Snippets from Lesson Notes

As I teach, I do ask students to write down notes.  I also encourage them to write reflections from their practicing that week.  Here are a few snippets…

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We’ve noticed that I am making improvements in my tension-related problem. I will keep working towards removing tension and try to stay aware of the instances that I play with tension. We talked a lot about finding the melody behind the melody- basically looking for a simple melody hidden behind ornamentation or flourishes. A good way to practice might be to begin with the stripped melody and slowly add variations and ornamentation until I play what’s written.

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Clef studies become a lot easier when I look at the actual structure of the notes, rather than focusing on the specific notes and what clef they are in. For example, if I just recognize that a C major arpeggio is being lined out, then it becomes easier, even though the clef switches in between.

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Rochuts in the back of the book are way cooler than the beginning few!
The absolute slowest practice is amazingly beneficial, but mentally so draining. Doing Kopprasch and lip slurs stupidly slow and focusing on the minutia of the slur translates to faster tempos more than I thought it would.

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Bobbing in time hurts playing!!!
Don’t close off note endings (open)
No short notes; only short long notes

In Ewazen, are you counting big or small beat?

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I decided to Google “left hand cramping trigger trombone” just to see what would come up, and also because I’m nervous about what kinds of damage could happen to my hand throughout my career. Oddly enough, an article by Doug Yeo is the first one that popped up. He presented a solution and I’m going to copy and paste two pictures: first of the way we are normally told to hold the trombone, and consecutively the solution he presents.

I tried out his solution and it feels really weird but I’m going to see how it turns out for the next couple of days in my practice sessions. He said it takes the tension away from between the second (index) and third (middle) finger and that it prevents the stretching of the “web of skin” between the second and third fingers.