Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

946971 Posts in 62600 Topics- by 15088 Members - Latest Member: pbuie
Jump to:  
The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPedagogy(Moderators: JP, Doug Elliott) What I wish I had been taught...
Pages: [1]   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: What I wish I had been taught...  (Read 3171 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
WilliamSalverda

*
Offline Offline

Location: So. California, USA
Joined: Nov 11, 2011
Posts: 24

View Profile
« on: Dec 16, 2011, 12:53PM »

There are a few things that I wish that I had been taught when I was learning how to play the trombone:
1) Proper embouchure. Many teachers (jr.high, high school) just wanted me to be able to hit the notes.
2) Proper care and maintenance of the horn. I wore out several horns before it was discovered that my spittle and skin are somewhat acidic due to prescribed meds I have to take. I have to wash my horn out properly after every practice at least 3x. Didnt learn this until recently (I am over 50, started in 5th grade) when I took my horn in to be serviced. The repairman got all over my case for not cleaning the horn at all, which wasnt true, but I had noticed that horns I played wore out quickly.
3) Proper care for the slide...oil vs slide cream and a spray gun. Was never taught that. Again, the repairman taught me what to use when, and I had lessons in grade school thru high school. Not one teacher there said anything but simply gave me a bottle of slide oil.
Yeah, I know it isnt musicianship. But, in a way, it is. Maybe the teachers back then expected instruments to wear out...or maybe it just takes too long to teach, and the student is definitely not playing...
Logged
Exzaclee

*
Offline Offline

Location: Alaska!
Joined: Mar 8, 2008
Posts: 5479
"Check out my new website!"


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: Dec 16, 2011, 02:01PM »

I try to teach my kids all of these things.  So far, I have to repeat a lot of the same things over and over and over again.  There are no guarantees!
Logged

Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one!
www.zacleemusic.com
W/SBTRB
*
Offline Offline

Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Joined: Jun 15, 2007
Posts: 238

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: Dec 17, 2011, 05:42PM »

What has been described is all too common among school band students today. I think a lot has to do with the mentality of "hurry up and get this tune learned." Pressure on band directors to produce marching bands ( I'm not against them), music teachers trying to protect their jobs by producing quantity as opposed to quality and the list goes on. The average student seems to get lost in the crowd of  talented students. Recently the president of NAfME gave a a speech at the NCMEA Conference and said that we need to see our students not as talent based but based on hard work. Sorry for the ramblings but what has been described is what I see when I often get a middle/high school trombone player wants lessons.

I always go over care of the instrument first and particularly the slide......something students say "nobody ever told me that." Embouchure........only if its terrible and the playing of different registers are inconsistent......the biggies I notice in playing....holding the slide and breathing. I don't mean to be down on band directors....many do the best they can.
Logged

Ron Smith, D.M.A.
Bass Trombonist; Piedmont Wind Symphony
Salem Trombone Choir
Music Dept. Chair, Piedmont International University, Winston-Salem, NC
Luke 9:23
slidemansailor

*
Offline Offline

Location: Conner, Montana
Joined: May 3, 2007
Posts: 1082
"3rd in goof off jazz combo + concert band"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: Dec 17, 2011, 06:21PM »

4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th grades, high school sophomore, junior, senior, jazz improvisation semester at community college, private lessons from a non-trombonist somewhere in the early years ...

NOT ONCE did anyone notice that my tongue was being used as a lower lip stiffener. I could not articulate for squat and had an embouchure seriously detrimental to quality sound and stamina. Heck, three years of high school, my band teacher was a Dixieland Jazz trombonist on the side, but he never noticed the HUGE self-inflicted handicap of his 1st trombonist.

Now I struggle to build muscles at an age where muscle building is not natural or easy.

Probably as bad, 6 years of public school tromboning were all about marching and playing marches as we marched. I learned NOTHING about music. 

Now, with my calcified brain, I'm struggling to learn scales and the relationships between notes, keys and music.  Woulda been so nice to have it presented intelligently while I was spending 9 months of every year enrolled in "music" or "band".
Logged

Turn off your TV. Make some beautiful music.

'06 Conn 88 HCL  .525/.547   5G
'74 Yamaha YSL354    .500   6 1/2 AL
'58 Conn 6H   .500   6 1/2 AL


http://teddunlap.net
Sn4zzle
*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: May 7, 2011
Posts: 101

View Profile
« Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 2011, 07:53PM »

I am so humbled to be in an area that I am. In SC we seem to have great band programs or something, and I love everyday I get to be part of one. We are taught a lot of these things noted. One school (Wando) has 1 head band director and then 2 assistant band directors for their 3 concert bands. On top of that they have like 8 private tutors so every student takes privately. (Only Wando has the private tutors, the rest of us still have assistant directors though) When I hear how some people are deprived of the opportunities I get because band directors do not want to take that time to teach proper care I get so angry. We are all taught how to care for our horns and taking privately is stressed so much. Our director has his masters in teaching I believe and he is a brass player. He takes time to give each of us 1on1 hour lessons. Hearing that some programs do not get such treatment makes me wonder how good the best players around really are. I think about if all band members got the best possible treatment then how great would some be. :(
Logged
connman93
*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: Nov 19, 2009
Posts: 613

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: Dec 17, 2011, 08:28PM »

I am so humbled to be in an area that I am. In SC we seem to have great band programs or something, and I love everyday I get to be part of one. We are taught a lot of these things noted. One school (Wando) has 1 head band director and then 2 assistant band directors for their 3 concert bands. On top of that they have like 8 private tutors so every student takes privately. (Only Wando has the private tutors, the rest of us still have assistant directors though) When I hear how some people are deprived of the opportunities I get because band directors do not want to take that time to teach proper care I get so angry. We are all taught how to care for our horns and taking privately is stressed so much. Our director has his masters in teaching I believe and he is a brass player. He takes time to give each of us 1on1 hour lessons. Hearing that some programs do not get such treatment makes me wonder how good the best players around really are. I think about if all band members got the best possible treatment then how great would some be. :(
Not to take this too far off topic, but this post got me thinking.

I never had a good school band program until this year, my freshman year of college. My high school "band director" also had a masters degree (both degrees from the University of Michigan) but that doesn't mean jack because he had no idea what he was doing. Even worse, he dragged down his better musicians when they tried to make the group better because it wasn't his idea, or whatever "reason" he felt like using that day.

Despite this, I made the MSBOA (Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association) All State Orchestra and Michigan Youth Arts Festival Orchestra my senior year. I am now on scholarship in the trombone studio at Western Michigan University and a finalist in the ETW Division 1 Bass Trombone National Solo Competition. This only happened because I had been working my a** off with no help whatsoever from anything to do with my high school program.

This is just proof that having a good high school program isn't required to be successful. I'm sure it helps, but if you do the right things on your own (i.e. take private lessons with local professionals, play in extra ensembles outside of school etc..) you can still have success.

Just food for thought for the younger musicians here.
Logged
Sn4zzle
*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: May 7, 2011
Posts: 101

View Profile
« Reply #6 on: Dec 17, 2011, 08:31PM »

Definitely agree, but why would most young musicians be thinking about taking privately when they should be playing Call of Duty? My point was, if a program does not make it a point to do certain things then many youngsters will not. It sucks I know but really. Think how many things there are to do that would put practicing almost out of someones mind.
Logged
GetzenBassPlayer

*
Offline Offline

Location: Seattle, Washington
Joined: Aug 21, 2002
Posts: 5922
"Practice makes the horn sound good."


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: Dec 17, 2011, 08:59PM »

I try to teach my kids all of these things.  So far, I have to repeat a lot of the same things over and over and over again.  There are no guarantees!

I am with you. I sound like a broken record. Everyday I remind my students of the same things over and over. When something does go wrong, the first thing they say is, "You never told me..."
Logged

Pro level? Pro level!  You make it pro, you make it good You make it loved and play nice Then its a pro level horn
Leif

I can justify my position with a trombone in my hands and that's good enough for me
Beware wise men bearing equations  C. Stearn
Sn4zzle
*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: May 7, 2011
Posts: 101

View Profile
« Reply #8 on: Dec 18, 2011, 10:20AM »

Broken records work though. Everyday (our band is 1 1/2 hours) we go over music theory for the first 25 minutes. Basic stuff like what makes major chords, minor chords, diminished, augmented, 1st/2nd inversion. People still do not seem to understand but our teacher is teaching it properly. Lots of us understand it but until everyone knows these few basics we cannot move on to other things like arpeggios, pentatonics, major 7th's, leading tones, etc. I know this stuff because I take privately but in class there is just such a difference between the 45 of us who take privately and then the other 15 or so who do not.
Logged
WilliamSalverda

*
Offline Offline

Location: So. California, USA
Joined: Nov 11, 2011
Posts: 24

View Profile
« Reply #9 on: Dec 18, 2011, 04:47PM »

In all fairness, my parents didn't have the means for private lessons when I was young. True, many of the directors focused on just getting the piece played. I really had no idea about the care of the horn until I mentioned it to my section leader in college. But it really was my fault as I didn't pursue the subject while the horns I played continued to fail. For some time (15 years or so) I didn't play at all I was so frustrated. That and I was learning my current profession.
The closest thing I had to private lessons was when I first learned in grade school. There were only a handful of kids learning so I got more attention from the teacher. I don't think he played the trombone, though.  I learned on my dads old horn, which was nor in good shape to begin with. Now that I am (much) older, playing is a hobby. I have the opportunity to buy a pro-grade horn, and I wnt to know how to take care of it properly.
Logged
Tim Boyer
*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: Dec 4, 2004
Posts: 311

View Profile
« Reply #10 on: Dec 19, 2011, 12:32AM »

The Edwards company has posted some great tips on maintenance:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-5qYuIlrh0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-5qYuIlrh0</a>
Link if embedded video doesn't work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-5qYuIlrh0&feature=player_embedded

Also, check out these Arnold Jacobs videos:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=arnold+jacobs&oq=arnold+jacobs&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=2432l4518l0l5249l13l9l0l2l2l0l257l1053l0.3.2l5l0
He covers many topics from embouchure to breathing to the importance of buzzing on the mouthpiece.  If you've never heard of Mr. Jacobs aka "Jake", he is considered one of the great brass/music pedagogues of the 2nd half of the 20th century, as well as world class tuba player (Chicago Symphony for many years)
Logged
WilliamSalverda

*
Offline Offline

Location: So. California, USA
Joined: Nov 11, 2011
Posts: 24

View Profile
« Reply #11 on: Dec 19, 2011, 02:31PM »

Very helpful. Another video on YouTube mentioned using WD-40 in cleaning the slide  Confused.
The only issue I can see in teaching a kid how to clean his slide is that kids drop and/or misplace things. Certainly by high school, though, this should be taught.
Logged
boneagain
*
Offline Offline

Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: Aug 4, 2007
Posts: 1675

View Profile
« Reply #12 on: Dec 19, 2011, 03:04PM »

Very helpful. Another video on YouTube mentioned using WD-40 in cleaning the slide  Confused.
The only issue I can see in teaching a kid how to clean his slide is that kids drop and/or misplace things. Certainly by high school, though, this should be taught.

WD-40?  You should post THAT link in "Found on the Internet!"

Raises a good point: vetting your sources.

Probably just because I was a cranky old New Englander (yeah, I live somewhere else now, but I'm still cranky) I never took much of anyones word on much of anything.  Which was good, because my music teacher insisted we find things out for ourselves.  He KNEW there was a copy of Farkas' "Art of Brass Playing" in the local library, and that we could get Kleinhammer's "Art of Trombone Playing" at the music store in the next town (back when local music stores didn't have so much electronic competition.)  He expected he'd give us starting points, and WE would chase them down.  No Internat at that time.  Lot's of card catalog work, and inter-library loaning, and lists of possibilities for IF we got to The Big City.

Since it was so much trouble to dig up ANYthing on brass playing, we kept digging to find out about WHO was doing the writing. 

I would LOVE to hear the credentials of who is doing the writing/videoing that recommends WD-40 on the slide.

the Edwards site and MANY MANY threads on this forum have MUCH better advice, and folks with significant credibility providing that advice.

Logged

Dave Adams
Staunch admirer of all who still make a living at this!
W/SBTRB
*
Offline Offline

Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Joined: Jun 15, 2007
Posts: 238

View Profile
« Reply #13 on: Dec 19, 2011, 08:33PM »

WD-40???? :-0 How in the world do you get rid of the smell? Imagine the taste in your mouth when pulling the slide back. ugh.
Logged

Ron Smith, D.M.A.
Bass Trombonist; Piedmont Wind Symphony
Salem Trombone Choir
Music Dept. Chair, Piedmont International University, Winston-Salem, NC
Luke 9:23
norbie2009

*
Offline Offline

Location:
Joined: May 12, 2009
Posts: 130

View Profile
« Reply #14 on: Dec 20, 2011, 07:05AM »

There are a few things that I wish that I had been taught when I was learning how to play the trombone:
1) Proper embouchure. Many teachers (jr.high, high school) just wanted me to be able to hit the notes.

It took me around 20 years to realize how inefficient (incorrect?) my embouchure was and go about fixing it. I found success for quite some time, but lacked control in the high and low registers, among other shortcomings on the instrument.  True story: I had to take some time off of the horn.  One day I went to play and - nothing.  Not a sound.  When I eventually was able to make a sound, it was of a pinched, double-buzz variety.  I ended up doing what I should have done so long ago: relating free buzzing & mouthpiece buzzing to the horn, Reinhardt routines, timing things in, being patient with myself by breaking larger goals into more manageable smaller ones, and most of all, having patience with myself and enjoying the process. 

On a side note, I cannot recall one paid teacher from age 16 on up who even looked at my embouchure, let alone mentioned anything about it.  It wasn't until I was stationed in Germany and took lessons from a symphony cat out of Frankfurt that I started to address embouchure issues.  I do wish that somebody would have said something along the way earlier on.

Best wishes,
Michael

Logged

Still, the only certain thing for sure is what I do not know. -Lyle Lovett
baileyman
*
Offline Offline

Location: Danvers, MA
Joined: Jan 18, 2007
Posts: 1716

View Profile
« Reply #15 on: Dec 20, 2011, 09:28AM »

I wish someone had pointed me in the direction of training athletically like a pro.  I mean there are a number of basic skills to master, and they need to be done just about every day for accumulated benefits: flexibilities, slide movement, range extension, long tones, scales, coordinating the tongue and slide and everything else.  Any of these can be the basis for an exercise that thoroughly works the middle of the horn in a gentle way that can take maybe two hours to complete.  The sheer volume of repetition and the modest fatigue that accumulates over that time has been magical for me.  Then I go on to the music. 
Logged
WilliamSalverda

*
Offline Offline

Location: So. California, USA
Joined: Nov 11, 2011
Posts: 24

View Profile
« Reply #16 on: Dec 21, 2011, 11:31AM »

One of my jr high teachers mentioned embouchure...he asked if any of the brass players could hold a pencil between theirlips so that it stuck straight out. Most of us couldnt; one trumpet player could, but that was because he stuck his jaw out. Guess what the rest of the brass section was told to do?
Then in college the second (or was it first?) chair trombonist took it upon himself to 'fix' my embouchure. It hurt; I immediately lost high range (couldnt get above D). Stopped playing for a bit to help heal. Was asked not to return to play in orchestra.
Now that I am much older, high range returning but not nearly there. Had always played small bore trombones (that is what my dad would buy and that is what the music teacher gave me) except for one bass trombone which I only had for a few weeks. Now I have tried a larger bore trombone (0.562) and am told my tone is much better.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Print
Jump to: