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James Austin


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Have you heard of Jim Austin?
yes
43%
 43%  [ 26 ]
no
56%
 56%  [ 34 ]
Total Votes : 60

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dasloan
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

textr wrote:


trptfrbrains,
I stand by what I said in my original post, that Mr. Austin is a good teacher for a student that is working towards the goal of playing in a symphony orchestra, I would also add that he hand picks his students
at UH for that very reason. Any students that lean towards "commercial "
playing usually do not study with Austin because he looks down on those kinds of players, the other trumpet students study with adjunct teachers. Sure, I took issue with ghudsons snotty remarks about "wanna be lead players " and I stand by what I said on that issue also. I know for a fact that in recent years UH has hired other adunct trumpet teachers to handle the students who are interested in lead playing and jazz improv.
One of the guys that has done that happens to be a friend of mine.
So , you see trptfrbrains , this thread was not hijacked nor is it about me , it is indeed about Austin, you and ghudson just don't happen to like the input that I had to offer. You say you don't even know Austin , well I do, and I know lots of guys that have gone through the music school at UH over a period of many years. I might also add that hudson
thought that the recordings of Stokowski and the HSO were not worthy of mention because they were way before his time(and Austin's), so who needs to do some growing up. Yeah, everyone knows that Stokowski was a flyweight.(ROFLMAO...again)
I know that I have upset you guys because I didn't come on here with glowing accolades about Austin, well, so be it.
And finally, what makes you think that I have any concern for which side you come down on, everyone is entitled to their opinion.


I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I respect that. I'm actually glad that we have this opportunity to have this discourse, even though I primarily disagree with you. You are correct that Mr. Austin tends to lean towards orchestral performance, in very large part due to his own experience. Several of his students have gone on to be commercial players but not necessarily because Mr. Austin looks down on that sort of thing, but simply because that's not his bag.

Regarding Stokowski, you do know that it was Stokowski who flew up to Eastman and picked out Mr. Austin to be his principal trumpet when he was 20 years old, right? So he was not necessarily before Mr. Austin's time as is commonly perceived.

I'm also curious as to the statement regarding the adjunct faculty being there to cover lead/commerical players. To the best of my knowledge, the adjunct faculty are both orchestral musicians and exist to help share the load of the 30-40 student at UH. We do of course have two amazing jazz trumpet professors who deserve threads of their own and exist to fill the needs of those interested in the jazz field. Is it these people you are referring to?

One more thing... to say Mr. Austin handpicks his students according to orchestral performance standards or aspirations is respectfully ignorant. He picks people who want to study with him, regardless of specialty. I've even had friends who were nonmajors and still studied with him because they wanted to be better musicians. Hell, my computer science teacher in high school studied with Mr. Austin. If their is an exception or two you have in mind, I would love to hear it.
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MrClean
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What was the purpose of this thread?

Actually, I went back and reread. I see the purpose, which is legitimate. I also see some serious ax-grinding.

If we were all judged by how many of our students are playing principal trumpet with the (insert major orchestra here), the overwhelming majority of us would be viewed as abject failures, present company included. The best and brightest tend to gravitate to the schools with the best reputations. Obviously, there is some good instruction going on at these institutions, but they are starting with the cream, so it is no mystery why student after student seem to bag the big jobs. In the trumpet world, this "honor" has vacillated mainly between Northwestern, Julliard and Eastman, with notable exceptions along the way. Given the right student/teacher chemistry, magical things can happen almost anywhere, but people seem to forget the "odd" success of some studios when shadowed by the cumulative success of the aforementioned schools.

You will find, with ANY teacher, present company most definitely included, that there will be students that rave about their teachers, and others that bash them mercilessly. Again, a lot of that comes down to chemistry, but also timing. Was that teacher the right choice for the right time? Certain players aren't ready for the style or type of specialized teaching each teacher provides at all points in their development (boy, that was awkwardly worded...). What may not work on someone today may work beautifully two or three years down the road, etc. I'm sure that you could find a lot of students that didn't think much of Jim's teaching, but you could find at least as many (probably quite a few more) that cherish the time spent with him. I know Jim, and I know that he is well respected in the Houston community, certainly by this author.

It's not all on the teacher, folks. Usually, you get out what you put in. If you sit around expecting the teacher to do all of your thinking for you, you may be bitterly disappointed. This profession rewards players that push themselves to find creative solutions tho their own challenges. You can learn something from almost anyone as long as you are open to it. At the same time, virtually no teacher will give you everything you need, and by that same token, not everything they try to teach you applies to you.

J
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ghudson
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: James Austin Reply with quote

If you actually read the comments about the Stokowski recordings, I commented on the NUMBER, not the quality (and we were talking about Mr. Austin). It would be highly suspect to denigrate the playing of Fred Mills and Armando Ghitalla, the previous principals of HSO. The Commissiona recordings are suspect...the orchestra mostly hated him, but there were great players on those (Charlie Geyer).

MrClean brings us home. Beautifully stated. This thread was about a teacher that over half of those polled know nothing of. There have been two contrasting portraits given of Mr. Austin and the UH trumpet studio. It then disintegrated into two competing views of trumpet musicianship. There are wannabes in every style, and there are great musicians in every style. There are volumes written about great teachers, and there are great teachers that will never have a book or a website devoted to them. Let the readers decide and we'll end the distracting invective.

BTW-Dennis Dotson was the jazz trumpet faculty for a period at UH. Some of the students probably took side lessons with Noe Marmolejo (dir. of jazz studies) as well.

For me, this is the end of the back and forth, unless we want to talk about Mr. Austin specifically. I will no longer respond to textr's comments. Say what you will, you don't define me any more than I define you. Sincerely best wishes and good gigs textr.

ghudson
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dasloan
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that... and would love to hear some stories from his old students especially "back in the day", you know, before the Opera House.

Mr. Austin is not only a wealth of knowledge who has met/played with just about every major staple of the orchestral world but he is also a good, decent guy who gives everything he has to his students every week. And it is the latter attribute that makes him a great teacher and enables his students to acheive success in whatever it is that they do.

I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to study with this man.
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one_trumpet
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

again, who are you?

too busy grinding your axe behind your screen name textr.

if youre brave enough to make these statements on the internet, then you should be brave enough to have a real identity.
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one_trumpet
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coward
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Joe Camel
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel like Dances with Wolves as he rides, arms outspread, in front of the Union Army...but here I go anyway.

To the original request:
I might mention Don Burks, who plays around on the horn a bit. For an interview, Email him at jackass@smashedupchops.com
Studied with Jim Austin than onto CIM with Jim Darling & Michael Sachs (Don is a lucky *****) 4 to 6 hundred services with the Fort Worth Symphony over the past 4 years, Principal Trumpet Texas Chamber Orchestra when it folded, throws down with lovely Regional groups a handful of shows a month. Pitched in here and there with other bigger bands. On a few CD's, one with a big opera star, some not as known. Taught lots & lots of kids, including some University teaching. Probably a hundred or so church services a year, 25 to 40 weddings a year, yadda, yadda yadda. He could be pretty well-off if he had the ability to be multiple places at once.
(And there are LOTS of guys like this...)
I don't know if Rob Chambers got mentioned either. He's solid and plays stuff overseas I think.

Jim as a performer was legendary. He was older when I encountered him. People said that his sound seemed to come from all sides. You could set your watch by his time.
When I heard him play, I was struck by the massive core in his sound.

As to recordings:
I don't think anyone mentioned the Dvorak New World Symphony recording with HSO and Eschenbach. I believe that is actually Jim Austin on 2nd Trumpet with John DeWitt playing Principal. If you are needing one CD to develop a concept of orchestral sound, that might be the very best pick of them all.
***

As to the topic of judging Jim and his students:
Auditions are not like Tennis matches where you can easily tell who can do and who does what. VERY often, some people have OTHER lives going on. I can think of a LOT of folks, some from Gary's list, that could have EASILY gone on to win a "Big" Orchestra job. When you are attached to a woman and kids in a town, are getting by, things are working out, etc. it can be a life-wrecker to take and win MOST orchestra auditions. Possibly you might LIKE the life you have! (Nice University job, recitals, cool quintet, contracting work, etc.)
Suddenly, you're in a town with lousy schools, extraordinary costs of living, possibly no teaching job, dead gig scene, and a battle with a gal that has a lot of leverage. Kids are upset, away from Grandma and Grandpa...Grandparents are furious...
Believe it or not, TX is one of the few places that has a handful of school districts, that you could afford to live in, where you kid has a REAL shot at getting to an upper Ivy. I have researched this ad infinitum. I have a Niņo pulling down straight A's on full scholarship at Phillips Exeter right now, putting him in great shape for college. I don't think I could have afforded the necessary education to get him to Exeter somewhere else.

Take Randy, Willie, Jimmy V, Gary, or any # of other Austin guys mentioned or not and add them to an audition and you have added substantially to the amount of qualified applicants present. Those guys aren't likely to be there, because they are busy and fine where they are.

I can think of a LOT of Badass players that have landed the BIG job and quickly decided to go right back to where they were after 2 years or less. (DSO & HSO have seen such scenes at least once...on different ends of the equation)
The high # of "Big Orchestra" jobs tend to go to conservatories that are teaching young, unattached folks, who HAVE to win an orchestra job or get a new town to live in anyway, since they can't afford to stay there. These schools also tend to ATTRACT the BIG-TIME students.
The kids have gigless & kidless schedules and young chops that can take hours of fearless pounding and be ready to go the next day.

Also, there is no shame in being one of those guys who bow to the dollar. You can't get RICH playing the trumpet (unless you're another guy who doesn't have an orchestra gig like Wynton, Malcolm, Jon Lewis, etc.) The richest trumpet players I know in town have done other things, mainly start businesses. Often these guys are millionaires and can buy all the brand new G Trumpets, Rotary Trumpets, and Blackjack mouthpieces they want. I've seen 'em do it.
Also, band-directing in Texas is probably a real kick. At UH most of the trumpet students were interested in education AND performing. Eddie Green was there many of those years and he really knew how to teach band directors.
It's one of the great regrets of my life so far that I never ended up band-directing. One of those time and place things that didn't work out...
I was desperate to get to the State Marching Finals this past week but could not make it because of kids stuff and rehearsal stuff. (By the way, the Regional Orchestra rehearsing had one of the great Players of all-time playing 1st and a former Philly Concertmaster on the podium. A Hall that MOST of the full-time orchestras don't have either...)

If you TRULY judge someone by doing the most with what they have, Jim Austin probably ranks in the top 5. I put Jim Darling and Armando Ghitalla in there too. These are guys that did NOT teach only at the top handful of trumpet schools, yet had amazing players come out of their smaller, lesser-known schools.
No doubt that Geyer, Butler, Sachs, & the Juilliard teachers are among the very top 1% of teachers, but they usually only worked with Aces.

I've sat across from Jim Austin students who play the odd gig here and there, but maybe make their living band directing, selling pharmaceuticals, or whatever. Funny how they all have extremely centered, gorgeous sounds. They tend to play in-tune and listen well too. I can't say that for every "Big Orchestra job" guy that I've sat next to.
Jim tended to attract talented kids from the local area. MANY of these guys had embouchure problems that had to be corrected IN COLLEGE. Many of the big schools won't take these kids.
Jim did these embouchure changes with surgical mastery. I put him with Ghitalla and Darling on ability level to make these changes. Speziale might make that list too.
If someone did their undergrad with Jim Austin, paid attention, followed instructions, and worked hard, they almost certainly can:
1. Play with a centered sound that expands proportionately at higher volume.
2. play with a good core in the middle of their sound.
3. hear things in context and listen to other musicians.
4. TRANSPOSE effortlessly.
5. be musical and teach others HOW to be musical

It wasn't enough to simply go in and knock down the notes on something you played for Austin.
During a Sachse - "What key are you in right now?" as you weaved through unwritten key changes while transposing a tritone.
During an excerpts - "What instrument plays right before this in the orchestra?"
During trumpet class - "Sit down and play this again some other time when you have it in your spirit"

In other words, you had to be a real musician. You had to know the nuts and bolts context, the context within the greater work, and the musical context.

I happen to agree completely with the way Jim taught and I believe in the product that he produced. His name garnered intense respect as I auditioned at my 3 top picks for grad school. (Juilliard, Eastman, & CIM - accepted in 2...waitlisted and denied the other) I only say this because people really believing in his teaching is a MAJORITY opinion.

I don't have a problem with people that want to judge him or anyone else any way that they want. Other opinions can be valid.
Some people were upset or offended by him. I was warned before my first lesson with him that he would throw you out or ban you for perceived unpreparedness.

He also taught in what many might consider a reverse methodology. I happen to agree with it.
He would teach the things that the mind would have the hardest time learning later FIRST.
Most emphasize technical cleanliness FIRST. They do this on a Bflat trumpet with an Arban book and a few books of etudes.
Jim taught transposition first. He also taught SOUND first. I have never known anyone to get a good sound or learn to transpose in grad school or later. I think it is much like learning a language. (brain hemisphere thing maybe?)
I've sat next to full-time orchestra guys, who don't transpose flawlessly and who have sounds that leave things to be desired. Happens as often as not.
Later the top students would spend endless hours working on Charlier and even harder books. Their recitals would end up having Tomasi, Kennan, and the rest just like the other schools. But even the students that didn't end up being top guys ended up with good sounds.

So, anyway, I understand why some people wouldn't like his teaching, but I disagree. I think I'm in the majority in thinking Jim was top-notch at everything he did.
It's also worth mentioning that he got to Eastman on Voice/Piano/Trumpet scholarship, had perfect pitch, and ran the music at his church. The guy has stunning gifts. Many of us are very thankful for him and to him.

JC
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pfeifela
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe Camel, good post. I have learned a lot about this man and am sorry to admit I did not know of him previously.
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Larry Pfeifer
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Joe Camel
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgot to mention how Jim would sometimes slip into Yoda speak:

"If a guy wants to never work again in his life, that's a good way to act."

Loved that.

Also the old OLD timey phrases would come in sometimes.

If a guy were to occasionally play a little loud, (who me?) you might hear:
"Boy, you're really pouring a coal to it!"

Priceless.

JC
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bike&ed
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still waiting to see if textr will ante up with his/her ID...

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bike&ed
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...Guess we shouldn't hold our collective breath...

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one_trumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JC... oh the coal line..... but you forgot the hand gestures that go with it.

yeah, seems like textr finially shut up since he isnt brave enough to reveal his identity.
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dasloan
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or how about "making a mountain out of a mole hill", that's a personal favorite.
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poochie
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting reading guys, I had never heard of Mr .Austin but seeing my former teacher and good friend Tom Parriott listed as his teacher caused me to read on. Thanks for the read.
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Joe Camel
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dasloan wrote:
Or how about "making a mountain out of a mole hill", that's a personal favorite.


And you could do a Doctoral dissertation on his monologues on "head games".
This guy understood "head games"!!!

Lots of nuggets of wisdom in those.

JC
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dasloan
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe Camel wrote:
dasloan wrote:
Or how about "making a mountain out of a mole hill", that's a personal favorite.


And you could do a Doctoral dissertation on his monologues on "head games".
This guy understood "head games"!!!

Lots of nuggets of wisdom in those.

JC


Exactly man. I've/I'm going though some head games this year and Mr. Austin has been just great at helping me sort things out and get things back on track. Not there yet, but his support is probably a huge reason why I haven't thrown the horn in the case yet.

The best have got to be all of the stories of playing under/with great musicians from Charles Munch to the lead player with Henry Mancini (with Henry Mancini leading the orchestra). Insane man!!
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textr
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one_trumpet wrote:
coward


It is obvious that I have a different view point than you guys and y'all are all offended ( can you say ...panties in a wad)because of what I have said, so be it .
Jim Wilt had it right when he said there is a lot more to a player's success than the teacher, and I might add that everyone who has any knows that experience is the best teacher. So I won't comment anymore except to say that it has obviously been many years since I attended UH and my remarks were based on the way things were at that time.

To "one trumpet" ..... do you really think that your snotty little insults mean anything. ROFLMAO( 3rd time)
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textr
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bike&ed wrote:
Still waiting to see if textr will ante up with his/her ID...


\
bike anded ,
I may have missed something here, but I don't see your name listed anywhere in your post or in your profile.


Last edited by textr on Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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dasloan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

textr wrote:
one_trumpet wrote:
coward


It is obvious that I have a different view point than you guys and y'all are all offended ( can you say ...panties in a wad)because of what I have said, so be it .
Jim Wilt had it right when he said there is a lot more to a player's success than the teacher, and I might add that everyone who has any knows that experience is the best teacher. So I won't comment anymore except to say that it has obviously been many years since I attended UH and my remarks were based on the way things were at that time.

To "one trumpet" ..... do you really think that your snotty little insults mean anything. ROFLMAO( 3rd time)


That's a fair statement. The teacher only opens the door but the student must be the one to walk through it and the best teacher one can have is yourself. But it takes a good teacher to help you discover that inner part of yourself, Mr. Austin had even said that when we don't need him anymore, he has done his job.

I am truly sorry you had a bad experience with him at UH and wish you would elaborate more on that; I know a few of his former students who have similar feelings. But at least my experience has been the complete opposite.
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one_trumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats fine, but you're still a coward.
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