This is a difficult question for me to answer. TPIN has been central to just about everything I've learned about the trumpet in the past six or seven years (I've lost track). What I did, to come up with an answer, I brainstormed on my "daily walk" this morning so that I could have a list to choose from. But that didn't help. I have a great list, but how do I put one thing above all the rest? I can't.
So, contrary to Tim's request, I'm going to offer some highlights from this list:
School Is Only An Introduction:
This one comes from David Roth, from an email he sent me privately....and it wasn't even trumpet related. But the concept of it has changed my life. And the fact is, if it weren't for TPIN, I would have never known who David was. Basically his email was in response to my comment that I thought that I was ripped off in school, that we didn't cover the things that I needed to cover for my career. His response was that school is only an introduction to your field and that the real education begins after you leave school. When I joined TPIN, I had a LOT of animosity and contempt towards some of my past teachers and schools. I dwelled on it. But now, because of this great concept, I've been able to let that go and move on.
I've recently written a little bit about my human diversity philosophy. Well, this philosophy comes from my experiences on TPIN. Before TPIN, I thought that all trumpet players were like minded.....meaning that we all had the same desires, opinions and educational backgrounds. What shocked me into opening my eyes to the vast diversity of the trumpet world was the attitudes about high notes. I grew up believing that high note players were looked down on by ALL serious trumpet players. I thought that "high note" method books were regarded as being the trumpet equivalent of tabloid journalism.....or the equivalent of writing books about sex. I thought that all serious trumpet players looked down on these things. When I realized just HOW MANY players out there really get into that stuff, it was a sort of culture shock for me that made me feel as if I had been living in a VERY, VERY small world all my life. And this opened my eyes to see other diversities in other trumpet related areas. This idea of human diversity has become a huge part of my overall trumpet playing philosophy.
One of the most hotly debated topics on TPIN! And I think the result of those debates is that many fine details have come to the surface. Because of TPIN, I have an understanding of pedal tones that I would never have had before. I now do pedal tones twice in my daily routine, once one way then again a different way. I do them for two different reasons.
I knew what an aperture was before TPIN, but never really understood the intricacies of it's relationship to other aspects of tone production. The discussions on this list, even ones not specifically about aperture, gave me a lot to think about in this area. Then, this prepared me to fully comprehend Bob Findley's book.
Bill Adam and Other Teachers:
Before TPIN, I had never heard of Bill Adam. Even though the "Bill Adam Experience" is so safely guarded by some of his past students, and even though getting information and ideas from them is like pulling teeth, I have learned a WHOLE BUNCH from doing that pulling. I'd PULL more if I didn't think that those guys would probably send a hit man after me for "stirring up trouble" (I get the feeling that none of the ex-Bill Adam students like me at all - except for David Roth). But I have to say that what little I know about Bill Adam has changed significantly the way that I teach.
And the same applies to other teachers I had never heard of before I joined TPIN. I wont make a list for fear of leaving someone out. But it makes a big difference to me when I read about the great pedagogues of our instrument.
My sense of humor leans towards the germanic side.....which means to many that I don't have any sense of humor at all. :-) With a little help from my friend across the pond, Ian, I have come to have a better understanding and appreciation for his sense of humor....which used to offend me. I thank you, Ian, for bringing new pleasures into my life.
To me, there is no greater source for learning about trumpet literature than TPIN. Not just the availability and where to buy it, but also background info and other relative info like that. For example, I never knew much about Chance. It's just one small example, but knowing more about him has helped me see his music in a different light.
I think that maybe I heard of lip bends before TPIN, but I never used them. They have become a very important part of my practice day.
Blowing Your Lip Out:
Before TPIN, I never believed that it was possible to blow your lip out. But through TPIN, I have spoken with at least a dozen players who have done exactly that. Every time I hear from these players, it is gut wrenching for me. I hate to say that I have benefited from their mistakes, but I have, and so have my students.
I guess I'll stop here. :-)
The biggest reason I am a member of TPIN is to learn about the trumpet. I know that most people wouldn't think so, because I post so much "advice". But to me, that advice is offered in exchange for the rewards I receive from the list. It's my way of returning the favor. But my point is that, since "learning" is my main reason for being on TPIN, I could go on listing "what I've learned" for hours. It's something that has become extremely important to me.
It's funny, I think my book sales suffer from this attitude of learning. Which book would you rather buy.....a book written by someone who has all the right answers for all of your questions, or a book written by someone who's still trying to figure it all out himself? But I decided, a long time ago, that no matter how much it will effect my sales, I WILL NEVER PRESENT MYSELF AS SOMEONE WHO HAS ALL THE ANSWERS. My learning is far more important to me than book sales. In a way, this makes me a very selfish person...... if you care to see it that way.
Eddie "Tiger" Lewis