From: "Reaban, Derek" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 15:02:11 -0700
ITG Conference 2004 - Trumpet Playing Can Be Easy! No Really!!
After seeing several of the ITG Conference posts (Bryan Edgett
and Michael Stewart), I realize that although everyone attended the
same conference, our individual experiences were completely different.
I would really like to see everyone who was in Denver present the
aspects of the conference that made the biggest impact on them.
Since this is the first time that I have been at a computer since last
Monday, I just now have been able to review the coverage of the
conference at the ITG web site. Given the flurry of information and
concert opportunities that were available, I know that the reporters
that wrote these articles probably wanted to summarize these events as
concisely (and quickly) as possible so that they wouldn't miss out on
any of the events. I think it would be worthwhile for me to go into
additional detail based on my own personal notes. In that way those who
were not able to attend the conference could get a more in depth
picture of the concepts, ideas, and stories that these marvelous
presenters conveyed to a very receptive and knowledgeable audience.
Also, by writing about these things myself I won't forget the little
details that are so important that I'll want to look back on in the
future. I've provided links to the articles at the ITG web site.
I think that the theme of this conference for me would have to be:
"Trumpet Playing is Easy! No, Really!". From the presentation that Jens
Lindemann gave called "Escaping Trumpet Purgatory...Back to Simplicity"
he came back to this idea again and again in his words and in his
phenomenal ability to create such wonderful beauty through his
He talked about his first lesson with Mark Gould and said Mark's exact
words were, "You play pretty well for a muscle head!" He then went on
to say that accepting that trumpet playing (sound production) can be
easy is really the first step to personal discovery (towards more
efficient sound production). This has been my experience exactly, and
although I am at a different place on the path from where Jens is,
we're still on the same path, and I find that very exciting.
Talking is one thing, but demonstrating artistically how easy trumpet
playing can be was available countless times throughout the conference.
Without exception, all performers were playing at the highest artistic
levels, and finding their own voice to express their musical ideas. In
five days I experienced more live music than I have probably gone to in
the last five years. I think it's worthwhile to list these performances
and artists, since my snapshot of the conference was obviously unique
Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band
David Krauss (Principal Trumpet Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
Michael Sachs (Principal Trumpet Cleveland Orchestra)
University of Denver Lamont Wind Ensemble
Vincent and Gabriel DiMartino
Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer (Northwestern University)
David Cooper & John Aley
David Kuehn (Former Principal Trumpet Buffalo Philharmonic)
Patrick Hession (Lead Trumpet with Maynard Ferguson)
Manny Laureano (Principal Trumpet Minnesota Orchestra)
Mike Thompson (Principal Trumpet Lincoln Nebraska Symphony)
Arizona State University Trumpet Ensemble (not to exclude all the other
trumpet ensembles, but this performance was simply AMAZING musically)
Ron Romm and Fred Mills (Formerly with Canadian Brass)
Jens Lindemann (UCLA)
Colorado Brass Quintet
Rocky Mountain Brass Quintet
Stellar Brass Quintet
American Brass Quintet
And Pianists (Collaborators) Rebecca Wilt and Laura Vizzutti
That's 28 amazing performances, demonstrating how easy it can be to
play a trumpet (brass instrument). And I believe that when the ease of
sound production is coupled with a strong mental concept via the
imagination of the performers, literally anything and everything is
I think Michael Sachs touched on this concept of musical imagination in
one very important way. He said that in auditions it is very obvious
when a candidate is simply counting the part versus the player that is
hearing the music in context (literally the ringing, clear, intense
image of the music in their mind). In his class entitled, "Standard
Orchestral Passages: How to Practice and Prepare For Performance and
Auditions" he was working very competent players.
However, it was quite amazing when he would provide each of these
players with his internal concept of each excerpt after they had
played. In every case, this strong mental image was now demonstrated
(every note Michael played was amazing) and internalized, and when they
played again, their musical product was changed dramatically. This is
one class that I would like to expand on, but my notes are somewhat
sketchy since I just wanted to sit and listen to the transformation in
these players as it was taking place. I will do my best to describe
some of the techniques that he used with each of these very fine
players to move from good to great!
He also mentioned that knowing a piece in context means knowing
everything that you can possibly know about it. When they got to the
chorale from Bartok Concerto For Orchestra (2nd Movement) I thought to
myself, this one I know! Two trumpets and two trombones.I've studied
the chordal structure, and learned to play it on the piano. I really
know this one. Then he asked the players what was happening just before
this entrance. It took them a few seconds, but they came up with the
answer (part of the answer and Michael filled in the rest), and I just
sat there blank and couldn't remember that part at all. So much for
thorough preparation on my part! There's always more that we can learn
when preparing this literature!
From an earlier class David Krauss (MET) took this idea of knowing a
piece in context to the next level. In addition to knowing the musical
scoring, he presented a story about the first time that he performed
the opera Rigoletto. I took great notes for this class and will provide
more details here in the future. After he played the opening line to
the opera (solo trumpet), he said one of his colleagues in the section
talked to him after the show. "That opening line sounding great. Of
course it was completely WRONG!" He then went on to explain how he had
played the festive "Duke's theme" in the same context that it would be
played for the Duke in the opera. However, Rigoletto (the court jester)
who loved his daughter was ashamed of his position in the court. Based
on how poorly he was treated by the Duke (and the embarrassment that
his daughter would experience if she knew he was a mere jester) he
wanted to have him killed and the body delivered to him in a bag. But
instead of the Duke, he found the body of his daughter in the bag at
the end of the opera. The opening of the opera was to convey the Duke's
theme through the eyes of Rigoletto with this tragic twist, and based
on "context" the musical line takes on a completely character, one of
When I find the time to compile my notes I'll also describe ideas from
the Byron Stripling Master Class, the Monette class with Patrick
Hession, Manny Laureano, and Mike Thompson, my experience with the
Shulman System, and thoughts from Jim West during his Warm-up sessions.
During the Jens Lindemann presentation he told a story that I'm sure
couldn't have been scripted better if it had been planned. He said when
he was 18 (I believe) he was invited to play at a Baptist church
convention which was being held in a hockey arena. There was a platform
set up over the ice, and he was playing for about 20,000 people. He
said that even though it wasn't written in the part, he opted to take
the last line up an octave and botched it terribly! He said it's a very
humbling experience to receive "polite" applause from 20,000 Baptists!
As he turned around to sit down, someone had taken his chair and all
eyes in the stadium where on him. The speaker was getting ready to give
a lengthy presentation, and Jens could either stand for the entire time
or choose the only other option available to him. He opted to walk
over, pull the gate open, and sit in the penalty box!
After the Byron Stripling master class, I went backstage to tell Byron
how much I enjoyed his presentation. I was in line to speak with him
after a couple that was already talking to him. When Byron said, "Well,
you're the man in Chicago AND we'll have to get together next time I'm
there John" I knew that this was my chance to finally meet John
Hagstrom. I opted to let many others that had come in to speak with
Byron move in front of me. As John and his girlfriend were leaving, I
introduced myself and had a great conversation with John. Just as
we were finishing talking, Byron was on his way out and brought a
player over to talk with John.
This was my chance to talk with Byron, so my timing worked out
perfectly! When we rejoined the conversation with John, he was talking
about traveling through airports, x-ray machines, and trumpet bags. At
this point, Byron said, "You should really try out these Torpedo Bags".
And then he said "Whoops!" and his bag went crashing to the floor. John
was standing there in shocked disbelief (and I silently shared his
feelings), and said, "Oh, my horns are never out of my hands" and he
gently pulled his own bag a little closer to his body, as if to say,
"Don't touch my horns Byron"! I thought that was just hilarious!
Obviously Byron has found a product that he believes in, but I don't
think John is going to be dropping his horns in this product
In the closing thoughts that Jens presented in his class, he encouraged
everyone (especially the younger players) to approach five players that
are "at least your Dads age, or even your Grandfather's age, and ask
them to share a story about playing the trumpet". He said, "you will
enjoy this conference so much more if you do that!"
I think I surpassed that number many times over, but getting to meet
Albert Ligotti (former New York Philharmonic player), Alex Wilson
(former Principal Trumpet in the Buffalo Philharmonic), Bill Adam
(Indiana University), David Kuehn (former Principal Trumpet Buffalo
Philharmonic), Fred Mills (Canadian Brass), Ron Romm (Canadian Brass),
and Doc Severinson just added to my unique experience at the
conference. Thanks for this marvelous suggestion Jens! I hope everyone
took you up on it!
P.S. It was great getting to meet all of the TPIN players! That was
another special treat that I must mention!!!