Got it. I think the long break I took helped me avoid repeating mistakes from the past and force myself to focus on new sensations. I didn’t personally spend a lot of time on the visualiser, but perhaps that’s why I wound up sliding backwards and losing my way a bit. Hopefully you avoid that experience, but progress is rarely a straight line upward.
I’m having great experiences lately, again this morning–I had practiced 2X yesterday (in the morning and again in the evening after work). And I did a lot of flexibility exercises pushing through the max of my range. I tried not to push too hard into Gladiator Trumpet, but figured I’d be a little stiff or tired this morning since it wasn’t that long since I practiced the evening before.
Instead, my chops felt and performed amazing, felt pretty fresh even though there was a slight tingle feeling like they were still recovering.
My harmonic slurs moved up 2-3 levels and my ability to play is strengthening. I’ve been more consistent lately doing some flexibility exercises without removing the mouthpiece from my lips and not resting till I get through it. It’s not too taxing, but I do feel like it’s doing something for me in building up my endurance.
Also think I had somewhat of an epiphany / coffee moment in that I think I was perhaps overdoing my avoiding pressure on my lips and might have been not achieving a great seal on my top lip and may have kind of been pulling away slightly still towards the top of my range. I think it was subtle but it seems there was something slightly wrong which may have been attributing to my lack of dynamic control; my sound felt a little thin towards the top of my range.
I started placing the top of the mouthpiece on my lips first rather than the bottom and tilting upward; minor thing I suppose but it seems like it’s helping me achieve a better seal and have even better sensations and feel what my lips are doing / supposed to be doing as I ascend and may be helping me get better compression in my lips (not kicking with my abs / the air) as I ascend.
I’m having a sensation of my top lip between the mouthpiece and my teeth as I ascend, whereas when I was younger I think I kind of avoided that feeling by thinning out my lips and pivoting the bell down / head back and rolling my lip in/under. I was probably smashing my lips a bit, therefore losing endurance, strength, tearing myself down.
Now, I don’t move much at all I just kind of tighten my lips gradually from the corners/sides, slightly towards the center of the aperture as I ascend. At times, I do get a slight sensation that my top lip is getting squished into a “fish face” type feeling but the notes are coming well and easier than I ever imagined possible and it all is feeling more and more right and consistent.
I can’t wait to play tomorrow (Saturday), when I won’t have to play too early or late and won’t need the mute and can blow free and see where my range and dynamic control is at and how it feels to blow free, how my sound is doing, etc.
Sorry for the long post(s), don’t mean to hijack the thread. I’m excited for you–I think you’re close to having the “coffee moment”; it’s just a matter of time, relaxing and letting go and just experimenting / experiencing different sensations and focusing on what makes your sound more resonant and it easier to do harmonic slurs and what makes those things harder / worse, then refining and refining until you’ve finally narrowed your focus into a smaller circle.