Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

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Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by timothy42b » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:45 am

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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:06 am

1926. He was a pretty amazing player.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by timothy42b » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:39 pm

That playing would have been impressive from any age player. (Imagine, he didn't even have youtube to learn from!)

It also seemed you can go a lot faster if you don't try to play too loudly. Would that have been a small bore tenor at that time?
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by BGuttman » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:44 pm

The style is really modeled on Arthur Pryor. Blazingly fast passages. It also included "Love's Enchantment" on the second half.

Very impressive performance.
...Would that have been a small bore tenor at that time?
In the 1920s a typical trombone was 0.480" bore. Pryor used a 2H sized horn for his solo work (trumpet bore). Small bore horns make those fast passages speak better.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:47 pm

It's just like Pryor, right down to the old school ever present vibrato. The Pryor recording of thoughts of love had a section where somehow the grit and noise gets lifted during the cadenza, and you hear his arpegiated lip slurs almost as if you were in the room. That guy could PLAY!

Considering that this recording would have been a one shot, where they cut the disc as you recorded, this is a very impressive recording and piece of history. I think he has only a few bobbles, and I love the fact that it's actually real and "live".

When you think about how the Pryor recording would have been made the same way, with even more primitive technology, you realize just how good Pryor was.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Kdanielsen » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:50 pm

Who is it?
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:06 pm

Donald S Reinhardt
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Kdanielsen » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:40 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:06 pm
Donald S Reinhardt
Ah! Fascinating. Thanks!
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Wilktone » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:50 am

Impressive for any age.
Doug Elliott wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:06 pm
Donald S Reinhardt
Doug, do you know anything about whether this recording was made before or after Reinhardt's tuning slide accident that sparked his initial explorations of individualized brass technique?

I was emailing with Paul about this and we were trying to figure out the timeline. Based on the specific descriptions in Reinhardt's book, my best guess is that the tuning slide accident happened around the age of 19 or 20. But since he wrote that afterwards he was able to play his very first high Bb, that would mean this recording (which has a few Cs above high Bb in it) happened afterwards.

For those of you without this book, the story is that an accident damaged the tuning slide of Reinhardt's horn and when he got it back the repairman forgot to replace the counterweight. This resulted in the instrument being front heavy and he ended up playing with a much lower horn angle, which allowed him to play his first, "very weak" high Bb.

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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by timothy42b » Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:07 am

Wilktone wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:50 am
Impressive for any age.
Doug Elliott wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:06 pm
Donald S Reinhardt
Doug, do you know anything about whether this recording was made before or after Reinhardt's tuning slide accident that sparked his initial explorations of individualized brass technique?

That was my first thought too. His book talks about struggles with range etc and all the different approaches he'd tried - but this recording shows him to be an awesome player already in highschool. I see a date for the Pivot System Manual of 1942 and the Encyclopedia 1973, not sure if those are first editions or later.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:26 am

Donald Shelley Reinhardt was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1908
I assume his playing problems and the "tuning slide incident" happened early in high school.
This recording was in 1926, age 18 graduating from high school.
He went to Curtis, I think about 1927-1929
He left school for a steady gig at the Fox Theater through the 1930's
Went back to Curtis Institute of Music, graduated in 1943
It must have been during his last years at Curtis that he wrote his first book.

Incidentally, Arnold Jacobs went to Curtis during Reinhardt's absence, so they had many of the same influences
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Wilktone » Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:26 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:26 am
I assume his playing problems and the "tuning slide incident" happened early in high school.
This recording was in 1926, age 18 graduating from high school.
That jives with the quality of Reinhardt's playing on this recording and his description of his playing before he discovered how his anatomy influenced his playing. I found another reference (Ralph Dugeon's article "Credit Where Credit is Due") that suggests Reinhardt's experience with "18 so-called teachers" who couldn't help him happened in the early 1930s, which doesn't make sense for a number of reasons (for one, Reinhardt was already working successfully as a professional trombonist).

At any rate, it's neat to finally get to hear a recording of Donald Reinhardt playing. I have heard stories of his playing, but after a certain point I understand he played infrequently and still was able to belt out some powerful high notes cold to demonstrate things. Now if only Doug could teach me to do that so I don't have to practice any more...
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by timothy42b » Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:05 am

The timing of the discovery doesn't really match his description in the preface to the Encyclopedia, which I read this morning.

But it doesn't matter. I enjoyed that recording.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:35 am

Reinhardt claimed he still needed to sort out his embouchure even after he was a pro, if I remember from his book. He goes to college and THEN seeks out the 18 famous teachers for thirteen more years of lessons. He was working, but felt limited. Always second or bass, he writes.

I can appreciate his story, a lot. When I was in college I remember hearing about the PIVOT method from graduate students and some brass teachers and being warned not to read it. It was witchcraft and would mess my embouchure up, and I just need to keep persevering with the horn at a right angle to my face. I had issues with my upper register and endurance problems, and eventually jaw pain. I never read the Reinhardt books, and I adamantly stuck to my guns on what I assumed was my natural embouchure and a "normal", respectable mouthpiece. Years later, even after I was in a military band playing the trombone every day for hours and hours I was doing the same exact thing as before, had the same range, and the same jaw pain. I got a much larger mouthpiece as a half joke, since maybe channeling Joe Alessi could save my crappy playing. It was the first mouthpiece I had tried since I had bought my large bore trombone in my freshman year of college. My endurance disappeared but I was playing high Fs from the first day I got the new mouthpiece. Working up my endurance on that thing probably was good medicine for me.

When it would have been most useful to me, no one told me about Doug Elliott. Nobody told me about my embouchure type. Nobody told me about where to think about directing air into the mouthpiece. Instead, I was actively turned away from those things. Reading Reinhardt after I learned how to actually play was like learning the vocabulary for ideas I half worked out on my own, and it was like a confirmation. Reading everything Doug has written over the years finally clicked too. I know how Reinhardt must've felt after those thirteen years. "What a freaking roundabout path"

Then I come full circle. If people were guaranteed to understand even the basic concepts in the encyclopedia as it is written, then every brass player would do well to read it. But it's almost like you have to understand the concepts at least a bit before you read it. I definitely don't understand everything that is written in there. The stuff about people who are upstream players makes zero sense to me. Maybe because there is literally no way for me to work those ideas out on my own, as I play the complete opposite way. So... Maybe don't read it. Maybe you need thirteen years of suffering to figure just a tiny slice of it out on your own. And then you should read it.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:03 am

It doesn't have to be as complicated as he presented it. Hopefully I'll get around to writing a book one of these years.

Upstream is just the way you play, but upside-down.

Lots of players are very successful early and run into problems later, so it's possible that the timing is wrong, but he never told me specifically. The mid-1920's was a very different time and musical era, and it's possible it all happened in his high school years. He was extremely dedicated to everything he did.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by pivotbone » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:19 am

Harrison, I'm happy that you have found some benefit from Reinhardt. Sorry we didn't get a chance to work that out together when we were in college!

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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by PaulTdot » Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:01 pm

It's great to hear this recording of Doc Reinhardt. Dave Wilken (wilktone) and I have been discussing the timeline here a fair bit, since it's hard to square this with the account in the Encyclopedia. The original tape is labeled "1926" (allegedly by Doc himself), in a photo shared elsewhere.

But, in any case, the precision and consistency on display here is marvelous. I think it might make any player wonder whether the move to bigger and bigger horns isn't always the right thing for this kind of playing.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by BGuttman » Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:27 pm

And here I thought Reinhardt was a trumpet player. :amazed:
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:37 pm

pivotbone wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:19 am
Harrison, I'm happy that you have found some benefit from Reinhardt. Sorry we didn't get a chance to work that out together when we were in college!

Rich Hanks
Hey man! I remember a Rich Hanks at UMass -- don't tell me you are the same guy! You played a Rath, right?

I feel like I have to rephrase what I said. People and teachers were only weird or on the fence when it came to embouchure stuff - and my primary teacher did not talk about the embouchure at all because there were too many other things I need to work on, and I was a weird outlier and not a music major. I had a fantastic opportunity to learn about playing the trombone at that school.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:44 pm

PaulTdot wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:01 pm
It's great to hear this recording of Doc Reinhardt. Dave Wilken (wilktone) and I have been discussing the timeline here a fair bit, since it's hard to square this with the account in the Encyclopedia. The original tape is labeled "1926" (allegedly by Doc himself), in a photo shared elsewhere.

But, in any case, the precision and consistency on display here is marvelous. I think it might make any player wonder whether the move to bigger and bigger horns isn't always the right thing for this kind of playing.
Well, how does it not square with his timeline? In his book he says he went to college, and then sought out additional "famous" teachers to improve his upper register while all along he was getting jobs...as a second or bass trombonist.

The recording is impressive, but there is no upper register displayed in it. Surely that was not Doc Reinhardt's endstate of playing. It makes sense to me that he'd get into a great college bring able to play like that in high school, and then really hit a wall after that. Many of the issues he talks about that happened to his playing happened after the 18 teachers gave him bad advice. He was with each one for 6-18 months.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by PaulTdot » Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:09 pm

The main reason for the confusion, I think, is twofold.

First, that a player with a consistent and easy high C would be fairly unlikely to consider themselves to have a "case that was very difficult and the most unusual [his teacher] had ever witnessed". Reinhardt describes his playing as "without the slightest glimmer of a high register or even normal playing endurance". To be regularly demoted to second or bass trombone isn't something I would generally expect from a player with a high C as consistent as on this recording, nor to complain to this extent. It's fairly commonplace, even among great players, to "top out" around C#, D, or Eb (think, for example, of J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, or many highly successful orchestral/symphonic players), so it's hard to imagine that kind of limitation, in an 18-yr-old (!!!), being described as "very difficult and the most unusual ever witnessed". I'd expect, more often, a teacher to see a really strong young player whose upper register will keep developing over time.

If an 18-yr-old came to and played like this (i.e. this recording), would you be worried about their range?

It's not completely impossible, but it's definitely a bit odd.

Second, though, Reinhardt says that after the "tuning slide incident" was the first time he ever played a "very weak high Bb", and that it was "the first high Bb that [he] ever played". That's really difficult to reconcile with the recording here, for obvious reasons. Maybe Reinhardt was exaggerating? Yet, he seems like such a precise communicator that I would be surprised if that were the case.

This suggests that the "incident" took place well before this recording.

The Encyclopedia tells us that he began trombone lessons somewhere around age 10, and that thirteen and a half years of trombone lessons followed. That suggests that the incident didn't take place until well after this recording.

None of this is certain - there's lots of room for miscommunications, us drawing the wrong implications, or Reinhardt misremembering something - but it's not obvious how it all fits together. I think it's interesting! How quickly did his playing develop after the incident? How bad was it, really, before the incident? All potentially very interesting information, helping us understand the history of this incredible teacher a little bit better.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:09 pm

DSC_0004.JPG
DSC_0004.JPG (2.16 MiB) Viewed 4225 times
I think the mistake is to believe that you can't get worse as you go on. It is written as clear as day right here that he sought out instruction "in addition" to his college studies and continued in the profession (ie, that he was already employed in). That suggests it happened afterwards.

It is almost more likely that someone with some natural talent as a young person would later become confused by an instructor, and wind up with issues in their playing. Considering the absolute disdain he expressed in his book for these teachers that messed him up.

As for range, Reinhardt defines for himself what he considered to be an upper register, and it was not "a useable C". No, he says you're a flawed trombonist if you don't possess "a useable F above the high Bb", and a flawed trumpeter if you don't have a useable equivalent G above high C. That's where his mind was at, according to his own writing. I think his idea of good, and many people's idea of good, were two different levels of "good".

The comment about the first weak Bb is interesting. I have no idea -- maybe he remembers things inconsistently, or maybe he had forgotten about what he could play as a kid and was focusing on his issues as a pro. Maybe he wrote just whatever was convenient for his story. What he did write, right down to the struggle of trying to work out issues in his playing as an employed trombonist, resonates with me.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Wilktone » Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:41 am

I think that it's most likely that Doug's timeline is accurate, that the tuning slide accident that sparked Reinhardt's initial explorations into brass technique must have happened in high school, prior to the recording.
harrisonreed wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:09 pm
It is written as clear as day right here that he sought out instruction "in addition" to his college studies and continued in the profession (ie, that he was already employed in). That suggests it happened afterwards.
Harrison, if you look past the bio and read the preface the chronology of these events isn't quite so clear either. I'm beginning to suspect that some of the biography we can find in Reinhardt's writings may not be organized in order so much. For example, the quote you pointed out could be something like this:

I completed my D.A. from Ball State in 2000. In addition to my trombone studies, I took composition lessons from Paul McKee, David Vayo, Frank Mantooth, and Abraham Plum. All those composition teachers I had were prior to beginning my studies at BSU, but the are, strictly speaking, "in addition."

I think in the preface (and brief bios we get) there's something similar going on. Reinhardt didn't explicitly write that after his tuning slide accident that he quit taking lessons from the 18 "so-called" teachers. Some of the names of the teachers he was frustrated with have leaked out, but it certainly could have included some of his teachers at Curtis or other teachers he studied from after high school.
Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:03 am
The mid-1920's was a very different time and musical era, and it's possible it all happened in his high school years.
Doug and I happened to be talking over the phone last week and he brought up how things were different back when Reinhardt was teaching. For example, in the Dudgeon article I mentioned above Reinhardt is quoted talking about high school. He said that the principle wanted to start a band for football games and the music teacher there was "strictly a Glee Club major," so she asked Reinhardt to teach the brass and percussion (he had already been taking trombone and theory lessons). By the time he was a senior he was also teaching the reed instruments.
Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:03 am
Upstream is just the way you play, but upside-down.
Sorry, Doug. As an upstream player I have to point out that you've got this backwards - I'm the right way and you downstream players are the ones who are upside-down! :P

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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Doug Elliott » Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:32 am

I was replying to Harrison, and the "you" was directed at him.

If the way you play was the "right way" Australia would be in the northern hemisphere.
:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by Wilktone » Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:17 pm

Image

Sorry, Doug. Even the streets around here know which way is the right way. :clever:
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by BGuttman » Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:28 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:32 am
I was replying to Harrison, and the "you" was directed at him.

If the way you play was the "right way" Australia would be in the northern hemisphere.
:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
North and South are conventions we have adopted. I saw a world map in Australia where they put Antarctica on the top and the polar sea between Canada and Russia on the bottom.

From space it probably is just as valid.

:tongue:
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:29 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:28 pm
Doug Elliott wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:32 am
I was replying to Harrison, and the "you" was directed at him.

If the way you play was the "right way" Australia would be in the northern hemisphere.
:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
North and South are conventions we have adopted. I saw a world map in Australia where they put Antarctica on the top and the polar sea between Canada and Russia on the bottom.

From space it probably is just as valid.

:tongue:
Doing that would make the Earth rotate clockwise, which would make a lot of sense.
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:34 pm

I must've missed what Doug said about the order of events, I'll go back and read that.

The one thing about the chronology that he does mention, Dave, is that he was with each teacher for 6-18 months. Even if he was with all of them for 6 months, that is 9 years. If we average it, and say 12 months, that's 18 years. That is a loooong high school career, if he got himself sorted out before entering college.

So, he either tells tall tales, didn't remember events well, or was already graduated and working as a pro, and still was taking lessons. Since he mentions being frustrated with only getting hired as a second or third trombonist, the last option jives and keeps him honest.

I have no way of knowing, so all I can do is agree that something doesn't add up!
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Re: Blue Bells from a hichgschooler

Post by baileyman » Sun Dec 13, 2020 3:56 pm

A trumpet buddy who spent years in music school with horn frustrations said, "The dirty secret is they don't teach you how to play the horn in college. They take kids who can already play and teach them music." I paraphrase a bit. Subsequently he most emphatically solved his technical issues without professional help, and now owns a beautiful cornet style sound that verges on Maynard, too.
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