Had a go at this about 2 years ago it didn’t really help.
Wish I had found Windworks sooner.
now making real progress slow but real!
Thanks, Greg for your patience with us.
It’s the only place where I have found instruction and help on how to actually play.
No, I don’t think it’s the same. doesn’t talk about shape.
says faster air for higher which can be misinterpreted as blow harder
It is another way of saying the same thing, but this is the beauty of Greg’s system. Greg is teaching you the shape for the notes where you’re not relying on the volume of air passing through the lips, you’re learning the shape first passively and then you’re adding the volume of air later for blowing sound out of the instrument.
Greg is breaking the system down because most players are overblowing and playing with WAY too much air pressure and embouchure tension.
Once you learn the shape of the note, then you just add more air compressing while holding the same position via the corners and allowing the vertical aperture to open slightly too get louder.
Yes you’re right. It is a right way changing shape for each note.
But I think that this shape is found by letting the lips respond to the pressure (not the volume obviously). I think that it is the sensation of each pressure for each note that is important to memorize. The lips will find the way to vibrate sympathetically in the tube function of this pressure. I do not have to think too much at my embouchure, I let my lips to react freely with the pressure. If I think too much on the best position of my lips (corners inward) then it is too tense or too tight. Yes the lips have to vibrate freely like the vocal cords; but do you think how to set your vocal chords when you talk or sing? I do think so, for me it is more complicated and based essentially on feeling that are unmindful.
I think that it is the Morrison’s message great artist and trumpeter.
I think technically what Morrison is saying in that video contradicts what Greg explains.
Morrison obviously has forgotten more about playing trumpet than I’ll ever know and is probably one of the greatest, most naturally talented players ever. And he endorses WindWorks, so I could be wrong.
But, in this video, he recommends using Air to play higher, not changing Shape.
The problem with that recommendation, in my humble opinion, is how do you play high softly? Watch Jim Wilt’s videos on YouTube for example–nothing as high as Morrison, but he’s playing above the staff with apparent ease.
Perhaps Morrison is talking about the extreme upper register and I am taking the video out of context.
I believe that Morrison’s recommendation likely would cause many players to bang their heads against the proverbial wall, like I did for many years.
In my opinion, the genius of WindWorks is the statements that “Shape Changes Pitch”; Air is for Volume and Long Notes.
Separating Air from Shape to achieve pitch change is what ended my purgatory in endless Clarke scales trying to use more air, build muscle, etc.
No offense to Morrison, Gordon and others out there, but those recommendations in my experience do more harm than good.
Ultimately, I do believe that Morrison, Gordon and others all actually play the same way, they just have different ways of explaining what they’re doing.
I like what Morrison says at the end of the video, which is key–that we should be using the muscles surrounding the embouchure to do the work. I think that makes sense.
But focusing on Air seems to me to be a dangerous approach, one that failed me.
My $.02 FWIW
I could be wrong, of course, but I don’t think they contradict at all. Greg is just breaking the pieces down and separating them – Jim is combining them.
Greg is trying to get folks to understand the concept that shape can change notes – it’s not a requirement to increase the air kick to ascend – rather you can change the shape (which in turn increases air speed which increases vibration/pitch). If you want the pitch to stay at the same volume, you add air, which essentially keeps your aperture the same size (which requires the use of your corners to “hold” the aperture open).
This is my understanding at least…
You may be right and of course Morrison’s explanation will work for some / many, I’m sure and I hope.
But the “Give it More Air to Go Higher” method doesn’t work for many people and the frustrations of that method of teaching are what brought me to WindWorks and I believe are what led Greg to write the WindWorks course.
I can still see in my mind band directors giving me that advice when I was younger…marching band…
In my opinion, the Separation of Air from Shape (Pitch) are critical to understanding how the trumpet works and developing a sensation of the balance of Air and Shape. And, in my opinion, that separation is one of (if not, The) foundation of WindWorks.
If we use Air to try to achieve Pitch, as Mr. Morrison recommends / claims he is doing, it is much harder (my opinion) to determine what’s doing what.
Many players struggle with this approach and wind up overblowing and, as a result, over-engaging the muscles in their face, throat, body, etc. It’s a positive feedback loop (not a good thing), a death spiral of sorts that limits many players’ endurance, range, control and understanding of how the instrument actually works.
And no offense to Mr. Morrison–again, he’s one of the greatest ever and has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about playing; however, I wonder how likely it is that he accurately knows whether or not he’s keeping the aperture consistent as he increases Air. That seems very, very difficult to do. On the other hand, perhaps one could say the same about Greg when he demonstrates using more Air doesn’t change Pitch–but it seems to me to be an easier experiment.
Playing trumpet is already difficult, it seems like we have to re-learn how to play every single day.
It helps me to isolate Air and Shape as I’m practicing. Ultimately, we must balance both of these crucial things when playing to successfully play music at different dynamics, etc.
I think of Air and Shape like the gas pedal and clutch in a manual transmission car–too much or little Air (gas) and our lips stop vibrating (car stalls), but if we use the right amount of Air and Shape, we achieve resonance.
I’ve seen Morrison’s video(s) before and I think they’re helpful in some ways and thanks for the video above / additional information / insight.
I just perhaps have a different opinion / viewpoint on this and it’s based on years of frustration of trying to blow harder as I played higher and getting nowhere / having it actually limit my range and endurance significantly (i.e. G above the staff and very limited endurance). If I can help save one person from having that same experience, I would be very glad.
But I continue to enjoy seeing / hearing other players’ viewpoints on playing–bottom line is that none of us can just listen to one person and succeed; we must take ownership of Our playing and figure it out for ourselves–using information we get from teachers, other players and our own experimentation / experience. We can’t just keep our heads down and mindlessly repeat exercises–that doesn’t work (trust me… ;)).
My $.02 FWIW
Your clutch analogy is a particularly good one – let me embellish it further:
I have a Kawasaki Concours 14 Motorcycle. You can easily do 60 mph in 2nd gear on this motorcycle – you can also do 60 mph in 5th gear.
To go 60 mph in 2nd gear you merely give it more throttle. In 5th gear it takes less throttle.
For trumpet playing, shape is the gears, and air is the throttle.
In my estimation, James’ is talking about the more throttle approach. I’m sure when it comes to his own playing, he uses both more throttle and additional gears.
Here’s a video demonstrating the fact that an aperture can be the same size for both low notes and high notes, based on the volume played:
Here’s a video from Greg which explains how to change pitch on the trumpet.
In general, I agree with what Greg is trying to teach, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually what is happening. In the video I posted, the person demonstrated that the player in the recording would sometimes have the same shape for two different pitches, depending on the volume. A low/quiet note could have the same shape as a high/loud note.
This is a bit like picking fly shit out of pepper, as I understand the crux of Greg’s teaching to be that he believes most players that are seeking out playing help are likely overblowing and not utilizing shape properly – this was certainly the case for me.
I’d love to hear what Greg has to say on this when he has time. Sounds like a great conversation for the next Zoom call! 🙂
I think many people struggle with trying to use more air in order to play higher.
It’s not something I recommend anyone do as, in my opinion, it’s more than likely not going to work for them and will lead them to experiencing the same frustrations as I did.
Here’s another video from Greg that touches on this topic a bit until such time that he can chime in. Agreed that it would be a good discussion.
At the end of the day, playing very much is about balancing Air and Shape. I myself have been trying to use better Air, more Air and it has helped me improve a bit.
However, I typically start most days by taking a full breath (i.e. “Body Concert Hall”) and let the weight of that breath passively released through my lips to produce each pitch. I’m not perfect and I catch myself moving to Active air sometimes, but I try to obtain the pitch (up to High C) without activating air as I’m warming up for the day.
As I progress to playing music, which involves dynamics and different durations of notes, then I migrate towards using Active air then.
But I try to start my day by reminding myself, physically and mentally, that I don’t need Air to obtain the pitch. This helps me avoid overblowing and mixing up what I’m doing / when I’m doing it. It also helps me refine the Shape I make for each pitch, as I’m not falling back on old habits / crutches that muddies the water of what an efficient / effective Shape is for each pitch–if I’m using Passively released Air, then the Shape must be efficient.
My $.02 FWIW
I won’t copy the whole course on this thread, but this video from Greg is really applicable to this as well, especially starting about 4 minutes in.
I really like what he says / how he explains WHY “buzzing” the lips helps us build range–it’s really more about learning what the tension needs to be in the corners as we release air through the aperture, rather than actively buzzing the lips by pressing them together…the vibration of the lips happens Indirectly as we release air through the aperture IF we have the proper Shape.
Hi all trumpeters,
I think that obviously it is not more air but more pressure that permits to play higher.
But how do you make higher pressure? The response is that you have to change shape and tension of the lips (higher resistance) and to compress more or less the air by the expiratory muscles (the sound volume).
But for me it is by thinking to compress the air that determines by reflex the right shape of the embouchure and not the opposite!