]
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Kevin Good
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try to respond to this a little bit at a time, and with any luck, I won't contradict myself in a week or so.

I studied with Mr. C. for about two years- My first year involved driving or taking the train to Chicago, having a lesson, and going home to work on what he had just told me.I saw him at least once a month, sometimes more than that.

My second year was as a teaching assistant at Northwestern (coaching quintets and conducting the Brass Ensemble). He had a system of rotation such that you got to see him about every ten days in a mixture of individual lessons and group sectionals where you worked on orchestral repertoire. (I should mention that this is what my aging brain recalls from QUITE a while ago, so take it for what it's worth).

I recall that my first lessons with him were sort of "fact-finding" in nature.In hindsight, I think he was trying to figure out how such a bizarre-looking embouchure (I have a significant "set-in" of the mthpc.in my lower lip) could sound halfway decent.

Now, I'm guessing here, but I think once he decided that I was very determined (if maybe not the most talented player that ever walked the planet), that he would do with me what he could, and hope for the best. So we started.

At first, I was a bit let down, because he was having me play things that were not very difficult. I didn't "get it" yet. I did recall that some of my other teachers (Jim Darling, Mary Squire) had assigned similar etudes, but not almost exclusively basic stuff i.e. Getchell, Duhem, Clarke, etc.
I didn't know it at the time, but he was showing me how to know and own MY PLAYING, rather than owning and knowing a bunch of excerpts, solos, and etudes.

That difference is important to understand.

As I continued to study with him, I bounced ideas off him about audition preparation, chop maintenance, equipment, and teaching.I realized that I would be lucky to get a playing gig, so part of my reason for studying with Vince was to REALLY learn how to teach people, because I was pretty sure I would end up doing that. He was very helpful in any number of ways: He listened to me play Shost.1 with the NU orch. and told me to go to a SMALLER mthpc. I was shocked, because, hey, this is the CHICAGO school....bigger is better, right?

Well, no. Not if the soft stuff has no focus, balance, point, or projection.

BING!...another preconception bites the dust.

We started on the "top twenty list" of excerpts asked in various auditions. (The list has been updated and is still floating around somewhere.)
We started with Leonore #3.

Over....and over....and over....and over.

Because I really could NOT play it EXACTLY the same way twice.

Try it. Turn your tape recorder on. play it five times. Listen to the differences.

I WILL piss you right off. Trust me on this.

In his own elegant way he made the point: You really can't be a good player until you really know how to be consistent, on a musical level, on a physical level, and with your concentration. The lessons I learned from that made an IMMEDIATE difference in all my playing, practice, and performance.

I gotta go for now, but I'll get back to this asap.

KG
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Atomlinson
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep it coming Kevin, interesting stuff.

Just curious, but if you took V.C.'s advice to change to a smaller mouthpiece, then what size mouthpiece were you playing before and how much smaller did you go?

Andrew Tomlinson
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