People learn in different ways. Some are more analytical (just note the number of engineers, computer programmers, and scientists on this list) and like to approach a problem from the mindset (mechanical, if you will).
(FWIW, I am not saying that everyone who has a career in these fields, or is more analytical in general, approaches the trumpet in this way.)
Others are able to approach a problem from the more preception mindset ("focus on the sound and let the body automatically adjust"). Both are valid and both work well for those who can use them. Plus, being of one mindset and trying the approach of the other expands your mental, as well as playing, abilities.
When I started back, there was no way that the "sound" approach would have worked for me. One reason was that it didn't when I played a lot in HS and college. I needed that analytical approach to help me see what I was doing wrong and what needed to be done to fix it. The Farkas book helped me in understanding the operation of the embouchure. My teacher helped even more.
As I have progressed these three years, I am more aware of my sound,
and can go back to the analytical (mechanical) fundamentals when my sound
is not as it should be. As this becomes more automatic, the changes
are a little less
thought and a little more reaction. But there are still times when I slide back far enough that the analysis is what really works.
It works for me. YMMV. The good teachers seem to be able to present the material from either perspective. When I read the notes from a particular masterclass, I see the analytical. Others see the "sound" approach. Great!
> Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 18:04:31 -0400
> From: "Int'l Musical Suppliers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: *The Farkas Problem*((IMPORTANT! READ THIS!))
> If you are all going to insist on focusing on how the face is positioned in
> order to execute the desired results, I am certian you will be missing the
Some people need this. I sure did. I do agree that this
is not the sole focus for all time, but some people have to start with
this and keep working on it, and let the musical sense build gradually.
Some of us (I keep saying "us;" am I the only one who is this way?) are
just not "wired" that way. The mechanical is the foundation of the trumpet
playing part, and as time
goes on the musical develops and the mechanical becomes, to a degree, second nature (i.e., you develop the kinestesia, or feeling, when it's right). But when serious difficulties arise the mechanical is where we go for correction. We can tell when it's correct because the music is correct, but the mechanical adjustment is the primary thought.
I realize for others that they think about the music and let their bodies adjust (no conscious thought regarding the mechanical) until the music is right. That's fine. But it's not the only way.
> As Arnold Jacobs, and Vince Cichowicz have pointed
out on many
> occasions: You just need the lips to buzz in there....Take a breath and
> Hear the tune in your head.
And I'll bet that they could be as analytical (mechanical) as anyone for the student who needed *that* approach. Reading through the Jacobs' master class notes on the TPIN web site, I believe he could be. I am not saying that this is his *focus* on playing, but that he could be as technical as anyone ("more than most" is probably more like it) on the mechanics of playing.
> To focus on the mecanical aspects of brass playing is at best counter
I disagree. It all depends on the individual. If you have a student, and you (the generic "you," not addressed directly to Jay) teach the "sound" approach, and the student just doesn't "get it," do you tell them to quit? Or do you keep trying the same approach and hope that someday it will "click?" Or do you keep changing your approach until you and the student are communicating in the same plane of thought? And what if that plane is analytical/mechanical? What if this is what the student needs as "first principles" to get started on a good foundation? Is this wrong or counter productive?
> ....even folks like Clark Terry have made fun of such an approach
> to playing
(I'd hate to think that Clark Terry would be so closed minded. Perhaps it's just the presentation of the written word in this particular post.)
> ....Just Play and trust the body to do the minds bidding.
> Jay Cohen
(Hmmm...read my post twice, here goes... <deliver> ...)
(Dang! The EPA just took my asbestos suit. Oh, well...)