Hi Johnelwood.. really enjoyed your post and good it was long cos one idea helped me most at the end – the point that the trumpet really does need very little air. I’ve never had a teacher so the first reflex I ever had with a trumpet was to blow as hard as possible – after 4 years I’m still working on unlearning that reflex and your post helped on that journey. The second point I liked was your idea that pushing away feel indicates lips moving in to the mp. Reminded me of “Pops” the Trumpet guru and his idea of making a longer reasonance tunnel. I appreciated the specifics about the Stamp routine and the tensionless progressions. I agree with you – just like different religions these different trumpet methods have much in common but – just like religion – they seem often to be in a state of war with each other. But somehow the idea of “breaking the code” (tensionless playing across the whole range) means learning the trumpet never loses its fascination – indeed do we ever even want to break it? (of course we do!) cos once we do the enigma is no more.
Yesterday (before i read your post) I just looked at a visual of the Orbiscularis oris muscle on the face – logged it in my memory bank and thought about it today when I was playing – but other than that didn’t change a thing on set up . for me its sometimes enough to think about something and not “do” anything. But then today read your post: “engagement is limited to the muscles surrounding the aperture, not within the aperture itself as many of us tend to think / start out with.” so I am catching on to your way of thinking..
After reading your post I played some more – this time thinking about Johnelwoods lip tunnel (for me your tunnel is an upgrade on Pop’s which was somehow static .. I see the tunnel has to kick in more when it gets harder to achieve as you ascend) and how little air I need.
But right now where I think I am different from you is that i am not thinking about Air and air speed. Shape. Lips. Face Muscles. Yes. But I don’t think about air speed or tongue position (though it is very forward.. tonguing on lips critical to BE approach.. just now did my best ever clear top lip tonguing G above staff) Of course the BE exercises with exaggerated lip snaps and zips require a lot of air speed adjustments but I don’t think about the air at all when I do them.
Progress in last 6 months has been good. Now G top of staff feels maybe easier than an e in the staff (when i think about it – in 6 months the g on top of staff has gone from most hated to most liked note in a line of music – and I guess that’s half the battle won already.. ) and on good days I can float out a reasonant and easy c above so I’m on the way to making the c my new favourite note. Key thing for me is to stay motivated even on the tough days – so thanks for your help and all the best for Christmas – I have some carols playing on spotify and I have just put up the tree! cheers steve