Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 14:37:52 -0400
From: Jeanne G Pocius <>
Subject: Re: *Correct Way to Play*

Dear Jeff:

> In a message dated 98-04-20 16:57:07 EDT, you write:
<< The *correct* way to play is such an individualized process
 that the best that any teacher can do is try to provide an
 outline for their students which will ease the process of the
 student's discovering/developing their _own_  *correct way to play*.... >>

> The problem I have with this is that the outline the teacher uses
> is the one based on the way the teacher plays which in turn is
> more than likely based on the way their teacher played.

Not necessarily true, at least these days...In my own teaching, the first steps I take with a new student consist of taking stock of the student's particular makeup, including physical, learning style, experience, musicality, etc...

Once I've determined the present situation, I can begin to address the particular needs...When I _do_ make suggestions, they're based on the student's makeup, not mine, since my whole philosophy is that the student must develop his/her own concepts and style, rather than merely assimilating mine...

> How many times have you heard a teacher say "I think we should
> try an entirley different way of playing for you."

This is, unfortunately, a more prevalent practice than it should be, but I still don't believe that it's the norm--rather more the exception these days--The information pathways are so much more available to people than when I was younger, and it's now easier, with resources like MENC, ITG, and, yes, TPIN, to disseminate information about research and advances in the art and science of trumpet playing than ever before....

> This of course asks the question how many teachers could, or
> would be willing, to teach even two different ways of playing?

I think you'd be surprised to see the advances in teaching that have occurred; perhaps the most relevant of which is the awareness of *learning styles*, which never used to be addressed at all....

> In 45 years of playing and 6 teachers I never had one teach any
> thing other than the one correct method. even though after the
> first 5 years it should have been clear this wasn't what I
> needed.

My sympathies, Jeff, since it appears that you had some struggles with your teachers....I've been blessed with having had fine teachers, and not just on trumpet, but on music in general, performance ensembles, and non-music coursework....

Might I suggest that you(hopefully) have been able to develop your own *correct* way to play, that is, the way that enables you to play to your fullest potential, with the greatest possible ease and consitency?

I sincerely hope this is the case...And if not, are you open to looking at alternative ideas?  It might enable you to make some exciting new discoveries about trumpet and about yourself....

- --
Take Care!