bo.lundquist– I could be mistaken, but my understanding is that we should support with our abdominals as we get into the upper register, we shouldn’t use minimal pressure. We shouldn’t kick / blow with air to hit a note, but I believe we should be using steady or even increasing lower abdominal support of the air as we ascend. I stopped using air support / focusing on air as much and wound up losing the good sensations I had and the ease I was having ascending into the upper register to the point that playing felt weird, like never before, and my lips buzzed when playing on the mouthpiece without trying. And, as a result (I think), my lips felt stiff like the original post stated–perhaps that was their problem as well, perhaps not over-blowing but having the lips too close together / pinching them a little to the point that they buzz in the low / mid register.
I’m starting to come out of that funk today, finally, and what’s been helping me is to check every so often by playing low C or 1st line G on the staff and pulling the horn away from the mouthpiece to make sure there’s no buzz, as well as playing on the leadpipe–that seems to help my lips and has helped me get my range back. My tone is finally getting back to normal and the sensation of playing is improving. I did have a weird sensation that my mouthpiece was too small since coming back from a vacation on Sunday; air was escaping around the sides of my embouchre and things just didn’t feel right so I went to the 3C and I sounded and felt a lot better.
I recall one of my best days a month ago, when things were really peaking for me, was when I was focusing on relaxation of my neck, throat and closing the aperture from all sides (i.e. Maggio monkey) and supporting (not blowing or pushing / kicking) with air from below my ribs and trying to maintain a consistent flow / air column up through my throat, out the aperture and through the center of the mouthpiece as I ascended chromatic scales using slightly increasing support (but not playing louder) as I ascended. I had a couple / few days like that that I remember and am trying to go back to using more air support again to get out of the funk I’ve been in the past few weeks, which have included a couple breaks due to vacations (I’m not a pro).
Please correct me if I’m wrong, anyone, as I’m trying to make sure I’m figuring all this out as best I can as well. But thought I would share my thoughts / understanding of the program / experiences. I’ve had some great days I didn’t even know were possible, followed by days I’ve wanted to throw in the towel once and for all–because I thought that being able to do what I was doing before, playing better / effortlessly up to F above high C would continue and I would continue to progress; instead, I slid backwards a bit, not just because of taking time off but I kind of lost my way a bit–somehow I was doing something(s) different than before. I suppose Greg’s golf analogy is spot on–it’s like I have a day hitting straight long drives followed by a day that I slice into the lumber yard (Caddyshack)…
It seems to finally be coming back again as I have patiently focused on the process, checking to make sure I’m using a sympathetic buzz / not tightening my lips in the middle of the embouchre, etc.
Yesterday, things felt so weird I actually took my trumpet apart and cleaned it looking for an obstruction or something wrong with it, it felt so foreign no matter what I did. Finally, today, my tone and sensations began going back to normal and my range has come back. I’m going to try to be patient and focus mostly on the sensation and tone and flexibility and not on my range for a while longer as I recover the sensation of playing with ease, the tone I had before (better than ever) and then focusing on consistency–really understanding WHY it’s working when it is so that I can better figure out what the hell I’m doing differently when it’s not, etc.