Friday, July 20, 2018

FBSMC10, The Art of the Student, Video 4 with companion notes

Attention Teachers! :-) In my view, you have such an important function into human life. And with this comes a lot of responsibility. You are engaging at close range, sometimes for many years with another human being, another life that is living on this planet and looks to you for guidance. And let's face it, as teachers we are learning an absolute ton from the students we teach. So in a sense, we are at another level of student. It's just that the student isn't always aware of how much we are being student to them in the exchanges we have in our lessons. 

In this video, the infamous 'box' came up. The box from the standpoint of a student was brought but what about the box of the teacher? Does the teacher have the ability to draw out the deeper arts of the student? This depends on what the teachers box is made out of. For example, does this box have a window? Does the teacher's automatic system, (habit of teaching with fixed ways and means), let them actually see the student-person? not just the potential as a trombone student, even though that of course is part of it. Like the student, the teacher has aptitudes and really can't be expected to act as a parent, therapist, fountainhead of inspiration, wise-person and so on at all times, let alone having the qualifications to do so. Teachers have a combination of roles that are at play in a private lesson. This is a very involved subject and it depends on the reason the teacher teaches. What is the principle motive behind the teaching? Very important to contemplate this. 

Drawing the art out of the student might not be every teachers' forte. But the great teachers I know and have worked with had a way of doing so, at least for me. Not all teachers work for all students and the other way around of course. But let me give a preliminary list of some ways and means that might help in regards to a teacher being able to draw more of the students' art out of them.

1. Acknowledge the absolute fact (as obvious as this sounds), that this is a human life you are dealing with and all that means. 

2. Instead of always just showing how it 'should' be done, listen to what the student is doing and assess it from, 
a) the physical level 
b) level of determination and potency of desire
 c) is there a feeling in it and what kind or kinds of feelings? 
d) experiment with the student and work together in a process of discovery.

So much more could be said! Perhaps the other videos will touch more on this but this leads us to the teachers 'box.' This is for each teacher to look at. It can start with making a list of what you think are your best aspects as a teacher. You can even assess it using the basics of the Overlay System. Here is an example:
1st Overlay: How are you at addressing physical aspects of playing? (some people might be good with air others with embouchure or articulation.. ).
2nd Overlay: How are you at assessing the decision capabilities of a student? How much do you take into account and what is your level of patience in this process? Do you come at them with a 'club' if you get impatient with them or understanding? Do you teach everyone the same????
3rd Overlay: Can you get a sense of their purpose and if so can you adjust to an individual's need and purpose if it is different than your own purpose?

Again this is just to get you started if you are interested. I'm sure  many of you experienced teachers have thought of this before in your own language and terminology. Hope some of this is at least is a way to get the ball rolling. As teachers we also have to be honest with what we can and cannot do and to at least be aware of our own box and the potential biases and limitations that can cloud our perceptions and abilities.

Link to video 4  https://youtu.be/X-6Ng5DS2ao


FBSMC10, The Art of the Student, Video 3 and companion notes


This video has a lot of my personal journey as a student and what my methods were. Now, if some of these methods, attitudes and sentiments inspire you, try them out to discover your own. In the beginning of student life or young player life, 'watch and do' is so important and natural isn't it? This is something that can be with us our whole playing career but it obviously will change as we develop our own relationship with the instrument and music. 

As a student develops, their automatic systems (first overlay or habit life) get printed or hardwired. Certain things become more automatic leaving room for other concepts and techniques to come into play. It's like a juggler who starts with one object to juggle then two, three, four and so on. This brings up the importance of practicing things gradually. Working on different aspects of playing gradually will encourage better playing habits (first overlay), and to grow with less stress physically (first overlay), and mentally (second overlay).* 

Remember everyone has aptitudes that are more developed or less developed all existing at one time! Certain things a student will catch on to easier than others things. This is natural  and is the case for EVERYBODY. The fact of this should help the myths that can grow in students' mind, for example: "That person is a natural." That might be true, but they might not be a 'natural' in all areas of playing and music. Even the naturals still need to practice. 

Link to Video 3. https://youtu.be/eGPAi4pFums

* The Overlay System has been brought up many times throughout the entire FBSMC series. There are 3 basic overlays in the Overlay System and they are:
First Overlay: Automatic Robotic Systems (physical machine life, vehicle)
Second Overlay: Skill and Choice (mental life, the driver)
Third Overlay: Integration and Art (purpose life, the destination)

This is the first basic understanding of the Overlay System. It goes very deep into the whole of human life.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

FBSMC10, The Art of the Student, Video 2, video link and companion notes

One of the Arts of the student is to take responsibility for your own development. This in fact is done with the serious student. What does it mean to be serious?  Taking responsibility for your own development. From this viewpoint and attitude, it is easy to see the importance of immediate application. 

If one is regular in practice and applies what the teacher assigns and suggests, it sets the stage for natural comparison. In this natural comparison, there starts to form a clarity when something is further away from what we are going for or getting closer to our desired goal. 

Here is the link to video 2 from The Art of the Student. Take your time with it!


Thursday, June 14, 2018

FBSMC10, The Art of the Student, Video 1 link and companion notes

Welcome to Frequency Bone Summer Music Connection 10! It has been a whole decade since these videos started. The tenth anniversary is dedicated to finding the art or arts of the students.
There is so much that can opened up with this interesting topic. Is there an art of the student? If so what are we a student of? See what happens to your thinking process after contemplating this first video. Ask yourself, whether you are a student or a professional or both: "What arts are forming in you?" Now watch video 1 (if you have not already done so), before going on to the next part of the blog post

Video 1
https://youtu.be/Dla4wHhWddk

Now after seeing the video lets look at Applying Regular Training. This is vital for a student or anybody at any given time isn't it? If one is applying regular training, one starts to build a relationship with the subject, in this case our relationship with the horn and with music. When learning and continuing to improve our skills on the instrument, (first overlay work), we will come across different methods and exercises either on our own, or listening to someone else further developed than we are, our own teachers and more. Here are somethings you have probably come across:
1. start simple (The law of start with what you can do and gradual extend you abilities).
2. regular practice sessions (time of sessions changes according to desire, stamina (physical, mental or emotional).
3. determination
4. patience
5. monitor and appreciate small improvements
6. know when to take a rest!

Much more will follow in other videos and blog posts. Remember the anagram of interest?
ENTERS IT.



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Two New Videos of Q&A for Duquesne University Trombone Studio with Myself and Dr.Viera

James Nova, the trombone teacher and head of the brass Department at Duquesne University asked myself and Dr. Carol Viera (my wife and partner) to do a master class at Duquesne University. The masterclass will eventually happen at some point in the future. 'Dr.V' had the idea that she and I would take questions and respond by video to Mr. Nova's trombone studio at the university ahead of the proposed masterclass. Mr. Nova thought that was a great idea and had his students write down some questions to ask Dr.V and myself which we responded to on these two videos.

On January 29th, 2018, we made these two videos addressing three of the students' questions. Dr. V and I got into a very good process with the questions and as you will see from the videos the answers are not black and white. We delved into the feelings of the questions and took them in many directions to paint a broad picture of their implications and tied it together with some practical ways and means. The questions ask about tension while holding the instrument, nerves, performance anxiety, audition preparation and dealing with the intensity of being on the job.

Here are the videos! I hope those of you who are watching will be able to get some good insight and some new ways to approach these situations.

Video 1  https://youtu.be/xlCarcYDTLw
Video 2 https://youtu.be/O8q3G-4VcrE





Thursday, July 20, 2017

FBSMC9, Authenticity Series, Video 4

Having had some 'main' teachers, main in this case meaning teachers that I studied with the longest, and others who I took lessons with for shorter periods of time and got an immense amount from, I was certainly caught by what would seem to be totally different approaches. Some of the teachers wanted very different results as well as their approaches being different. What is a younger person to think about these different ways of going on? Are many different approaches too much to take on for younger students? Well, the short answer for me is yes and no, it depends on the students.

It is something to think about because we are so different and not everyone one has a feeling abut what they want or don't want for quite a while. Some instinctively know what they want but of course with growth and more exposure to lots of artists, changes occur in what we want or think we want.

In the end, it is the person that needs to find out what they want and for some this happens earlier in the playing life and for others later on. Oftentimes the case can be when someones gets into a particular playing position professionally, the job dictates certain requirements. In this situation if one wants to keep that job, they might have to put several of their own choices on one side and find a way to make the circumstance work. An easy example is getting into a brass section where most of the people in your section play a particular make of instrument that you do not warm to personally, but are expected to oblige. There are many examples one can find.

The video will look at other distinct angles of this, all of which are encouraging the interested person in discovering their own authenticity which is already in them! It is just a matter of clearing away attitudes and self views that cloud our own unique spark.

You will also get more insight from the process of this video of the 2nd overlay of the Overlay System.

Video 4

Saturday, July 15, 2017

FBSMC9, Authenticity Series, Video 3

Video 3 of  Frequency Bone Summer Music Connection 9 looks at authenticity through the Overlay System. I have spoken of the Overlay System on several videos. It is the kind of system where you can look, examine or unlock almost anything. In short, the three overlays of the Overlay System are:
1. Automatic Robotic Machine
2. Skill and Choice
3. Integration and Art

We all have a habit life. This is our programmed habit life which is very robot like, not much thought is required.
 We all have a mind. So when greater skill is appearing in a part of our life, we have more choice in what we do. The quality of that choice is dependent on our standards, principles, ethics, morales and what the overall governing force in our life is and this last aspect starts to move into the 3rd overlay. Our life is what we process on a regular basis. What we value and hold dear in our life vibrates to that sphere where the value lives. If we try to live a life that cares about what we put into the world, let say we want to put into the environment compassion, patience and understanding, those qualities are finer than selfishness, greed, hatred etc. which are much, much coarser. Where this video will lead us to is a place where we can hopefully see or start to see, that all the overlays in the end are connected to one another. They form the living life of a person and what they exude and radiate into their environment. We of course will look at this through music and the musician.

Video 3