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Author Topic: Heresy! Pure Heresy!  (Read 3180 times)
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Geezerhorn

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« on: Feb 01, 2017, 01:32PM »

Either this guy is the most brilliant brass player ever or a total pile of crap:

JIM PANDOLFI

I don't know what to make of it...

...Geezer
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svenlarsson

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 01, 2017, 02:54PM »

He is great. What is it that you wonder about?
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 01, 2017, 02:57PM »

Lots of hype in the words but I hear a lot of things that are sense to me in approach. Neither of your extremes .... in some ways mainstream... with spin.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 01, 2017, 05:16PM »

I went to school with Jim Pandolfi - he was great then, and by reputation became greater through the years.

He went through a lot with his eyesight issues to get and keep a job at the highest level. Very inspiring guy who has had a lot of success helping trumpet students through the years. I would guess, however, that his ideas would be best represented in a one on one student/teacher setting than in this video format.

No matter what, I can tell you that he's the real deal as a player and teacher, and has helped a lot of young players turn their playing around.

Jim Scott
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 01, 2017, 05:40PM »

Thanks guys. What I'm wondering about are his teaching methods, if I can understand about 2 year's worth of his lessons summed up in a 45-minute video (which admittedly isn't fair to him).

For one thing, his discredit of the 1-2-3-inhale-blow method seems to fly in the face of Sam's Caruso teachings about getting the hoof, mouth & air in sync with the horn.

Also, while he makes a strong argument for "conversational" breathing, how the heck do you do that and still make a long phrase when you have diminished lung capacity?

I get his displeasure at the term "centering" substituting his concept of "the sweet spot", as pertains to making nice-sounding notes. It does seem to translate better.

But the overall impression I got was that he basically threw the pedagogy book out the window and substituted his own reality. I just wondered how that sat with anyone on this Forum who watched his video.

One thing that came across quite clear is what a personal guy he is; one whom would be a wonderful man with which to sit around and gab.  All his experiences and stories are fascinating - if that sample is any indication and I think it pretty much is.

...Geezer
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mwpfoot
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 01, 2017, 05:51PM »

That was really fun. I think I love him.

Try it all, etc.

 Idea!
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robcat2075

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 01, 2017, 06:00PM »

I haven't watched the video yet, does it explain WTH "the taper" is?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #7 on: Feb 01, 2017, 06:37PM »

This video resonates with me big time.  I wish more teachers were like this.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 01, 2017, 06:56PM »

He begins by complaining about terminology and then proceeds to throw around even more jargon. It must make sense once you've been there, but he's trying to lead people there Who have never been.  He explains ot all with metaphor,  but you need some key in real experience to understand.

He's a very entertaining guy,  I would probably wish for something a little more concrete if I were his student,  though. I wish he had played that trumpet instead of just holding it.  Great stories,  though.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #9 on: Feb 01, 2017, 07:46PM »

Yeah, I wanted him to play something other than a simple toot as well. Who was it - Jack Benny? Did he ever actually play the violin on his show?

...Geezer
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BGuttman
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 01, 2017, 07:51PM »

... Who was it - Jack Benny? Did he ever actually play the violin on his show?

...Geezer

Actually, he did play the opening of an etude once or twice.  On the other hand he did a solo at Carnegie Hall on it.
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 01, 2017, 08:28PM »

Always great to hear concepts and ideas from great players! Thanks for posting!

I personally did not like his use of the word "misconceptions" for those 3 points at the start of the video. Personally I like having a high chest and focusing on that area when i breathe, but for SOME people "breathing low" works fantastically well. It is absolutely NOT a misconception in my opinion, just another option for people to try. I felt the same when he talked negatively about using vowels like "A" or "O" in the mouth when you blow. Again, that is absolutely not a misconception, just something that works for some and not others. I have played and studied with plenty of world standard trombone players who have success performing and teaching the use of the "O" vowel in the mouth. But also on the flip side, i have absolutely seen players it doesn't work for. Again, not a misconception, just another option to try.

What do others think about his concept of "sitting on top of the sound"? I may have misunderstood, but from what i heard he was talking about the taper being when the player really lets their body go in a relaxed way to find where the pitch sits naturally with minimal body interference. I was surprised to hear him say the pitch goes up with a lot of people.... it definitely doesn't in my playing and personally i would be surprised to hear more TROMBONE players (I dont know enough about trumpet) say that their pitch was raised when they did this. I would have thought the pitch lowering would be much more common.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #12 on: Feb 01, 2017, 08:57PM »

Always great to hear concepts and ideas from great players! Thanks for posting!

I personally did not like his use of the word "misconceptions" for those 3 points at the start of the video. Personally I like having a high chest and focusing on that area when i breathe, but for SOME people "breathing low" works fantastically well. It is absolutely NOT a misconception in my opinion, just another option for people to try. I felt the same when he talked negatively about using vowels like "A" or "O" in the mouth when you blow. Again, that is absolutely not a misconception, just something that works for some and not others. I have played and studied with plenty of world standard trombone players who have success performing and teaching the use of the "O" vowel in the mouth. But also on the flip side, i have absolutely seen players it doesn't work for. Again, not a misconception, just another option to try.

What do others think about his concept of "sitting on top of the sound"? I may have misunderstood, but from what i heard he was talking about the taper being when the player really lets their body go in a relaxed way to find where the pitch sits naturally with minimal body interference. I was surprised to hear him say the pitch goes up with a lot of people.... it definitely doesn't in my playing and personally i would be surprised to hear more TROMBONE players (I dont know enough about trumpet) say that their pitch was raised when they did this. I would have thought the pitch lowering would be much more common.

Good posts.

I also wondered about that "taper" thing. When I picked up my horn after the video, I noticed my pitch also tends to go down if I "let it go" at the end. Perhaps the physics of the trombone is different from that of a trumpet. Or maybe we both just aren't of that mold he spoke of. Nothing wrong with that, as long as we know it.

...Geezer
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 01, 2017, 11:53PM »

Always great to hear concepts and ideas from great players! Thanks for posting!

I personally did not like his use of the word "misconceptions" for those 3 points at the start of the video. Personally I like having a high chest and focusing on that area when i breathe, but for SOME people "breathing low" works fantastically well. It is absolutely NOT a misconception in my opinion, just another option for people to try. I felt the same when he talked negatively about using vowels like "A" or "O" in the mouth when you blow. Again, that is absolutely not a misconception, just something that works for some and not others. I have played and studied with plenty of world standard trombone players who have success performing and teaching the use of the "O" vowel in the mouth. But also on the flip side, i have absolutely seen players it doesn't work for. Again, not a misconception, just another option to try.

What do others think about his concept of "sitting on top of the sound"? I may have misunderstood, but from what i heard he was talking about the taper being when the player really lets their body go in a relaxed way to find where the pitch sits naturally with minimal body interference. I was surprised to hear him say the pitch goes up with a lot of people.... it definitely doesn't in my playing and personally i would be surprised to hear more TROMBONE players (I dont know enough about trumpet) say that their pitch was raised when they did this. I would have thought the pitch lowering would be much more common.

I play at the top of my possible pitch center. That said, I often have issues with trombones being built flat for my technique. Natural breathing ?  Most of the great pedagogues talk about a natural breath. Vowel sounds/mouth shape ? In the upper register I go for more eee in mouth shape.... that would be low register on the trumpet, so perhaps it is not so strange.
So, we do what works, and avoid what doesn't..... but if we go wrong with a decision, we need people like this who think about process. Not saying I am 100% sold on what he says, but look beyond the hype and there is good stuff.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 02, 2017, 07:11AM »

Who was it - Jack Benny? Did he ever actually play the violin on his show?

...Geezer


Trivia detour:  Indeed he did play it occasionally on the air.  This is the most elaborate piece I have heard on any of his broadcasts and happened after a 10 year-old violinist performed on his rival Fred Allen's show. Allen joked that the boy "already plays better than Jack Benny."

On his next show Benny declared he would perform the same piece the next week.  However, "next week" kept getting pushed back as a story line developed where Benny's violin was variously out for repair, lost, stolen, held for ransom...

Ultimately he did play it:

JACK BENNY PLAYS - THE BEE 1937 BROADCAST

Extra trivia: the "Franz Schubert" of "the Bee" is a different Franz Schubert from the one we typically think of.

 
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #15 on: Feb 02, 2017, 10:09AM »

One set of metaphors for another?
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #16 on: Feb 02, 2017, 11:28AM »


Trivia detour:  Indeed he did play it occasionally on the air.  This is the most elaborate piece I have heard on any of his broadcasts and happened after a 10 year-old violinist performed on his rival Fred Allen's show. Allen joked that the boy "already plays better than Jack Benny."

On his next show Benny declared he would perform the same piece the next week.  However, "next week" kept getting pushed back as a story line developed where Benny's violin was variously out for repair, lost, stolen, held for ransom...

Ultimately he did play it:

JACK BENNY PLAYS - THE BEE 1937 BROADCAST

Extra trivia: the "Franz Schubert" of "the Bee" is a different Franz Schubert from the one we typically think of.
 

Pity the poor fools who don't know Jack!

Along this tangent, Larry Fine of The Three Stooges also played the violin. He was classically trained and turned to comedy one night when he broke his G-string. Badda-Bing!

...Geezer
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 02, 2017, 11:38AM »

There are definitely some interesting bits in there, some of it being new ways of explaining the same old thing, and some of it I find slightly more unconventional. His techniques have obviously resonated with many of his students ands that's fantastic. However, as somebody else has already said, we all probably know stunning players who 'breath low', and to say that this is actually detrimental to your playing is simply not true.  Surely the point of the whole thing is that there are no two players who play the same, and as such there isn't a 'one size fits all' method of teaching? All the top teachers make valid points but in my opinion, in the end, it comes down to this:

Find what works for you
Then practise really hard so it keeps getting better!

As long as it sounds and feels good, it doesn't really matter what your method is. That's just my opinion though!

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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #18 on: Feb 02, 2017, 11:47AM »

There are definitely some interesting bits in there, some of it being new ways of explaining the same old thing, and some of it I find slightly more unconventional. His techniques have obviously resonated with many of his students ands that's fantastic. However, as somebody else has already said, we all probably know stunning players who 'breath low', and to say that this is actually detrimental to your playing is simply not true.  Surely the point of the whole thing is that there are no two players who play the same, and as such there isn't a 'one size fits all' method of teaching? All the top teachers make valid points but in my opinion, in the end, it comes down to this:

Find what works for you
Then practise really hard so it keeps getting better!

As long as it sounds and feels good, it doesn't really matter what your method is. That's just my opinion though!


I believe that being a student of his would involve buying into his philosophy of trumpet playing in a deeply committed way. He certainly is a charismatic guy and can sell his points quite well.

Identifying with any great instructor is a matter of faith and buying into his methods. Most students would probably progress well under any system, so long as they believed in it and practiced hard at it's tenets.

...Geezer
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 02, 2017, 12:30PM »

Did you watch to the end? Amazing last statement...
I enjoyed him, interesting ideas, some challenging of received brass wisdom. Other time just good common sense. Thanks for the link.
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Tim Dowling
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