Chicago tuba freelance artist and teacher, Joseph Agnew describes his initial lessons with Mr. Jacobs. He talked about Mr. Jacobs’ insisting on good pianissimo playing, buzzing the mouthpiece and how spectacular Mr. Jacobs’ mouthpiece sound was, and the amount of time that was spent buzzing in some of his lessons. Buzzing bugle calls was a large part of some of the lessons. Improving dynamic abilities was often done on the mouthpiece. Using mouthpiece buzzing as method to stay in shape while traveling is explored in this interview. Agnew described the large increase of Jacobs shared some advice regarding life coping skills and music when the busy-ness of life would intrude. Jacobs did not want Joseph to practice in front of other people. Learn music in private. Perform music in public. Joseph discussed Jacobs’ teaching technique of mis-direction: Jacobs would assess the way the student best learned and then proceed. Mr. Jacobs’ use of solfeggio was also discussed.
Chicagoland tubist and bassist, Rich Armandi shares his 30 years of lesson experiences with Arnold Jacobs.
With the help of Harvey Phillips, in 1994 Øystein Baadsvik was introduced to Arnold Jacobs for two lessons. Baadsvik describes those two lessons as changing his tuba playing. Jacobs helped Baadsvik to relax by using less force and tension while playing. Baadsvik describes how Jacobs got him to use more air, and to stay out of the residual air (i.e. negative) part of his vital capacity. In addition, short note mouthpiece playing was an important component in the lessons. Jacobs’ pedagogy, and his ability to solve problems without letting the student know what he was doing, was also part of the discussion. Putting focus on musical communication and being entertaining, as a way to guide the mind away from thinking about how one is playing while playing, was also an important message from Mr. Jacobs to Baadsvik. Next the interview shifted to learning what Harvey Phillips shared with Baadsvik: attitude and sound being the main items. Baadsvik’s studies with John Fletcher is also a topic of conversation, with clarity being a major message. Øystein shares his viewpoint on how he believes many students are wasting their time and money by going to a teacher just to be told what is on the page; such things could be heard by simply recording ones personal practice, and then listening to the playback. And finally, Øystein shares his thoughts at being in Autzen Stadium for his very first American football game — UCLA Bruins versus University of Oregon Ducks.
In TPTV’s 50th interview, Northern Illinois University School of Music director, and noted bass trombonist, Dr. Paul Bauer, shares his memories of studying with Arnold Jacobs, Frank Crisafulli, and Edward Kleinhammer, as well as performing with the Chicago Symphony on numerous occasions. Dr. Bauer’s initial encounter with Jacobs was at the 1981 Jacobs master classes at Northwestern. Bauer describes that although Jacobs would explain various physical and psychological aspects involved in playing, it all came to focus on the musical aspects of performing. Strength versus weakness was a subject that Bauer took away from those initial classes, weakness being preferred, because Jacobs showed playing a brass instrument doesn’t large amounts of strength. Bauer also compares and contrasts his studies with Jacobs, Frank Crisafulli, and Ed Kleinhammer while a Northwestern doctoral student. The subject of tone projection, especially in a large ensemble setting, and regardless of dynamic level is covered in this episode, with the concept of theatrical stage make-up as an analogous situation. Bauer gave a brief history of Kleinhammer’s development of his bass trombone equipment. A series of five CSO Das Rheingold concerts, including a Carnegie Hall performance under Solti was a special memory for Bauer. He also gave his observations about pre-concert habits of some of the CSO brass players.
Legendary Chicago Brass Quintet principal trumpeter, Ross Beacraft shares with the TPTV audience his memories of studying with Arnold Jacobs. Perhaps especially of great interest to trumpeters, he describes how Jacobs helped him to play “The Call” from Zarathustra right every time.
Trombonist, Michael Becker describes his studies with Arnold Jacobs. Becker is principal trombonist of the Tucson Symphony and frequent substitute trombone with many orchestras around the world.
Michael Grose has a very difficult time giving Michael Becker his Duck Nuts.
In this 101st installment, trombonist Michael Becker expands on themes he discussed in TPTV’s very first episode. Becker had his first two lessons with Jacobs as a 13 year-old. Becker described Jacobs’ ideas about the importance of having a concept in the mind. You can refine crudity but silence cannot be refined. Technical studies are music, too. Everything you play should be musical. Exaggerate what’s on the page. Portray music rather than an athletic event when playing. The notes on the page represent sounds. Mouthpiece work. With Jacobs, embouchure wasn’t as important as was the concept and message in the mind. The meat (embouchure) will respond to the message. Mouthpiece buzzing can aid in revealing if there is unwanted tension and inconsistent air flow. Play music on the mouthpiece rather than drill forms. The lips are the vocal chords of the brass player. Be a brass singer. Conceptual inspiration may be even more important than the actual practicing of the instrument. Playing songs is a fantastic way to practice putting emotion into all of your music making. Phone lessons with Jacobs were very effective. Just hearing Jacobs’ rich, resonant tone were great lessons. Put your mind on the music not on the difficulty of a particular passage. Jacobs’ greatest lesson was that he didn’t ever tell Becker how to play a phrase, how to play musically, but Jacobs allowed Becker to find his own path toward a musical solution. Zarathustra anecdote. Putting words to the notes. Jacobs encouraged Becker to put his thoughts into the music, which got his out of the physical arena of thinking. Paralysis by analysis. Be a brass singer. The importance of teaching and how it is a benefit to one’s playing. A strength of Jacobs’ pedagogy stemmed from his great ability to determine how best to communicate with the student. Love song and its application to other solo passages. Jacobs pushed Becker to think for himself.
Colorado Springs trombonist, Sondra Bell, studied with Arnold Jacobs during 1991-92 while she was preparing for, and during her first year of doctoral study. She came away very inspired following her initial lesson with Mr. Jacobs. By the end of that first lesson Sondra was playing with much more ease than when she began. She knew then that she had to return. Mental conceptualization rather than body-part control was emphasized as well as using a better quality of air both in breathing air and blowing air. They worked on getting a great quality initial breath to be habitual. Breathe from the lips – breathing “HO”. Air is free so go ahead and waste it. Breathe as much as you want and often. Don’t be constrained by super-imposed templates of playing an entire phrase on one breath. Bell assured her that she did not have to change her embouchure, which had been an instruction from another of her teachers. Blow to the lips. Get the air out front. Be an actress. Be a story-teller of great sounds. Our job is to first be a great singer. Jacobs encouraged Bell to use her imagination much more while playing. Put vowel in your sound. “Oh”. Much of the time the consonant takes up too much space in the mouth and can limit tone quality and ease of playing. Play technical passages in legato to help get the vowel more dominant rather than the consonant. For Bell, Jacobs encouraged her to use the mouthpiece ring/rim to buzz more than the mouthpiece itself. Bell recorded her lessons and also wrote them down in note form and then revisited them multiple times.
Trumpeter Jeff Briggs gives his insight into Mr. Jacobs’ teaching. Briggs came to Jacobs very tight and bound up as a player having gone through an embouchure change at his prior college. Briggs tells how Jacobs and Cichowicz helped him through that difficulty.
Dr Bruce Briney discusses the pedagogical impact of Arnold Jacobs and Vincent Cichowicz. Dr. Briney is professor of trumpet at Western Illinois University, in Macomb.
NYC trumpeter (Broadway – “If/Then” – and Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular), Bud Burridge, never had any direct lessons with Arnold Jacobs, but he did attend a series of classes given by Jacobs one summer at Northwestern University. Burridge said that those classes were a monumental experience in re-directing his approach to playing the trumpet. Think of the sound. Relax. Use less effort. Play music. Air-flow. Breathe and blow. Keep your thoughts simple. Burridge describes memorable moments in those classes, and also how using Jacobs’ ideas helped him to get through a physical lip injury.
Bay Area tuba freelance artist, Forrest Byram shares his experiences with Arnold Jacobs. Byram began his studies in 1971 with an emphasis on developing great tone quality. Jacobs’ vocal background and belief that the “love song” was a great default concept for tone development. Jacobs would sometimes demonstrate that less effort produced more sound. “Strength is your enemy. Weakness is your friend” was an oft-heard phrase from Mr. Jacobs. Byram stressed that Jacobs was an artist, first and foremost. The Tower of TVs in the S. Normal Ave. house is a highlight story, as well as a story of the infamous Solti/CSO/Till Eulenspeigel “tutti run.” Jacobs did not believe in the concept of “warming up” but instead that period of time should have been for getting the good playing habits going. Jacobs stressed being a showman and being a performer whenever in public. Even in private, one can pretend there is an audience to play for in order to develop good habits of performing. Note grouping in round about terms was discussed. Jacobs was known as a “breath” expert, but Jacobs was more interested in music and committed to the student who was in the room with him. A look at a Holton tuba formerly owned by Jacobs is also featured in this episode.
Kansas City Symphony Executive Director, and former US Marine Band tuba section member, Frank Byrne shares his experiences with Jacobs, which began in 1974. Some early advice Byrne received was to play the mouthpiece much more, which encourages strong musical recall, using vowels that promote more air reaching the lips, as well as generally using much more air – in short, “song and wind.” He also describes the various etudes (Arbans, et al) assigned in lessons, of which, many were simple looking but difficult to “pull off” in the manner that Jacobs wanted. Jacobs’ incredibly strong example of the connection from mind to lip (“instant buzz”) is also highlighted. Imitation as a teaching/learning tool is discussed. Byrne is responsible for and producer of the two Summit Records CDs featuring Mr. Jacobs, “Portrait of an Artist” and “Legacy of an Artist”. Both discs are excellent Jacobs pedagogical and performance resources. The extremely elaborate and complex process of their coming in to being is discussed.
Tucson Symphony hornist, Shawn Campbell recalls her lessons in 1975 with Mr. Jacobs. She was in high school at the time and commuted to Chicago from her home in Detroit. She remembers Jacobs as being very welcoming and calming. He stressed with Campbell that the body knows what to do without any cognitive thought at the body’s component level. This point was made in order to stress that we want to think about the product and not the method or mechanics. Focus on what you want to sound like rather than the how to get there. Jacobs did his usual lung capacity measurement testing. Campbell was about average, but the more important thing is not what one’s capacity is but how efficiently it is used. Jacobs utilized incentive devices while working with her breathing. He wanted her to become more aware of what a quantitative breath felt like. Campbell recalls Jacobs singing along with her quite a bit while she played. Jacobs stressed singing and playing the mouthpiece and then applying both ways of thinking to her horn playing. He wanted her to begin making the connection from the singing portion of the mind to her horn playing. Jacobs told Campbell that we don’t want/need to be thinking about all of the steps in conducting ordinary physical activities. We just want to focus on the product. Avoid paralysis by analysis.
Orlando Philharmonic principal tubist and former NASA engineer, Robert Carpenter discusses his time studying with Arnold Jacobs at Northwestern University. Carpenter was initially exposed to Jacobs’ pedagogy from his tuba teacher in Orlando, Russ Ward. He had an initial lesson with Jacobs while still in high school. Having a lesson with Mr. Jacobs was like “plugging into a super-computer.” Carpenter said that Jacobs would give him subliminal messages while he was playing in the lesson. Jacobs talked to Carpenter the most about making music than he did about physical things, but some of the physical things he did mention had to do with air flow. Getting more air to the lips. In the subsequent five years of study with Jacobs, Carpenter says Jacobs talked much about vision. Having a long view of where one was going with their playing. Knowing what one was trying to say in their musical story. Jacobs never talked about how to be a great tuba player but how to be a great musician able to play interesting phrases. Note grouping in musical phrasing was discussed. Jacobs knew that Carpenter’s air capacity was below average and so Jacobs advised him how to utilize note grouping (sub or micro phrasing) in order to bring the phrase alive. Micro phrasing offers the player a potential place to breathe. Turn weaknesses into strengths. Every note you play let that teach your next note. Everything should better. Aging process. Spending time warming up. “We learned from him at a certain time in our lives. That was a time when I could do things in a certain way that maybe I cannot do in that same way now.” Jacobs was a super genius. He kept up with so much in the latest research on so many subjects. Jacobs would engage Carpenter in scientific discussions. Respiratory “S” curve. “Live in the linear region of your breath.” Jacobs mostly talked about music. Free buzzing. Jacobs advocated mouthpiece buzzing and singing, but not free buzzing. Jacobs was concerned that free buzzing wouldn’t necessarily ruin a player, but there were/are risks associated with it so just avoid it. Carpenter does do several seconds of free buzzing daily as part of his daily routine. Listen to great music. Play what you hear. Jacobs always encouraged Carpenter to have a purpose and vision when he played. “He taught me to be a great musician who plays the tuba, not how to be a good tuba player.” Carpenter described Jacobs sound up close. “It was gritty and ugly and…” He was able to copy that in a lesson much to Jacobs satisfaction. Don’t get rid of a bad habit but replace it, or over lay it with a good habit. Jacobs sound up close was akin to an actor’s stage makeup. Alex Nevsky / Fritz Reiner / Chicago Symphony. Kanstul Tuba. Carpenter (along with Tom Treece) developed the current Kanstul 5/4 York style tuba.
Brass legend, Dale Clevenger shares his memories of working with Arnold Jacobs in the Chicago Symphony. He talks about what he learned from Jake and what Jake brought to the CSO. Clevenger also recounts what it was like for him when he started with the orchestra fitting in between Herseth and Jacobs. Clevenger describes the unique quality of Jacobs’ immediate tone and its projection. Additionally, Mr. Clevenger chats about various recording companies and some of the recordings he was a part of with the CSO.
Grant Park Orchestra Principal Trombonist, Daniel Cloutier, discusses his lessons and seminars with Arnold Jacobs beginning in 1988. Cloutier was having trouble with fatigue issues in loud sustained playing, which Jacobs resolved for him in a few minutes. Dan also shared his experience sitting next to his two other teachers, Frank Crisafulli and Charles Vernon in an opportunity to sub in the CSO.
Trumpet artist and teacher, Glenda Cloutier describes what drew her to Mr. Jacobs for a lesson in the 1980s. She had heard Jacobs say things about female brass players that was an encouragement to her. During the lesson, Jacobs suspected that Glenda may have been suffering from sub-clinical asthma because she wasn’t able to blow the air out of her lungs at a rate he would have associated with a perfectly healthy person. Cloutier appreciated Jacobs’ support he gave her in the lesson and believed it to be very helpful to her psyche going forward. Glenda states that what she learned about air in that single lesson has threaded itself throughout her career as a performer and teacher. In the second segment, Cloutier discusses the need for a good inhalation to be successful as a trumpeter. Playing from fullness of air is crucial. Start from fullness rather than half-fullness (point of repose) in order to keep away from unnecessary tension.
Former hornist, Adele Condreay shares her experiences with Mr. Jacobs as an aspiring musician as well as how she uses his pedagogy in her current profession in the financial services sector. She was first drawn to Mr. Jacobs’ in 1983/84 studio following her master’s year with another teacher, which left her with playing difficulties. Jacobs put her together as both a person and a player. She was initially very locked up as a player and a person so Jacobs spent a lot of time having her talk, sing, and buzz the mouthpiece. He helped her to re-establish a relaxed approach by avoiding the horn altogether and developing new habits which she then was able to apply to the horn. Jacobs had her spend much time conceptualizing what she wanted to sound like. It was a year of this “back to basics” focus before she was able to do have some success on the horn. She did have immediate results in each lesson, it was just during the intervening periods of time where the results would fade. Over time, though, the improvements began to become more consistent, and took hold. Jacobs continued to help Condreay to focus her thoughts on the product, to imagine excellence and then copy. Exaggerate just enough. Jacobs taught her how to economize on her air supply. He would help her to go further into her imagination as her level of embouchure discomfort increased in the lesson. Singing. Imitation. Hear vocalists in the thoughts and copy them. She discussed her role as an organizational effectiveness consultant and how Arnold Jacobs’ pedagogy has guided her in the financial services sector. Systems theory. All parts are inter-connected. Product over process. She believes that Jacobs’ principles are timeless and are applicable to all settings in life. The brain works on percentages. The more you do it the better you get. Arnold Jacobs was different with every student because each student had different needs. The same factor is relevant in organizational effectiveness. Patch Adams analogy. Context is key. Did you hit all of the right notes?
Jacobs taught us beyond the “four fingers”, beyond the bottom line. He taught beyond the “check boxes” and encouraged us to look to the intangibles. Jacobs taught context, which encompassed the “four fingers” and “check boxes”, but went beyond those tangible items and into the creatively intangible realm.
Beginning in 1967 legendary tubist, Floyd Cooley began his 31-year association with Arnold Jacobs. Mr. Cooley describes his initial lesson encounters with Jacobs; double vibrations, a more balanced ratio of air-flow to air pressure were on the docket. He said Jacobs quickly identified him as an “F tuba player” and worked with Cooley to approach the CC tuba more from the contrabass side and less like a bass tuba. Cooley illustrated the good fortune he had of having the opportunity to observe 75 lessons of other Jacobs students. Mr. Cooley talked about a class he teaches, teaching students to teach, and how he was influenced by Jacobs to do so. Cooley remarked that students want to study with performers not music educators, so teaching performers to be effective teachers is important. Floyd also shared a few choice remembrances of Bud Herseth.
Retired Indianapolis Symphony Principal Tubist, Daniel Corrigan, shares some memories of his time spent in Chicago as a student studying with Arnold Jacobs (beginning in 1951), as well as his performing experiences with the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner.
In part one, Canadian Brass co-founder and tubist, Chuck Daellenbach, describes his first encounter with Arnold Jacobs in 1962 at the Gunnison, Colorado Music Camp. His studies continued while in college even though he was enrolled at Eastman as a student of Donald Knaub. Completing his 44th season with Canadian Brass, Chuck talks about what he learned from Jacobs that has allowed him to enjoy such a extensive and successful career. Daellenbach also shared a story about a time when Canadian Brass took a group lesson with Jacobs. Also, just the act of a phone conversation with Jacobs was terrifically encouraging and helpful just to hear Jacobs’ voice but to also get a quick consult. Daellenbch also points out that Jacobs taught a specific curriculum to the student in front of him at the moment, sharing information and ideas specific to that person. Daellenbach also discusses the great motivational aspects of Jacobs’ teaching, and the courage he gave the student to take their own talents and share with others through the music. Through the activity of running (building up an oxygen deprivation), Daellenbach, in a Canadian Brass master class video, demonstrates a great breath through normal activities rather than developing what is so often an “affected” breath for use in music. Buzzing and staying relaxed is also discussed.
In part two, Canadian Brass co-founder and tubist, Chuck Daellenbach, describes several stories centered on Mr. Jacobs’ South Normal Avenue house, where Daellenbach took his lessons. He shares his observations of Jacobs as a teacher of non-tubist musicians. Embouchure, how important is it to focus on it? Jacobs’ mouthpiece buzzing tone was greatly admired by Daellenbach. Over the four and a half decades of traveling the world with Canadian Brass, Chuck gave his opinion on Jacobs’ global effect on altering the course of brass playing. Stories about the CSO Brass Quintet when Renold Schilke was a member are shared. Gene Watts’ and Fred Mills’ experiences as employees at the Schilke factory are conveyed by Daellenbach. The story about the origin of the famous 1978 Schilke gold-plated Canadian Brass instruments is told. Chuck talks about the development of the Canadian Brass Arnold Jacobs mouthpiece, and the (very brief) direct-to-disc technology that Canadian Brass utilized to record Bach’s Toccata and Fugue. Time is spent talking about brass repertoire, and the amazing brass talent pool that is currently available.
Indianapolis Symphony principal French hornist, Rob Danforth talks about his period of study with Arnold Jacobs.
Victoria, B.C. tubist, Eugene Dowling describes what drew him to study with Arnold Jacobs: “That sound.” Dowling’s initial lesson took place at the same time as Neal Armstrong’s first walk on the moon, which meant Jacob’s attention was both on Dowling and the astronaut. Dowling talks about how Jacobs would effect positive change in the student through the introduction of “strangeness” via gadgets, and meters, and Christmas tree lights, etc. Mouthpiece buzzing was something that Jacobs focused on with Dowling, as well as taking in more air and then using it. Jacobs often preferred using the York CC tuba in repertoire that is today often played on a bass tuba. Jacobs encouraged Dowling to let the lower notes teach the upper notes. Bring the concepts from lower notes and apply them to middle and upper notes. The human ear is drawn to extremes of range – low or high – but not so much in the middle range. Richard Ely. The tape recorder in the mind. The tuba in the hands should be a reflection of the tuba in the mind. Re-telling of the Dee Stewart Summit Brass mouthpiece buzzing story. Jacobs had many students from around the world coming to his studio. Jacobs was very thoughtful in his approach with his students. Jacobs realized that he was the only one in the world who had all of the combination of information (world-class musician with a medical doctor’s knowledge of human beings), so he would give thought as to whether or not his teaching was going in the right direction. Hearing the note/pitch a split-second prior to playing it on the tuba. Use your ear to help get all of the notes right on the instrument. Sofeggio. Early on Jacobs would have Dowling buzz not only melodies but drill forms. But Jacobs would also establish and develop the use of imagination via buzzing in very stylistic convincing ways. Tuba players need to play more melodies than drills to learn to “accompany in excellence.” Jacobs’ main goal was to create the artist. The mouthpiece and horn were merely ways to get there. Dowling tells the story of the 1973 International Tuba Symposium about how Jacobs dazzled people with his sheer musicianship and artistry. Jacobs was always working on a recital, though he didn’t give them very often. Jacobs knew that he needed the challenge of more sophisticated music if he was to keep developing his artistry. He told his tuba students, limited challenges of accompanimental parts lead to a limited musician. Dowling had the opportunity to play the 2nd tuba part in Rite of Spring with Jacobs. One particular low A demonstration by Jacobs grabbed the attention of the CSO at a Ravinia rehearsal. Strength is an enemy. Weakness is a friend. Dowling describes his time studies with Leonard Falcone. Roestta, Italy was the home of Falcone and Mr. Jacobs’ teacher at Curtis, Phillip Donatelli. Dowling said Jacobs was well trained and fearless, likely from his extensive time with Fritz Reiner at Curtis and in the Chicago Symphony.
Indiana University Professor of Trombone, Peter Ellefson discusses the pedagogical influence of Arnold Jacobs, in general, and in regard to his own lesson experiences with Jacobs. “Jacobs was as efficient with his words as he was with his playing.” Jacobs was able to zero in on the main issue in Ellefson’s playing right away – segmentation/double vibration. Jacobs told Ellefson that he was protecting his high register. Jacobs gave him a series of studies to practice which helped reverse this by encouraging the “lower notes to teach the upper notes.” By implementing Jacobs’ recommendations the segmentation went away. Discussion ensued of Ellefson’s series of teachers beginning with his father, who was also his high school band director, Warren Baker at Linfield College, Frank Crisafulli at Northwestern, Joseph Alessi in 1986 at Ravinia, but then in earnest in 1999 at the first Alessi Seminar. Public school teacher, doctoral studies at IU with Dee Stewart, and the Seattle Symphony were in the interim. Ellefson gives advice to younger players coming up, and pays tribute to Dee Stewart, Carl Lenthe, Dale Clevenger, and Dan Perantoni. “Work effort does not necessarily equal decibels.”
Retired New Orleans bass trombonist, Richard Erb began studies with Arnold Jacobs in 1967 and continued for several decades taking his final lesson in 1996. He was referred to Jacobs by his New Orleans Symphony tuba colleague, Ross Tolbert. Erb said he owes whatever success he had in his career to Mr. Jacobs. His first set of lessons with Jacobs taught him that what he had learned from his prior teachers was physically incorrect, based in pedagogical “parroting” tradition rather than in how the body and mind actually works. Jacobs understood that playing is two-fold – 1) It is a craft, and 2) an art. Craft is related to the relationship between the body and the instrument (“machine”), while art is in the conceptual arena of one’s thoughts. Erb discusses the prevailing 19th century brass pedagogy which was in vogue when he was a student, prior to his studies with Jacobs. The difference between opposing force muscle versus sphincter muscles. Strength is your enemy, weakness is your friend. Rigidity of the breathing apparatus is your enemy, while mobility of same is your friend. Nerve connections in the abdominal cavity, Valsalva maneuver is discussed. Bearing down is voluntary, but stopping that bearing down or release is not so easily controlled. Remington warm-up. Within his first few lessons with Jacobs the bearing down habit had been replaced with a new (better) habit. Jacobs explained the nature of atmospheric pressure in the room and atmospheric pressure inside the body/lungs could be the same. Keep the airway open. Jacobs taught that attack/articulation on a brass instrument is caused by a rhythmic beginning of air. Air flow in a specific point in time, whereas other teachers would describe an attack as an event that the tongue initiates, and that if you want to be “on time” you have to tongue on time. This is demonstrably not true. What you hear is not the noise made by the tongue but the air connecting to the lips. “Do it all wrong, but just sound great, I don’t care.” – Jacobs. Erb said that Jacobs attributed great players who did it “wrong” to their great conceptual imagery. In the end, to Jacobs it didn’t matter how you did it so long as you sounded great. If the student wasn’t sounding great then Jacobs would begin investigating what should/could be corrected. Erb commented on how Jacobs mentioned how he would approach Erb’s curriculum differently if he were a weekly student – it would have involved very few gadgets and been focused on singing and musically focused thoughts. Erb talked about how Jacobs modified Erb’s embouchure without Erb even being aware of it. Erb encountered an issue about three weeks after and Jacobs fixed the problem without Erb knowing specifically what Jacobs had done other than he knew that he was presented with a musical challenge to get back on track. As you learn the music you’ll learn the instrument, but the opposite is not always true. Poor practice habits won’t make you better the more you do them. You’ll only get worse. You should only play as long as you can hear it. A brass instrument is not a piano or violin. One should hear the sound in the mind while playing. Erb gave up his six hour daily practice routine in favor of less time but more mentally involved and focused. The brain works on percentages. Bad habits cannot be broken, only replaced with better ones. The human mind doesn’t see in negative – “don’t smoke” “don’t touch that”. Jacobs’ teaching style changed in terms of his adaptation to the people in the room with him. He was able to communicate with the continuing new generations of students who sought him out. His research was done earlier in his life. Anatomy is what it is, so the information wasn’t necessarily new or evolved, but the style in which the info was delivered evolved with the student in his studio. Medical jargon use is discussed. The art never was replaced by the craft. The opposite. The music will always make you play. You can’t be the student and the teacher at the same time. The 19th Century voice pedagogy misapplication on brass players. Jacobs dragged brass pedagogy into the 20th century. Fergus McWilliam book, Blow Your Horn. Gregory Irvine book, Arnold Jacobs’ Legacy: Sound Advice for Developing Brass Players. Philip Catelinet, for whom the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto was written, and who was one of Erb’s earlier teachers. Discussion of Jacobs’ use of music to address issues in Erb’s playing.
Alabama Symphony Principal Trombonist, Jay Evans discusses his studies with Arnold Jacobs. Jacobs by-passed the usual lung measurements and went right to work with Evans and focusing on his thinking, working with his mind. Jacobs did much conceptual suggestions in order to get Evans to become more relaxed and get into the style of the music. Jacobs was able to get Evans to think about what he was trying to accomplish conceptually. Jacobs encouraged Evans to pair words with notes in the music he was playing to get his thoughts off of the mechanics and put them on the music itself. Singing the words in the mind while playing the trombone. Jacobs knew using words would help to bring Evans’ focus back to the music and leave less room for nerves to take over during pressure settings. Evans also described the Tabuteau “number system” that Jacobs discussed in his lessons. The music style should determine your breath. Evans talks about his one lesson with Edward Kleinhammer.
David Fedderly shares his insights into the Marcel Tabuteau sub-phrasing system, Mr. Jacobs’ pedagogical evolution, as well as his first impressions of Mr. Jacobs’ sound.
Chicago Chamber Brass founder and tubist, Richard Frazier, shares how the clarinetist, Ralph Wilder recommended Frazier study with Arnold Jacobs. Tone development was a subject of his initial set of lessons. To control articulation use established patterns of speech. “Use a tiny tongue” and “Spring-load your playing for the openness of the vowel rather than the closing of the consonant” were memorable “Jakeisms” for Frazier. “If you try to control the tongue it will become an unruly beast” and “Dominance of your thoughts through the art form of music” left Richard feeling happy upon hearing Jacobs say those phrases. Generosity, elegance of speech, manners, and character were hallmarks of Jacobs’ personality, as recalled by Frazier. Jacobs was interested in his students as people. Frazier shared a private moment about Jacobs foretelling his death. Jacobs’ desire to have 90% of the mental focus to be on the song aspect of playing and 10% on the wind (breath) was mentioned. Phrasing (sub or micro) based upon Jacobs’ studies with Marcel Tabuteau at Curtis is discussed at length. Brass pedagogy based upon individual experience versus the Jacobs approach, which was centered on the facts of human physiology and physchology is covered in this episode. Jacobs advocated for a music school curriculum to include acting and solfeggio. Frazier said that Jacobs’ teaching success was based in getting the student to find and focus on simplicity – song & wind. Free buzzing, tonguing, emphasis on vowel over consonant are all considered by Frazier. References to the motion picture The Music Man lead character, Professor Harold Hill’s “Think System” is mentioned.
Arnold Jacobs student, historian, author, and all-things Jacobs curator, Brian Frederiksen describes his studies with, and assistance to Mr. Jacobs. Frederiksen was Jake’s assistant during the annual Northwestern University summer session master classes, as well as classes “off-campus” (e.g. University of Oregon, Florida State University, etc.).
Henry Fogel, retired President of the Chicago Symphony and current Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, discusses his observations of the “Chicago Sound” and the contributions to it that Arnold Jacobs and Adolph Herseth made.
Jay Friedman, CSO principal trombonist, talks about his 25 years of collaboration with Arnold Jacobs in the Chicago Symphony, as well as the development of the “Chicago Brass” sound.