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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Charles Lazarus

The Brass Junkies Episode 54: Charles Lazarus of the Minnesota Orchestra

Andrew Hitz

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Charles Lazarus is one of the most crazy talented musicians I've ever worked with. Classical, jazz, pop. The guy can do it all. And not just kind of do it. It's really impressive what he does.

This episode ranges from talking about the very painful lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra from just a couple of years ago to some fun Dallas Brass road stories.

Episode Description:

"Charles Lazarus, 4th/utility trumpet in the Minnesota Orchestra joins Andrew & Lance in an interview to discuss everything from producing concerts to Gestalt dream analysis. Charles has grown beyond the typical role of orchestra member to someone who produces concerts for the orchestra on a regular basis. We talk about the long and painful lockout experienced by the Minnesota Orchestra, the ideas of Michael Kiser, and (believe it or not) Esquivel. Charles also explains the importance of clarifying your goals, and the importance of tenacity, access and influence. 

Additionally, we hear some legendary stories from Charles’ time in Dallas Brass including a standoff with the cops and a story about 'The Nub.'"

Links:
Charles' website
Charles' Minnesota Orchestra bio page
New album! Lovejoy

Want to help the show? Take a minute to leave us a rating and a review on iTunes.

We are proud to announce we have a new sponsor for the The Brass Junkies! The Brass Area of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh PA is our new partner (and Lance has been teaching euphonium there since 2000). If you are interested in learning more about the program, visit the site HERE!

You can help offset the costs of producing the show by making a small donation at https://www.patreon.com/thebrassjunkies. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Last but not least, we are now on Instagram! Follow us at instagram.com/pray4jens/ TODAY!

Produced by Joey Santillo

Charles Lazarus Master Class Quotes (Part 3 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Here is the final installment of the wonderful Charles Lazarus trumpet master class at the National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University this past March.  I always love going to the NTC master classes and this was one of the best I've ever seen.

In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2 of the quotes from his class.  So many nuggets of wisdom!

 

  • Minnesota Timberwolves physical trainer: "It takes 10,000 repetitions for someone to learn how to swing a golf club or shoot a basketball. But if you are trying to relearn something the right way, double that."
     
  • "Slow, methodical practice. You can slow things down. You can add a note at a time. You can play an entire phrase and slowly take one note away at a time. You can change the rhythm."
     
  • "There are eight aspects of practicing: high, low, loud, soft, fast, slow, articulate, slur."
     
  • "There are three ways to play them: through the range, interal studies, isolate the ranges."

     
  •  "I’ve started writing a practice book 20 times but then realize that everyone’s needs are going to be different.  It’s just important that you touch all the bases every day."
     
  • "I’m a big fan of short practice sessions, often."
     
  • "Adolph Herseth told me he never practices more than 30 minutes at a time."
     
  • "It is better to practice 15 minutes, 4 times a day than playing for one hour straight. Then you have to wait 23 hours until you play again and there is a lot of muscle memory."
     
  • "Joey Tartell can play quadruple high Q’s but still get a great sound on the Haydn."
     
  • "I recommend that you practice with straight tone.  Add vibrato later for musical reasons."
     
  • "If you’re phrasing, you can’t really fail. You can miss a note but people won’t really care."
     
  • "You can tell by how I’m playing that E that it’s going to go somewhere."
     
  • "You don’t need to open up so much to play the low notes. I think of my embouchure as adjusting to stay the same."
     
  • (After playing call and response with student on one lick in time) "That one was statement/statement. The first ones were statement/question statement/question."
     
  • "For most of my range, I try to stay set. I don’t stay completely set but I don’t over adjust."
     
  • "I like to sometimes think of the (previous) note as the beginning of the inhale."
     
  • "You played the G like you were testing the note. There’s no testing."
     
  • "(Instead of a metronome) I like to practice with the shakers on Garage Band."
     
  • "Internalizing the rhythm is the hardest thing for playing orchestral excerpts by yourself."
     
  • "In soft lyrical playing, people frequently don’t articulate enough."
     
  • "Playing trumpet you want to be fluid and sometimes we can get position oriented."

Charles Lazarus Master Class Quotes (Part 2 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Here is part two of quotes from the wonderful master class that trumpet great Charles Lazarus gave at the National Trumpet Competition this year.  In case you missed it, here's part one.  I can't believe how much I learned from this class.  I'm awfully happy that I braved all those trumpet players! I'll post part three on Friday.

  • "As basic human beings, we react to rhythm. Rhythm is a very primal and fundamental thing that humans react to."
     
  • "Rhythm gives you the framework to coordinate all of the physical things that have to happen in synchronicity when playing the trumpet."
     
  • "Rhythm, more than anything else when you’re playing, dramatically affects your physical coordination."
     
  • "Most missed notes are early.  Some are late, very few missed notes are on time."
     
  • "I subdivide everything I play, all of the time if I’m playing well.  If you hear me kack, I probably am not subdividing."
     
  • "Why did I biff the E? Because I wasn’t subdividing and I tried to play the E before it was time."
     
  • "Heldenleiben duh duh-duh splee-ah  - the splee would be before the downbeat."
     
  • "Every single day you should play with a metronome, especially in your warm-up."
     
  • "Play with a metronome every single day and then turn it off. Learn to internalize it."
     
  • "If you are a jazz player and you can’t tap your foot on 2 and 4, that’s a problem."
     
  • "I ask myself three questions if the sound is terrible and the feel is terrible: 1. How did it sound? What do I want it to sound like? 2. Am I phrasing? Am I taking in air and phrasing with that? 3. How is my time?"
     
  • "I’ve found that if those three questions are addressed, any technical problem can be solved."
     
  • "Don’t worry about aligning your wheels if your engine won’t start."
     
  • "You need to address those three questions before you go looking for the magic mouthpiece. You have to have your priorities straight."

 

Charles Lazarus Master Class Quotes (Part 1 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

I had the privilege of attending a wonderful master class by trumpeter Charles Lazarus at this year's National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University.  Charles is one of the best musicians I've ever met.  He can play not just well in a frustrating number of diverse styles but amazingly well in said styles.

His diversity is legendary.  If you were to hear him play a baroque trumpet solo, you would assume he does it full-time for a living.  If you were to hear him play with a brass quintet, you would assume he did that for a living.  Same with him playing with the Minnesota Orchestra or playing as a solo jazz player.  Really, he'll either drive you mad or to the practice room.  One or the other!

I had heard he was a great teacher but had never had the opportunity to see him in action until this master class.  I came away with enough quotes to share in a one hour master class that they are being split into three separate posts.  Some of them resonated with me to the point of being shared in almost every lesson I taught the following week after spring break.  I hope you enjoy these great Lazarus quotes as much as I have.

  • "No matter what you play, Body and Soul or Mahler 5, people only hear the sound that comes out of your bell."
     
  • "If your focus is on your sound, you will get to your end result faster."
     
  • "If you give a beginner a tone to try to match, they will sit up straight and their sound will get better."
     
  • "Technique is the ability to control your sound on any given note. At any given dynamic, 100% of the time. It is very easy to forget that when you're working on a lick."
     
  • Doc Severinsen: "I spent days and days and days trying to imagine the sound I’m trying to achieve.  I came up with my ideal sound and then I go for that."
     
  • "Not to say there’s not a physical side (to playing), but you have to know what your goal is."
     
  • "Rather than air support I like to think of tone support."
     
  • "I like to think of breathing as phrasing.  If you keep the air moving, your lips will vibrate."
     
  • "If you take in a full breath, there is some natural compression."
     
  • "If I want to get a fuller sound, I actually back off."
     
  • "When I talk to you, there are certain words that I emphasize. It is the same with phrasing."
     
  • "When you phrase, the sound and style will make sense to people."
     
  • "Our lips are like the string and our air is like the bow."
     
  • "If you’re phrasing with your air, you are going to take in enough air and you are going to keep it moving."
     
  • "If your chops are feeling stiff, keep the phrasing and the air moving."

 

Excellent Definition of Technique by a Master

Andrew Hitz

"Technique is the ability to control your sound on any given note, at any given dynamic, 100% of the time." - Charles Lazarus

Considering the tone that comes out of the end of Charles Lazarus' bell, it is not surprising that he nails this directly on the head.

The most important thing to do when working on your high register: play with your most beautiful sound possible.  The most important thing to do when working on your multiple tonguing: play with your most beautiful sound possible.  The most important thing to do when working on extreme dynamics: play with your most beautiful sound possible.

I think you get the point.  If you want to play the trumpet like Charles does (or any other instrument), this is some of the best advice you will ever receive.

---------

This quote is from Charles Lazarus' master class at the National Trumpet Competition this past March.  I will be posting a full list of quotes from his excellent class later this week.  It was one of the best I've attended in a long time.