I had the opportunity to study with both Gordon and Stamp. I studied with Jimmy from 1964-1970 and Gordon from 1971-1981.
My father took me to Stamp because I was having embouchure problems. I had been studying with Harold "Pappy" Mitchell for two years before switching to Jimmy. I had pretty good technique for my age 12, but no range.
Jimmy was an excellent musician and teacher. He would sit down at the piano and play chords as you did different exercises and etudes he had prescribed. He used the Arban book when I was younger and eventually had me in the French Conservetory Series. He would also have you work on different solo pieces which he would accompany you on the piano to and give instruction as to how it should be played. Transposition was encouraged as well, although I personally did not get into that as much. Sometimes we would play trios, my older brother also took lessons.
One of the main differences between Jimmy and Claude was that Jimmy was a strong advocate of buzzing, both on the lips and with the mouthpiece. He had a regular routine you would go through, first on the lips and then on the mouthpiece and finally on the horn. He would make a mark that looked like a stair step over the top notes in a phrase. This was to get you use to holding the top note. He felt this was important for playing correctly as well as for endurance.
When I decided to switch to Claude it was because I still had no real range. I could play up to a high C or D but that was about it. I had a good sound and technique but no range. It was very difficult to leave Jimmy as I had grown up with him. He was a very nice person.
Claude Gordon was different from any other teacher I had studied with. He would sit behind a desk,wearing ear plugs, and write out your lesson while you played. One time I asked him why he never played along like my other teachers and he said," You're not paying me to play. You're paying me to teach you how to play." I thought about that alot. I had never played so much material in all my years of playing as I did with Claude. He used everything that he felt was worthwhile. After 4 years with him and having played more material than I thought was written for trumpet he said," We haven't even scratched the surface yet."
Claude was a big advocate of pedal tones. He developed them to a very high degree in his books. Your first routine always went down into the pedal register. Rest was very important. Your second rountine always went from the pedal register into the upper register as high as you could go. No more than three attempts on your highest note and then rest at least one hour. Then on to technical studies, flexibility studies, interval studies etc. It was a real workout. You also did breathing exercises.
It took me 4 years to get a consistent range but after that I had a consistent g above high c that I could count on with a big fat sound. I feel it took longer because I had become so lip conscious with the buzzing. When I buzzed I would have to go through a fairly long rountine before I felt comfortable playing. With Claudes routine I felt comfortable to just pick up the trumpet and play cold even in the upper register. Claude also was a very nice man like Jimmy.
I now teach and sell my fathers instruments in the Portland,Oregon area. I have a studio/showroom that I work out of. I thank my father for the musical heritage he gave me and for the opportunity to study under so many great teachers. Even though I got away from it for 15 years it's nice to be back.
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