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Thanks Steve, Happy New Year! I hope things are well in Helsinki. Things in the U.S. are interesting right now…but I am hopeful that the worst is behind us, for the most part.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the ride I’m on quite a bit and am more and more connecting various dots of things I’ve learned done, it feels very much like it’s all coming together in my playing and I’m realizing more and more WHY I’m doing certain exercises and the brilliance of those before us.

Clarke, for example, was to me when I was younger more of a fingering exercise and I would tense up and blow harder as I ascended.

Now, I am realizing that they are in fact brilliantly written flow exercises that help us learn the proper Shape for each note and how to transition from one to the other and the brilliance of playing them multiple times in one breath is for us to learn how to balance Shape and Air–the Ying and Yang of the trumpet.

I am now sensing the moments in which I, at times, incorrectly transition from a cooperation with the instrument / balance of Air and Shape to over engaging the lips/face muscles and blowing air.

Greg’s focus on Releasing the air (passive air) through the aperture is such a huge part of this–without that, I wouldn’t have figured it out.

It is a very subtle difference, at times it seems as though it’s a “knife’s edge” between playing correctly and not–going back to old habits. So much of it is mental and inside our minds as well. A willingness to fail is very useful too–prioritizing relaxation, openness and quality of sound over control and ensuring I hit the note has helped me learn just how open / relaxed I can play and it’s much more than I ever thought possible–I first gained success a couple years ago playing above the staff, high C and beyond but now it’s pretty amazing when things are going right.

I’m glad if the thread is useful. All the best.

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