WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks It’s that crazy whack job Bill again! Reply To: It’s that crazy whack job Bill again!


You’re not stealing Bill, you’re paying it forward by sharing your experience with others like you who are working on figuring things out as well.

The point of difference is tricky. It is very easy to fall back into old habits, especially at first, until you form new habits. In time, it seems to get better and it seems like it’s easier to spot when I start doing something wrong and catch myself and get back on track.

But at first, falling back into old habits and losing newfound abilities is extremely frustrating–worse than before my “coffee moment” as I had a taste of what could/should be, then worried that I lost it. Fortunately, with patience and focus on Process, I got back on track and found my way again and proceeded farther.

Our mouthpiece, regardless of how “big” or “small” of one we play, is in fact a very, very small space with which to work.

There are only so many variations of how we can place our lips into the mouthpiece. And while subtle, small changes can / do make a big difference, at the end of the day most of the various methods out there have more in common than they differ; I think their biggest difference is their approach.

Bottom line, in my opinion, is that it’s more important what we do with our lips/face muscles (Shape) and don’t do (clamp down, overtighten) than it is how we set the MP on our lips.

Changing Shape to form a smaller aperture as we ascend changes pitch.

What specific shape to form is different for each of us.

It doesn’t take more effort to form a smaller aperture than it does a larger aperture.

We must unlearn our instinct to tighten up and blow more air as we ascend.

If we release the same amount of air through a smaller aperture, the note will be higher. Ultimately, no note will speak and we’ll need to experiment with Shape and tongue arch to get it to speak, improve resonance, etc.

Once we get it to speak, we can work on passing more air through the aperture to increase volume.

I had a good day playing today. I’ve been reminded lately at how compact things are–I think one of my problems used to be trying to play the way I thought it should feel, rather than trying to move as little as possible. By moving as little as possible to change pitch, it’s helped me keep things tighter and be more efficient and play easier above the staff.

Another WindWorks member, I think it might have been Brian?, shared a visualization of holidng a coffee stirrer in their lips (aperture) as they’re above the staff. That has been helpful to me, as has experimenting with wreckless abandon–not giving a $%&$K# whether I hit the note or not, just observing casually/objectively and learning from the success or failure and adjusting.

Another key for me was to separate Air and Shape when changing pitch. I knew one of my bad habits was to use more air as I ascended. It took a long time experimenting with Passively released air and just playing and forming a better feel/understanding with how possible it is to play softly above the staff. Watching Jim Wilt’s YouTube videos have helped me–seeing him effortlessly play softly above the staff musically has been an inspiration to me and is something I sometimes think about as I’m playing up there.

It’s awesome to see you moving through this, I’m excited for you for what lies ahead!

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