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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPedagogy(Moderators: JP, Doug Elliott) The Dark Ages of Trumpet Pedagogy -- Thoughts?
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boneagain
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« Reply #20 on: Dec 23, 2016, 02:51PM »

Forgive my ignorance, what's TIS?
Tuning
In
Slide
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« Reply #21 on: Dec 23, 2016, 02:57PM »

What changed in the horns? Is it just the bore size?

I think this is the big question.  And, between now and when the shift to "blow it to the back of the room" started, I think the answer is, "not much, really."  Remington was very clear about starting off with "a conversational breath."  He did NOT say "tank up for a big blow."  The 88H was a .547 horn, and could carry just fine in an orchestral setting.  Not all that much different from the new models.  Certainly not enough different that we need to tank up for a big blow.

And I do not think ALL players DO tank up for a big blow.  At least, I do not see the best doing that. 

I DO see, as Doug mentioned, players in competition with electronic amplification putting the air-chops system at 11 and leaving it there.

And I see more and more young bass trombone players trying to push their sounds to the back wall with high airflow, rather than trying to set up a really solid standing wave and resonating the room.

So, I don't see a "Dark Ages" thing so much as fragmentation of pedagogy, some of which is better than ever, and some of which will likely evolve off the tree by natural selection.
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« Reply #22 on: Dec 23, 2016, 03:33PM »

What changed in the horns? Is it just the bore size?

Bore,  bell,  mouthpieces. Aside from German trombones which have small bore and large bell.  The "arms race" of the 80/90s has mostly subsided, but between 1890 and 1990 bore,  bell,  and mpc for tenors and eventually basses have increased substantially. Maybe with amplification things start to settle back down.
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 23, 2016, 03:58PM »

I'm pleased to see this discussion. 

I think Doug is right, equipment changed when things became less "civilized", as Sam would say.  But I do have my absolute best playing experiences when I am using wayyyyyy less effort and blowing into tiny, tiny gear.  Watching Steinmeyer videos makes me want to play that way all the time.  And his mouthpieces fit the description of "impedence".
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« Reply #24 on: Dec 23, 2016, 04:10PM »

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Brad Goode
THE DARK AGES OF TRUMPET PEDAGOGY
22 minutes ago · Public
THE DARK AGES OF TRUMPET PEDAGOGY

Brad Goode

In the early days of the twentieth century, trumpets were built with high impedance. The idea behind the design of a fine instrument was that it should produce the greatest resonance with the least physical effort.
Merri Franquin was the first Professor of Trumpet at the Paris Conservatory. He was instrumental in the design of the original valved high trumpets, and many of the early virtuoso solos were composed for him. In his method book, “Complete Method for Modern Trumpet”, he advocates for the development of control and efficiency. He even suggests that the trumpet requires so little air that the player should not inhale before producing a note; the air already present in the lungs being sufficient.
Many of the great American classical performers of the early twentieth century studied and employed Franquin’s method, including George Mager, Roger Voisin and Adolph Herseth. Of course, the great French virtuosi, such as Maurice Andre and Guy Touvron acknowledge the Franquin method as the best.
American trumpet pedagogy first arose from the great cornet soloists of the Band Era, such as Jules Levy and Herbert L. Clarke. These teachers also advocated soft, controlled practice and the regulation of a small, well directed airstream.
Other popular systems arose which advocated lip buzzing, such as the “Non-Pressure System” of Eby. Contrary to myth, this book did not actually suggest playing without mouthpiece pressure, but discussed development of a firm, resistant embouchure that could compress the air into a small stream and more readily withstand, or balance the pressure of the mouthpiece on the lips.
Perhaps the most comprehensive method developed in the United States was the “Pivot System” of Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt. Reinhardt spent years observing the playing habits and movements of many players, and developed a classification system based on the correct movements for 4 basic physical “types”. By understanding and following the movements for one’s type, the player could easily manipulate the instrument without resorting to strain. Many of his students rose to the top ranks of recording artists on both trumpet and trombone.
As the equipment changed, becoming more open during the 1950’s and 1960’s (see “The Lost Art of Trumpet Design”http://www.bradgoode.com/Blogs/2/60...) players began to have more difficulty with control, endurance and range. The high impedance trumpets were replaced with instruments that lacked the proper resistance and balance to be played easily.  As the playing community began to suffer, a new brass pedagogy arose. These methods called for either the use of large quantities of airflow and support or for isometric exercises that pushed and strained the muscles of the face. Brass playing entered the dark ages, as the old pedagogy of efficiency, ease and control was replaced with a quest for air power, physical strength and mind-over-matter philosophy.
The teachers of that era are, to this day, revered as infallible experts, despite ample evidence that their methods and theories have caused many players to injure themselves, and have rarely achieved the types of successes in students seen by the earlier methods. It falls upon our generation to reexamine this subject and to bring brass playing forward, out of the dark ages.


Here's all I have to say on that account!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7W29ACsGzw

Things change.

Do you know who was in the only picture on Bud Hersth's studio wall.

Yup.

Maynard.

Now...I'm not saying anything about his musicality, about his style or about anything else except his sheer power. I certainly never aspired to play "like" him, but then neither did I aspire to play "like" he high impedance/mic players.

Things change.

We are forced to deal with them.

1969.

Lots was changing.

More options arose.

Nothing is necessarily "lost" when they arise.

It's just a new day.

Later...

S.

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« Reply #25 on: Dec 23, 2016, 04:15PM »

No.  Vent holes in natural trumpets are entirely modern.


Huh.  Turns out you're right.  Thanks, I didn't know that, always assumed the vented natural trumpet was historical.

But to the other point, the natural trumpet was 8 or 9 feet long.  Yes, that make affect the ratio of cylinder to cone.  But it also means you're playing the same note several partials higher, so you have fewer overtones above that available.  Since brilliance comes from the contribution of the higher partials, it makes sense to me that a natural trumpet should be less bright rather than more, on the same note series. 
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« Reply #26 on: Dec 23, 2016, 04:31PM »

Natural trumpet vented or not, is sounding more...hornish, which is basically darker. Kind of a horn, but due to the smaller bell and almost no flare of the begining of the bell sounds more like a small horn (if we speak about the long natural trumpet, commonly in D or E flat). The point here is, the more pistons you push down on the modern trumpet, lowest would be the basic partial, the higher you go, the furthest partials you must use. The resulting sound would be s little bit more like a natural trumpet, however it will still remain the sound of a modern trumpet. The better made, the furthest from that natural-like sound.

Like a trombone's trigger sound that has little difference compared to its no trigger sound. But that's another topic.
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« Reply #27 on: Dec 24, 2016, 08:13AM »

To get back to the original post, I get what he's saying, but from where I sit the tide has already turned back the other way. I'm sure there are still teachers and players lagging behind, but in the symphonic world at least, trumpet and trombone players are valuing efficiency and the easy brilliance that comes with it in a way that many didn't a couple of decades ago.

The recent success of Yamaha C trumpets and Bach's introductions of the Philadelphia and Chicago model C trumpets that go back to some of their older design elements are testaments to that, as is the design of the Alessi model Edwards and the increased popularity of lighter bell designs at Shires. When I was in school in the "dark ages" (pun intended) the thing to do was buy a Bach 42 or 50 and have a heavier bell attached to it from Edwards or Osmun/Shires along with the Thayer conversion. Now it's gone the other way, Greenhoe sold a lot a Bach conversions, and I occasionally see Edwards and Shires bodies with Bach bells attached (I think there's a lot more to the Bach designs than just the bell, but that's a different topic).

A horn player I used to work with a lot who is now principal of the Toronto Symphony used to say "trombone players are always looking for new instruments that make it easier to play loud. I don't get it; loud isn't the problem. Shouldn't you be looking for instruments that make it easier to play soft?" We might finally be getting it. At least for a little while...
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« Reply #28 on: Dec 24, 2016, 08:56AM »

Actually, since 1950 there is NOTHING but evidence to support the theory that the modern post-1950 trombone is 100% designed to be more conical.

The evidence:
99% of F attachment tubings are built so that the bore of the F attachment matches the open fully extended hand slide. All .547 bore horns have .562 F attachments. All .562 bass trombones have .590 F attachments.
So, F in trigger 1st has the same blow as 6th position. It isn't to compensate for the tightness added to a horn by the rotary valve ( in 1950 terms.)

The notable exceptions are the H.N. White King trombones. The evolution of the Duo-Gravis is the last of that line, and the F attachment is .562 like the inner hand slide, not the outer hand slide.

I was fortunate to have at my disposal almost nothing but Northwestern trained trumpet players who studied with Vince and Bud. A funny acoustic thing is very evident when you live in an ensemble with those ( now vintage) players cranked out by the hundreds ......when they played loudly there was a bizarre acoustic phenomena where the sound just sounded like they were sitting closer to you, they didn't get louder, they got more present.

I had the un-Godly experience of sitting in a paid big band gig once with a kid aged 21 fresh from Bud's studio and Northwestern. He was called last minute to sub on lead trumpet in a gig with a really great big band.  He kid showed up with a large bore Bach C trumpet and the requisite Bach 1B trumpet mouthpiece. He played three sets lead trumpet on gear that would have killed any mortal.
    He sailed through it unscathed. But the band. The band died. We could never hope to keep up with that wall of sound. Volume ( sound pressure) had NOTHING to do with it. There just wasn't a room large enough to contain that sound.. even playing against amplified Fender bass.

Speaking of Chicago. Any one else remember the Holton ads from the early 80s starring Jay Friedman where he was plugging his straight .551 tenor? " Powerful enough to project a whisper to seat J8?" They included the seat number of the furthest seat in orchestra hall in Chicago-- and sold it as a horn that could play pianissimo effortlessly, as we're discussing in this thread.
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« Reply #29 on: Dec 24, 2016, 09:08AM »

J8?  That's not a far seat except in a very small hall (J is the 10th row).  Maybe they meant JJ8, which would be the 36th row on the side.

Or are they talking about a balcony seat?
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« Reply #30 on: Dec 24, 2016, 10:15AM »

Bruce,

I saw the ad in the 1970s. And I read it while I was taking a well deserved break from trying to "play each exercise 8 to 16 times in one breath". I read it 40 years ago on a tea break. My apologies.
It was a balcony seat, yes.

There was also a series on ads where the members of the New York Phil played a gig on Bundy trombones-- and nobody called their bluff. Remember those?

Of course, these days if Joe Alessi showed up at a gig with a Bundy small straight tenor there would be a riot. But only a small silent riot from the internet crowd here.
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« Reply #31 on: Dec 24, 2016, 11:45AM »

Doug Yeo played a BSO Christmas concert on a pBone (actually only one number).  The next year all three played a trombone feature on pBones.
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« Reply #32 on: Dec 24, 2016, 06:45PM »


And I see more and more young bass trombone players trying to push their sounds to the back wall with high airflow, rather than trying to set up a really solid standing wave and resonating the room.


But concert halls are designed to minimize standing waves.
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« Reply #33 on: Dec 24, 2016, 07:24PM »

In the spirit of avoiding incorrect information becoming a trope of folklore, it should be noted that the TR-156, which Friedman designed with Larry Ramirez in 1974, used a standard single-bore 0.547" slide for the first two years of production, switching to a 0.547-0.559" dual-bore in 1977.

Speaking of Chicago. Any one else remember the Holton ads from the early 80s starring Jay Friedman where he was plugging his straight .551 tenor? " Powerful enough to project a whisper to seat J8?" They included the seat number of the furthest seat in orchestra hall in Chicago-- and sold it as a horn that could play pianissimo effortlessly, as we're discussing in this thread.


I remember reading some commentary somewhere regarding the acoustic effects of the oversized F attachment bore being more related to the emulation of the proper relative dimensions of a cylindrical section in a 12-foot F instrument, and not in creating a conical 9-foot instrument, but unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember where it was. Maybe a bit more eggnog will job the memory? It would be interesting to make a 9-foot natural trumpet of modern bore and construction philosophies and see how it compares timbrally to the valved brethren. Changing the airways can only do so much to cope with the fact that the inclusion of the hunking, metallic structures in the valve assembly inherently change the acoustic quality, something we deal with to a much lesser degree in the trombone world.
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« Reply #34 on: Dec 24, 2016, 10:25PM »

I wonder... does anyone assert anything like a standard ratio of cylindrical to conical in old natural trumpets?

I presume that the more of it that was cylindrical, the easier it was to make.


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« Reply #35 on: Dec 24, 2016, 10:42PM »

With only three sections of tubing it was pretty easy to keep things consistent. Two straight tubes, one bell. Slap em together with some crooks and you get a pretty standard 66/33 cylindrical to conical profile. The last 33% was the only part that varied, depending on whether or not it was a two-piece bell split at the ball, or a one piece with a faux ball,  etc. etc.
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« Reply #36 on: Dec 25, 2016, 06:41AM »

But concert halls are designed to minimize standing waves.

Sorry I caused confusion trying to be brief!

The hall designer hopes to set the resonant frequency (or frequencies) of the hall (or hall segments, if there are complications like transepts, etc.) somewhere outside what the likely musical tones will be, so avoid a "one note" hall.

The horn MUST set up a standing wave inside it for every tone, and MUST be "one note" for each combination of embouchure and pitch adjustment mechanism.

George Roberts was a master at using the standing wave in his horn to maximum benefit within the acoustic of the space in which he played.  Check out the stories of him being further from the microphone than a section mate, and STILL being the dominant voice on the mic.  He played the room, not the horn.  He didn't achieve that domination by playing loudly.  The section mate would worry that George wasn't playing loudly enough.  George achieved his presence by focusing his energy efficiently in the horn, and letting the horn do the acoustical impedence matching with the room.  And I doubt he would have used ANY of those terms describing what he aimed for.  There are plenty of folks who studied with him who have written about the things he DID say, so I'm not even going to paraphrase here.  But I will say, none of it had to do with blowing the sound to the back wall, or any of the "Dark Ages" symptoms mentioned in the original post.

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« Reply #37 on: Dec 25, 2016, 10:47AM »

I personally never try to aim at the back wall. I play totally by feel, not by "sound" per se. If my note/volume/blow matches up to the resistance of the equipment, there is a balanced feel at the lips. If the air/support etc. is not strong enough there is a weak, flappy feeling at the lips and if it is too strong there is a stiff, overblown, spread feeling. I wear (easily adjustable) earplugs for almost all of the work that I do because most of the time I either have trumpets playing behind me, a rhythm section that is playing quite percussively, amplified sounds usually badly balanced by an ignorant sound man or some ungodly combination of the three. When my ears are not feeling stressed, I adjust the plugs. When I feel stress, I push them in. But I will say this about "the back wall." When I am feeling well balanced at the chops and I do hear the notes coming off the back wall of a good room at say mf or above, I know I'm playing well and I have found well-matched and projecting equipment. Well matched to itself and well matched to my own playing.

That's my final equipment test.

Balance produces "projection."

It does for me, anyway.

Case in point:

When I switched from a wonderful straight .508 bore (altered by John "Peppy" Pettinato), gold plated Mt. Vernon 16 to an equally great (but quite different) .500 bore Earl Williams 6, I knew the switch was good after a few weeks when...in a venue in which I had played almost every week for a over a year...I for the first time heard my unamplified sound coming back to me from the back of the club and (simultaneously) realized that also for pretty much the first the audience was reacting to my solos with enthusiastic applause. I wasn't necessarily playing "better" solos; they just heard me better.

End of test; the Williams won.

S.

P.S. In response to many questions about how I can possibly play well using earplugs, I want to say the following:

1-I never use earplugs while practicing, and I practice a lot.


and

2-If I hadn't been using earplugs for 30+ years I'd be deaf (DUH!!!), and then:

   a-I wouldn't be able to hear myself while practicing.

   and

   b-I'd be hearing even less while working than I do when wearing earplugs.

DUH twice!!!
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« Reply #38 on: Dec 25, 2016, 11:03AM »

Balance produces "projection."

That's an excellent point, Sam. The concert I attended to great ensembles led me to think that balanced playing, good intonation (as playing on the sweet spot) and getting articulation right (playing well together and with the same articulations) makes ensembles (especially brass) sound more loud and projecting that they really are, probably thourgh syncing their overtones.

As for using plugs - it is an interesting suggestion - for loud and amplified ensembles makes sense - even more if the sound technicians is not as skillful as we always want them to be.
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« Reply #39 on: Dec 25, 2016, 11:49AM »


The teachers of that era are, to this day, revered as infallible experts, despite ample evidence that their methods and theories have caused many players to injure themselves, and have rarely achieved the types of successes in students seen by the earlier methods. It falls upon our generation to reexamine this subject and to bring brass playing forward, out of the dark ages.


I have a question about this particular statement.  Who says that teachers of "that era" have less success and cause students to injure themselves more?  Anecdotally, most people seem to think that there are more high level brass players than ever before (technically, at least, musically may be a different story and has nothing to do with the conversation at hand).  As for more injuries, maybe the shrinking nature of the world/internet simply makes it more obvious that brass players get injured or that they develop bad habits that can cause them to quit playing, even from the highest level.  I have a very hard time believing that no brass player ever left a good position or dropped out of the scene due to the mysterious "chop problems" before the last 20 years.  We just didn't hear about it and they aren't remembered now.

That's not to say that any pedagogy is infallible.  There are obviously things that work better for different people and approaches that don't work for others.  But a mass condemnation of an entire era based on an unsubstantiated opinion isn't sound thinking and is no more supportable than claiming that anyone is "infallible".
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