Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 11:12:50 -0700
From: "Jack R. Kanstul" <>
Subject: Practice,Practice,Practice!!!

In the begining of Claude Gordons book,Systematic Approach to Daily Practice, he states 3 truths that were told to him by Herbert L. Clarke on practice. You have to know," How to Practice,What to Practice and When to Practice." The array of conflicting theories on how to do this causes the brass player much confusion and discouragement. Claude knew this and so was careful not to throw to much Theory at his students. He had a saying,"Analysis leads to Paralysis." He knew there were many things going on but he also knew that if you CONCENTRATED on the things that make it work IN TIME and with a lot of HARD WORK you  would achieve the desired results. And there lies one of the problems for many brass players. TIME and HARD WORK. Many want the quick fix and there simply is none. Thats why so many mouthpieces and even horns are sold. Thats not to say that a good mouthpiece or horn wont help make the job easier. But nothing will take the place of the right kind of practice and plenty of it.

When Claude would take a new student the first thing he wanted to know was HOW SERIOUS WERE THEY. He knew how much work it would take to get there and if you didn't have the drive to do it you would not achieve the desired results. Unfortunately because many players are confused when they start to use Claudes book they can have a hard time with knowing how to do it correctly. If not done properly it will be of no benefit. Also a player may not stay with it long enough to get the desired results.

The EXERCISES that Claude would use included his own and many others. In his book he refers you to many other books. He knew the benefit of many other EXERCISES for proper development. And that helps us to appreciate what an EXERCISE is. As stated in the dictionary,"Something done for the means of practice or training; A written composition,musical piece, or artistic work executed for practice or to illustrate a particular aspect of technique." Therefore everything we do to get better boils down to an EXERCISE. When I studied with Claude one of the things I appreciated after many years doing the Part 1 and 2 routines in his book was I could pick the horn up cold and play. Thats not to say that having a brief warm up is not beneficial but when we are doing things properly we can pick the horn up and play. I watched Arturo do this at the Brassfest at Indiana University in 1995. He must have started on what was a double D and proceeded to play something fast that sounded like a string line,COLD. Arturo had the opportunity to study from Claudes books as a youth growing up in Cuba.

For those who would like to know more on Claudes teaching methods you can go to his official website at:

Jack Kanstul
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4643 N.E. 35th Ave. Portland, Oregon