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At the time when Ivan was teaching me, I was struggling with double-tonguing for both a marching band piece and a fast section of the trumpet solo “Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary”. I was working on the solo for the NYSSMA solo festival and from his personal experience in the solo festivals, he was able to give me some valuable advice. I wasn’t confident in my playing, and he gave me confidence. He showed me how to improve my posture and trumpet position, which basically helped every aspect of my playing. Double tonguing was tough, and I was a stubborn learner, but he stuck with me until I was able to play the pieces to his satisfaction. He gave me advice of how to practice it constantly so that I could do it easily when I WAS playing - he regaled me with stories of how he would walk home making the double and triple tonguing motions in his mouth without the trumpet or mouthpiece, keeping the time with his steps. I did the same, and it became easier to double-tongue. Double-tonguing (and triple tonguing) was one of the hardest things I’ve learned on the trumpet, and Ivan made it so much easier. And while Ivan was my tutor outside of my high school, I learned to double-tongue faster than the rest of my peers in my high school band, so it really helped me when we were playing a fast piece. The tips and advice he gave me didn’t just help me with certain pieces, either. While I was receiving conventional beginner’s education from my high school on how to correctly hold a trumpet, Ivan told me the most efficient way to do so - the hand position he taught me was a more natural position for my hand and allowed me to play the keys faster and less awkwardly than the way that all of my other classmates had been taught. If you know Ivan as a friend, you’ll know he’s both firm and encouraging as well as compassionate and understanding.This is evident in his teaching, as well as his knowledge that confidence is key, which he encourages.
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