Discussion on TPIN about Claude Gordon:

Subject: advice sought/Claude Gordon method
I'd be interested in any opinions regarding the method I'm currently studying - -- the Claude Gordon method. I got into it sort of by chance -- by choice of the trumpet teacher, not the method -- and that happens to be all this teacher teaches. He was one of Claude's students.
I've only been doing it for a few months. It's certainly helped to improve my upper register, but it strikes me as more of a supplementary approach than all-around playing method. I like it pretty well but don't feel I'm getting well-rounded instruction from this method.
For those of you unfamiliar with this method -- I hope I'm not doing it an injustice -- it involves a lot of pedal tones, lip slurs, chord progressions for upper register work, and tonguing exercises. Emphasis is on air flow and tongue placement.
It seems to me to be a great method to keep you in shape. I have certainly benefited from it.
But as one of the many former trumpet players on this network, who took it back up again after a long layoff, I don't feel like I'm getting much actual music instruction. I still need that as well as the physical approach to playing the horn.
Any takers?
I'd like to hear from those who have studied this method and those who have not but have an opinion anyway. I'm seriously thinking of switching to something more traditional and fundamental like Arban, which is what I began with oh-so-many years ago. Thanks.

Subject: Claude Gordon method

It's exactly as you say, it will improve your mechanics, range and endurance by helping you utilize diaphragm and air flow. Once the mechanics are in place the mastery of technique, phrasing and style will still be left to develop, but you will have the best foundation under you. Also the Jerome Callet method -- somewhat similar in nature has helped me .I used both along with some private lessons...once the basics are in place ( breathing, air flow, horn tilt, diaphragm working properly) your technique and style will be just that much better as your develop your style. Good luck al

From: Vere Smyth <vere@nrl.moh.govt.nz>

Subject: Re: advice sought/Claude Gordon method

The nice thing about Claude Gordon is that it really doesn't take very long, so you have plenty of time (hopefully) to practice other studies, such as Arban's, etc. I think Claude Gordon should be viewed more as series of exercises than as a complete practice routine. But if it's helping you, you'd be nuts (MHO) to give it up.

Subject: advice sought/Claude Gordon method

I have been studying the Claude Gordon method for three years and am very pleased that I learned of it when I did.

After high school, I took a 17-year hiatus from playing and just picked up my cornet again about three years ago. The progress has been startling (particularly because I have practiced, practiced, practiced)! My range still needs work (and probably always will), but intonation, quality of playing, speed of using fingers, and my physical stamina have all significantly improved and are probably better today than they ever were through high school.

The method is not the only one but it does provide a solid foundation. In case you don't know, Claude Gordon studied with Herbert L. Clarke, as well as Maggio. (Gordon died just earlier this year but spent his later years teaching how to play correctly because he felt it was so important.)

There are fine players out there who did not learn to play a trumpet/cornet by using the Claude Gordon method but would attest to its validity and importance (e.g. Arturo Sandoval).

Just some food for thought!

Cay Denise Carn

Subject: Re: advice sought/Claude Gordon method

I think you're talking apples and oranges. You can't replace the Gordon stuff with the Arban. In my opinion, they are both traditional and fundamental and yet for very different reasons.

If the Gordon is working for you physically, then keep doing it. You're right about not being a complete method, so do the Arban stuff, too. Then you'll have a more complete approach to the horn.

I have a list of everything that I consider important on the horn and I try to practice everything on the list each week. Here's the list:

Physical Rudiments:
Lip Buzz
MP Buzz
Long Tones
Flow Studies
Lip Slurs
Articulation Studies
Multiple Tonguing

Other Rudiments:
Scales (all scales)

Musical Studies:
Lyrical Studies (ie. Concone)
Orch. Excerpts

If you play jazz you should also include:

Transcriptions (both reading and writing)
Tunes (memorizing heads and changes)

So you're right. only playing out of the Gordon book would fall way short of what you need as a player. But it can be a very important part of the whole. Most good players that I know of work out of as many as fifty books at a time to cover all of these bases.

Eddie Lewis

Subject: Re: Claude Gordon method

In a message dated 96-08-27 17:50:03 EDT, Alf6310 writes:

<< Also the Jerome
Callet method--somewhat similar in nature has helped me >>

I've come a long, long way in learning how to voice my opinions without offending people. Part of this has come from learning when to NOT say anything. One of those times is when it comes down to opinions. I think I'm about to break my own rule.

The above quote states that the Callet method "has helped me". I would never argue against that. Why would I. If the Callet method helped him then he has every right to say so. He would know better than anyone else.

That said, I'm going to write something that I've been holding back on since my first days on TPIN. I usually would never express as emotional of an opinion in public this way......but I don't like J. Callet at all. Maybe I shouldn't have said it. But there it is. I don't like him!

This dislike goes back to 1981. This is before he was as popular as he is now. I had made the Texas All-State band that year and I was amazed at all the cool things they had at the convention. At the exhibit hall they had tons of horns for sale and stuff like that, and that's where I first met J. Callet. He had his own booth and there were always at least twenty highschool kids (like mayself at the time) standing around him. They were amazed that he could play "wet mouse farts" on the trumpet.

Do you remember the old Wendy's commercials "where's the beef?" That's how I felt about Callet's playing. I returned to the convention for the following seven or so years, as a teacher/performer, and he was always there. I never once heard him play a melody. The most technical thing he ever played was triads and scales. Then after he got up past the fourth ledger line, none of the notes were distinguishable. Just a bunch of out of control smears.

My point? Back then, Callet was using pure sensationalism to sell his product to very impressionable hishchool kids. Today he uses the same sensationalism to sell his horns and methods. Because of this, I will not try any of it. I refuse to support that kind of business. I'm the same with everything I buy. I don't want to be swooned into buying something. I want my purchaces to be made based on rational decissions. It always seems that the people trying to do the most swooning have the least to sell.

You can protect yourself from this sensationalism by not being so hip to high notes. In the health and fitness world they talk about "empty calories". High notes without content are the "empty calories" of the trumpet world. Don't let them impress you.

Eddie Lewis

Subject: RE: advice sought/Claude Gordon method


I have just had some recent success with the Claude Gordon Method. Claude's students are a bit thin on the ground here, so my application of the method is based on the foreword in the book together with comments on TPIN! I just happened to pick up on what someone said a couple of months ago (can't remember who - someone who had used it successfully for 6 months) and it seemed to make sense so I gave it a try. I've had the book for ages, but previous attempts had always given me great pedal notes but just no strength in the upper register. I had the top part in Bach's Bmin Mass (plenty of high Gs on an A picc) coming up so I gave it another go. This time it worked a treat. The gig was one of the best I've done.

The thing I discovered is that there is a lot of psychology in high notes. (What's new!!) If you just "squeeze and blow" it doesn't work. It helps more if you think of the note, the sound, and the air, and don't worry about the "how". This is where a teacher must be really useful! I'ld be really keen to get some comments from people who have know how its supposed to be done. Is there anyone out there I can plague with questions off the list?

Cheers - Vere

Subject: Re: advice sought/Claude Gordon method

I took some lessons with Claude and attended two of his camps in the early 80's in northern California. Also, I studied with one of his students for four years, who had also studied with Frank Simon and L. Maggio. As far a so called
"method" goes I don't think Claude would say there is a "Gordon Method." Claude used material from many of the great players before him- even string methods or exercises I should say. Claude used many books other than his own with his students.
Many of the exercises in his books are played a certain way to develop a specific thing or played in another way to develop another. Many studies are designed to develop strength or flexibility or other things. As far a musicianship, no, many or the things in his books are not for that . they were for developing basics and if you don't have a good foundation in the basics of what makes the horn work there isn't much point in working on the finer points of musicality - there is no control. Claude would use Concone and all of the other books out there to work on musicality. I am tired of all the remarks that I've heard that he could only teach you high notes and such.
Obviously, those people don't have a clue as to what they are talking about.
They never heard him play! In the 60's he had the reputation of being one of the best technicians in LA.
I will get off of my soap box now, there have been other post in the past that did not give the man justice. Yes I would continue using his books and many others. Your teacher should be able to put a well balanced practice routine together for you.
That was one of Claude's biggest things - to keep everything in balance. I wish you luck. If I can answer any specific questions, please contact me and I'll try.

Hello to my friend in Spartangburg (RM) we met a ITG at IU with Ian Pearson.
I have enjoyed reading your post!
Joe Herlong

Subject: Re: advice sought/Claude Gordon method

Yes Gordon does include some Clark technical exercises -- one or two a week. I haven't seen Arban references, though it is noteworthy that Claude Gordon was one of the editors of recent editions of the Arban book. I appreciate the responses to my inquiries about the Gordon method.

A summary of the advice seems to be:
(1.) It is largely supplementary, but important as a foundation.

(2.) on my own, or through my instructor, I could combine Gordon with Arban and/or other exercises and needed practice routines to come with an all-around approach.

(3.) Some others have experienced the success I've had in a very brief period on improving upper register through the Gordon method.

My inquiry was not meant to put down -- in any way -- the Gordon method. In fact, I rather like it. My main concern had been that I was not receiving enough well-rounded instruction and playing enough actual music with Gordon. Maybe that's more a function of my teacher, or the fact he felt it was important to focus on these Gordon fundamentals from the get-go.

Any way, thanks.

Subject: Claude Gordon

I took lessons from Claude Gordon for 5 years until his health became so bad that he couldn't continue. Yes, he used his books, but he also gave you exercises from many others. Arban, St. Jacome, Irons, many of the French books, Smith and others were used as supplements. He always stressed that he was teaching you to play the trumpet, not to be a musician. He felt if you can handle the trumpet, you can become a musician or else get lessons on how to do it. Therefore, his books are quite technic oriented. However, he also edited and revised most of the standard books published by Carl Fisher. He was a very upbeat and encouraging teacher and would tolerate almost anything from a student. He even put up with me.