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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #80 on: Aug 12, 2016, 09:21AM »

A wall is not always a bad habit, but it's a matter of perspective.

When it's a bad habit, it's an error you are making.

When it's not, it's a skill or method you have yet to stumble on.  But that means your current okay habit is not working.  It may not be a bad habit but it is a habit.  (I'm going to connect it up your honor.)

I don't mean to speak dogmatically, just using shorthand here.  I'm sure it's not this simple or certain.

Habits inherently prevent acquiring new skills, even when they are good ones.  Consistency can be the enemy of the new.  Error can be the raw material of improvement, if you're lucky to have one in the right direction. 

A rigid teacher might prevent your lucky error just as easily as the right teacher steers you into it.  On average you're safer with the teacher, but I guess YMMV.  I need a teacher regardless because observing myself is not one of my strengths, so that interaction complicates things. 

Whew! Tim! You're deep. Been reading again, huh? lol

Okay. I don't read that much, but I disagree with habits preventing one from learning new skills. Many, many things I do throughout the day are habits; flossing my teeth, making coffee, etc. They haven't prevented me from learning how to floss better or make better coffee if I stumble across something myself or come across someone who inspires me to do better, even if I have historically flossed my teeth badly and have historically made terrible-tasting coffee. What prevents me from learning new and maybe better habits is the limitations of my own mind. Perhaps we are actually on the same page. I don't know because I'm not sure I understand your statements.

I agree about the chance encounters. But on average, we are safer with a teacher? Well, there simply aren't enough numbers to crunch to solve that assertion. So it's like trying to argue that on average, we will play better with a King in our hands as compared to a Kanstul. I mean, okay. Who could argue - the number of Kings sold have far outpaced the number of Kanstuls sold - if that even means anything. Similarly, the number of those who have been taught vs those who have self-taught is probably as wide or wider than the above example. But does it mean safety in numbers?

If YOU need a teacher because you feel inadequate in self-teaching due to not being in tune with feedback, then YOU need a teacher. No argument there. You ought to know! I feel that I have a pretty good but never-the-less limited ability to connect the dots through my own feedback, casual observations, conversations and experiments. I'm also getting the idea that someone else whom we might call a teacher, coach or mentor could inspire me or otherwise show me how to make more and better connections. Isn't learning all about making connections? Isn't that what we call "Aha moments"?


...Geezer
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« Reply #81 on: Aug 12, 2016, 09:42AM »

We can make so many assumptions. We are really into the realm of having a teacher or not, rather than being completely self-taught. Ideas and feedback are everywhere, unless you have no internet, books, or recordings.

I'm imagining a touching story of a lone survivor of a shipwreck, where one of the items washed ashore is a trombone. The person, initially a young child, opens the case, after a few weeks, learns how to put the bone together, etc. A few decades later, he/she is rescued and everyone is enthralled with the marvelous playing. World peace ensues.

Even with a teacher, understanding and acting on feedback is up to the student. Otherwise we get Florence Foster Jenkins.
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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #82 on: Aug 12, 2016, 10:24AM »



Even with a teacher, understanding and acting on feedback is up to the student. Otherwise we get Florence Foster Jenkins.

There's a new movie about her, I can't wait to see it. 

Might bring ear plugs. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #83 on: Aug 12, 2016, 02:09PM »

We can make so many assumptions. We are really into the realm of having a teacher or not, rather than being completely self-taught. Ideas and feedback are everywhere, unless you have no internet, books, or recordings.

I'm imagining a touching story of a lone survivor of a shipwreck, where one of the items washed ashore is a trombone. The person, initially a young child, opens the case, after a few weeks, learns how to put the bone together, etc. A few decades later, he/she is rescued and everyone is enthralled with the marvelous playing. World peace ensues.

Even with a teacher, understanding and acting on feedback is up to the student. Otherwise we get Florence Foster Jenkins.

When it comes down to it, how many of us are truly self-taught? I'm not. I can see now that I am largely self-taught. I had a number of lessons as a youth, some 48 years ago and a single session with Doug more recently. Unless we could possibly live in total isolation, then we are taught by those around us and all that's available to us.

But I guess the crux of this thread was a query as to who among us considers themselves, for the most part, being self-taught. And possibly more importantly - why. There has been some pretty cool inputs.

I've recently become aware of some darn good players who were initially taught by an illustrious teacher. But after a certain point, they self-taught. So, if we reach a certain level of ability and we then go for the next 20-30 years on our own, are we now largely self-taught? Or will we always be Mr. X's student? Personally, I would kinda like it if I had been initially taught by Mr. X and I could aspire to regard myself as a successful student of his who has gone out on his own. Perhaps it's not too late...

...Geezer
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« Reply #84 on: Aug 13, 2016, 07:54AM »

I've recently become aware of some darn good players who were initially taught by an illustrious teacher. But after a certain point, they self-taught. So, if we reach a certain level of ability and we then go for the next 20-30 years on our own, are we now largely self-taught? Or will we always be Mr. X's student? Personally, I would kinda like it if I had been initially taught by Mr. X and I could aspire to regard myself as a successful student of his who has gone out on his own. Perhaps it's not too late...

...Geezer

I think that's called finding your own voice.
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« Reply #85 on: Aug 13, 2016, 08:21AM »

I think that's called finding your own voice.

Yes. And it could also be thought of as still being attached to a beloved teacher one once had.

I'll post this as a rhetorical question b/c I know guys don't like to put it out there. How many have had a teacher who has made such a profound impact on you that you still hold them in the highest esteem, even though they may be retired, out of touch or gone? Just something to reflect upon...

...Geezer
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« Reply #86 on: Aug 13, 2016, 09:38AM »

When it comes down to it, how many of us are truly self-taught? I'm not. I can see now that I am largely self-taught. I had a number of lessons as a youth, some 48 years ago and a single session with Doug more recently. Unless we could possibly live in total isolation, then we are taught by those around us and all that's available to us.

But I guess the crux of this thread was a query as to who among us considers themselves, for the most part, being self-taught. And possibly more importantly - why. There has been some pretty cool inputs.

I've recently become aware of some darn good players who were initially taught by an illustrious teacher. But after a certain point, they self-taught. So, if we reach a certain level of ability and we then go for the next 20-30 years on our own, are we now largely self-taught? Or will we always be Mr. X's student? Personally, I would kinda like it if I had been initially taught by Mr. X and I could aspire to regard myself as a successful student of his who has gone out on his own. Perhaps it's not too late...

...Geezer

 The question if we consider ourself to be self taught because we no longer meet the teacher for lessons must be very different. As I said my first years I was practically self taught. I don't consider this to have helped me in any way. I did most things wrong until I met a real teacher when I was 15-16 years old. I started at 12. During these first critical years I learned everything myself and most things was wrong. I had a terrible smile embuschure and a "whole-hand-grip"on the slide. Could not name a single note and could not read any music. I was pretty much self taught and I have spent many, many years to relearn those first years. It had probably been better for me technically if I had not played anything those first four years. In high school I had to take some time off from all bandplaying,  and to concentrate on tone-production and try to find a more relaxed way to approach the instrument. This was a tough period in my life. Then everything got better and I think my last lesson was in the late 1990-ies. I remember I had a single lesson back then, probably somewhere around 1996. I was 33 at that time and I had two small children at home to take care of.

Then I have had no more real lessons, but the things my good teacher said to me still helps me, and I still hear his words. In this aspect he is still around and helps me become a better player. I have also gotten some free advice now and then and I do take those serious... so even though I have no lessons I still work on those same things he taught me. I will probably learn from him for the rest of my life even though I take no lessons.;-)

/Tom
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« Reply #87 on: Aug 13, 2016, 11:18AM »

The question if we consider ourself to be self taught because we no longer meet the teacher for lessons must be very different. As I said my first years I was practically self taught. I don't consider this to have helped me in any way. I did most things wrong until I met a real teacher when I was 15-16 years old. I started at 12. During these first critical years I learned everything myself and most things was wrong. I had a terrible smile embuschure and a "whole-hand-grip"on the slide. Could not name a single note and could not read any music. I was pretty much self taught and I have spent many, many years to relearn those first years. It had probably been better for me technically if I had not played anything those first four years. In high school I had to take some time off from all bandplaying,  and to concentrate on tone-production and try to find a more relaxed way to approach the instrument. This was a tough period in my life. Then everything got better and I think my last lesson was in the late 1990-ies. I remember I had a single lesson back then, probably somewhere around 1996. I was 33 at that time and I had two small children at home to take care of.

Then I have had no more real lessons, but the things my good teacher said to me still helps me, and I still hear his words. In this aspect he is still around and helps me become a better player. I have also gotten some free advice now and then and I do take those serious... so even though I have no lessons I still work on those same things he taught me. I will probably learn from him for the rest of my life even though I take no lessons.;-)

/Tom


I think it's safe to state that ALL beginners of school age need to get started by a teacher, or else they may get themselves "Tom'd"! Apparently, learning the wrong way left deeply ingrained habits in you. I had them as well and I had lessons as a youth! So it's not a fail-safe approach either. By the time I got referred to a good trombone teacher, I was up against high school graduation and that was the end of that for me. If I had those better lessons from a better teacher earlier in my childhood, I might have taken my horn to college with me and then who knows. But I prefer to think how much more I appreciate what I can do right now because the opportunity wasn't handed to me - or you for that matter - you on a silver platter.

But with more mature and resourceful adults just starting, the question of the necessity of lessons is still up for grabs as far as I am concerned, although lessons shouldn't hurt them (us).

I can't set the world on fire - not even close - but it makes me happy every time I play. So I must be really happy, because I play a LOT! lol

...Geezer
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« Reply #88 on: Aug 13, 2016, 12:27PM »

I'm losing track of "the question." Remind me, please?

Yes. And it could also be thought of as still being attached to a beloved teacher one once had.

I'll post this as a rhetorical question b/c I know guys don't like to put it out there. How many have had a teacher who has made such a profound impact on you that you still hold them in the highest esteem, even though they may be retired, out of touch or gone? Just something to reflect upon...

...Geezer

Is this only directed towards students of "The Illustrious Mr. X," not students of "That Brass Player Down the Street"...?

If someone made a profound impact on me (which all of my teachers have, because any impact on my playing feels profound, and all of my teachers have had some impact on how I think about the trombone), then... yeah, of course I hold them in the highest esteem. Cause and effect. They helped make me a better player. Therefore, they are awesome.

----

I think it's safe to state that ALL beginners of school age need to get started by a teacher, or else they may get themselves "Tom'd"!

But that question is still up for grabs as far as I am concerned  - with more mature and resourceful adults just starting, although lessons certainly wouldn't hurt them (us) either.

Apparently, learning the wrong way left deeply ingrained habits in you. I had them as well. But think how much more you appreciate what you can do right now because it wasn't handed to you on a silver platter! I know I sure do! I can't set the world on fire - not even close - but it makes me happy every time I play. So I must be really happy, because I play a LOT! lol

...Geezer

"Silver platter"... Lesson students still need to work for it--not just the physicality of mastering the skill, but the mentality of figuring out what the heck the teacher is trying to communicate to you. It's a little like reading advice on TTF, except it's personalized advice from someone who can see and hear what you're doing wrong (and identify things you might not even know you're doing wrong!), instead of generic advice for common problems that may or may not apply to your situation.

Lessons can help give shape and direction and focus and more frequent "lightbulb moments" to what you're ultimately figuring out for yourself.

To Martin's point:
We are really into the realm of having a teacher or not, rather than being completely self-taught. Ideas and feedback are everywhere, unless you have no internet, books, or recordings.
...
Even with a teacher, understanding and acting on feedback is up to the student. Otherwise we get Florence Foster Jenkins.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #89 on: Aug 13, 2016, 01:21PM »

I'm losing track of "the question." Remind me, please?

Is this only directed towards students of "The Illustrious Mr. X," not students of "That Brass Player Down the Street"...?

If someone made a profound impact on me (which all of my teachers have, because any impact on my playing feels profound, and all of my teachers have had some impact on how I think about the trombone), then... yeah, of course I hold them in the highest esteem. Cause and effect. They helped make me a better player. Therefore, they are awesome.

----

"Silver platter"... Lesson students still need to work for it--not just the physicality of mastering the skill, but the mentality of figuring out what the heck the teacher is trying to communicate to you. It's a little like reading advice on TTF, except it's personalized advice from someone who can see and hear what you're doing wrong (and identify things you might not even know you're doing wrong!), instead of generic advice for common problems that may or may not apply to your situation.

Lessons can help give shape and direction and focus and more frequent "lightbulb moments" to what you're ultimately figuring out for yourself.

To Martin's point:

Lol. I knew when I typed "silver platter", it was going to cause concern. From my perspective, "silver platter" means those households that could have afforded a better student horn instead of a piece of junk and lessons from someone who actually played trombone - as opposed to someone who had to read to me "how to" from the front of a lesson book. Those items may seem "duh" to most, however they were lacking for me.

But I'm not throwing my 'rents under a bus. They tried the only way they knew how back then. And I could have risen above all of that. I knew I sounded terrible. I knew what a good trombone sounded like. I tried various experiments on my own to get a better sound. I couldn't find it.

My local band director was brilliant at teaching trumpets but also clueless for some odd reason about the trombone and the rest of my section-mates knew it as well, so it wasn't just me. Then I had a second outside teacher who was a nice guy and had music in his veins, but not a clue as to how one should play trombone. I regard him highly never-the-less because he did teach me a little musicality and he did know his limitations to the extent that he referred me up the food chain to an excellent trombone player/teacher. But by the time I got to him, it was too little, too late and that era in my life was over. I still have high regards for him as well, though. He went on to play with some notable groups. Wish I would have somehow gotten to him a year or two sooner!

That's my story and I suppose it colors my perception to this day.

...Geezer
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« Reply #90 on: Aug 13, 2016, 03:34PM »


My local band director was brilliant at teaching trumpets but also clueless for some odd reason about the trombone and the rest of my section-mates knew it as well, so it wasn't just me. Then I had a second outside teacher who was a nice guy and had music in his veins, but not a clue as to how one should play trombone.

I'm not surprised at all that a Trumpet teacher would be clueless about teaching the trombone. It's the slide; how would they understand about using the whole of the slide, let alone the finer points without having a lot of playing experience?
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« Reply #91 on: Aug 13, 2016, 04:29PM »

I'm not surprised at all that a Trumpet teacher would be clueless about teaching the trombone. It's the slide; how would they understand about using the whole of the slide, let alone the finer points without having a lot of playing experience?

Don't know how they are trained. And I don't know if it was just him or it was a widespread problem back then.

Band directors had to give weekly lessons to practically everyone in the band. Maybe they still do. I don't know how a band director could be expected to know the details about embouchure, etc unique to brass players. But he was a trumpet player. Thing is, he wasn't a very good trumpet player. He was musical, but he didn't sound right somehow and he knew it. It bothered him greatly. So maybe he didn't have much information on embouchure. Maybe not many of them did. Maybe I can't and shouldn't lay any blame on him. Maybe it was the system back then - as far as trying to learn anything as a "problem student" from a high school band director.

Maybe, for me it was a perfect storm; everything that could be out of whack was out of whack. I have come to know that the junker horn I used inherently had a stuffy tone in the lower/middle range - exactly where a beginner student would spend 95% of his time. Add to that a 12C mouthpiece - yeah a "beginner" mouthpiece - for me, of all kids - with probably the most generous chops in my whole class. Add to that, a violin teacher as my first teacher. No dis intended to violin players. But given that embouchure knowledge was scarce at that time at that level - and why would he even care about it - I was perfectly set up for failure.

Well, I pretty much have it all sorted out now - after about 48 or so years. And that is one of the reasons why I took it up again - to finally work it out. So I can highly identify with Tom's angst. But I bet that rough start helps to fuel both Tom's and my passion.

...Geezer
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« Reply #92 on: Aug 14, 2016, 02:10AM »

Things You Don't Learn in Music School:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIdrf-byxfk

And if you are into my kind of jazz, this video on 'Collective Improvisation in New Orleans Jazz' has some good tips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EadpcjMB_2s
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« Reply #93 on: Aug 14, 2016, 02:45AM »

I see the trombone books are better today than before. They have more text that explain much more. I just got the Ben's basic. We didn't have such things when I was young. Internet has lot of information but it can be difficult to trust all of it.

All in all life is more easy today, but we loose some and win something as the world goes on.

Leif
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« Reply #94 on: Aug 14, 2016, 03:44AM »

Don't know how they are trained. And I don't know if it was just him or it was a widespread problem back then.

Band directors had to give weekly lessons to practically everyone in the band. Maybe they still do. I don't know how a band director could be expected to know the details about embouchure, etc unique to brass players. But he was a trumpet player. Thing is, he wasn't a very good trumpet player. He was musical, but he didn't sound right somehow and he knew it. It bothered him greatly. So maybe he didn't have much information on embouchure. Maybe not many of them did. Maybe I can't and shouldn't lay any blame on him. Maybe it was the system back then - as far as trying to learn anything as a "problem student" from a high school band director.

Maybe, for me it was a perfect storm; everything that could be out of whack was out of whack. I have come to know that the junker horn I used inherently had a stuffy tone in the lower/middle range - exactly where a beginner student would spend 95% of his time. Add to that a 12C mouthpiece - yeah a "beginner" mouthpiece - for me, of all kids - with probably the most generous chops in my whole class. Add to that, a violin teacher as my first teacher. No dis intended to violin players. But given that embouchure knowledge was scarce at that time at that level - and why would he even care about it - I was perfectly set up for failure.

Well, I pretty much have it all sorted out now - after about 48 or so years. And that is one of the reasons why I took it up again - to finally work it out. So I can highly identify with Tom's angst. But I bet that rough start helps to fuel both Tom's and my passion.

...Geezer

I can usually tell a trombonists who's ben taught mainly by trumpet teachers by the "pump action" slide positions. i.e. fundamental positions being used at all times even though there much better alternatives to be had.


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« Reply #95 on: Aug 14, 2016, 04:47AM »

I see the trombone books are better today than before. They have more text that explain much more. I just got the Ben's basic. We didn't have such things when I was young. Internet has lot of information but it can be difficult to trust all of it.

All in all life is more easy today, but we loose some and win something as the world goes on.

Leif

I agree. Printed matter these days is better than ever and there are so many cd's, etc available now than ever before - not to mention electronic hardware and software.

And yes, there is a lot of information on the Internet. Not all of it is good. But not all information available from any source is good. So it's really up to the individual to intelligently sift through it. And I believe it's good to be skeptical. If there was more skepticism or even cynicism today, there would be a lot less successful scams abounding, and perhaps better political choices.

I wouldn't want to be alive in any other time period. Now is my time. It may not be perfect but it's what we have.

I can usually tell a trombonists who's ben taught mainly by trumpet teachers by the "pump action" slide positions. i.e. fundamental positions being used at all times even though there much better alternatives to be had.

There may be that and the head-dipping trumpet players all seem to do for their lower notes. So perhaps if a young wannabe trombone student sees his trumpet-teacher playing, he will try to imitate that. And maybe it will work, but maybe the student should be taught his own way - depending upon his own needs - to go from low to high or high to low.

Anyway, no system is perfect and all of this is not meant to discourage those who need to seek lessons. And yet it may serve to raise consciousness for selecting a teacher that is right for the individual's needs. And those needs vary from the extreme basic to the extreme advanced and all points in-between.

Things You Don't Learn in Music School:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIdrf-byxfk

And if you are into my kind of jazz, this video on 'Collective Improvisation in New Orleans Jazz' has some good tips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EadpcjMB_2s


Good vids. I especially like the down-to-earth common sense stuff in the first one.

I also liked how Jason(?), the trombone player, found the right bass notes to accompany the simple melody line. And how the clarinet player found what I like to think of as an "alternate melody line", based upon the chord changes. I like to try practicing that by muting the melody line on BiaB and creating my own while watching the chords as they play. I'm pretty terrible at it, but sometimes I surprise myself! And it is that positive re-enforcement that encourages me to try again.

...Geezer
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« Reply #96 on: Oct 29, 2016, 08:47PM »

I played for 15 years before I took lessons at the Royal Conservatory.   The teacher asked me to play any major scale double octave and I couldn't do it without flubbing the notes.  My technique had holes and it limited what kind of music I could play.  The Conservatory publishes a book called the Syllabus which defines the technical standards for each of their grade levels.   I suggest that you get that book to progressively develop your scales and arpeggios.

Having said that, I don't think you have to be super technical to play good music so here's another approach if you don't want to hammer away at scales.   Get a Zoom recorder and record yourself playing and then listen to it.  It's amazing how many things will jump out at you.  You can hear if you're playing out of tune on certain notes or whether your phrasing is lumpy.

I haven't taken lessons in years because I'm busy raising a family and working.   I've found that recording and listening to the playback is the next best thing to taking lessons.

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« Reply #97 on: Oct 30, 2016, 05:38AM »

A couple months ago I started having sessions with a truly marvelous instructor - Bob Riddle. He's on this forum and teaches within the Pittsburgh area. Now I wish I would have started with him a lot sooner.

In just a couple sessions, he has coached me into an embouchure that has opened my tone up quite a bit to where others have noticed the improvement. His demonstrations and explanations are top notch. A lesson with him isn't just a lesson, it's a musical experience!

I see him about once a month or so and then spend the time in-between working on what I have learned. His approach is to encourage the mastery of technique and then it's application in a musical setting. He is not only a terrific teacher on trombone (and lower brass in general), he is a superb music teacher as well. Bob is a first-class musician through-and-through who happens to play lights out trombone.

So fortunate to be one of his students...

...Geezer
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« Reply #98 on: Oct 30, 2016, 04:51PM »

A couple months ago I started having sessions with a truly marvelous instructor - Bob Riddle. He's on this forum and teaches within the Pittsburgh area. Now I wish I would have started with him a lot sooner.

In just a couple sessions, he has coached me into an embouchure that has opened my tone up quite a bit to where others have noticed the improvement. His demonstrations and explanations are top notch. A lesson with him isn't just a lesson, it's a musical experience!

I see him about once a month or so and then spend the time in-between working on what I have learned. His approach is to encourage the mastery of technique and then it's application in a musical setting. He is not only a terrific teacher on trombone (and lower brass in general), he is a superb music teacher as well. Bob is a first-class musician through-and-through who happens to play lights out trombone.

So fortunate to be one of his students...

...Geezer

Congratulations on making a connection with a teacher that really speaks to you. Enjoy the journey.
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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
Geezerhorn

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Location: PA
Joined: Feb 9, 2012
Posts: 5200
"Lego My Trombone"


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« Reply #99 on: Nov 02, 2016, 08:01AM »

Congratulations on making a connection with a teacher that really speaks to you. Enjoy the journey.

Oh, I am!

He knows I like playing ballads with accompaniment and encourages me. He coached me into becoming very familiar with a few to the extent that I can experiment playing them in different styles.

Currently, I am listening to recordings to identify what basic elements makes a trombone artist unique from others. So now I am trying to play a couple ballads kinda the way Carl Fontana, Ira Nepus or Harold Betters might play them. Naturally, I can't keep up with their technique when they are on a roll. But it's a heck of a lot of fun attempting to play the ballads with some basic elements I have identified from each style. So for example, when I play a ballad with a basic Carl Fontana style, I'll try to mimic his articulation, lip vibrato and try to find notes that you wouldn't think could sound nice, but do anyway.

...Geezer
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