WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks embouchure and aperture questions Reply To: embouchure and aperture questions

Greg Spence

Hi Howard, welcome to WindWorks and thanks for posting.

I am not sure how familiar you are with me and my material but I have had a LOT to say about some particular CG “certified” teachers, not all, just some. They were telling their students (I know many of these students now 😊) telling them NOT to look at my material. I am sorry but that is simply disgusting and anti-teaching! #rantover

I must say up front that the CG approach was life changing for me however I was left with some questions so I broadened my research and found some very interest information, hence this course. I suspect you might have the same questions?!

How much of the buzzing are you doing? It should be a very small part of the routine and thus will not have a negative effect on your playing.

In general, when doing the PROCESS driven work here, you are not going to sound good at first. As I am emphasising more and more and more, you are developing new sensations (feelings) and a new psychology (understanding of the system). “Trying” to sound good will create manipulation.

1. Have you watched the Leadpipe-SHAPE video? I suggest to check it out again. Believe it or not, the “oooh” is a very complex little exercise.

The idea is that you discover your APERTURE corners, the corners of the black bit, the opening between the lips, NOT the corners of the lips and mouth. I would guess that over 50% of people are still misunderstanding this.

When doing this with the fingers (or preferably visualiser) you are discovering the open feeling we want to carry through to all of our playing. When adding the leadpipe, is there a buzz? Is it sympathetic or synthetic (meaning artificial, manipulated). It doesn’t matter if there is no sound, embrace the feeling over and over and over and over etc. etc. etc.

As I say in the video, do I play all notes at all registers like this??? No, but it’s a great place to start. SHAPE must change as you ascend but you need to keep in mind the aperture corners and the feeling of the Body’s Concert Hall (BCH).

So to the answer your question, it is definitely not just a pre-playing exercise, it is how you play but it changes as you ascend in range. Take is slowly and discover these changes.

2. This is a wonderful question as it highlights the awareness of what’s going on. Your aperture corners are already changing if you are doing the harmonic slurs. It is impossible to change pitch without the aperture corners changing. The tongue is also moving; it has to.

Some people do not recognise tongue movement, some people do not recognise aperture corner movement but if the feeling of playing is free, then lips and tongue are working in synchronicity. When you put your attention to “using” the aperture corners, you immediately over engaged thus making playing more difficult. I want draw your attention to that fact that both the tongue and lips both change but need to be in balance.

Your timing of this question couldn’t be better. I am filming a video on exactly this for the Ultimate Level today. Why do I leave it so long? This issue of tongue position is not that important compared to other concepts until we get into the upper register. To put it simply, like I do in the video “the lips choose the note/pitch/overtone, the tongue makes it sound nice”.

Relying on tongue position alone to play higher generally causes confusion and failed attempts. The thought that the air is going faster over an arched tongue when playing higher notes is scientifically flawed hence the confusion of many CG students. Adding an “awareness” of what is happening at the aperture corners will unlock a lot of confusion.

3. How hard are you pushing the fingers onto the lips? It must be very light. If the lips are not vibrating, they are too tight in the middle. That’s OK, that’s what we’re here to discover.

Close your eyes, hum a note then replicate the air pressure used when humming behind the lips when doing this exercise. You may notice you are forcing the air to try and make the lips vibrate, that is not the way to go. BACK OFF the air. The vibration happens further back on the inside of the lip tissue than you might be used to. Don’t panic with this, just stick to pure process and as you let go of the grip in the lips, an oscillation will start.

Sorry for the LOOOOONG post but it all very important. Make sure you watch all of the Largo Videos in order, it will all make more sense after this.