WindWorks Trumpet Academy › Forums › WindWorks › [MUST READ!!!] Am I the only dummy?
I’m still waiting for my coffee moment where my lips magically sympathically vibrate while using the leadpipe in the lips forward position. I suppose it is common for this to happen since Greg mentions it in a few videos. Anyone else struggle with this in the beginning or am I the only dummy? I’m continuing to practice patiently. One other question: I am watching ahead into the singing C series even though I am not doing the exercises. In watching the Largo Singing C# series step two video, about 4-5 minutes in Greg demonstrates moving the air going from the lower harmonic to the higher one. I could be crazy, but in my observation his lip corners pull back when he moves from low to high. Am I correct in that observation? If so, are we not supposed to be doing the opposite – moving the aperture corners forward and in kind of like a drawstring bag? Just trying to understand. I’ll go back to preschool now with my visualiser, mouthpiece, and silent leadpipe… 🙁
I think that’s part of the confusion with playing the trumpet!
I think when we push the aperture corners inward, it actually appears that we’re smiling / stretching the lips or “pulling the corners back” but it’s actually the opposite!
I tried for awhile to watch myself in the mirror playing, but I only ever got misery and dead ends out of it and followed Greg’s advice to close my eyes, etc.
Once I closed my eyes, and tried my best to get in tune with what I was doing, how it FELT and how what I was doing was impacting the sound and ease of playing, I started having good sensations that led to my “coffee moment”.
Then I listened to MTM YouTube videos on my commute (1 hour each way) so I filled my head with it. Before and after work is when I can practice; I don’t always practice 2X a day and not always everday, although I’m on a roll now and having great sensations and progress.
You’ll get there. Just takes time. I’ve been thinking about that lately–I need to go back and figure out how long it took for me before it clicked. Although, to be honest, in a way part of my epiphany was even before I got to WindWorks. BUT–WindWorks is what solidified my epiphany and allowed me to understand what it was that I was doing that was working and what it was that I was doing before that wasn’t working and has allowed me to continue to progress and not backslide again like before.
If I were you, I would experiment WITH the horn IF you feel you can control yourself to focus purely on process, can set your lips to the mouthpiece in a new way and experimenting and not focusing on hitting certain notes. That’s how it worked for me. It took a lot of discipline and to be honest, I got excited a time or two at the beginning and tried to force things and kick with the air. To be honest, I still do but have gotten better and better at controlling myself. And, in fact, it’s no longer really about playing a higher note but about controlling the notes I can play as best I can.
I never spent a lot of time on the visualiser, except to ensure I was setting things up straight and periodically checking things from time to time. I probably am due again for a check, but I’ve been having great sensations lately and am progressing so I’m not worried.
I think what you’re doing is helpful in ensuring you set your lips up in a new way. But the coffee moment isn’t going to happen without the horn.
You need the horn to tell you whether what you’re doing is making your sound more resonant, fuller, freer and your harmonic slurs more effortless.
I suspect your “coffee moment” will happen very soon. But remember, improvement is not a straight-line. You will have some set backs on the way–it will not be all unicorns and sunshine, it will remain confusing for a while longer. I’ve been on a great streak for a while, but I still have in the back of my mind doubt and fear about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, etc. And I wonder if and when I’m going to “lose it”; I think that’s just negative thinking and fear, but the point is I am far from taking it for granted and not sure I ever will. Plus, I have a way to go before I achieve my goals anyway. And, for me, this is all purely for fun and personal fulfillment–and lately, it has been very fulfilling because I’m beating demons that plagued me for 40 years. I’m getting a kick out of the fact that I can do things I never thought possible and it’s so much easier than I could have ever imagined–we make it SO much harder than it really is. It’s really more about physical coordination than strength.
Ok, I’ll stop now…got to get back to work…sorry for the long post…again… 😉
I would say that with a high degree of personal satisfaction, this could be one of the healthiest and most important threads going on ANYWHERE about trumpet playing right now.
That is not a marketing line, I sincerely believe it because it is touching on the essence of EVERYTHING that so many people suffer through and we have a beautiful case of before and after with people that are willing, as I was, to throw the cards into the air and see how they fall.
John, what a great reply, thank you. You touch on SO MANY important points.
Bill, good luck being the “only one” 🙂 I chuckled when I saw your post because your thinking “Am I the only dummy” is REALLY common yet is miles from the truth. I’ll have you know that people who think they are doing it right get a rude awakening when they get a lesson and go “oh, okay” I still need to work on it.
YES, the appearance is deceiving and I show it in a few videos with my little finger in my mouth.
As far as ‘smiling’ goes, Watch 3:17, the appearance is a smile but the grip is inwards.
“I continue to practise patiently” AWESOME! I know it’s tough when you think you are not getting the results BUT again I remind you, what is the purpose of the MmmAaahOooh? I’m not going to tell you, I want you to tell me…
Thanks for the insight! Staying the course…
In the words of Greg: Put the kettle on! LOL. This is the kind of guy Greg is. He answers this post, sees that I’m online, and sends me a facebook message saying that he’s up (4:30 a.m. his time!!!) and if I’m free we can chat. I of course jumped on it. Within 15 minutes he got me to (FINALLY!) get that low sympathetic buzz on the leadpipe that has been so elusive for me. It was a combination of experimenting with an exaggerated WAWAWA motion of the aperture corners in an out and of moving the tongue up and down YAYAYA. I had seen that video before but it didn’t click for me until Greg had a look at me. Now I can start the buzz with that motion and even keep it going when I gradually stop doing the WAWAWA and YAYAYA. It’s a very low tone which makes the inside of my lips tingle. A new and interesting sensation! OK, I’m going to go fiddle with that some more…
THANK YOU GREG!!! YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see where this takes me…
OK, more breakthroughs – after messing around on the leadpipe some more I decided to try it on the horn. A full, big pedal C came out! I have NEVER been able to play one without bending down to it using 7th position! Now I understand why some guys say a big thing is to be able to play a pedal C with no valves!
Awesome! This is fun, helping one another move forward.
If Bill is a dummy, then I am and Greg is, etc., etc. And, there would be no WindWorks or many of the books, teachers, websites, videos on YouTube, etc., etc.
I know I’m not spoiling anything by answering Greg’s question in my own way, as we all have to get there ourselves…hopefully my answer helps others…as that’s what this is all about…
What is MmmmmAaahhhhOooohhhh about?
Mmmmm – Gets our lips together
Aaahhh – Separates our lips slightly, creating the aperture and opens the throat
Ooohhh – Tightens the aperture inward from the corners towards the aperture/mouthpiece center/air columnn, we can feel the aperture corners engage at this point–for me, the Ooohh is the key and I play around, expirimenting with Ooohh to tighten the aperture corners as I ascend in harmonic slurs to get the sensation of engaging the aperture corners and tightening the lips towards the center of mouthpiece/air column/aperture as I arch my tongue
That’s my take, FWIW…might not be 100% right but has given me progress thus far…
Hope it helps.
Working today on just getting a consistent buzz on the leadpipe. Not as much luck on the horn today, so I’ll stay focused on the leadpipe. My mind is already wondering how to move the pitch around high and low – I feel a little stiff in that regard – I can’t move it very far in either direction. In experimenting I have found that a bit more pressure does raise the pitch a bit. I find myself sometimes using too little pressure and if I add a touch more the buzz pops right out. No need to rush things although I want it all to come together NOW. Haha.
The purpose of MmmmAaaaOooh – In my mind Mmmmmm gets us to hum effortlessly as a reminder that this is what we want on the horn – the lips to interact with the air as the vocal cords do in an effortless hum. Aaaaa gets us to separate the teeth and open the jaw. And Ooooh, like john says is to get us to work the aperture corners inward reminding us to keep that aperture wide open and not to clamp the middle of the lips together.
I like your definition of Mmmm and Aaahhhh better.
Changing pitch on the leadpipe is a bitch; it’s easier on the mp or horn.
If you focus with your eyes closed and lips on the mp in your horn as you “say” (think) Ohhhhhhh, you should feel the muscles in your face at the sides of the aperture; engage those muscles as you ascend my arching your tongue as usual (aahhhh eeeee) and tightening the corners by tightening those muscles.
That’s what worked for me and was my initial”coffee moment” FWIW.
You guys are freakin’ awesome and I am so happy you wrote that John as that was my thought exactly after reading your post (with absolute and utter respect!!!) haha
Bill, as I said in our chat, you are all over it without even realising. Just work with whatever pitch you are creating and all so slowly just work on moving it up or down a semitone or less. Just get used to the mouth moving without the body engaging.
I have had an extremely profound experience today and I am going to share it with you tomorrow in Trumpet Chat 7, I am still spinning and it ties in with this thread in an incredible way… I am so excited I keep making typing errors as I am trying to type too fast!!! STAND BY…
This morning I spent 15 minutes just buzzing on the leadpipe. Over and over, just the same pitch, maybe a little variance above and below. A few times the pitch dropped way down – an octave or so, I can’t remember. After maybe 10 minutes I started getting a quiver in my lips. I assume this is because I’m using muscles I don’t normally use when playing that they were getting a bit tired. Am I right thinking this? I’m also thinking how in the world I’m going to translate this into my regular setup… This makes me realize that I probably have been using a lip pinch/smile to achieve my upper register all these years. Ugh.
Also, I feel like there is so much bottom lip exposed – something I’ve never felt before. Looking in a mirror it just looks so odd. It feels odd too, like I’m setting the bottom rim of the mouthpiece right into the soft, fleshy part of the lip. Kind of looks like all those pictures of Maynard. Hmmm…
Sounds great, Greg, can’t wait for Chat 7.
Thanks for your kind words in your last video, that meant a lot to me coming from you–not only because your ability as a player and teacher, but because of your commitment to helping other players resolve their playing issues. If my post helps one player, I would be very gratified.
Bill, I think the leadpipe is more intense on our lips than the horn. I’ve never done 15 minutes straight but that might be a lot.
You might try experimenting with thinking Oooohhhhh with your eyes closed as you’re blowing into the leadpipe and concentrating on the muscles in your aperture corners, which you should feel as you think (“say”) Oooohhh as you’re blowing steady. If you Engage those muscles and tighten them inwards from the sides, leaving your top lip middle relaxed–NO CLAMPING and keep the air nice and steady as you squeeze the corners, I think you’ll pop up to the next harmonic. With the horn, with even more slots, you may pop up 2 or 3… Coffee time…
Re: your post about bottom lip, my understanding is that our bottom lip doesn’t do much–I think it pretty much just acts as a barrier or something for the air column to pass through–i think it’s primarily the fleshy middle of our top the lip that does the most vibrating…maybe Greg or someone else can confirm or correct that.
But I used to tilt my head kind of back and sort of roll my bottom lip in/under to ascend, which sort of works to a point but there’s no sound or endurance or flexibility…other than that, it works great…
I spent a little time today buzzing the leadpipe as my chops felt a bit off. Not sure what was up, I had relatively good results/sensations but haven’t had a lot of time this week to play. Maybe I’m losing a little muscle this week. Or, I’m afraid the clamping is coming back and I’m experiencing a little funk.
Hoping for better sensations tomorrow / this weekend. It’s a 3 day weekend, so I have a bit of freedom to play and do so without a mute in.
I think I’ll check out the harmonic slur challenge, although I listened to Greg’s last update on the way home from work and I don’t think I’d be able to tell if I’m playing fast enough beyond a certain point…16ths at 208 bpm might be beyond what I’m able to comprehend!
But it makes sense how beneficial it is to develop harmonic slurs further.
Hey guys, Trumpet Chat 7 is up as a new thread. Cheers, Greg
Hi Greg.First of all i must thank you for coming with this different way of playing on your trumpet.For i have always had the feeling that there was a different and better(more korrekt way of playing).Through i have had a Very good pro-life with playing,i always knew that i wasnt Really capable of relaxing while playing.So i could not show my true potentiale,Because I was to Busy with what other people thought And still i played a Lot of Lead-trumpet.And had Pretty good succes with that.Though my absolut highest note have been the high G.But now i want to bréak through my psyke,and try to find the true me.And release that part of my selv.So in am prepared to work,to get to that point.But again thank you for this different way of seing this problem,and fantastic way of attacking the psykological aspect of all this.My Very Best.Bjørn
Hi, just posting to say that I have just been stuck in the same place, trying to get a sound on the leadpipe after weeks of making the new embouchure shape habit off the instrument. Your ‘wawawa’ and ‘yayaya’ advice has allowed me to lean into that first sympathetic buzz on the leadpipe, so thank you for sharing! It was a much richer buzz than what I’ve previously played, so that is now what I’m aiming for every time. I am hoping I have just experienced my first coffee moment.
Thank you, andykyle, for posting here. Your post reminded me of this posted conversation, and I read it again. I also watched the aperture corner development video again. When I repeated the exercises just now with two fingers and then with a single finger between the teeth, I notice some pressure on the fingers from the center of each lip, i.e. top and bottom. I am unclear if this pressure is expected from “positive” lip tension due to corner tightening or from pinching in the middle. The pressure sensation is subtle, but it is there.
How can one determine if the center top/bottom pressure I describe is expected or if it is related to pinching?
If the reason you are feeling pressure on the fingers is due to your lips being pushed inwards and forwards from engagement in the aperture corners, then you are doing great.
It is also possible, unfortunately, to engage the lip muscles themselves directly and to form a pucker with tightly engaged lip muscles–lips that are tightly engaged do not vibrate as quickly as relaxed lips, so that will become a problem at a certain point as you ascend and the tone will not be as resonant as if the lips were more relaxed.
Unfortunately, only you can determine which is causing the pressure.
Generally speaking, Less Is More–the less we engage, the more resonant the tone and the faster potential vibration the lips can achieve.
My understanding / experience has been that we want the tension at the sides of the mouthpiece, outside of the air column–where the lips interact with the air like the vocal chords, etc.
My $.02 FWIW–Good Luck!
It has been suggested that the MmmmmAaahhhhOooohhhh is a fundamental portion of the WindWorks philosophy, and I totally agree. Our thought process on what are lips do when changing pitch is fundamental to our approach. Greg is trying to get us to consider, and possibly challenge, our current approach.
I think the portion that needs to change when doing MmmmmAaahhhhOooohhhh is going to be specific to each player, based on their current/normal/regular playing setup.
For ME, the most important part is the Oooohhh portion, and FOR ME, the key is getting the bottom lip forward, like the milk spout that Greg has talked about in a video in the Largo stage. But that is just for me – as I would historically have issues with my bottom lip collapsing and folding over the bottom teeth.
I do believe the bottom lip is like the facing of a reed instrument. It is what is reflecting the air to allow the sympathetic vibration of the lips. For some of you this is an area you need to address/improve, but others are already doing this just fine. This is why ultimately we are our own teacher.