WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks I'm I doing F# right? (Largo C# Singing C) Reply To: I'm I doing F# right? (Largo C# Singing C)

#48006
johnelwood
Participant

Welcome!

Since you feel that you are forcing to get the note you’re reaching for and because you describe what sounds like a lot of movement and something similar to how I played and I think how Greg described he himself played (rolling bottom lip under, blowing downward, bell down to the floor, head back, etc.)…you probably are not achieving a natural and optimally efficient embouchure, aperture, etc.

But I would be careful not to overthink it, especially as a beginner.

In my opinion, the best way to play is the most natural, forward and consistent way possible for you–based on your physiology, mouthpiece, instrument, etc.

The biggest problem we face is mental, not physical. This website and many of those on this forum are here because they over-thought playing and thought it is harder than it truly is. We get in our own way. Playing trumpet is a paradox in many ways.

I believe Ron’s post above appears spot on. Very little movement is required to go from low C# to F# on the staff, just a Slight engagement of the aperture corners (the muscles you feel when saying “Oooohhhh”) and perhaps a little tongue arch (perhaps Ohhhhhh on the low C# to Aaahhhh on the F#, it’s probably a little different for each of us). What helped me is using consistent air–releasing air, not blowing it–it’s crucially important that you separate Air (needed for long or loud notes) from Shape (used for pitch change). Some of us tend to over blow to push through an inefficient embouchure to obtain a pitch we’re shooting for, but it won’t sound as good as we’re releasing air through an efficient, open (as much as possible) aperture with relaxed lips (only tension is in the corners, outside edges–not the vibrating surface).

Things we can observe that help us determine if we’re “doing it right” (a relative term/concept; everyone can always try to improve):

1. Does it feel good, natural, efficient?
2. What does it sound like? Do you like the sound, is it resonant? Could it be more resonant?
3. Is it efficient–how fast can you do harmonic slurs to /from other notes? How long can you hold the note out or do harmonic slurs for? Careful not to over do it too soon.

I still play with my horn slanted down a bit, bell towards the floor. That’s just how it works naturally for me–as I learned in part from the tissue exercise, etc.

But I no longer roll my bottom lip under my top lip and blow down towards my feet.

In my opinion, it’s very difficult, perhaps impossible to explain precisely what to do with your face / aperture to change pitch. Greg, I believe, has done it better and more detailed than most–perhaps anyone else. And I’ve learned a lot from WindWorks.

But, ideally, it would be 2nd nature–and that is the ultimate goal. We can’t think about what the lips are doing, we need to think about the music, how it sounds, what the conductor is doing, or the band or other performers, etc.

And, I try actually not to think about it–I try to set things up as naturally and relaxed as possible, release air through my lips (breath attach), stay relaxed and let the lips respond to the air as I ascend and I try to move as little as possible and just keep my lips in the mouthpiece and as straightforward as possible. The aperture is reduced gradually by the contraction of the corners but the jaw moves down to keep the aperture from collapsing / closing shut and the tongue arches (aaaahhh eeeeeeee).

I try not to think about it and just let the lips respond to the air, but if I run into difficulties then I pay closer attention and tweak things as needed.

Obviously since you’re a beginner, you may need a little more information–the best thing is Greg’s “engage the aperture corners inwards from the sides, horizontally (“oooohhhhh”). What we’re doing is engaging the muscles surrounding the lips to reduce the aperture inwards towards the center of the mouthpiece center / air column.

One thing you could try would be doing some chromatic scales from C# to F# followed by some harmonic slurs and observing how the lips move ever so slightly each half step. Or you could try doing gradually increasing intervals (i.e. C# to D, then C# to D#, C# to E, etc.), but make sure you’re using steady air (ideally Passively released air).

Experiment! And you have to Own Your playing. Greg and others can be a guide for you, but ultimately Your success or failure will be yours alone. You can’t just repeat exercises blindly and expect to get results–trust me on that one… 😉 Since you posted this to begin with, you’re on a great start and hopefully won’t waste as much time as I have in the past–learn from my mistakes!

Hope that helps, FWIW. Best of luck–keep us posted on how you’re doing and best of luck to you! As Ron said, you’re in a great place.

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