WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Aperture Control

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    • #32580

      Here is a link to Jason Harrelson uTube home page. If you scroll down to his Trumpet Momentum series of videos his latest ones are interesting viewing. Relieving Mouthpiece Pressure – No1 Aperture.

      In this video he talks about aperture control. Seems to me some of his views are similar to Greg’s.

      What do you think ?

    • #32619

      Hi Peter, thanks for posting this interesting link. There are certainly similarities to Greg’s views as I understand them from where I’ve got to in the WindWorks course, but there do seem to be some differences too, though perhaps these are rather nuanced. In particular:

      • Air speed: Although the video you’ve linked to is mainly about aperture control, Jason does mention air speed as another factor in pitch change. As far as I can recall, Greg doesn’t mention anything at all about air speed anywhere in the course up to the Moderato stage (where I’m up to). What Greg talks about mainly is ‘shape’, which I take to include aperture control, but also other internal changes in the mouth such as tongue position.
      • How to aperture is controlled: In Jason’s video, the aperture is conceived as a ring of lip tissue through which air passes, and Jason appears to conceive of controlling the size of this aperture by contracting a ring of muscles surrounding the opening, both at the sides and on top. If we think this way about aperture control, we might (conceivably) think that we need to contract the aperture in a vertical dimension as well as in a horizontal direction. Greg doesn’t want us “clamping down” in any way, so it seems to me his emphasis is on contracting the aperture in a horizontal direction only.

      These are relatively subtle differences perhaps. And I’m certainly no expert in any of this. Maybe someone who actually is could chip in?

    • #32620

      Thanks Peters, I like Jason’s videos; he seems like a great guy and player and makes beautiful horns.

      I don’t believe it is correct that Greg includes tongue position in his definition of shape, he specifically mentions that tongue does not control pitch it just impacts the quality of the sound.

      Some methods attribute tongue arch/level to pitch change. I was taught that as well when I was young in school. I believe that is an important distinction.

      While I believe it is a fact that air speed through the aperture does impact pitch, WindWorks focuses on learning how to impact pitch with passive air by engaging the aperture corners from the sides. Active air support isnt apparently needed until above High C or D.

      That’s my understanding, for what it’s worth. I’m no expert or instructor, just on this journey as well. Been having great success lately. Ive done multiple laps through WindWorks and have more respect for it each time and get more out each time. Good luck and stick with the course and watch Greg’s videos.

    • #32633

      Interesting comments. I agree that Greg doesn’t mention either tongue position or air speed with regards to pitch change. He does mention air support during result driven exercises to maintain pitch volume. So what is air support ? Surely air support is maintaining the flow of air. Flow has speed and quantity. Shape controls pitch which Greg describes as everything above the neck so that will include the tongue. All the exercises I have done so far have concentrated on aperture control because I think this is to focus on a more open relaxed embouchure and get away from the pinched closed embouchure. Hence the importance of passive air exercises. Jason’s low C embouchure is very open just like Greg’s low C. Then as he ascends his aperture gets smaller. As I ascend by bringing my aperture corners IN, I get a smaller aperture too. Jason’s high register the lips are together BUT I don’t think they are pinched together because he mentions that he has a very small aperture with fast air and low quantity. On several of Greg videos he says he does not play over the whole register of the horn with an open aperture. I think when you get into the upper register the lips are together with a buzz but I have not got that far yet. My range is G on top of the staff but I am starting to get the notes up to high C to speak. I am committed to Windworks and will continue to work on it as I am getting results. Just wish that progress could be faster but don’t we all.

    • #32638

      Here’s a great video from Greg on this.

    • #32682

      I think this video is even more applicable / relevant:

      And it does mention that tongue is involved in shape.

    • #32756

      Thanks a lot, John, for bringing both of these valuable videos on this topic together for us in the one place. They’re really both quite succinct.

    • #32776

      You’re welcome.

      I think the Jason and Greg are probably playing the same way.

      It’s just dangerous focusing on air speed in the beginning, as air speed can make up for bad form by forcing open a clamped down aperture and enable you to fight with yourself more than necessary early on.

      And the concept of tightening in a ring horizontally and vertically is probably more difficult than focusing on the corners/sides/horizontally.

      Plus, my understanding is that the top lip is what matters most in vibration and it has to vibrate 2X as fast (high C vs middle C). My understanding is that flexing your top lip inhibits vibration. Keeping it looser and tightening the sides and opening the aperture as much as possible (while maintaining the necessary support/engagement from the aperture corners (sides) seems to give the best sound, flexibility, endurance, etc.

      My $.02 FWIW. I could be mistaken, but thats my understanding. It’s hard to tell/know for sure, but it seems to be reinforced by my playing, experimentation, etc.

    • #32778

      John you seem to have a good grasp of this. Can you clarify for me that as you ascend from low C to middle C to high C the size of your aperture decreases and corner tension / firmness increases.

    • #32786

      Thanks Peter, yes that’s correct–the aperture is reduced as the corners are tightened inward from the sides horizontally while I try to keep my top lip relaxed and avoid clamping top-to-bottom (like a clam).

      The extreme of this movement would be a pucker or fish face, but not much engagement is necessary to change pitch and the mouthpiece helps keep things in position a bit.

      The lips feel like they’re pushing forward towards the MP like they do when you put your fingers on your lips and tighten the corners inward.

      When things are working good, which is most of the time now, I can easily play from A on the staff to A above the staff with a simple tightening and passive air. In fact, one thing I tried which worked better was backing off the air when trying the higher note. Believe it or not, it made it easier.

      I can play up to High C with passive air. I haven’t migrated yet to using active air support; I want to obtain more consistency first.

      I can play D and E above High C consistently (with active air support). I would say the top of my range is probably E. I do consistently play the F, but I dont try often, as I’m focused for now on Passive air and consistency. Ive hit a double G occasionally (active air) and even gotten an A a time or two, maybe even higher when screwing around, but honestly I’m focused more on consistency than range.

      From 1978 until March 2018, I never hit a high C before. My range effectively was G above the staff.

      I don’t even use active air support much or abdominal support. I’m focused mostly on my range up to High C and trying to master that.

      But I have been inconsistent and unstructured with my practice and have made the mistake of getting carried away and focusing on results and losing my focus on process and therefore have had occasional setbacks.

      But I’ve learned from each setback and have realized what I have been doing and catch it sooner now.

      So much of playing is mental. We have to be in the right frame of mind or we go backwards instead of forwards. It’s just as easy to reinforce bad habits and form as good, unfortunately.

      This week, I had one of my best days followed a few days later by another setback. But I knew my brain was off, not in the right place; and I knew I wasnt focused.

      Fortunately, I believe I know they way back and will probably be back to norm in a few days or so.

    • #32789

      John thank you so much for such an enlightening post. My range at the moment is F on top of the staff. Yes I can play the G but its weak. The notes above that to high C are just starting to speak. However I’m really interested in the fact that you have latched onto passive air. This is something I think I am going to concentrate more on. My feeling is that my control of the aperture corners is not refined enough and thats way I am struggling to extend my range to high C. I have been supporting my air, trying to avoid mouthpiece pressure and thinking of using less as I go up but thats really hard to do. Passive air however is just a release and so at least should be consistent. I will start tomorrow on practising using passive air and try to concentrate on the corners. As you said in another post “less is more” Think I am being too crude in operation if you know what I mean. I understand the concepts, they make perfect sense to me. Great to hear that you can now play a high C on passive air, enforces what Greg says that its possible.

    • #32790

      Here is a link part 2 of 4 of an Allen Vizzutti clinic 2009. I am sure you have all probably seen this but it enforces what Greg is teaching.

    • #32803

      You’re welcome, Peter. Thanks for posting that video, it was great. I saw another part of that but not that section. Definitely supports Greg’s teachings.

      My focus on passive air is because I believe it will ensure I’m using proper and consistent form.

      Active air support could be used as a crutch to open up a collapsed aperture due to clamping down from the top-to-bottom like a clam rather than from the sides.

      It’s amazing how high you can go with passive air if you have proper form and tighten the aperture from the outside corners inward.

      When I do push the air lately, I’ve been doing it with my mouth rather than my abdominal muscles and I get up to E and F above high C that way.

      I don’t push the mouthpiece against the lips, but ironically when you tighten the aperture from the sides you push your lips towards the mouthpiece. It’s almost as if the higher you go (the tighter the aperture), the more lip is in the mouthpiece.

      I was thinking tonight while watching the above video that I think the muscles that push our lips down top to bottom (like a clam) are much stronger than the muscles at the sides/aperture corners are. I think the “strength” of the corners that is built from exercises is more of an endurance strength rather than strength. If I recall correctly, long muscle fibers are more for endurance whereas short muscle fibers are more for strength. Perhaps the muscles on the outside of the mouth are more endurance oriented / long muscle fibers. Maybe someone will know.

      I also noted how Vizzuti talked about keeping the top middle lip relaxed as possible and only having as much firmness as necessary on the outside edge–like a ligature on a reed (i.e. woodwinds).

      Played tonight, BTW, after work and thankfully had Great sensations and felt and sounded great, back to playing with relative ease up to the top of my range up to F above high C (with a little kick of air from the mouth). I can’t say I was focused or disciplined in my practice tonight, but I didnt’ descend into “Gladiator” mode or anything. I think it was productive and left me in a good state of mind for tomorrow.

      And all the postings on the forum, etc. I think helped me focus my understanding of what I was supposed to be doing as I played. I definitely had the sensation tonight of the corners propping up the top lip from the sides, keeping it from collapsing and opening up the aperture wider and creating a more resonant sound and ability to push more air through the aperture (more volume), etc.

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