I think that’s part of the confusion with playing the trumpet!
I think when we push the aperture corners inward, it actually appears that we’re smiling / stretching the lips or “pulling the corners back” but it’s actually the opposite!
I tried for awhile to watch myself in the mirror playing, but I only ever got misery and dead ends out of it and followed Greg’s advice to close my eyes, etc.
Once I closed my eyes, and tried my best to get in tune with what I was doing, how it FELT and how what I was doing was impacting the sound and ease of playing, I started having good sensations that led to my “coffee moment”.
Then I listened to MTM YouTube videos on my commute (1 hour each way) so I filled my head with it. Before and after work is when I can practice; I don’t always practice 2X a day and not always everday, although I’m on a roll now and having great sensations and progress.
You’ll get there. Just takes time. I’ve been thinking about that lately–I need to go back and figure out how long it took for me before it clicked. Although, to be honest, in a way part of my epiphany was even before I got to WindWorks. BUT–WindWorks is what solidified my epiphany and allowed me to understand what it was that I was doing that was working and what it was that I was doing before that wasn’t working and has allowed me to continue to progress and not backslide again like before.
If I were you, I would experiment WITH the horn IF you feel you can control yourself to focus purely on process, can set your lips to the mouthpiece in a new way and experimenting and not focusing on hitting certain notes. That’s how it worked for me. It took a lot of discipline and to be honest, I got excited a time or two at the beginning and tried to force things and kick with the air. To be honest, I still do but have gotten better and better at controlling myself. And, in fact, it’s no longer really about playing a higher note but about controlling the notes I can play as best I can.
I never spent a lot of time on the visualiser, except to ensure I was setting things up straight and periodically checking things from time to time. I probably am due again for a check, but I’ve been having great sensations lately and am progressing so I’m not worried.
I think what you’re doing is helpful in ensuring you set your lips up in a new way. But the coffee moment isn’t going to happen without the horn.
You need the horn to tell you whether what you’re doing is making your sound more resonant, fuller, freer and your harmonic slurs more effortless.
I suspect your “coffee moment” will happen very soon. But remember, improvement is not a straight-line. You will have some set backs on the way–it will not be all unicorns and sunshine, it will remain confusing for a while longer. I’ve been on a great streak for a while, but I still have in the back of my mind doubt and fear about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, etc. And I wonder if and when I’m going to “lose it”; I think that’s just negative thinking and fear, but the point is I am far from taking it for granted and not sure I ever will. Plus, I have a way to go before I achieve my goals anyway. And, for me, this is all purely for fun and personal fulfillment–and lately, it has been very fulfilling because I’m beating demons that plagued me for 40 years. I’m getting a kick out of the fact that I can do things I never thought possible and it’s so much easier than I could have ever imagined–we make it SO much harder than it really is. It’s really more about physical coordination than strength.
Ok, I’ll stop now…got to get back to work…sorry for the long post…again… 😉