Old School???

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deanmccarty
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Old School???

Post by deanmccarty » Tue Nov 02, 2021 5:59 pm

I’m not going to mention names… but I just wanted to see the consensus on a topic.

I was mentioning to a colleague of mine that I had a boatload of the pvc pipes with attached valves if he wanted any for his students… his reply to me was “no, I don’t use that old school Arnold Jacobs, Charlie Vernon, Breathing Gym stuff… I do more rib expansion.”

I just said ok and moved on… when did Arnold Jacobs’ breathing exercises become “old school?”
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Re: Old School???

Post by BGuttman » Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:07 pm

If you found something "newer and sexier" than something else, that something else becomes "old school". Nothing wrong with your pipes or with Jacobs' methods. Like all methods, they work great for some people, OK for others, and some can not make them work. It's just that we are all different.

I'd bet that "newer and sexier" method will work great for some, OK for others, and for some not at all.
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Re: Old School???

Post by deanmccarty » Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:18 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:07 pm
…we are all different.
On that I agree 100%… I guess my point is that this guy is a university professor and is throwing out 3 giant cornerstones of breathing techniques…. In the case of Jacobs’ exercises, many of them have been adopted by the medical field and are used to improve lung capacity. It just struck me odd…
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Re: Old School???

Post by elmsandr » Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:00 am

I guess I'd like to learn what he thinks is more effective... I would not be surprised to learn that there is some more data driven approach to improve things. Heck look at weight training over the last couple of decades to see that we can make massive improvements so that a LOT of high school students now look like professional body builders from a few years ago... but I haven't seen it in this field.

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Re: Old School???

Post by Burgerbob » Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:30 am

Pedagogy marches on. :idk: I don't think Arnold would have said his method was the end all, be all of brass playing.

I personally don't teach Breathing Gym myself (after being taught it and teaching it for years). It's too physical, too tension-causing, too unnatural to "real" breathing for my tastes.
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Re: Old School???

Post by VJOFan » Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:31 am

As "old school" is the Remington conversational breath approach.

I don't know if good sound is really as much about how much air taken in as it is about whether an appropriate amount or force of air flows into the horn.

Sometimes I also think breathing exercises really work to set up a player's posture to allow for resonance. The air isn't as important as the high chest that results from a full breath.
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Re: Old School???

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:43 am

My take on it is that young players take the air for granted, while older players have to work harder to get the air necessary to make all of the bass trombone mechanics work properly. So yeah, old school, but maybe in a different sense than the OP intended.
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Re: Old School???

Post by WilliamLang » Wed Nov 03, 2021 10:32 am

personally, i haven't taught breathing gym exercises at any level. i prefer to think of it like buzzing, in that it can be a decent diagnostic tool once in a while, but it doesn't always need to come out of the bag. a lot of players that i know in my generation and younger don't do a ton of breathing work either.
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Re: Old School???

Post by timothy42b » Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:29 am

VJOFan wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:31 am


Sometimes I also think breathing exercises really work to set up a player's posture to allow for resonance. The air isn't as important as the high chest that results from a full breath.
An Ergobone will do that for you too.
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Re: Old School???

Post by deanmccarty » Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:33 am

elmsandr wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:00 am
I guess I'd like to learn what he thinks is more effective... I would not be surprised to learn that there is some more data driven approach to improve things. Heck look at weight training over the last couple of decades to see that we can make massive improvements so that a LOT of high school students now look like professional body builders from a few years ago... but I haven't seen it in this field.

Cheers,
Andy
Yes… progression is a good thing… he didn’t go into exactly what “rib expansion” is… I would guess it’s breathing while moving your arms away from the sides.
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Re: Old School???

Post by deanmccarty » Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:36 am

WilliamLang wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 10:32 am
personally, i haven't taught breathing gym exercises at any level. i prefer to think of it like buzzing, in that it can be a decent diagnostic tool once in a while, but it doesn't always need to come out of the bag. a lot of players that i know in my generation and younger don't do a ton of breathing work either.
I personally don’t do the breathing gym exercises… but… I have taught it to certain students who I felt would benefit. To me it’s another tool in the tool kit.
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Re: Old School???

Post by deanmccarty » Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:47 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:30 am
Pedagogy marches on. :idk: I don't think Arnold would have said his method was the end all, be all of brass playing.

I personally don't teach Breathing Gym myself (after being taught it and teaching it for years). It's too physical, too tension-causing, too unnatural to "real" breathing for my tastes.
I don’t think he would either… but it is significant. Like I said in another post… it is one of the tools that can be used…
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Re: Old School???

Post by harrisonreed » Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:25 pm

Unnatural expansion of the chest cavity, sipping extra air on top of what is already 100%, shoving PVC pipes down your throat to try and make it more open to get in air faster -- nothing old school there ... :shuffle: :shuffle: :shuffle:

I have sat through exactly one breathing gym "master" class and I had to leave. It was like a combination of evangelical TV mega church (people were getting light headed and passing out while the teacher preached it) and infomercial (pipes and tubes and ping pong balls for sale everywhere). After I almost passed out myself, I left midway through. There was no music there.



Almost no talk is made about what to do with the air you do have, just how to get more and more of it. Ian Bousfield touched on this, in a sort of derisive way, in his masterclass. He's 100% right.
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Re: Old School???

Post by Chatname » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:39 am

I had lessons with Jacobs and attended his masterclass at Northwestern, but I don’t remember a single mention of a Breathing Gym. What is it?
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Re: Old School???

Post by elmsandr » Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:02 am

Chatname wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:39 am
I had lessons with Jacobs and attended his masterclass at Northwestern, but I don’t remember a single mention of a Breathing Gym. What is it?
Patrick Sheridan and Sam Pilafian..

https://patricksheridan.com/products/th ... rkouts-dvd

Good stuff, but again just a tool in the tool kit.

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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Nov 04, 2021 10:24 am

"Breathing Gym" is trying to get more air in?

I guess i've been doing that all my trombone life.
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Re: Old School???

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:35 pm

Jacobs' weird old school advice was more about using the "blow into the ping pong ball chamber through a tube" device, wasn't it?

It's pretty old school. Newer teaching focuses more on health and breathing normally without the tension you get from trying to take in too much air. A lot of it has to do with what you can do with the air you already have (efficiency). I'm sure Arnold Jacobs also taught extensively about this side of it as well. Just because teachers do breathing gym or buzzing or ping pong ball, or tube sucking .... Well, no, all that stuff is weird, but -- it doesn't mean they aren't also amazing musicians teaching the right things about what to do with the air and how to play well. The proof is in the students they pumped out and their own performing careers.

CL was teaching in the 90s about doing lots of cardio and yoga with deep breathing, and then just breathing normally when you play. The one really helps with the other.

Bousfield also teaches to breathe normally, and that too much intake will actually hamper the beginning of a phrase because you've put your body in an unnatural state. He talks a lot (as does Lindberg) about ensuring the quality of the breath matches the quality of the phrase or attack that follows it. Also, extensive teaching about how to put air into the horn. I think he even said "we focus far too much of breathing and not nearly enough on blowing", and he can demonstrate what he means by that. Really enlightening stuff.
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Re: Old School???

Post by BGuttman » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:59 pm

The Jacobs system used something called an Incentive Spirometer. I got a couple of these while recovering from various operations. You inhale through the thing at a constant rate and it estimates your lung capacity. As a non-youngster I would register 2.5 to 3 liters, while healthy young folks could go as high as 5 liters.

I ran into a problem with a conductor who insisted I play the chorale of Dvorak 9 2nd movement in 4 bar phrases on bass trombone. No way. 2 bars was my limit.
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:32 pm

If I filled a bottle with water, inverted that into a pan of water so that the opening was submerged, then exhaled air into that bottle with a tube... is there any reason that the accumulated air would not represent my lung capacity?

I could subtract the remaining water from the total capacity of the bottle and know the volume of air i exhaled, right?

Update:
I just tried that. The good news is... i can exceed the capacity of a 2 liter bottle. I'll need to find a larger jug to test further.
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Re: Old School???

Post by BGuttman » Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:55 pm

You created a piece of chemical apparatus called a "pneumatic trough". I used one to collect gases like hydrogen and oxygen in lab experiments.

You probably need a gallon jug to run your experiment (a US gallon is 3.785 liters).
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Nov 04, 2021 6:43 pm

Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop buying wine in gallon jugs.
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Nov 04, 2021 10:28 pm

I found one empty jug of Carlo Rossi *Reserve* Merlot with a "4L" on it in my junk room. I was able to blow that out completely also.

I am surprised.

With that much air, you'd think I'd play the horn better.
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Re: Old School???

Post by Posaunus » Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:07 pm

robcat2075 wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 10:28 pm
I found one empty jug of Carlo Rossi *Reserve* Merlot with a "4L" on it in my junk room. I was able to blow that out completely also.

With that much air, you'd think I'd play the horn better.
With that much education, you'd think you would buy better wine! :idk:
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:33 pm

Posaunus wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:07 pm

With that much education, you'd think you would buy better wine! :idk:
Unlike some, I didn't spend my college tuition on drinking lessons.
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Fri Nov 05, 2021 9:10 am

Here is one charting of lung capacity v. age, from Canada

FVC is "Forced vital capacity: the maximum amount of air you can forcibly exhale from your lungs after fully inhaling. It is about 80 percent of total capacity,"

If i can exceed 4 liters I would be at least in normal bounds for my age.

"Forced expiratory volume (FEV1): the amount of air you can exhale with force in 1 second." I think I could exhale more than these numbers in one second. They probably didn't have many trombone players in their sample.

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Re: Old School???

Post by BGuttman » Fri Nov 05, 2021 9:24 am

If you tried to exhale all your breath in 1 second you wouldn't make any kind of interesting sound with it -- it would be some kind of "blat". The trick is to use what air you have to create good phrases. Sort of like controlling the rate of movement of your cello bow. Racing the full bow across the string in 1 second doesn't make any kind of interesting sound.

Incidentally, having a huge lung capacity relative to the necessary volume of air is not a benefit, either. Oboe players use incredibly small amounts of air to create their sound and sometimes they run into problems due to stale air in the lungs.

Jacobs actually had a lung capacity problem (it was rather small) yet he could command a great sound from his tuba.

Again, it's not the size of the lungs, it's how you control the air.
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:36 am

So, Bruce... how are your four bar chorale phrases doing, with just "control" to work with?

I recall my college teacher telling me that lung capacity didn't matter because "Arnold Jacobs plays in the Chicago Symphony after losing a lung to cancer!"

Of course that was complete BS. :D
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Re: Old School???

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:53 am

Forcibly exhaling capacity has practically nothing to do with brass playing. Well maybe outdoors on sousaphone...
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Re: Old School???

Post by BGuttman » Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:55 am

robcat2075 wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:36 am
So, Bruce... how are your four bar chorale phrases doing, with just "control" to work with?

...
I was able to do 2 bar phrases. That's what the ***** got! (And I think she didn't notice ... ;) )
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Fri Nov 05, 2021 7:11 pm

I became curious about "old school". To me it sounded like a 20th Century-ism.

Here is the Google Ngram Viewer's plot of the prevalence of "old school" over time. Its heyday was really in the 19th Century and has only recently bounced back...

oldschool.jpg
oldschool.jpg (52.85 KiB) Viewed 1327 times


Those curves plot any occurrence of that phrase, regardless of meaning, but after perusing the examples they dig up it seems that prior to 1800 it is used just to refer to a previous building or previous specific institution.

After 1800, the meaning we are using today begins to take off. It can be positive or negative in connotation but it is used to indicate some collection of practices no longer current.
  • "a true gentleman of the old school"
  • "the Whigs of the old school"
  • "nuisances and abuses of the old school"
Then after 1900, "old school" fades. "Old school" becomes... old school!... and most of the occurrences are of the previous meaning.

Of course this is just the print world. We can presume that if some novel usage surfaces in print in 1806 that it has been circulating in the spoken world some years before that and may so persist after it disappears from print.
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Re: Old School???

Post by Wilktone » Sat Nov 06, 2021 8:13 am

Breathing is, of course, one of the fundamental factors in playing trombone (or any brass instrument). I feel that it's also the most "natural" one as well and find that it's pretty easy to help students breathe well for playing. The trick is that that are breathing patterns that are just as natural that don't work so well for good trombone playing and it's pretty easy to slip into those habits.

My understanding is that Jacobs primarily used breathing devices and exercises as a way to help the student establish good breathing patterns away from the instrument first. He felt that the addition of the instrument would elicit a "conditioned response" from the student and allow them to slip into a bad habit. The general idea is that by practicing breathing patters away from the act of playing we can develop good breathing and then more easily transfer it onto the instrument.
deanmccarty wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 5:59 pm
I was mentioning to a colleague of mine that I had a boatload of the pvc pipes with attached valves if he wanted any for his students…
The issue I have with the PVC pipe exercises is that it establishes a mouth position that I don't want to encourage for inhalation. My preference is to keep the lip center just touching while inhaling so that the mouthpiece placement remains consistent on the embouchure formation, so air is taken in through the mouth corners. Breathing through the PVC pipe seems to encourage opening up the mouth very wide, including opening up the lips and dropping the jaw. You can take in a lot of air very quickly that way, but if you apply that same mouth position while playing trombone you're going to be hitting a moving target to get everything back into position after every breath.
deanmccarty wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:18 pm
In the case of Jacobs’ exercises, many of them have been adopted by the medical field and are used to improve lung capacity.
Was it the medical field who adopted Jacobs's exercises or Jacobs who adopted physical therapy exercises for brass playing? It wouldn't surprise me if Jacobs came up with his own exercises and that someone in the medical field took note of them and ran with it, but I get the impression that he mostly borrowed things that the medical field was already using and adopted them for his own uses.
VJOFan wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:31 am
As "old school" is the Remington conversational breath approach.

I don't know if good sound is really as much about how much air taken in as it is about whether an appropriate amount or force of air flows into the horn.
Yeah, I'm a big fan of the "conversational breath" idea. If you're playing a short phrase it's a lot of wasted effort to completely fill up with air. That said, there is a point of diminishing returns on the effort it takes to blow air after a certain point. When you have enough air inhaled to start with the blowing is more about relaxing rather than engaging with the muscles of expiration. There are circumstances when we'll need to "blow harder" in order to keep the air flowing appropriately, of course. I think the trick is to understand where that point of diminishing returns begins and make your conversational breath work above that point.
VJOFan wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:31 am
Sometimes I also think breathing exercises really work to set up a player's posture to allow for resonance. The air isn't as important as the high chest that results from a full breath.
I'm not so sure that there's much resonance that happens inside the chest for playing. The lungs are very porous and I think absorb the sound, whereas I believe the vocal tract is able to provide much more resonance with the instrument. The "high chest" position is probably a helpful idea, but I think that it's more so because the posture encourages efficient breathing than resonance.
harrisonreed wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:35 pm
Jacobs' weird old school advice was more about using the "blow into the ping pong ball chamber through a tube" device, wasn't it?

It's pretty old school. Newer teaching focuses more on health and breathing normally without the tension you get from trying to take in too much air. A lot of it has to do with what you can do with the air you already have (efficiency). I'm sure Arnold Jacobs also taught extensively about this side of it as well. Just because teachers do breathing gym or buzzing or ping pong ball, or tube sucking .... Well, no, all that stuff is weird, but -- it doesn't mean they aren't also amazing musicians teaching the right things about what to do with the air and how to play well. The proof is in the students they pumped out and their own performing careers.
One of the points that Jacobs would frequently make is that he wanted to introduce "strangeness" into corrective procedures. I think the gist of this idea is similar to what I mentioned above about avoiding a conditioned response to using a breathing pattern that doesn't work so well for brass playing. So I think some of the weirdness of the advice, exercises, and devices was intentional. It's a psychological trick more than a physiological one.
robcat2075 wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:36 am
I recall my college teacher telling me that lung capacity didn't matter because "Arnold Jacobs plays in the Chicago Symphony after losing a lung to cancer!"

Of course that was complete BS.
Yes, there has been a lot of mythology that has developed around Jacobs and that's one of them. At a masterclass he gave that I attended someone asked him about it and he clarified that he had a student who lost a lung due to cancer and he thought that somehow that rumor had developed by transferring his student's condition to him. For some reason this myth has persisted. There's even an article on WindSong Press that repeats it.
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Re: Old School???

Post by BGuttman » Sat Nov 06, 2021 9:05 am

I thought the part of the story that was true was that Jacobs had a smaller than average lung capacity. He certainly repeated that it wasn't the amount of air as much as how it was used.
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Sat Nov 06, 2021 9:25 am

How big a person was Arnold Jacobs?

He looks large in his pictures.

I bet he was bigger than I am.
Last edited by robcat2075 on Sat Nov 06, 2021 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old School???

Post by mbarbier » Sat Nov 06, 2021 9:31 am

Wilktone wrote:
Sat Nov 06, 2021 8:13 am


My understanding is that Jacobs primarily used breathing devices and exercises as a way to help the student establish good breathing patterns away from the instrument first. He felt that the addition of the instrument would elicit a "conditioned response" from the student and allow them to slip into a bad habit. The general idea is that by practicing breathing patters away from the act of playing we can develop good breathing and then more easily transfer it onto the instrument.

I've studied off and on with a Jacob student, Dick Erb, who studied with Jacobs for like 30 years. That's a thing he's said a lot. In one lesson he said something along the lines of you've gotta have gas in the car of you're gonna drive it, but don't let it keep you from focusing on driving.

He had a really strong grasp of the diagnostic stuff Jacobs taught but really emphasized that the focus in their lessons was always on music and using that as a guide to fix things. Rob Bishop, another well known Jacob student, was still teaching when I was in undergrad and it was the same thing- he just focused on music and making you hear the sound you want and work to reproduce it. The only time he really talked about air was to talk about the type you needed for certain phrases.

It feels, much like the lung capacity thing, the focus on his immense extramusical knowledge has become such a focus in codifying his legend, that the less concrete, music first approach gets lost in the mix, when that was the focus and the first step.


Re PVC pipe, I've found the flexible, clear plastic 5/8 tubing is really great for helping opening things up. It's got some give so it doesn't feel weird to have in your mouth and it's small enough to not throw off most people's jaw positions (those PVC pipes always leave my jaw feeling messed up). They are also the perfect size to fit on the mouthpiece if you want to use it that way too.
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Re: Old School???

Post by Kbiggs » Sat Nov 06, 2021 11:49 am

I remember reading in one of the books summarizing Jacobs’ sayings/influence that his school of thought was partly a response to the “tight gut” habit of brass playing that some players adopt when under stress, or when attempting to play in the upper register. (Some 19th century method books also seem to hint at this simultaneous pressure from diaphragmatic and abdominal pressure, but that’s a digression…) Some players came to him with the problem of tightening the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm simultaneously, resulting in little to no air being expelled/exhaled. He wanted them to focus on expelling air freely with only the necessary abdominal and intercostal muscle tightening needed to produce a steady flow of air. Hence the emphasis on “wind” to help produce a steady stream of air to help the lips vibrate freely.

I don’t believe that teaching free flow of air (and lack of diaphragmatic pressure during exhalation) is “old school” any more than it is to teach students to hold the weight of the trombone with the left hand because it is one of the elements essential to producing a great legato.
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Re: Old School???

Post by 2bobone » Sat Nov 06, 2021 5:09 pm

Arnold Jacobs lived in South Chicago. When I first arrived at his address, I was sure that I was at the wrong place, so humble was the house. Remember, this was well before everyone had a GPS in their pocket, so I could have been 10 miles away for all I knew. I knocked on the door and entered the most consequential two hours of my entire playing career.
Entering his studio, the first thing that attracted my attention was a large, professional, stainless steel spirometer. The first thing he asked of me was to blow as much air into the mouthpiece of the spirometer by whatever means I could. He then marked the chart at my capacity. We then sat down to a dizzying array of gizmos and odd devices that he used to have you experience physical sensations that you would later duplicate using nothing more than your own kinesthetic recall. The most beneficial to me was a device with a rubber hose that led to a dual registering device. He asked me to breathe comfortably into the tube and try to balance my inhalations and exhalations on the meter dial. After several such cycles, he asked me to hold the exhalation at the point where the dial registered normally and then warned me that he would gradually "leak" air from a "Tee" in the hose and that he wanted me to hold the reading steady as the air leak increased. It was easy to do and created the sensation that I was accomplishing work with the "air in motion". He then ran me through a series of the same meter readings and at the point of one exhalation, asked me to hold the meter reading steady. I did as he asked when suddenly he fully released the air pressure. Fortunately, I did not close my throat in a reaction to the "surprise" but kept moving air through the hose as he had previously directed. That physical sensation was easily reproduced and resulted in playing always with the throat wide open. He then asked me to play a middle, 4th line "F" with the insights he'd given me. It was the most perfect, beautiful sound I'd ever coaxed out of a wind instrument !
As I left the session, he once again paused me at the spirometer where I blew a full liter more air than I had been able to do before entering that room ! Further work increased it another 1/2 liter. Combining the increased air capacity with his concept of the motion of air being analogous to the motion of the bow of a stringed instrument, set me on a path of improvement that I could never have achieved without his guidance.
If Arnold Jacobs' methods are "Old School" then our species has a lot of evolution to achieve before any other methods can take their place !
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Sat Nov 06, 2021 5:56 pm

...Some players came to him with the problem of tightening the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm simultaneously, resulting in little to no air being expelled/exhaled.
I'm going to say that someone had admonished them, "You must support the tone with your diaphragm!" :clever:

The abdominal tension thing is something I was taught to do.

I don't regard it as useful now but i was improving during these lessons so it was easy to think that the tension stuff was part of that.
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Re: Old School???

Post by PaulTdot » Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:44 pm

Some good discussion here, and some great posts. It's very nice to hear from some actual Arnold Jacobs students, as well!

Let's not forget that Arnold Jacobs' heyday was about 50 years ago. That's no short time; many (maybe most?) of the participants at this forum might not have yet been born.

I find a lot of Jacobs' ideas very useful and entirely compatible with what we know now. There are also some (many) Jacobs devotees who are unable or unwilling to move forward on various aspects on brass pedagogy. (And I suspect Jacobs would not be agreeing with their attitude, were he around today!)

It's entirely normal and natural for something from half a century ago to be considered "old school" - such is the cycle of history!

Nothing wrong with that; the age of an idea does not determine its truth or lack thereof. :)

And many things come around again and again...
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Re: Old School???

Post by officermayo » Thu Nov 18, 2021 6:55 pm

One of my students said that I was "from the old school".
I corrected him by saying I was from the school they torn down to build the old school. :-)
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Re: Old School???

Post by johntarr » Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:50 pm

I found “Song and Wind” to be very helpful and inline with what I’ve learned about breathing from my studies of the Feldenkrais Method and from studying anatomy and other schools. One of the concepts I took from “Song and Wind” was that Mr. Jacobs said to be careful with what you say to students because they might create new problems in trying to do what they’re being told. In other words, we don’t always know how a student will interpret and implement our instructions. He also said that you have to invent a different form of pedagogy for every student in that what might be helpful one student may be detrimental to the next. These ideas apply to all aspects of teaching.

One of the problems I find in pedagogy can be giving instructions without providing the students a means to sense what they are doing and what needs to be changed. Perhaps, as has been already said, one of Mr. Jacobs many skills was being able to help his students “reprogram” their breathing habits.
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:46 pm

It is remarkable that after some 600 years of trombone that there is anything left to even imagine is "new school" about it.

johntarr wrote:
Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:50 pm
...Mr. Jacobs said to be careful with what you say to students because they might create new problems in trying to do what they’re being told. In other words, we don’t always know how a student will interpret and implement our instructions.
And... you can't know until after you have said it.

No matter how careful you are being about what you say, you will have to say something.

Then comes the hard part... ascertaining if they get it.

I frequently coach people on computer graphics concerns. I'll show them how to do something, tell them why I am doing it, ask them if they have questions about it, ask them if they understand what they are to do, they will vigorously assert, "yes, it's amazing, I didn't know you could do that..."

And yet, when i see them a week later it's like, "How the hell did they get this so wrong?" :D
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Re: Old School???

Post by johntarr » Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:34 pm

robcat2075 wrote:
Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:46 pm

And... you can't know until after you have said it.

No matter how careful you are being about what you say, you will have to say something.

Then comes the hard part... ascertaining if they get it.

I frequently coach people on computer graphics concerns. I'll show them how to do something, tell them why I am doing it, ask them if they have questions about it, ask them if they understand what they are to do, they will vigorously assert, "yes, it's amazing, I didn't know you could do that..."

And yet, when i see them a week later it's like, "How the hell did they get this so wrong?" :D
I once had a young student who wouldn’t hold the slide firmly enough and that was affecting his accuracy. After some weeks of working with it, he told me that in the first lesson, I had said that the slide was delicate and needed to be handled with care. :clever:

Fortunately, when we give weekly lessons, we can hopefully steer the process over time.
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Re: Old School???

Post by DominicaSanchez » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:03 pm

deanmccarty wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 5:59 pm
I’m not going to mention names… but I just wanted to see the consensus on a topic.

I was mentioning to a colleague of mine that I had a boatload of the pvc pipes with attached valves if he wanted any for his students… his reply to me was “no, I don’t use that old school Arnold Jacobs, Charlie Vernon, Breathing Gym stuff… I do more rib expansion.”

I just said ok and moved on… when did Arnold Jacobs’ breathing exercises become “old school?”
My teacher Mr. Reynolds teaches us that nothing new in practicing can remove the classic set of practices because they have been developing for decades! :clever: So there is no need to remove "old school" musicians. If you follow his logic we also need to remove Rachmaninov, Bach, Stravinsky from teaching programm because they are "too old school".
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Re: Old School???

Post by robcat2075 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:46 am

deanmccarty wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 5:59 pm
his reply to me was “no, I don’t use that old school Arnold Jacobs, Charlie Vernon, Breathing Gym stuff… I do more rib expansion.”
I recall being taught in college that it all had to be lower lung and "diaphragm" breathing.

Because that's where the "support" was. For the "column of air".

Expanding my upper chest to take in air was "amateur stuff". High school!
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