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Author Topic: Odds and Ends  (Read 29567 times)
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LX

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« on: May 29, 2010, 02:34AM »

Thought I'd share a little list of ideas/concepts I hand out at clinics. Most of this will be familiar since it is all inspired and/or stolen from teachers, masterclasses, late night conversations, gig/rehearsal break banter, carpools, and even a few I've lifted off this very forum!

Any feedback appreciated!!

Thanks,

LX

=====================================================
ODDS AND ENDS

• "Technique" is primarily how you do something, not just how fast you so something.
• Find places to play with, hear, meet and study with musicians who create/perform music the way you'd someday like to.
• Soft music should have the same intensity as music played loudly, only it should sound very far away.
• Listen more closely to the sounds around you than forcing your sound on everyone around you. A variation on this idea: seek to understand, then seek to be understood.
• Seemlingly complicated tasks often turn out to be a series of simple tasks.
• Practice in order to make playing music on your instrument easier and more natural. Strive for the simple solutions, they tend to "stick" better.
• Your tongue should ride a continuous flow of air.
•  LET the music happen when you play. Consider yourself a free-flowing conduit for Music, not necessarily some vessel containing some mysterious untapped "source" of that music.
• Remember to practice "simple" things with a commitment to their performance, not just as a part of your "warm up".
• Great players are easily identified by one or two notes.
• Practice listening. Listen for the "inside" sounds. Listen to bass lines, counter melodies, percussion parts etc, etc. How does it all fit together? Sing what you hear, write things down occasionally. Commit to always being a better listener--this skill might save your life one day; musically and/or otherwise!
• Play this little game every day:
            Hear it--->Sing it--->Buzz it---->Play it
• Play relaxed. Let tension go. Take inventory of tension every 15 minutes of every practice session. TAKE BREAKS!! Think of breaks as a part of your routine. Your body needs to re-boot once in a while! "Breathe" your way into a more relaxed state.
• "Perform" when you practice. Imagine yourself performing every note for a critical audience. Tape record yourself occasionally to create this environment.
• Developing skills as a brass instrumentalist is more about developing co-ordination than just building strength. Endurance is a combination of co-ordination and strength.
• Airflow is mainly constant from register to register. The direction and the volume of that airstream are the most important ways the air changes in and out of each register.
• Play everything with a sense of time, even rubato.
• Warm air and cool air each has its own place in music.
• The note starts in the air and lips, not the tongue. The tongue is the time-keeper.
• Project sound/music at all times, and at all dynamics.
• Your breath when you play should approximate your breath when you are NOT playing.
• Play everything with "IN-tention", not "in TENSION"!
• Blow THROUGH every note, not just FROM note to note.
• Strive to communicate something in a group of notes [phrases], tell stories in sound.
• Be curious. Try new musical ideas for the heck of it. Switch an etude into different keys/clefs. Shift your warm ups and scale practice an eighth note earlier/later. Does "stacatto" in a Brahms Symphony mean the same thing as "stacatto" in a Sammy Nestico big band chart? Don't be afraid to ask "why?", "what if" and "why NOT"?
• On unison passages, listen more closely to your neighbors than to yourself.
• Be a time-keeper. Don't totally rely on conductors, metronomes and rhythm sections. Be more PRO-ACTIVE with time, less RE-ACTIVE.
• Be in the flow of the music even when you are not playing at a given time in a piece. Consider yourself as a part of the musical flow even when you are not playing, the more into that flow you will be when you do play. Trombone sections are often late because they are not IN the music coming out of rests. Be your own "rhythm section".
• Music is a language. Scales and chords are its vocabulary. Melodies are its sentences.  Great pieces of music are prose and literature.
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 10:13AM »

What a great post... thanks so much for sharing these ideas. Everybody on the forum would gain from reading this, so I will put a 'sticky' on it so it does not disappear over time.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 01:47PM »

Thanks Alex. This is a keeper.
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2010, 03:15PM »

Thanks so much Good!

Those words are like a goldmine for all. I will try some of the suggestions tomorrow. Like blowing through the notes and not just jump from one to another.
Thanks a lot for this. It will keep my practicing busy for many days to try out. Maybe years  :)

Leif
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 01, 2010, 04:16PM »

You da man!

Thanks,
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 01, 2010, 10:58PM »

Here is PDF of a "Warmup/Daily Routine Outline"

Each topic heading is described briefly, then a "goal" or mental image to maintain throughout that part of the routine, then I give some suggested materials that pertain to the given topic. The idea is to provide a template [which can be altered to suit any given player] for addressing most of the important fundamentals with regard to trombone playing. The basic idea is that each concept is more important than any given exercise you might choose. For instance, you might want to insert orchestral excerpts or other material under each subject heading to reinforce the given fundamental concept in the way that suits you best.

Have fun!!

LX

PS....I always appreciate feedback/suggestions/critiques on these things from players, students and teachers. My goal is to provide useful material. It is always a "workinprogress"!!

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« Reply #6 on: Jun 01, 2010, 11:55PM »

Wow... another great resource. Thanks Alex!

I like this routine (and the way it's written) because it reinforces very clearly that WHAT you practice is important, but also HOW you practice it... i.e. with a clear concept of the desired result in mind. Often, students will simply run mindlessly through routines/drills etc. without a clear purpose in mind - this handout clearly articulates the concepts and goals that students should bear in mind while practicing fundamentals. Encourages students to adapt musical materials to a specific purpose - use/adapt a given etude or excerpt or pattern for working on an aspect of overall technique/musicianship.

The references to method books for each category are helpful as well - I have used many of these, but there are quite a few new ones that I'll have to check out.

Also dig the progression of the routine - builds up solid technique and musicianship from the bottom (breath) up, so to speak.

Exactly what I try to get my students doing, and I try to do myself - work in progess!

Bravo, Alex!

J
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 03, 2010, 10:32PM »

One more little handout related to performance [audition preparation in particular] and the "C" word.... "confidence".
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 04, 2010, 04:32AM »

A very good thread indeed. Thanks for taking the time to share this.
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 04, 2010, 06:00AM »

Thanks so much!
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 04, 2010, 11:34AM »

Beautiful LX. More keepers.  :)
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 04, 2010, 03:47PM »

Wow, Alex! Everytime I have bumped into you (too infrequently) or heard you play live (too infrequently) or listened to you in movies, TV, CDs (frequently), I have always been impressed with what a nice man you are, what a fantastic trombone player you are, and what a musical team player you are. I have to add to that, what a fantastic teacher you are.

Especially quoting your "sources". None of us are gurus, we are the product of a long line of master teachers, who learned from master teachers, who learned from...

The assimilation of knowledge from all sources available is the first step to becoming a master, the demonstration of ability from that study is the second step to becoming a master, and (I am probably leaving out some steps) the communication of the knowledge and ability to others (especially the next generation) is the 3rd step.

You have done all of these. You sir, are a master of your craft and teaching it. Wow.

With your permission, I will make these "handouts" a regular part of my private instruction.

Thanks, Alex. Hope to see you and perhaps play with you in the near future.
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 05, 2010, 03:18PM »

Here is a pdf version of "Odds and Ends" for downloading.

Thanks for the nice comments, folks. As long as someone expresses some benefit from this stuff, I will keep posting it here. A few more things like this are in the works!!

LX
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 05, 2010, 04:55PM »

Another handout about "Listening". Good for young students, but I am amazed at how far this particular advice [given to me a LONG time ago] can go!! A friend of mine who draws very well once told me, "Drawing something well is less about the technique of 'drawing' itself than it is about the act of 'seeing'." Substitute "playing" for "drawing" and "listening" for "seeing"!!

Good luck!

LX
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 06, 2010, 01:00AM »

Alex, I did see a TV program about learning to draw, and yes they told drawing is about to see correct. That's interesting. So maybe we have to "tune" in our ears to capture whats really going on when listen music.

Thanks for sharing all this. For me with some language problems this is very good. All the points are short, direct, and easy to understand. Many books out there about playing is long and difficult to understand. This is something to have on the wall, and look at everyday.

Leif
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 06, 2010, 10:09PM »

I have the privilege of studying with Ales.  To him there are no exercises, only music. He is a real fanatic on that point. He is full of surprises. I will work on a set of etudes and come the lesson and somehow wind up working out of a different book. He is VERY demanding and will push you really, but it is worth it. He plays everything he assigns me including Cornette Grand Etude Number Two. The best part of the lesson is when he plays Rochut. YOu have to hear it to believe it. Listen to what he says. He is the man.
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 07, 2010, 04:14PM »

Lord what a good thread.  Thanks Alex.
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« Reply #17 on: Jun 21, 2010, 06:04AM »

Thanks for the info LX I am sure that my students will benefit from your expertise. I am am 81 years young and I learn new things every day. I sometimes feel that I play better now than when I was a pro. Thanks to people like you. We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing. Max
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« Reply #18 on: Jul 06, 2010, 12:13PM »

Wow! Just wanted to say I appreciate the advice very much! Thanks :D
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« Reply #19 on: Jul 27, 2010, 01:45PM »

Thanks a lot! I've printed this out, and I plan on keeping it in my music folder to remind myself and others of this great advice.
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« Reply #20 on: Sep 12, 2010, 03:09PM »

LX,
 Thanks so much for posting all of these time tested ideas in such a concise manner.Great ideas that every musician should take to heart.Thanks again.Keep on Posting!
Bob
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« Reply #21 on: Jun 04, 2011, 06:52AM »

man i  luv  the cornette  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 it was outta print  doug yeo  wanted a copy --roger flatt took  him one
   i tried to fix roger up w dougs  daughter  ???
     well roger eventually married a veryu nice bass bone player
==========
out here in the sticks
it was  a  stack of old trombone method books
from wayne thorne-my first teacher who sadly passed 
just after i started  band
and  no lessons  or  any  guidance  from trombonists after him
-------
it was words like lx  that really provided  support
edwin franco goldman
each  page lesson  had  a whole   page of  comments
on  tone   care of slide 
--------------
jjs  etude book  has  a few comments
but  for every jj word
there  are  thousands unspoke[N]
-------------
arbans   w/o  a teacher  esp  the  first  excercises
seem  so simple   -i never got it until paul kemp  laid it down
-------------
 i  was  hoping  the  bob mc chesney  would  add some  pictures
some  chat  and stuff to  his  new book
-------------
 we need inspiration   and need to be inspired
and to  have  hope  and quality of  life
the  nobility of the trombone  can  be  and should be enjoyable
--------------
 if we   were  able  to heed the  words of teachers [n preachers]
all would benefit
-------------
  and the cornette   duets    slam !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
---------------
 bobs  book  --maybe a little cheese    would  make it more tasty
 --------
thnxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


I have the privilege of studying with Ales.  To him there are no exercises, only music. He is a real fanatic on that point. He is full of surprises. I will work on a set of etudes and come the lesson and somehow wind up working out of a different book. He is VERY demanding and will push you really, but it is worth it. He plays everything he assigns me including Cornette Grand Etude Number Two. The best part of the lesson is when he plays Rochut. YOu have to hear it to believe it. Listen to what he says. He is the man.
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« Reply #22 on: Jun 28, 2011, 03:08PM »

Always good to hear from you, DJ. All the best to you.

hf
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« Reply #23 on: Jul 29, 2011, 03:56AM »

This is a great post.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 27, 2011, 10:44PM »

Here is a very well-written clinic handout of odds and ends by John Hagstrom, trumpet player with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It echoes several of the concepts from my earlier list, but it's interesting to hear them from a world-class symphony orchestra trumpet player's perspective. For instance, I liked his idea about building endurance: "It is better to play for longer periods at about 80% of your maximum [or minimum] volume, making sure to evenly sustain every note. Spend more time at a lower volume that is still high enough to tax you without the risk of injury."

Best,

LX
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« Reply #25 on: Aug 27, 2011, 11:54PM »

Thanks for sharing all this. Its also interesting what he tell about "the sound image" inside our head. Some new for me there. Also interesting what he tell about how it is to play in that orchestra. The wish and agreement to make their brass sound "unity" must be very strong there. It is in all orchestras, but in Chicago this "will" is maybe even stronger? Anyway, this "unity" is for me what I love about the brass in Chicago. Its unbelievable, its so great. Some say this unity is boring and individuality is gone. Not so for me. In fact I believe this way to play demands a high standard of individual musicality from each in this group. Especial on the level they do. For less skilled players trying to do the same it would maybe turn in to be boring. It demands a very high insight in their own individuality, musicality and of course in all aspects about how to make a brass instrument work. Amazing.

Thanks for the pdf Alex. Since my English is some "special" I'm not sure how to do that 80% level playing?

Leif
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« Reply #26 on: Aug 28, 2011, 11:28AM »

Really good stuff, Alex!  Thanks mucho for sharing, yet again...
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« Reply #27 on: Aug 28, 2011, 11:43AM »

Hey Leif,

I think John Hagstrom was referring to "80%" in terms of dynamics and volume.

I like your point about "unity". Balancing your musical identity as a soloist and/or an ensemble player is one of the keys to survival for trombonists. I sometimes tell students that in some musical situations, you're going be given the opportunity to be "THE" trombone player while, at other times, you will be given the opportunity to be "A" trombone player. The different roles require slightly different sets of skills yet both roles can be musically challenging and rewarding.

LX
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« Reply #28 on: Aug 28, 2011, 12:05PM »

There's a fellow bonista here with a thread on musical depression...needing to hear your advice below, Sir LX.  Sensing our role du jour is a big part of daily bonistic life.

Hey Leif,

I think John Hagstrom was referring to "80%" in terms of dynamics and volume.

I like your point about "unity". Balancing your musical identity as a soloist and/or an ensemble player is one of the keys to survival for trombonists. I sometimes tell students that in some musical situations, you're going be given the opportunity to be "THE" trombone player while, at other times, you will be given the opportunity to be "A" trombone player. The different roles require slightly different sets of skills yet both roles can be musically challenging and rewarding.

LX
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« Reply #29 on: Sep 17, 2011, 12:04PM »

Thanks Alex! It΄s funny how obvious the truth is when someone tells you about it! Great stuff
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« Reply #30 on: Sep 17, 2011, 08:40PM »

this is definitely going to be kept permanently in my music bag!  Good!

thanks a bunch
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« Reply #31 on: Sep 18, 2011, 10:19AM »

Thank you for all these materials Alex. I value and appreciate your commitment to free knowledge and education for those who are willing to reach for it.
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« Reply #32 on: Sep 19, 2011, 09:37PM »

Definitely an excellent source! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your experience with us. I will maintain these thoughts always alive in my mind and in my student's minds!
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« Reply #33 on: Sep 20, 2011, 10:02PM »

Alex, this is all great, I come back and read it every now and again and it's always inspiring. Also I like how in the warmup PDF you reference the Main Method a lot. I was bummed when Roy had me buy it from him last year, and now I don't know what I would do without it. I used to think it lacked in long tones, and then I realized long tones and breathing were all over it. Also the sayings sprinkled throughout it make me want to practice more. Anyways I guess I'm saying that I can testify that it is a great, great book written by a great, great man.
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« Reply #34 on: Sep 20, 2011, 10:42PM »

Alex, this is all great, I come back and read it every now and again and it's always inspiring. Also I like how in the warmup PDF you reference the Main Method a lot. I was bummed when Roy had me buy it from him last year, and now I don't know what I would do without it. I used to think it lacked in long tones, and then I realized long tones and breathing were all over it. Also the sayings sprinkled throughout it make me want to practice more. Anyways I guess I'm saying that I can testify that it is a great, great book written by a great, great man.

Thanks for the kind words about Roy Main. Roy was a fantastic teacher and an even greater human.

He is DEEPLY missed.

In truth, the actual "Main Method"  differed slightly from student-to-student. He was so good at tailoring the material to each person's playing and, more importantly, learning style/needs. He was really gifted that way.

I always thought it was a shame that Roy was not better known to the greater trombone community outside the West Coast. Nearly every working freelance player in LA between the ages of 30 and 60 studied with him at some point. That's a LOT of great players, including Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Luis Bonilla, Alan Kaplan, Bob Sanders, Francisco Torres, Ira Nepus, Art Velasco, Steve Holtman....etc etc!! He also taught so many NON professionals over the years and he did so with the same intensity and enthusiasm!! He was one of our instrument's greatest advocates!! Thankfully, we do have his books and all his many students out in the world today to keep his memory alive.

Best,

LX 
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« Reply #35 on: Sep 20, 2011, 11:48PM »

This is so true. I am well aware of how lucky I was to study with him and even though it was only for about four months, I learned so much. To this day I will be practicing and think to myself from time to time "What would Roy say about that? Yep, I better go over it again." I think the best compliment I got out of him was when we were playing on the third buzzing exercise together on our horns and he messed up and said "Wow I screwed up because I was thinking that you couldn't have done that a few months ago"

I am also well aware of the company I am in, being that I can say I studied with him. My favorite story (aside from talking about Jazz robots on youtube or talking about Facebook and all the notifications he got on his last birthday for 5 minutes during a lesson) was how he was showing me an exercise having to do with playing the dominant 7th chord around the circle of 5ths. I then mentioned how I saw Andy Martin speak at the Cuesta jazz festival here in SLO when I was in high school and how he talked about taking a lick you liked and transposing it around the circle of 5ths. Roy looked up at me and chuckled and said "Ha, I taught him that." I started laughing because I'm just wondering to myself why this still surprises me. I then told him how the first time I had seen Andy Martin was with Tom Kubis' band at a festival, to which he replied "Oh yeh I used to sub in that band" and my response was the same. He then said how he taught you, Andy Martin, and the other tenor whose name I am blanking on.

All my rambling aside, I hope this helps illustrate my love for a man who taught me so much about the instrument I love and made me the musician I am now which I believe is twice the musician I was. I switched my major here at Poly from Mechanical Engineering to Music last Spring and I don't know if I could have passed my audition without his teaching. After his passing my Mom asked if I ever told him how much I appreciated his help and I told her no because he just would have said something to the effect of "You're welcome, now cut the mushy crap and go practice," considering after I passed my audition at my lesson the same day he said "Good job, now you'll have to practice three times as much. Open up your Arbans book to page....."

Brett


PS In order to keep this post remotely on topic, I think a lot of the things talked about are important to musicians because they offer the idea that there are multiple ways to go about playing something, which I feel I personally forget from time to time. So this is a great reminder.       
« Last Edit: Sep 22, 2011, 12:49AM by Bmalta » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: Sep 25, 2011, 07:31PM »

Alex, allow me to add my thanks to you for this material.  It is meaningful, useful, and practical.  Thanks for it.

And I also send my thanks for all that you did for the Main Event.  It was such an honor to be there and to participate.  As you know so well, to know him is to love him.  And it's both intimidating and a joy to try to take on his studio at Cuesta.  I take that responsibility VERY seriously, believe me.  The playing is coming back, with a huge diet of long tones and lip slurs, and lots of the Main Method!  In time, I'd love to come down and take some instruction from you.

Thanks again for everything, friend.

Jenn Martin
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« Reply #37 on: Jan 05, 2012, 06:27PM »

wow these are all great tips this one is going in the music binder!
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« Reply #38 on: Feb 19, 2012, 06:04PM »

this helps thanks

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« Reply #39 on: Jul 10, 2012, 07:08PM »


• "Technique" is primarily how you do something, not just how fast you do something.
•

Puts me in mind of a story I heard about Sonny Rollins.

 Some tenor player had the seemingly good fortune to be on the same session as Sonny.  Thinking he would prove himself, he challenged Newk to a tenor battle.

Sonny called a ballad at about 40 bpm.

The young upstart had nothing to say, musically. He'd been hoping for "Cherokee" at 400, not musical expression .

 Guess who won the battle?
« Last Edit: Jul 12, 2012, 06:37AM by WaltTrombone » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: Jul 10, 2012, 07:09PM »

How the heck did I just manage to quote myself? And not
 the OP?
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« Reply #41 on: Jul 11, 2012, 09:24AM »

Cool story!
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« Reply #42 on: Jul 12, 2012, 06:39AM »

How the heck did I just manage to quote myself? And not
 the OP?

You were missing a bracket in there, I fixed it. Good story, too!
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« Reply #43 on: Jan 30, 2013, 08:27PM »

Odds and ends.... more like treasure. I have heard many of these gems at various times while studying music and it always important to remind myself that listening and musicality is the most important thing no matter what you play. Thank you very much for the warm up  routine! I haven't played trombone for 20 years while I was off studying other instruments and the kind of information that is freely offered here is unbelievable and much appreciated. I am looking forward to seeing where this return to the roots of my musical journey will take me, but no matter where it leads I know it will be fun!!
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« Reply #44 on: Jun 10, 2013, 06:44PM »

great stuff.....thanks
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« Reply #45 on: Sep 15, 2013, 08:03PM »

Thank you Mr. Iles.
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« Reply #46 on: Apr 14, 2015, 08:47PM »

This is great! Im printing out a copy for everyone in my lowbrass section Good!
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« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2015, 03:54PM »

 :) This has been SO helpful! Thank you!
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