Hi John. It’s so kind of you to take the time to write such a detailed reply to my posting.
As for where I’m at, here’s my situation, as I see it:
In terms of the Windworks course structure, I’ve got as far as the Moderato descending double harmonic exercise. I can play the semi-quaver part of that exercise at 80 bpm, and sometimes a bit faster, but not at the 100 bpm that Greg has set as a target.
I started playing trumpet aged 42, and am now 69. The only group playing I do is with a trad/swing practice group that meets weekly. In terms of range, I would like to be able to play a G on top of the stave comfortably and reliably, but I can’t, particularly in a real playing environment. Even playing at home on my own, I struggle to play even the first dozen or so of the Arban “Art of Phrasing” melodies with anything like comfort, or indeed, sometimes, at all. Just writing this now, I find I feel deeply ashamed of how little I’ve managed to do, but that’s how it is.
One inbuilt difficulty I’m up against is that I have a degree of essential tremor that I’ve had since I was a child (my dad had it too, and one of my sons also) that a neurologist has described as being “mild to moderate”. Lately I’ve taken to playing sitting down using an ErgoBrass device to help me steady the trumpet (imagine a monopod resting on the same seat I’m sitting on, loosely coupled to the base of the trumpet pistons, and you’ll get the idea) and this does help me quite a lot.
I’m very familiar with “The Use of the Self” (the book whose introduction Greg read from extensively earlier this year in a video) and in fact took lessons in Alexander Technique for around six years, so I do understand, at least intellectually, how difficult it can be to step outside established psycho-motor habits that ‘feel right’ but are actually counter-productive. My intellect tells me that the root cause of my problems must surely be some entrenched habit or habits that I’m clinging to because they ‘feel right’ (but aren’t) – but I’m sure finding it a challenge to get myself out of this particular rabbit burrow, which I’ve been stuck in now for years. I’m very conscious of that old line about insanity being doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, but I’m finding it hard right now to be creative about varying my approach. Vary what, exactly? I just don’t know.