I’m sorry you’re frustrated. I have been there, believe me. And I know Greg any many others on this site have too.
I started playing when I was 8, started private lessons at 10 or so, thought if I did what my teachers told me to do and worked hard / put in the time that I could be a professional musician, major in music, etc. When I was in my early 20’s, I decided to major in business and get married and stopped trying to expect a different result when I banged my head against the wall… My range was G above the staff–not the makings of a music major or professional musician…
I played occasionally, off and on over the years, but very little. In 2018, I was learning how to do some household projects on YouTube and ran across trumpet videos by Greg and others that I thought were helpful. For some reason, I decided to experiment a bit with playing–I had nothing to lose, no playing commitments, etc.
I think a lot of it for me was mental, my mental state and I wasn’t that engaged in it really, no expectation. And yet, for some reason, I believed for perhaps the first time that I COULD play higher if I simply learned how to coordinate my body and air correctly.
For me, it was experimenting with a combination of relaxed lips / open throat and softer air/dynamics above the staff that initially got me hooked. I was able to play an A above the staff as easy as the G and my first High C came out shortly thereafter, later that day.
One of the greatest truths of WindWorks for me is Greg’s example of Owning your playing. No one can lay out before you a set of scales to play in a particular order that will develop your skill in a linear way.
I took lessons from reputable teachers from 10 till my early 20’s and told them most of the time that I wanted to be a professional musician. I thought if I kept my head down, worked hard and did the lessons they assigned me that I could do it. None of them told me that I couldn’t, but eventually I figured that out for myself. Until I decided later in life to re-open that chapter.
It hasn’t been a straight line upwards, I’m still struggling with consistency, dynamic control, articulation above the staff, but I have a day job, long commute and a wife and daughter, etc. So I limit my time. I play most days, but not every day, and a little longer on weekends.
There have been a time or two over the past couple of years since finding WindWorks and playing my first High C that I have almost thrown my trumpet across the room, destroyed it or stopped playing forever. And maybe one day I will again. But I’m glad I haven’t.
I’ve learned a bit to let go of the bad days and temper my expectations. It’s still mostly good and I do feel like I continue to progress, even though I have long way to go.
One of the things I have done that helped me has been to focus more on music, especially more lyrical/expressive stuff that makes me feel good from enjoying my sound, rather than focusing on range, technical studies, etc.
Another one has been to watch videos from others out there to see what others say. I took Greg’s advice and owned my playing–I don’t even take his word as gospel, however I have learned to trust it. But there are others out there that have videos on YouTube that I have found helpful–Charlie Porter (especially his Straight Line Approach video), John Ruff (Rufftips), Bryan Davis (Airflow), Larry Meregillano, and others.
I’ve even tried doing the Claude Gordon Systematic Approach AFTER finding WindWorks…BTW, the literal wording of the Systematic Approach contradicts WindWorks as it has you crescendo the higher you go, etc. It is also excruciatingly boring and mind-numbing (holding out long tones until you run out of air, crescendoing until your lungs empty). And, it doesn’t work. But I’m glad for that experience, as it helped put me back on the right track and regain focus.
I don’t think there are better explanations out there or a combination of exercises which helps focus in on all the different factors of playing and owning a pitch than WindWorks.
But we all have our own perspectives and what works for me may not work for you. Actually, it will, it may just require either a different explanation/example or some more time / slightly different approach.
Another approach you could take is to find a local teacher who may be able to help or do Skype lessons with Greg or someone else you trust. That may help you at least get your bearings.
Once you get your initial taste / coffee moment, you’ll probably be good–although, as I mentioned above, it probably won’t be a straight line upward.
Good luck Steve, I hope to see a post from you soon saying that you had a good development.