Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 04:36:02 -0800
From: "Eric Bolvin" <>
Subject: Claude's lessons

OK! Let's all stop and take a nice, relaxed, deep breath....Good..Now let's all exhale a nice, relaxed, deep breath.

Very nice!     Welcome to a lesson with Claude!

I feel good right now. just like I felt when I left each lesson with Claude. I felt like I could rule the musical world when I left that room. And believe me folks, I have just started to grow. I was there for a reason. You couldn't just sign up for lessons with Claude. You had to be recommended. I may have been the youngest to get on with Claude at 16. I was on the waiting list at 14. When I got my braces OFF it set me back. I can't tell you how good that man made me feel about myself, so positive, so inspired, so devoted.

I'm proud to point out to my students that they are direct descendents of the great Herbert L. Clarke, perhaps the greatest teacher and performer of all time. Clarke lives inside me, as does Claude.

It's very difficult to explain Claude's approach in words, as it is not a theory on "how" to play the trumpet or music. It is simply a course of study designed for only you and you alone. You can see my first lesson at my website. You may not understand everything that is written there, which is fine, because you shouldn't start from there anyway. Remember I studied for five years with Carl Leach before Claude, in fact, I took Carls slot when he split for Vegas.

OK. Onward..Systematic Approach has been bashed around too much. Let me give you the "rules".

Part 1. Pedal note exercise. Hold the last note longer than possible, until the air is gone, keep your Chest Up.
At this point in the routine, pedal tones are not about relaxing the lip or about embouchure of the lips. Playing pedal tones has nothing to do with the lips. Do what it takes to produce the pedal tones, hold them as long as you can. The register from pedal F down to pedal Db is called the "good" pedals. This means that you can play them. The register from pedal C down to pedal F# is called the "bad" pedals. This means that they are flat. It's OK to play them flat; just play them. As long as you have flatulent type of sound, you're doing well. Play down to double pedal C if you can, or just go as low as you can. Double pedal F and below is a relaxed feel just like the octave above. This has nothing to do with your lip position or embouchure. Do what you have to do to create the pedal tones.

Part 2. Range exercise. Yes, that's what it's called a "range" exercise.
Range does not always mean "high". Range is covering. Many of Claude's students are known for "getting around the horn". That means range. Are you known for "getting around the horn"?

Systematic Approach is only the surface of Claude's teaching. I suggest Tongue Level Exercises if you really want to get around that piece of pipe. You are the master, not the horn. Hit it hard and wish it well.

Watch the tongue!!
Eric Bolvin
Trumpet, EVI, arranger, producer, educator