Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Ripple Effect

Here's something I like to mention to my secondary trombone classes...

Let's say such a class has 10 students. If each student has a career as a band director, let's guess that each year they will encounter roughly 40 new students. Over a career of, say 30 years, each student will directly impact the lives of 1,200 people.

Multiply that by the 10 students in the class and I would guess that what I teach a single secondary trombone class might impact the lives of 12,000 people.

(Not to mention the small percentage of those 12,000 people who, in turn, might do some teaching of their own.)

So, if I teach something dumb like: "Mouthpiece pressure isn't important. Don't worry about it."
Think of how that one bad idea ripples outward over time.

(no, I don't teach that)

Of course, I hope I can pass along something good.

Here's one example which I picked up at en ETW masterclass given by Randy Campora, bass trombonist of the Baltimore Symphony.

Think of the corners of your embouchure as the flagpole, anchored in cement.
Think of your lips as the flag, blowing in the breeze.

I don't know if this was original with Randy but that's where I got it. In other words, the ripple passed from him to me. I include this in my handouts to my secondary trombone classes and sometimes even include it as a quiz question. Rarely do any students miss it.

So, if I teach this class for 20 years, this one idea could conceivably impact 240,000 people.

And now the ripple has passed through me to you....