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Inside John Haynie.s Studio: A Master Teacher.s Lessons on Trumpet and Life is a wonderful collectionof essays on a variety of topics such as embouchure,breathing, tonguing, fingering, musicianship, intonation,equipment, habits, and mental discipline. Aset of autobiographical essays takes you throughHaynie.s life from his musical beginnings as a childprodigy on the cornet to his establishing the Universityof North Texas as a
center of trumpet excellence.Each essay is preceded by a set of vignettes collectedfrom over a hundred former students, many of whom are well known teachers and performers themselves, asthey remember how a particular technique was taughtand how Haynie.s teaching methods worked for them. For more information or to order a copy please visit the University of North Texas Press

 

All-State Bands and Contests
 

            In 1937, I attended my first All-State band clinic in Fort Worth. The guest conductor for the All-State Band in 1937 was Mark Hindsley from the University of Illinois. It was beyond my imagination to ever think he would later become my father-in-law.

            In those days the All-State bands were made up of students their band directors brought to the Texas State Band Directors Convention. I sat where Mr. Maddox told me to sit, usually starting out on the 3rd parts. Conductors moved us around without challenges or formal auditions. The year the convention was in Mineral Wells, auditions were held after we got there, and it was a three-way tie: Jennings McLean, Fay Moser, and me. Would you have guessed that Jennings was a girl? She and Fay were both terrific and much better than I. Since the All-State bands were used to acquaint band directors with literature for contest consideration, it was decided that the first chair player would change according to the band’s classification and the music we were playing. So, for Class A band compositions, Fay Moser was first chair cornet. For Class B compositions, I sat first chair. And for Class C band pieces, Jennings McLean sat at the top. When we changed seats, it was done with great drama.

            I participated in numerous contests during my public school years. A “National Contest,” in which one winner was declared, had existed for years. But when I participated, the National Contests were regional, and divisional ratings were awarded. Regionals were held in February and March; Nationals were held in April or May. One must receive a First Division rating at the Regional level to perform at the National Contest.

            I do not have any memory of that first 1936 contest when I was eleven years old. The unsigned rating sheet indicates a grade of 94% and a “one” rating. I do remember that the solo Mr. Maddox picked for me was Morning Glory Polka by H. A. VanderCook. At a band camp the following summer, I even had a lesson with Mr. VanderCook on his solo. Judge Ralph Smith wrote on my comment sheet: “Fine player, could play more difficult number. Keep the good tone going.”

            Even though Mr. Smith thought I could play something harder, my “one” allowed me to advance to the National Competition. It was held in Oklahoma City in 1937. The judge? None other than Dr. William D. Revelli. (I had the opportunity to show him his rating sheet of my performance of VanderCook’s Morning Glory Polka many years later.) Revelli was quite a personality. He rated my performance as a Division II and wrote, “The tone is sweet and solid, the delivery quite good. Avoid running out of breath at the end of the phrase. Breath control is your big job. When making a crescendo on rapid passages reduce the weight of the tongue. Your tongue is too heavy in those passages. Hold still with your lips between rests. Take more breath and be more consumptive with it. A fine beginning. Outstanding strong points: tone quality, style, phrasing, an excellent teacher. Outstanding weak points: breath control and tonguing. Memory.” [Signed] Wm D. Revelli

            The next year, 1938, Colonel Irons judged my National performance in Abilene, and he awarded me a Division 2+ rating. I played Llewellyn’s Premier Polka. Again, my choice of music was not good. The Colonel wrote, “Triple tonguing is hard to perfect. Work and keep working. Get all kinds of lip slurs for daily practice, ten to twenty minutes each day. You just almost made first division. I believe with a better solo you could do it. Outstanding strong points: technique.” [Signed] Earl D. Irons.

            You’d better believe that the next year, when I was an 8th grader, I took no chances with my music selection. I chose Bride of the Waves by Herbert L. Clarke, and I even wrote to Mr. Clarke asking if there were any special things to watch out for. Maybe that was an unusual letter for an 8th grader to write to someone so famous. I’ll never know. But Mr. Clarke answered my letter: “There is no set tempo for a cornet solo, as the player should feel that he is declaiming a story to his audience through the cornet. A polka is like a march; not too slow or fast. Learn the solo perfectly, then play it in a virtuoso manner, with brilliancy.”

            Colonel Irons was my judge again at this National Contest, and this time he awarded me a First Division. He listed tone and tonguing as outstanding strong points. He specifically noted the absence of any “outstanding bad points” by writing the word “Missing” in that section.

            In 1940, the Nationals were in Waco. I played Colonel Irons’s Emerald Isle. My score sheet was positive but I still couldn’t shake the criticism about my style. Judge R. B. Watson wrote, “Your cadenza was a little hurried in places. The notes do not all come through. Someone has taught you to play the andante frame with less style. The polka strain is done a bit fast to give it the musical value it is entitled to. The trio strain seems a bit hurried. Congratulations on the splendid recovery after missing your high ‘F’.” [Signed] R. B. Watson. Missing that high F was of more concern to me than playing andante with less style!

            By my junior year in high school, I seemed to have hit my stride. My performance of Clarke’s Shores of the Mighty Pacific earned me a Division I and these comments from judge Winston Lynes: “A very artistic performance. A very brilliant start and very tasteful playing. Your technique is very, very good.”

            In many ways, the best was yet to come. Mr. Maddox, my band director, bought a recording of Leonard B. Smith playing Spanish Caprice and My Heaven of Love. I wore the record out. The solo was not on the Texas Contest List, but Mr. Maddox got special permission for me to play it. Mr. Maddox did everything in his power (and sometimes out of his power!) to challenge me to the highest level I could achieve. It was a testament to his encouragement that of my final performance, Mr. Weldon Covington wrote only “Very fine” and the rating 1+. I felt like I’d proven that Mr. Maddox’s faith in me was justified, because none of this ever would have happened if it hadn’t been for him.

 

Contests

 

Year

Location

Judge

Solo

Score

1936

Prelims

Abilene

 

(unknown)

Morning Glory Polka

I

1937

Regional

Lubbock

Ralph Smith

Ralph Smith

Morning Glory Polka

My Buddy (duet)

I

I

1937

National

Okla City

Wm. D. Revelli

Morning Glory Polka

II

1938

Regional

Abilene

(unknown)

D. O. Wiley

Premier Polka

When You and I Were Young (sextet)

I

I

1938

National

Abilene

Earl D. Irons

(unknown)

Premier Polka

When You and I Were Young (sextet)

II+

I

1939

Regional

Abilene

Dean Shank

Bride of the Waves

I+

1939

National

Abilene

Earl D. Irons

 

Bride of the Waves

I

1940

Regional

Waco

(unknown)

C. R. Hackney

Emerald Isle

Sails on a Silvery Sea (trio)

I

I

1940

National

Waco

R. B. Watson

Lewis Moffatt

Emerald Isle

Sails on a Silvery Sea (trio)

I

II+

1941

Regional

Waco

(unknown)

(unknown)

Shores of the Mighty Pacific

Crusaders (student conductor)

I

I+

1941

National

Waco

W. E. Lynes

Shores of the Mighty Pacific

I

1942

Regional

Marlin

Weldon Covington (both)

Spanish Caprice

Annie Laurie a la Moderne

I+

I

1942

No National Contest held

 
 
I wrote to Mr. Clarke a second time to give him the results of the National Contest and to thank him for his help. His “lesson in a letter” helped me earn my first division rating. The more important lesson I learned had nothing to do with my rating or winning another medal. It was that if someday I became world famous as he predicted, I should never fail to help someone who might take the time to write me a letter asking for advice.
John Haynie
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