Thanks Peter, yes that’s correct–the aperture is reduced as the corners are tightened inward from the sides horizontally while I try to keep my top lip relaxed and avoid clamping top-to-bottom (like a clam).
The extreme of this movement would be a pucker or fish face, but not much engagement is necessary to change pitch and the mouthpiece helps keep things in position a bit.
The lips feel like they’re pushing forward towards the MP like they do when you put your fingers on your lips and tighten the corners inward.
When things are working good, which is most of the time now, I can easily play from A on the staff to A above the staff with a simple tightening and passive air. In fact, one thing I tried which worked better was backing off the air when trying the higher note. Believe it or not, it made it easier.
I can play up to High C with passive air. I haven’t migrated yet to using active air support; I want to obtain more consistency first.
I can play D and E above High C consistently (with active air support). I would say the top of my range is probably E. I do consistently play the F, but I dont try often, as I’m focused for now on Passive air and consistency. Ive hit a double G occasionally (active air) and even gotten an A a time or two, maybe even higher when screwing around, but honestly I’m focused more on consistency than range.
From 1978 until March 2018, I never hit a high C before. My range effectively was G above the staff.
I don’t even use active air support much or abdominal support. I’m focused mostly on my range up to High C and trying to master that.
But I have been inconsistent and unstructured with my practice and have made the mistake of getting carried away and focusing on results and losing my focus on process and therefore have had occasional setbacks.
But I’ve learned from each setback and have realized what I have been doing and catch it sooner now.
So much of playing is mental. We have to be in the right frame of mind or we go backwards instead of forwards. It’s just as easy to reinforce bad habits and form as good, unfortunately.
This week, I had one of my best days followed a few days later by another setback. But I knew my brain was off, not in the right place; and I knew I wasnt focused.
Fortunately, I believe I know they way back and will probably be back to norm in a few days or so.