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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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O00Joe
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Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Posts: 214
Location: Houston & Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wseago wrote:

I think the comments about the UH band rehearsal techiniques are best saved for another thread/forum. Of course, that dead horse has been beaten so many times that its bones are probably a fine powder by now.


Where are some of these? I need the comfort of the knowledge I wasn't alone in suffering.
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dasloan
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Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 213
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

O00Joe wrote:
wseago wrote:

I think the comments about the UH band rehearsal techiniques are best saved for another thread/forum. Of course, that dead horse has been beaten so many times that its bones are probably a fine powder by now.


Where are some of these? I need the comfort of the knowledge I wasn't alone in suffering.


I second that, I am a student of such techniques and would be interested in reading some debates over the subject.
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wseago
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Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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Location: Spring TX

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dasloan and OOOJoe,

I recommend you go to yellowboard or some other forum, or even start a new thread at this site. You can start your own debate about rehearsal techniques. Let me know, and I can put in my two cents. This thread is about Mr. Austin. I simply made the dead horse comment because OOOJoe said it was this technique that influenced his decision to go to Baylor so he could avoid it.
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dasloan
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Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 213
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wseago wrote:
Dasloan and OOOJoe,

I recommend you go to yellowboard or some other forum, or even start a new thread at this site. You can start your own debate about rehearsal techniques. Let me know, and I can put in my two cents. This thread is about Mr. Austin. I simply made the dead horse comment because OOOJoe said it was this technique that influenced his decision to go to Baylor so he could avoid it.


Fair enough, is there a band forum around? And that's the last I'll say about it, because you're right, this is about Mr. Austin.

Austinism: "... just plantin' a seed...".
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Joe Camel
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Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 545

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a few really great teachers and Jim Austin is one of them.

That said, some people, even if they are or soon will be great trumpet players, don't match up with every teacher.
That's just the way it is.
There are various learning styles.
Students come with various strengths and weaknesses.

The ideal James Austin student has good built-in technique, but is rough with sound, rhythm, & centering of pitch.
Most kids that are rough on sound simply won't get into some of the other places, and will never advance to a professional level in others. Jim can do something about it.

I have seen other students mismatch with teachers that have endless amounts of students in orchestras, only to find success with lesser known teachers. Often, it is just learning style.

Also, the student has to believe in the teacher's teaching. If they don't, nothing that is said will really have an effect.
Luckily, my filter was wide open when I studied with Jim Austin and Jim Darling, because I knew that they knew SOOOO much more than me, it would be counterproductive to try to decide what was true and what wasn't. I simply didn't have a choice but to accept everything they said as pure truth.

I don't know if you can always move on if it doesn't work out. It wouldn't have worked for me, since I wouldn't have known enough to make an informed decision on if it was working or not. Sometimes it is just luck, fate, God, destiny, or whatever you want to call it.

People around me that I trusted recommend Austin in 1990 when I was in High School thankfully. Mr. Clean thought that the Darling relationship would work out when I was making that decision in 1997 and that was correct.
I have to admit though, when Darling told me in my first lesson that he too had played at a horse track, (what I had been doing for years before going to Cleveland) I suspected it may have been God's will.
Also, JD wasn't at my CIM audition and I think that helped too. Judging from our first few lessons, I don't know if he would have taken on the project!
------------
The things said about UH Music in general are mostly accurate. Rice has become the school with the higher instrumental performance standards. Morale went bad at the UH at some point.
I couldn't point to exactly everything that happened or why.

A few observations:

UH allowed a lot of students to build schedules that did not focus on practice and instrumental excellence.
Many kids would pick classes back to back straight through the heart of the day and then of course would have no energy to practice later in the day.

Music teachers that were not instrumental instructors were EXTREMELY demanding. The Music Lit & Music History classes were ridiculously hard.
I had to drop one Music Ed course and wait until a less demanding professor taught the class. I knew that I could never keep up in that class with my practice schedule. Most people stuck it out.
You had to legitimately practice to sing in classes, play piano in classes, etc. The theory courses were full-on.
I don't know why things got that way. On the one hand it is good - I learned a lot - but if you wanted to practice, you weren't getting out of there with an ed degree in less than 5 years and even then you better know how to work hard and budget your time.
The classes in the Science department were silly hard. I don't know how I passed an 8 AM Historical Geology class that was so nutty hard, but somehow I did.
All of this made it very hard to be great on an instrument.

Most (was supposed to be all) of the ed Majors were forced to take Marching Band. Never mind that many of the kids came from HS marching band traditions that were much better already.

At a Conservatory, such as Rice, CIM, Juilliard, etc. you see students regularly getting big jobs, winning competitions, etc. It makes you believe that you can do it. There was very little of that at UH. Most of the success was from band directors.

There were some bad apples in the trumpet studio at UH. There were a few guys that were extremely NEGATIVE, especially towards the younger students. They seemed to thrive on beating up the self-esteem of the younger guys. This REALLY busted up some of the less hard-headed guys. Some of them got out of the business. Some of these people are my dear friends now and others are pretty much universally hated. Most successful studios keep a real positive feel.

--------

As far as the Green band techniques, I'm not sure what there is to debate. He merely has band members practice listening to and matching those around themselves. That's certainly more useful than running a contest piece an extra couple of times. It certainly helps you later when you play in a professional setting.
Also, if you don't change what you're doing every 7 minutes or so with young people, they cannot concentrate. It's all about pacing.
Green's bands played in tune. Most bands (and I mean 99% or more) sound like vacuum cleaners because of the unbelievable amounts of white noise generated.
Green could judge sound quality and other things at a high level, but knew that most of his students would not be able to...and he is right. That's why it is so important to have a rehearsal routine that enables students to listen to each other.
We could all stand to have more "F around the room" and less kids with tuning slides pulled out so far that they should be playing in a different key!

JC

PS
I was observing a middle school band rehearsal that Eddie Green had been hired to clinic/advise/or whatever he does. The horn section played a chord that was out of tune with a pretty poor sound.
He walked behind the section and adjusted the hand of one kid in his bell. It instantly fixed the problem and things moved on from there. He was a smart guy who didn't do things just to waste time. Those exercises were all designed for a purpose. Most tone and pitch problems in young bands come from kids that have not learned to listen.
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Joe Camel
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Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 545

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every so often when a professor from across the hall would knock and have something to say, Jim would say afterward:

"God broke the mold when he made Richard."
I love that expression.

Also, he would rarely yawn, despite his schedule, but when he did, he would say.

"It's not the company."
or "I promise, it's not the company."
In other words saying that the yawn wasn't caused by being bored by the person or the playing, just the schedule.

JC
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wseago
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Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 6
Location: Spring TX

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Joe Camel,

Great thoughts on both Mr. Austin and Mr. Green. I could not have said it any better - they are both brilliant musicians and educators. We were both very fortunate to have studied with them. All musicians will teach at some time in their life at some capacity. They both had a way of making it clear that to be their student was not just about performance but learning how to teach and pass on what was learned.
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