Trying to use the non-clamp style embouchure, I’ve noticed the bottom lip rolls in over the bottom teeth more the higher I play, until it is all tucked in by about G above the staff, and I can’t play higher without applying pressure at that point.
Also the leadpipe progressively tilts downward until it’s like playing a clarinet. Is this something others have confronted when trying the side compression approach?
If I try to keep my chin in place and not retract it then I end up pressuring the top lip and the tone is not good and inflexible. I think this is due to using the “oooo” (fish-face) type tensioning method as opposed to the clamp-type tensioning method.
How much adjustment have players experienced in order to play this way?
Hey Steve, the mmmaaaoooh is all about discovering the feeling of freedom of airflow and becoming aware of the aperture corners. Going further than that, even a pedal tone, takes time at the beginning.
The whole course is developed with the 1/2 step by 1/2 step approach and with emphasis on the Magnifying Glass to simply become aware of small changes in SHAPE and whether the feeling of freedom changes.
I recommend going right back to Largo several times as your questions will be answered.
Stick with it mate. Greg
My problem is similar but I am trying to not roll it in focusing on the corners instead. The problem for me is that my endurance and range have just gone massively down.
I could play above high C on fresh lips but now G seems to be my top note 🙁
A am struggling to play with my band as a result.
That actually sounds more like what I was doing before WindWorks when I was clamping my lips in the middle as I ascended.
I remember rolling my lip in and feeling like I ran out of lip as I ascended and tilting my head back/bell down, etc.
Now, when I tighten the aperture corners as I ascend, I try to use as little movement / tension / engagement as possible to change pitch. I try to stay relaxed and move as little as possible as I ascend and try to use as consistent of an embouchre as possible as I ascend, focusing on the ahhhhooooohhh (corners sensation) and avoiding tension in the middle of my top lip.
I don’t know if Greg agrees with this, but I found whistling helped me figure things out a bit–when I would whistle and focus on clamping the middle of my top lip down, the sound would cutoff, whereas as I go higher I am arching my tongue and tightening my lips (aperture) around the air column as I go higher.
My bell no longer goes down and I don’t tilt my head back and run out of lip. We don’t need to move much at all–watch the videos of Greg and other great players, they’re not moving a lot. What little movement there is is coming from the corners like the tightening of a hose nozzle from around the diameter of the air column.
I wonder if you’re overblowing? You might try backing off the air a bit and focusing on your sound a bit.
Or you might be overdoing / overthinking the mwwwahhhooohh thing as you place the mouthpiece on your lips. I don’t want to contradict anything Greg says, but if you watch the videos of him playing he’s not really extremely forward as he puts the mouthpiece to his lips and plays. For me, when I’m having great sensations / range / flexibility, and feel like I’m in the zone, I have the sensation that my lips are kind of tightening around the air column towards the center of the mouthpiece (almost a light gripping sensation NOT CLAMPING) and my lips feel like they’re moving forward and I’ve realized I don’t need to tilt or roll my lip, etc. I can “go straight through the front door” as I ascend, I don’t need to wrestle with myself and the horn. It’s a subtle thing.
The video posted above was very helpful to me as well.
The biggest thing, for me, that helped was avoiding chromatic (i.e. Clarke) scales ascending–I had years of bad habit ingrained in me playing Clarke and would tighten as I ascended and I would move too much. I avoided Clarke for a long time and am just now going back to it as I feel like I get what I’m supposed to be doing now with it.
Instead, I focused on octaves and forcing myself to be relaxed–thinking of it like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Playing softly, starting with low G (i.e. 1 and 3), then G on the staff then G above the staff and focusing on how little difference in effort it takes. Playing soft is key and using less air and not kicking above and just tightening the aperture corners a bit.
For me, the big revelation was A–A above staff was the very top of my range for many years. When I stopped playing chromatics and just tried to simply play A on the staff then play A above the staff with little movement as possible, it came out easily like nothing. It wasn’t much longer after that that I played my first high C ever in 40 years… And now I own C through E and am nudging higher, hitting Double G but trying not to focus too much on range but solidifying my mastery of playing correctly and having a good, resonant sound and flexibility, etc.
It took a while and I had some successes and failures, wound up going backwards a bit, but have been having great sensations and success consistently for a while now, thankfully.
I think the key for me is “less is more”. When I overthink things and try to do too much, which I start doing when I get tired, I start feeling myself moving more and starting to fight the horn a bit. A lot of times, I actually can recover a bit by relaxing, backing off the air and focusing on using as little movement as needed.
My $.02 / experience–hope that is helpful to you. Good luck!
That is awesome! Thanks John!!!
I think you are not really using “the non-clamp style embouchure” as described in WindWorks. I suggest you do the Largo stage practice until you have the mmm-aah-ooo down and can play singing C Largo exercises using mah-ooo. You are rushing the process trying to play G above top line F. You have not progressed that far. That comes at the end of Presto stage with Presto G singing C.
You will be practicing mah-000 to high C above the staff. Practice the exercises as prescribed and do not rush the process. I think your hanging-on to manipulating your lips as you did when your first attempts of playing the trumpet. You will need to spend time practicing the first exercises with a visualizer or mouthpiece with no buzz. Do not pull your bottom lip in, ever. Do not pivot your horn to push it in. These are habits they need to be replaced with WindWorks habits.
Now if you must play in trumpet outside of practice, you may have to play for a while on one embouchure for performance and another for practice. If you are a student, consult your director and play parts that do not require you to manipulate your embouchure to play higher. I boldly claim that if you will stick with the process and not rush it, you will be very pleased and will enjoy playing.
Stay connected. You can do this.
This is great!!! You nail many very important concepts Ron, thanks. I have nothing more to add 🙂
Thanks for your reply and your confidence. I have taken Greg’s methods to heart. I have spent hours really really trying to figure out how to slur and increase pitch without increasing breath support. It takes me a while sometimes to get it truly minimized/eliminated. I have found that it seems to be a different thing, from doing this very slowly, to when you’re are going fast. When going really slow, whole notes, I found the only way to COMPLETELY STOP all kicking of the abs is to really firm up the sides of the cheeks into what I describe as a ‘fish-face’ type shape, Where the lips are more spread in vertical direction than horizontal, and hold everything firmly this way. This is kind of extreme and I don’t think it’s right, what do you think?
The bottom lip coming in just happens ‘naturally’ to me previously I guess, I wasn’t aware of it until I started doing WW. I’ve found that he mentions a few things about it, aiming the airstream up when ascending seems to be a useful concept. It is a major adjustment, my tone and everything drop off when I try to actively counter doing it although I’m improving quickly at the exercises.
Sometimes I test my range and the ease of it briefly. Like everyone does most likely. I try to slur up higher a few times quietly using only passive support and aperture corners. And I get to a G on top of the staff and above it get raspy tone and can’t play higher. I don’t do this much but I will stop for now as I have developed some faith in the Author and his Process.
Phew!!! Thanks Steve! The process works and having a peek at the higher register is totally cool of course but you must forget about producing a perfect tone from the get go; I know you know this. Just stick to PROCESS in the lower register and find purity of tone using the 1% Rule and eventually, and it takes time, you will begin to be able extend and more importantly recognise when negative tension kicks in. Cheers, Greg”
Thanks for your thoughts. I have found my range and endurance have dropped to low levels now, I just finished the C harmonic slurs in Andante stage, I can do 32nd notes @ 60 bpm for 30s minimum.
Hey Steve, this suggests to me that you are trying to do all of your regular playing in the new way; this isn’t the best way to go. You need to work on WindWorks daily and slowly expand and the forget it and play your regular way. Your range, flexibility, tone etc will all be DIFFERENT and take time to become the new normal, don’t try and rush it, simply be AWARE of the new sensations.
I am wondering how much work should be done per day, how much to do, as we know overdoing it can be a critical factor in improvement, I think I have always ‘overdone’ my practicing and thus progress was slow. How do you know how much to do?
This is really subjective so just do as much as you feel comfortable with. Be sure to practise new stuff then your regular routine; you are still capable of doing what oyu have been doing so don’t entirely throw out what got you to here.
FYI This is my routine now:
1. slow low register warm up with pedals (~15 min). I would need to see what you are doing
2. lip buzzing (<5 min). WAY TOO MUCH!!!
3. leadpipe mp insertion (<5 min). Are you getting Sympathetic Oscillation?”
4. leadpipe octave arpeggio slurs (<10 min). I think too much?!
5. largo ascending whole note slurs (<5 min). Sounds good!
5. Double Tonguing – Adagio Descending Single Harmonic (~20 min). NOPE, I don’t think you are ready for this and even if you were, that is too much.
6. harmonic slurs from previous stages (<15 min).Sounds okay
7. singing C exercises 3x each (~15 min). Seems a long time…
8. practice exercises 3x through the set (~10 min). 3 times??? Why so many?
9. harmonic slurs (~25 min).WAY TOO MUCH 🙂 We need to talk…
Total comes to 125 min or 2 hours, but more like 6 hours with long (hour) breaks. You are trying to build ROME, FLORENCE, NEW YORK AND AMSTERDAM all in a da my friend. I love your enthusiasm but it takes time; it can’t be forced.
I am losing strength before “9. current harmonic slurs” and need to rest an hour or two to be able to put in a good set. I think its from all of the f and ff playing? On harmonic slurs I typically go until the burn sets in and I am no longer able to do the slur for a few measures even after a minute rest. Interested in anyone’s take on what I’m doing, any advice is welcome.
For personal background info, I have played since 5th grade pretty much continuously for 30 years (non-professionally), some lessons here and there but nothing substantial until 10 years ago I enrolled in a community college performance program and got lessons for a few years. I was able to play the Haydn 1st movement in the end, performed with orchestra on Eb trumpet, but I didn’t own the high Eb 🙁 B4 that I had played in a popular local rock/ska band in Los Angeles area and also played in and helped found the Los Angeles Metro Brass Band (British Brass Band). I currently live in the Detroit metro area and I have a lot of time at the moment to work on trumpet technique but not a lot of $. I was playing out of several std method books (Clarke, Schlossberg, Arbans, Caruso, Stamp, Irons…) and watching a LOT of YT trumpet vids. Currently playing on a Tromba Bb plastic trumpet with a metal Bach 3D mp. I am impressed with this rig! I have other std. instruments (ie. Bach Strad 37M w/2C mp) but they are not currently available to me.
P.S. It might be useful for people to add signatures to their posts or have a profile page to share background info. Thanks!
I with Jonelwood, you are probably overdoing it. I get tired after an hour of continuous playing with no breaks, but I don’t have a burning sensation. I have a good, tingly sensation.
I am just a hobby player, no reason to play except for fun, so I am not an authority. I do have some thoughts on your practice and embouchure.
I am concerned about this fish-face embouchure you describe. It sounds like you may be creating too much of a pucker. Does it look like Greg’s setup? This is the same as Jonelwood points out as being overdone. Your catching your bottom lip rolling in is exactly what this course is about. I identifying useless tensions and habits and then replacing with new more efficient habits.
Now as to your session I have some concerns. I have almost no experience teaching brass and these are my just opinions from a dubious source. Keeping in mind there is no one way to play, but there are more efficient ways.
I think you are definitely overdoing it. Your warm-up seems to me over the top. Pedals can be good, but I play just a few to cool-down. I think lip buzzing can lead to bad habits and I do not lip buzz anymore. I would say that Greg’s stuff should take you anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day. Try to improve every day using the practice charts and be done with it. Later in the day, you might play some etudes. I like stuff that is pre-programmed like Eric Bolvin’s
(my favorite). Then later play some repertoire pieces solos, melodies or pieces your ensemble is playing.
You might be overdoing it. I’m a comeback amateur player, played a lot in high school and early college. Dreamed of going pro and took from some reputable teachers but didn’t have the chops, so majored in business, got married and had a daughter. 25 years later (daughter turned 10 today), no regrets. But I have limited time to devote to playing trumpet. I try to play everyday, but don’t always get a chance. Realizing lately that that is likely what’s holding me back from progressing faster to the next level.
But I’m happy with where I’m at, I can pretty much play high C whenever I want and can go up to E pretty well.
Tightening the corners into more of a fish face is how I do it, although I have found less movement is more–I try only moving as much as necessary and that seems to help. I don’t go too crazy, but less is more.
I think I work too hard on things trying to make them ‘perfect’ right away. You do know yourself 🙂
Such as the low register arpeggio double tongue exercise. I could hardly do that at first. One day I spent probably an hour or more on it all at once. I wore myself out, it was obsession. Now I can play it easily and at good tempo, but I don’t think I did the right thing. I was thinking I have to MAKE it better as I was practicing.
I am just going to be repeating myself but I need to emphasise that you have the answers already, just reread your first two sentences haha
Not thinking it will GET better over a longer timeframe. Part of what Greg says got to me, the process focussed exercises are to slowly improve things not perfect them right away. It’s a different approach to practice for me. I have also noticed I used to MAKE my lips feel certain things as I was playing.
This is the toughest thing for people to overcome. Old wiring, neural pathways and sensations are difficult to ignore but you simply have to find a way to make a profound difference to your approach.
But now I see it is the process and the result that needs to be focussed on and not the things I used to focus on. I’m glad I found this resource. My challenge now is the triple tongued chromatic scale in the Andante stage. But I’m not going to obsess about it I have confidence now it will improve over time and it already has. I never realized that playing exercises easily was going to improve things, that not Struggling with it is the right way. Another thing I found is I should keep playing other material, today I tried that and noticed a difference in how I play it. Still down on range and endurance but tone and ease of playing have improved. Playing other material will also cut down on W.W. obsessing. And I have more of the tingling feeling, and cutting back on loudness helped as well. Still some skepticism but I will continue, because what is low-range playing for a long time expected to do to range capabilities regardless of what you are playing, right? As for my goals I hope to be able to play 1st part in some ensembles eventually, I have usually ended up on 2nd. And I’d like to be able to play what I want to play, which includes a wide variety of music and styles, and sound good.
You want what everyone wants Steve and patience is the key. Deep awareness and understanding of the system. Letting go of habits is the challenge. PLEASE JOIN THE WINDWORKS HARMONIC SLURE CHALLENGE, https://mysterytomastery.com/wihsc/register as I will be talking about all of this in detail.
Your choice is to keep doing things the way you have been for years, try my stuff with your existing urgency and psychology OR (hint hint hint) take your time, create a NEW understanding of an efficient system, learn the feelings of it and then slowly implement it into your playing with emotional detachment. PLEASE WATCH THIS
I get it. You have had some success, but you came here because you knew you were not getting the results you wanted. Consistency, endurance is what you want along with the ability to play all over the horn’s register. This is the right place to be.
I am just playing for fun and the proving to myself I can learn to play better than my high school days. I bought a lot of books and got some good results by going through Claude Gordon’s stuff. I thought I should go from the bottom up as if I were a beginner. I faithfully played through his Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing book and Saint-Jacome’s exercises. Lip buzzing when away from the horn and after almost a year I could not play as well as I could in high school. I thought I needed to develop all facial muscles. The best thing I got was Gordon’s tongue level exercises, these seem to help, but playing wasn’t fun and it hurt. Somewhere I picked up the idea that you to roll your lips
Always looking for the best way to play trumpet I came found Greg Spence’s stuff. The first time I went through his first book, I was convinced that this was it. I improved, but I still was where I wanted to be. When Greg started WindWorks, I had free access to the first couple of stages having purchased his first two books. I thought I would go from the beginning. I finally discovered I need to be patient and do not rush through it. I put away all my other materials and stuck with WindWorks along with playing a little out my favorite method book, but not push myself much beyond the notes above the staff. It was until I started working on the allegro stage and trying to play E at the top of the staff without kicking, I found I was using the same embouchure as playing C below the staff without manipulation and a lot of extra tension. Playing a chromatic scale up to G I notice there where small changes in the aperture corners as I ascended with a little more tongue arch. I have played through the Presto stage. I not in that part of the course yet, but I have tested myself and playing High C and D is no big deal loud or soft. What I am amazed that I can play a high C softly and slowly crescendo and then decrescendo.
The biggest enemies are overblowing, over muscling the chops and tensing up the abdominals too much. It is not about building muscular chops and abs. Don’t buy into, no pain – no gain. That is even out with muscle building. Keeping the correct form is more important and much safer.
Be patient don’t obsess over the exercises, work on something using the practice charts, check off what you can do today and put Greg’s stuff away for tomorrow. Play some easy stuff later in the day such as pleasing melodies, stuff that will not reinforce poor habits.
Be patient with yourself.
This is wonderful Ronald, thanks for your input and enthusiasm. Greg
You sound like you are on the right track. If you ever get frustrated, just ask questions. Greg will help you through it.
Would you mind if I asked approximately how old are you (i.e. are you in high school, college, or one of us Over 40+ comeback players, etc.) / how long you’ve been playing? Might help provide some appropriate context to give you the best recommendations.
I agree with Ron, I think you’re on the right track just need to not overthink things–which is tough, because our thinking hasn’t worked thus far and we need to change what it is we’re doing. But, I try to remember the 1% rule and the permanent focus on being more and more efficient. If I feel something I’m doing doesn’t feel natural or isn’t helping the sound or ease of playing, I try avoiding doing it. I believe the less is more guide helps me focus better, play freer, have better sensations and helps me achieve the Windworks objectives (BCH, not kicking the air to change pitch, not clamping down / overtightening, not overblowing, etc., etc.).
I put background info in one of my replies to you, it’s ##29763.
Today was a bad day. I hate practicing exercises that do nothing for you, only to not be able to play anything you want to play after playing them. My range is down to below top line F now, my tone is absolutely crap above F. I feel like windworks has hurt Much more than it has helped and considering stopping this madness. All of the low register playing at FF volume is totally not helpful. if I knew how simple these ‘magical’ exercises were I don’t think I would have bothered to waste my time with this.
STEVE STOP!!! Can you PLEASE let me know when you have time to have a chat on SKYPE, this needs to be sorted. You are trying to make a long-term transitions by clicking your fingers. YOU CAN STILL DO WHAT YOUR HAVE ALWAYS DONE and changes need to be drip fed. It is not “magical” it is logical, it is not “madness” it is logical. The people who are here trying to help you out have offered great advice and I really want you to understand what it is you are working on. Notice that all comments have alluded to not rushing… you must step back. UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF THE POINT OF DIFFERENCE. Please email me. Cheers, Greg
I have been where you are at. When making embouchure changes, you are going to have struggles, especially since you have expectations and want immediate results to play every note you used to play.
I suggest you stop whatever warmup you are doing. Do not play pedals. Everything does not have to be played FF. By the way, FF is such a subjective description. If you play, FF C below the staff and second-line G FF and the sound is distorted, you may be overblowing. Back-off.
You have just started windworks and do you think you should be able to play all of the notes you used to play using this new embouchure? This is a several weeks commitment.
Consider what Greg says:
“The ego’s desire to play with perfect tone will take the focus away from the correct Process encouraging manipulation thus deeming the exercise useless. You must be able to let go of the desire to sound amazing in order to effectively analyze and refine your playing system.”
If you have gigs or ensemble commitments, you are going to have use different embouchures.
Upload a short video of you playing some of WindWork exercises.
Don’t give up.
Thanks for the replies again. Trumpet playing is so weird. After I had my awful day where I was dead tired at the end, I had an hour break, then I played some low Cichowicz flow studies to recover, they went ok but thought I had little strength in reserve. After I thought I had recovered enough I played out of Schlossberg. Long tones went pretty well except there were raspy bubbles in the tone for higher notes I had to iron out. Then I tried a few exercises from other sections that went above the staff and that’s where it was bad and I stopped immediately. I know they should be easier. I guess my break wasn’t long enough because several hours later (~3 hours) everything felt completely different! That’s when I was just playing tunes out of my head I knew, mostly classical stuff but fun stuff too, and I did feel a positive difference, I felt I could grip the air stream all around it more and pitch was more responsive to air pressure above the staff, I don’t know if that is the right technique but things did feel better in a positive way. I apologize for my previous negative comments, trumpeting is still a mystery for me 😉 I have been recording myself, I will try to post something tomorrow. Thanks for continuing to respond to my posts, I appreciate your help and advice.
P.S. More background info:
Had lessons in high school but stopped after a year or two. Played in college but nothing serious as I was an engineering major (there wasn’t a music degree available there). I did pep band, symphonic band, jazz band, and a self-formed brass quintet. I founded a natural trumpet group and we attempted to make our own horns (from sheet copper!) but just ended up playing with tubes attached to our trumpets. After that I played in community groups, did some musicals, played at church a lot. Continued this way until moving to Los Angeles with the activities mentioned in the previous post including a Salvation Army trumpet group that played in New Orleans after Katrina. About 3 years ago started practicing again (some periods daily) after ~5 years off. I have never been as dedicated to improvement as I am right now. So yeah I guess I’m a 40 something come-back player of sorts, although I would really like to be better than I was. I’m not playing in any ensembles right now. Currently unemployed so I have a lot of time to put into WW, but I guess too much can be too much!
Sorry to hear you had a bad day, Steve. I know how frustrating that can be. Everyone on here, Greg included, have been there. I remember less than a year ago feeling like throwing my 30+ year old trumpet across the room and quitting for good. I was pretty close to doing so.
What was so frustrating was that I had gone from where I was before, barely above the staff to High C to High F (just below double G), then lost it and slid back down below High C again and felt like I lost what I had gained.
I took Greg’s advice and focused back on the very beginning and slowly worked up.
I think the course is great as it’s laid out and following it is beneficial.
But I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that it’s important not to think that there is something about how the WindWorks exercises are laid out that simply playing the exercises will build your range up to where it needs to be or build your flexibility, etc.
I believe the exercises and lessons, at least in the beginning, are focused on helping us discover for ourselves the sensation of the aperture corners and the proper sensations we’re supposed to be feeling as we tighten the aperture as we ascend.
Simply progressing slowly from one lesson to another isn’t going to result in your progressing and having your own epiphany / coffee moment and realizing what it’s all about.
In my opinion, if you haven’t had an “aha” or “wow” moment when trying to do a harmonic slur, flexibility or ascend and it hasn’t felt remarkably easier and/or sounded better / more resonant, freer, etc. then you’re not on the right track yet.
I’m just a hobby / amateur player who played a lot in high school and dreamed of playing professionally but didn’t have the chops and chose a different path in life.
Now, it feels great to finally have the feeling that I finally understand how to play this instrument that I have spent so much time, blood, sweat and tears over. And I am playing it in a way that I’m not tearing myself down everytime I practice but by playing more efficiently, my practice is much more effective.
I don’t have time to play through all the WindWorks exercises and other studies too. Sometimes I simply do a warmup, do some flexibility studies, harmonic slurs and play some music. But the mmmmmmmmmmmmwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhoooooooooooooo is key for me, as is the BCH and thinking about the air column, less is more, the 1% rule–trying to be more efficient and have a more resonant sound each time. I try not to battle the horn and myself and get in my own way; I think I used to do that and now I try to work with the horn, think about interacting with the air column as little as necessary and trying to stay out of its way / keeping it as untouched as possible.
When I do that, I have good days.
When I have limited time, expect myself to hit certain notes, don’t pay attention to how I’m feeling and try to force things, don’t play music that is pleasing to me or musical, I don’t enjoy it and wonder what I’m doing and why I’m doing it at all.
I’m busy, but I do (obviously…) have pockets of free time where I can practice and read/post on forums… I’ve been very passionate about this lately due to the great sensations and great progress that’s been increasing lately. I have a lot of momentum and I’m really excited for this weekend, when I can play during the day, without a mute and hear how things sound and feel freely. I have been focusing on some exercises which seem to be helping me build endurance, strength and dynamic ability (i.e. playing louder). I’m cautiously optimistic that tomorrow or Sunday may be a new high for me, but I must be careful to approach my sessions with patience and not rush or push to hard too soon. Fingers crossed…
You should take Greg’s advice and Skype with him–he’s been through this personally himself, I doubt there’s a better guide out there. I doubt you’ll get completely sorted out on one Skype call; however, I’m sure it will help you get on the right track and headed in the right direction.
I think each of our journeys is unique and we all have our own obstacles to overcome which are different, but there are some common problems we can help one another solve.
Take John’s good advice. Most of the people using this, including its creator have been where you are.
Also, I would like to remind you that as you go through Wind Works you will go up a half step learning to maintain the same sensations as the previous note and perhaps noting the slight changes in shape as you proceed to the next note.
Skype Greg and he will help you.
I have noticed that I can ascend to G just above the staff and the Bb harmonic using pretty much the embouchure that’s being developed here. HOWEVER, and maybe this is why I got upset, is that although I find I can do it that way, my range is pretty much the same as when I play with my previous embouchure. That result was quite disheartening, as it makes me think there is something fundamentally wrong with my face, teeth, mouth, or muscles, or something that will completely prevent me from progressing. I do have quite a small mouth. In my teens I had teeth removed and wore braces for a while to get them all to fit in there! My chin is also less prominent than average, and I have overbite. One thing I noticed is my bottom lip seems to come up further (is taller) over my bottom teeth maybe more than average and I wonder if that makes it difficult to generate the stiffness necessary to produce higher notes. Thanks for the advice, Working on posting a video link soon.
I suspected the same thing as you–my teeth meet in the middle, I have no overbite or underbite; perhaps that’s the reason I couldn’t play high. My top lip is kind of thin, perhaps there’s not enough meat to oscillate, etc., etc.
I feel like I’ve disproven that to myself now; while I’m still just an amateur hobby player with limited skill, the sensations I have and the range I’ve developed in a relatively short period of time lead me to believe I’m on the right track.
There appear to be great trumpet players with different types of lips; some big some small. Some play on big mouthpieces, some play on small.
From what you’ve posted thus far, I suspect you simply haven’t had that “coffee moment” where you feel the sensations of more (much) easily doing harmonic slurs simply by engaging the aperture corners from the sides, letting the middle of the top lip be relaxed, using a less is more approach. I think if you experiment with that, reading all the Windworks pointers before closing your eyes and experimenting with harmonic slurs, I think you’ll experience (eventually) an ease of playing you didn’t think possible before and with minimal movement, just an engagement of the corners / slight contracting as you ascend.
If I were you, I would take Greg up on his Skype offer. It’s most likely not an easy fix, but I bet you would get some good take aways from the session that would help you on your way.
So much,, probably most, of this is mental; you need a good morale and frame of mind when you practice or you won’t progress.
Be patient, open-minded with no expectations, be willing to experiment trying to do what is described and be willing to fail and realize what you tried didn’t work.
Focus on the Process, not Results. I feel like I’m still solidifying the Process but I no longer fear losing it as much as I used to. It seems that it’s become more second nature now than my old way of playing; that takes time and will likely take me longer to really cement in. Good luck!
Ran across this video this morning and thought it was a great summation of what it’s all about and a clear message that it’s not physical, it’s mental.
It is physical in the fact that we must move our embouchre in coordination with the air column and interact with the air column; but it’s not physical in the sense that what you need to do is play the exercises in the order presented and you will develop physically into a monster player.
The exercises, especially in the beginning, are meant to help you discover new sensations and let go of old concepts about playing.
One thing I did in the beginning that helped me a lot which Greg mentioned in one video was to listen to Windwork videos on my way in to work–I have about an hour commute each way so I would listen to the videos as I drove in.
I tried to surround myself with the concepts [still am, obviously… :)]. I think that helped my mental state as I approached playing the horn to where I was thinking about the various WindWorks concepts and not my preconceived notions, old sensations, habits, etc.
In time, I lost those old habits and am replacing them with new.
Steve, don’t overanalyse it.
Stick with the Windworks plan. Your “new” way will take time to take over the old way. That means some time with a lower range, then a time when it catches up and finally takes over with way less fatigue and way more resonance.
Trust me (or more importantly, Greg) I have been where you are and whilst I am not a screamer I can now play consistently above high C and finish 3 sets of Big Band without having to ice my chops.
Loving trumpet way more than I did years ago! Thanks, Greg
What are you referring to by your comment “Straight airstream” ?
Alright you guys, you asked for it! Here it is! The complete trumpet practice sessions from earlier tonight, Monday 8/26/19! I was a bit tired, and took the day off yesterday so those are my excuses. You will enjoy 3+ hours of such timestamped highlights as:
Shoulder rolls, lip stretch, deep breathing, ahh-ooohs, mmaahhoootutus, WW lip buzzing, WW leadpipe mp insertion, WW leadpipe playing, Paul Mayes Quick Warmup, mmaahhoootutus, Ken Larson set-up exercise, WW ascending long tone slurs, Caruso 6-note exercise G to C with note bends, WW low register arpeggio double tongued and slurred, Stamp warmup descending, Stamp warmup descending and ascending to P4, Clarke Etude #3 partial, chromatic run finger warmups, lip buzz shake out, Bryan Davis 5-bar tonguing warmup, extended multiple tonguing warmup, Stamp descending chromatics exercise,
1:01:25 Start WindWorks (WW) Moderato Singing C exercises on C.
1:21:40 Start WindWorks Moderato C Exercises
0:00 whistling September by Earth Wind & Fire 🙂
1:30 awful lip buzzing, mmaahhootutus and random warmup phrases.
4:05 Krypton theme from Superman followed by more randomness.
11:40 more awful lip buzzing.
12:00 WindWorks Moderato C Exercises continued, chromatic scales.
18:33 nasty belch sorry, it happens!
21:40 a lot of nasty nasty pedal note attempts.
27:00 more crazy nasty lip buzzing.
28:00 review of previous WW lip slurs.
37:20 more bizarre lip buzzing for recovery and belching !
43:25 more disgusting pedal notes (attempts)!
45:00 more random song fragments!
46:00 had enough.
1:04:30 return from break.
1:06:30 somehow the exercise turned into “Somewhere…”! and something else.
1:08:20 C harmonic slurs, finally! 144bpm baby! (not my best)
1:09:30 random whistling and playing.
1:12:40 playing to failure, yeah! I’m no good after this, just beating myself up.
These are public videos so feel free to chastise me as much as you would like in retaliation for my earlier negative comments 😉
Really, any feedback is welcome. This is the first vid of myself I’ve posted on YT. Remember, I was tired.
It might be more convenient to watch these at 2X speed (under settings) if at all 😉
You are ahead of me on your G to C lip slurs. You are fast.
Bluntly, you do not seem to have a focused practice. You randomly play exercises and then do something else and backup and do the same “warm-up” again.
Throw it all out. My opinion: Stop all free lip buzzing, stop doing everything you do as a warm-up. Do not play petal tones (I think these can be good, but for now stop.)
Open up WW and follow the instructions. Stop doing your own thing. Unless you abandon your past, you’ll keep repeating your struggles.
Use WW materials as your warm-up and follow-through each of Greg’s exercises. Do you use the practice charts? Follow Greg’s program without all the extras. Even though the exercises come from great resources and are great. Save them for later until you get the basics of WindWorks down.
I do not call what you did as practice. It is more like doodling.
I know that is harsh. You have heaps of potential.
Use WW exercise as your warm-up. Then practice the exercises. Do the exercises of whatever singing C series you are on. Rest about the same number of beats after playing an exercise. Repeat the exercise or go on to the next. Go to the next page and play it. Resting the same number beats that you just played. Repeat that pattern finishing the page. If Greg demonstrates an exercise listen then play it yourself. You could listen again and repeat trying to match his sound. Listen to his next demonstration and play. Follow this pattern. Now you should be ready for the Practice Progress Charts. You presently could check every box on the Moderato Practice charts. Move on. There is no need for these big gaps of rest and randomly playing. Play what is written in WW. Let’s say you played an exercise of four measures; rest four measures and play the next exercise, repeat this pattern. If you get tired after doing this 20 or 40 minutes, then I bet you have tension that needs to be irradicated.
By the way, when you get back to playing the other great exercise, use a metronome, start slow and increase in time. For now, leave them alone. When you start doing what you used to do, you are more likely to practice bad habits.
You stick with WW and follow-through step by step you will exceed your past, which was probably excellent and definitely far beyond what I have ever accomplished on trumpet.
Finally, skype Greg.
I have done lip slurs my whole life as a trumpeter, so that may explain my abilities. I’m up to 16ths @144bpm on a good day. The thing is, I have done probably THOUSANDS of hours of lip slurs, out of so many books, specifically Irons, but NEVER seemed to get anything from doing them! Complicated ones! Went all over the place zig zagging up and down left and right skipping around fast and slow low and high soft and loud repeating millions of times… until the burn set in so hard I couldn’t play another note sometimes, and the next day, the next week, nothing seemed to ever improve. My range, specifically. So, that’s why I remain skeptical of WW. Using the side support embouchure is different so we’ll see, I hope for the best. I have found that is getting easier to slur up to G and a bit higher with little effort.
I do the pedals in the WU as I saw a YT vid about this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_JHHMC33GY
from Paul Mayes who I respect as a player, he says it’s good to give the lips a ‘massage’ and loosen up. I suppose it’s possible to be too loose. Is that what you’re thinking?
When I practice I use my phone and a tablet and I read the WW exercises from the webpage. I use the tablet to take notes on the exercises in an excel spreadsheet and suggestions for what to do next time.
Regarding your comment:
“I can’t even see how you would be tired even if you put all both sessions back to back.”
I’m not sure what you mean, do you mean I shouldn’t be tired, or I should? When I stop for a break, my lips are usually at a point of duress, where I know if I proceed I will be making things worse instead of better. Sometimes I try to continue, just trying to ‘finally’ get it played right, and I know it’s not good to do that under duress. I really lack in endurance now. It’s possible I’m doing this wrong, in fact, highly suspected I do too much at a time right now. I know my ‘practice flow’ leaves something to be desired, and honestly there has been a lot on my mind besides trumpeting at the moment.
Here’s the thing, when I picked up the horn again about 3 years ago (after 5 years off) all I did was play songs I enjoyed, all the time. I just tried to play songs I’ve heard, that I liked, like I used to. I can play dozens of baroque trumpet concertos (of course, usually transposed a fifth or an octave down). So transitioning to a really structured session has been a challenge. I used to have many sets of exercises I’d play, all kinds of them, but didn’t record written results like I am now.
I didn’t get a whole lot of instruction. The best thing that helped me at the time was to play Clarke studies (#2 in particular) as many times as possible in one breath. That makes you go as fast as possible, and as quiet as possible, making you more efficient. Seemed to help at the time.
I don’t consider what you’re saying as harsh at all, it’s exactly what I would like to hear, thank you! If you go to the timestamps where I have windworks indicated you will see that I do all of the exercises in order right down the page, from singing C through lip slurs. Multiple times. Sometimes I stop and repeat them to try and fix and improve things. Maybe I do that too much. BTW, I do play some warm-ups (WU) when I return from breaks, and sometimes get carried away.
Thanks for your support, I am at the end of the moderato stage but spending probably another week here to review all the previous exercises. I think I do have the feeling of the side muscles now. It’s much more focused that I used to play, sides are firm even when I play a low C, not loose there.
I’ll be posting more vid links of anyone is interested I’ll try to make them concise to the WW exercises.
Thanks for your reply. I thought I might be shut out of this forum because of my blunt opinion.
I watched the second session almost all the way through. Then I watched the first session, skipping the pauses. I say you should not be chopped out or tired. You don’t sound all that tight in the lips. Maybe it is the lip slurs, but somewhere you must have too much tension if you are tired after what I heard. You probably are overdoing the lip slurs. When I practice the lip slurs, I go through the exercises just before the slurs. Then, do the slurs according to where I left off the last time. Go until I can’t play the keep up with the metronome. I do play on a 3C mouthpiece. I also have a 1 1/2C mouthpiece that I sometimes play on.
Regardless of the great exercises and all the advice, stick with WW for now. Paul Mayes is a great player and teacher.
You are using a plastic horn, right? That horn is pretty good.
Have you worked out a time to skype with Greg?
One important question, are you process-driven or results-driven?
Very generous of you to post these publicly. I hope and think they will be helpful to others on their journey as well.
I’m not qualified as an instructor to give you any instruction; I think you should take Greg up on his offer to Skype with you–I am sure that would be beneficial and a great experience.
But, for what it’s worth, I’ll give you my $.02 on what I observed:
1. I love September and Krypton too. Those are two of my aspirations as well, being able to play those well.
2. You played a combined of 3+ hours…that seems like a lot of time, albeit you did a good job spacing it out, taking breaks, etc.
3. When you do the Mmmmmwwwwwaaaahhhhhooooohhhhhh, you seem to do it away from the mouthpiece and horn and when you do go to the horn straight from it you seemed to go into pedals.
For me, the whole point of Mmmmmmmmmwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooooooooohhhhhhhhh is the setup to play the horn with an open throat and engaged aperture corners–close your eyes and feel the aperture corners as you say the Ooooohhhhhhhhhh part of it…….
Then, continue to engage those muscles by tightening and loosening those muscles as you arch your tongue and do harmonic slurs up and down and observe how that feels, sounds, etc.
I recommend you expiriment with that, making slight tweaks to get a more resonant / freer sound and easier/faster harmonic slurs/flexibility.
For me, Harmonic slurs are much of the key to the Coffee Moment and opening up my range and flexibility, etc.
What started it for me, was someone recommending playing octaves (i.e. G on the staff, followed by G above the staff) with minimal movement. That made me stumble onto using my aperture corners to ascend without my realizing it. Then, luckily, I found WindWorks/MTM/Greg, which made senses of what I had stumbled upon and helped me realize what the heck was going on and how to continue to develop.
The video is kind of far away from you and of course audio quality isn’t the best on YouTube, but it sounded a bit to me like you are likely tightening/clamping/choking off a bit as you ascend; it sounds a bit like what I used to experience. It doesn’t sound free. It sounds like you are fighting the horn a bit, which I think your earlier posts alluded to.
I would spend more time on harmonic slur flexibilities but making sure you’re tightening from the corners, not clamping down top to bottom which you may be doing–that’s what I was doing, and I wish I could have all the countless hours of doing harmonic slurs that way back as I wasted my time banging my head against a wall and effectively got nothing out of it.
That’s my $.02 but I recommend you schedule a Skype with Greg, who has personally gone through this before personally and who has instructed a lot of people, many of which are far better players than me. I am simply trying to help with what limited knowledge and experience I have, for what it’s worth. I wish you all the best and every success! Keep it up!
Thanks for having a look at these, I appreciate it very much. Maybe we can all post vids of our progress. I bet we could put links in the profile page which is not accessible right now. There are some apps that make it really easy to upload vids to YT but I’m using a camcorder.
My response to your comments:
1. My head is literally filled mostly with songs. Songs of every type and genre. I just play some things I like sometimes. 50% of what’s in there are baroque trumpet concertos though.
2. 3 hours is correct, some days I start at 9:00am and go until 9:00pm. Usually it’s from noon until 8. There are several long breaks in there of course. Maybe I take it too slow.
3. With MATUTU, I do it to get the feeling, but then I also try to start playing actually from that exact lip formation as I put the mp to my lips, and that’s what comes out. It’s usually a pedal F. It’s very finicky with very light pressure any note up to an octave higher can come out at first. Then I gradually apply tension to get to the low C.
I tried doing what are called ‘flexandos’, a really fast transition harmonic slur between octaves in my warm up but that seemed to tire me out quickly. That’s the biggest problem I have, is that I don’t last very long, and end up playing on tired lips for most of my practice. About half way through the practice I haven’t been able to play G on top of the staff, but that is improving.
The tone may not sound free, but the cam mic is not good. Also it’s a plastic horn (Tromba brand) and it has a bit duller sound to it although I am using a metal mp. The horn also doesn’t ‘slot’ super well, I think it’s just the construction and materials, it’s probably not built with the greatest tolerances and feels more ‘flexible’ than metal horns so it’s easier to bend notes but also easier to play out of tune. But it was only $150 brand new. I believe I do have a pretty resonant sound now it’s improved a lot since starting WW, I’ll try playing at the cam in the future (there’s a mirror on the wall).
Thanks a lot for your $.02, it’s starting to add up 😉 BTW how did your muteless practice go?
Glad if my $.02 is adding up. At the end of the day, all we can do is share with each other our experiences and opinions, FWIW. We are all on this journey. Some of us, perhaps, are at a later stage than others but who knows what the future holds?
I too play mostly from memory, I play songs and music and exercises from memory mostly these days. I’m limited on time, during the week I get no more than an hour in the morning and sometimes in the evening I can squeeze in a session as well. I have more time on the weekends, but try to minimize it as well as I have other commitments to my family, etc.
I usually spend probably 5-10 minutes (I don’t track it) on a warmup, usually stamp or something extemporaneous starting with G on the staff then working up and down chromatically from there, but eventually moving to Stamp warm ups.
From there, I usually move to lip slurs, starting with 123, progressing to Open, etc.
I usually start by limiting the top note to the octave (i.e. 123 stops at F#, Open stops at high C) the first pass.
Later, I follow up with another round of harmonic slurs where I continue on up as high as I can. Lately, I’ve been taking 123 up to C# and taking that harmonic up to 12 (E) and 1 (F) before running into a bit of difficulty. I have gotten the F# and double G, but it’s still a work in progress.
I usually try to squeeze in a little music, just to free things up and check my sound, resonance and ability to play notes musically connected together.
I think that helps us from over-analyzing and doing stupid stuff.
At the end of the day, the reason we’re blowing air through a pipe is because we want what comes out the other end to sound good, to emote something we are feeling, etc.
If what we are doing physically with our embouchre doesn’t improve the sound or gets in the way, it’s probably not something we should be doing.
Tromba – I have a C Trumpet and Flugelhorn Tromba plastic horns. I think they’re great. I wanted to experiment with both instruments and didn’t want to plop down the coin for even a used horn, but $150 is not too bad. They’re impressive instruments for what they are.
You have a tremendous advantage over most players due to your dedication/commitment and your ability to spend so much time practicing/developing your skill.
Videos – Your posting a video made me go back and look at some that I filmed of myself last year when I first started my “comeback”. It was enlightening. I thought today and am thinking about whether to post one or more of those or a new video and whether that would be of any help to you or others, etc.
The thought is intriguing. I definitely could see how it might be helpful, but my intention was not to share that much publicly or be a performer. But I respect your generosity and laying it out there; I think and hope you will get a big return on that investment and I will do what I can to facilitate.
I haven’t decided yet what it is I want to do or whether or not that would help you or others.
As far as my muteless practice goes, it wasn’t as revolutionary as perhaps I hoped (i.e. I didn’t achieve a paint-melting Double G), but I’ve had good sensations lately and feel like I’m making some good progress, but have been busy at work and have had even more limited time than before. This weekend is a 3 day weekend in the U.S. so I’m hopeful I can break free a bit and put a little more time in.
I think I’m on the verge of a loud, resonant double G and being able to ascend that full harmonic series from C# (above high C) with 123 all the way to double G on Open fingering, etc. We’ll see.
Today, I spent some time looking back at my timeline–I thought that might be helpful to you or Bill on another thread.
March 2018 – I started playing again more regularly, looking up YouTube Videos regarding trumpet. Stumbled on one that was about the “straight line approach” to playing higher. I gave that a go and got lucky, tightened my aperture from the corners instinctively and played higher easier than before. My first high C followed shortly thereafter.
April through December 2018 – I ultimately found Windworks, which helped me solidify my understanding of what was working. Took a break in late December and struggled coming back to where I left off (ascending to F above High C in Clarke technical studies).
Spring of 2019 – Screwed around with mouthpieces, switching from 7C to 3E (shallow), to 5C to 10 1/2C, back to 3E, ultimately to 3C–which I’ve been playing for 3 or 4 months and have solidified my progress on. The 3C seems to be working great for me, which is neat because that’s mostly what I played in high school when I spent so many hours practicing, taking lessons from reputable teachers and getting nowhere for it (G above the staff was the functional limit of my range…).
Sometime in the past few months, after I switched to the 3C and stopped screwing around with mouthpieces, I began having more consistency and progressing further.
Based upon what you posted, I would recommend you play more music and reflect on your sound and ease of playing as you experiment with trying to interpret the various Windworks points:
1. Shape changes pitch
2. The lips interact with the air like the vocal chords
3. Less air is required the higher we ascend
For me, my big epihpany / coffee moment came when I tried that “straight line approach” and simply tried playing simple octaves. I played G below the staff (13), then G on the staff and focused on how little difference in energy that required then tried to minimize what movement I made to change the pitch to G above the staff without tilting my head back, rolling my lip in, etc. The only thing left to do, really, was squeeze my lips together from the sides which, ultimately, is what Windowrks recommends. And it worked.
Granted, I struggled for months trying to replicate that initial success and once I gained it, I lost it and began clamping my lips down in the middle again as I tried to progress to quickly and overthought things, etc.
Ultimately, though, the new way of playing replaced my old tendencies to the point that I can’t remember the last time I struggled playing high C when freshly warmed up.
The ease with which I’m able to play up there now was not comprehensible to me months ago.
I’m just an amateur hack/comeback player, but the sensations I’ve been having and the ease of which I’ve been playing tell me that I’m on the right path, a sustainable one, and seem to continue to progress on an upward trend.
I want you to have the same experience I have had–to slightly engage/tighten the aperture corners to ascend from G or A on the staff to G or A above the staff. Try it, be willing to miss it–it doesn’t matter if you do. Experiment. Not much more is needed to go from the staff to above the staff; it’s easier than we think it is.
I would be interested to see you play if you post a link. It’s easy to upload to YT. Or you can use Google Drive and just give permission to people who have the link if you want it to be local to this forum.
Thanks again to everyone. This seems to be a good system with good people so I’m continuing with the course.
I think I am really doing WAY too much in the warm up. I don’t have a good idea on how much to play in order to make progress, this seems very important, can anyone comment on this?
For instance, the Stamp book “Warm-Ups Studies” is 32 pages long! It goes way above the staff! How much of this is actually a warm-up? I don’t understand how much of this to play, if at all, for a warm-up. I’ve Really limited it but maybe still doing too much. I realize as well this book is for professionals, but I hope to be like professionals… Then I came across this Joey Tartell warm up which is almost an hour https://youtu.be/YX4UHEswdvc.
Today I picked up the horn and played 5 minutes to warm-up, then right into playing parts of the Haydn concerto. I found I was able to play right through the high Bb clearly and with good warm tone with little force required. I couldn’t have done this after my warm-up, I’m usually tired after it. After 5 minutes of doing this I was already starting to lose it. So maybe I’m only really good for 5-10 minutes at a time. How do you judge when to stop, how much to do, when to rest?
Just posted links to a couple videos in another thread; thought I would post them here as well.
This is me doing harmonic slurs, trying to focus on tightening my aperture from the corners as I ascend–which is easy if I tighten the corners, but difficult if I do what I used to–clamp down my lips top-to-bottom in the middle, cutting off the vibration of my top lip.
Here’s another video, FWIW, of an idea I had to help solidify the understanding of tightening the aperture corners–although the videos in Largo, I think, don’t get any better for that. It’s all in there–each time I re-watch, I understand more and more.
Hope that helps, FWIW, all my best,
Practice Video Tuesday 8/27/19 Part 1 of 2:
0:00 september by Earth Wind & Fire !
1:05 stretches (necessary as I have tendonitis & have limited shoulder motion range, likely from too much trumpeting)
12:35 3rd valve finger exercises. Blowing through the horn is necessary as it changes the pressure the valves work against.
16:00 WW initial mmaahhtutus.
18:50 WW lip buzzing
24:00 more WW mmaahhtutus.
24:40 WW mp leadpipe insertion, WW leadpipe exercises.
32:15 oops forgot to oil valves! what a mess.
34:30 Ken Larson Set-Up exercise.
36:40 Paul Mayes Quick Warm-Up.
43:30 humming into horn.
44:50 WW ascending slow slurs.
48:05 it’s beginning to look a lot like xmas? 🙂
50:00 octave slurs with WW side-support embouchure.
53:53 Bryan Davis blocked buzzing.
55:45 Caruso 6-note G to C with bends.
57:50 WW low register arpeggio exercise.
1:16:00 return from break, Clarke Etude #2.
1:19:00 noodling, attempt at Halsey Stevens Concerto intro.
1:24:35 if only playing was as easy as whistling!
1:26:25 Stamp warm-up, descending only.
1:26:50 Stamp warm-up, descending then ascending.
1:31:00 noodling something from Holst or Grainger.
1:32:50 Stamp descending chromatics warm-up.
1:34:20 Someday… 🙂
1:35:00 chromatic fingers warm-up.
1:38:30 Bryan Davis 5-bar tonguing warm-up.
1:45:00 noodling ?
1:46:40 attempt at Petrushka intro, other noodling.
2:26:00 return from break, brief warm-up, Start Windworks Moderato Singing C Series on C.
2:34:00 somehow got sidetracked into a quick run through Bolero & stuff?
2:36:40 back at it.
2:45:00 return from break, more singing C & brief noodling.
2:52:20 WindWorks Moderato C Exercises.
2:55:10 work it out baby!
2:56:25 start work on Windworks Moderato C Exercises, Chromatic Scales. This is going to take a while…
3:24:10 Return from Break, Windworks Moderato C Exercises, Chromatic Scales cont.
3:34:00 some part of March to the Scaffold?
5:00:10 Return from Break, warm-ups.
5:02:00 more Windworks Moderato C Exercises, Chromatic Scales, I’m gonna get those triple tonged triplets!!!
5:09:15 Star Wars noodle.
5:11:10 Magnifying Glass shows The Problem is the last K-tongue on G!!
5:12:30 YAY PROGRESS!!! And onward…
5:18:00 Jurassic park, Florintiner March. All of it.
5:18:45 Windworks Moderato C Soft Improvisation.
5:23:15 Summon the Heros! Played until Failure!
7:05:20 Return from Break, warm-ups. Continue with Windworks Exercises.
7:10:10 Review previous WindWorks Moderato harmonic slurs.
7:16:15 Fanfare for the Common Man!!! all of it.
7:17:20 WindWorks Moderato C Series Harmonic Slurs, but I’m tired now!
7:23:40 IT NEVER ENDS!
0:00 Return from Break & warm-ups
4:24 Begin WindWorks Moderato C Harmonic Slurs.
11:10 more Florintiner March. You’re gonna like the way this sounds.
12:00 recovery exercises.
13:05 FASTER YOU SLUR!!! followed by something from Festive Overture? I know all the good ones 🙂
15:00 I think that was Failure folks! Ouch!
15:40 recovery please!
16:20 something from Mozart?
17:40 Break! But not for Long!
18:00 some really horrible Stamp exercises. But they’re really working my side muscles! oh the burn…
20:10 something from Handel.
20:35 oh the burn!!
21:22 aaannd Failure! Yeah! But not for long.
22:00 cool down. 3 MORE FOR STAMP!! OW EE OW EE
25:25 I’m not gonna make it!
27:45 MUST SLUR CANT STOP
28:25 my lips stopped me. that was fun.
29:30 still cant stop, wait for it.
Hope you enjoyed! Please leave any constructive or destructive criticism.
You’re an animal (in a good way). With your dedication and commitment, you’re going to develop amazing skill once you have your “coffee moment” and WW clicks for you.
I’m not qualified to provide instruction, I’m just an amateur on this journey as well. But you asked for feedback, so FWIW:
I wonder if you should focus your time and energy more narrowly and go deeper when you practice.
Perhaps it would be more effective to prioritize certain key things you want to work on, and select certain exercises to develop those specific skills you choose to focus on (i.e. range, flexibility, articulation, dynamics, tone, etc.).
Your practice sessions seem broad and you cover a lot of things during them; which is great in some ways, but may inhibit your ability to develop in any one area.
Perhaps it would be better to devote less overall time on practice sessions but go deeper and really dig deep. And spend a certain amount of time on music–perhaps even playing a piece from start to finish with a metronome to force yourself to articulate, phrase and execute in time to the metronome. If we play extemporaneously too much, I think it’s harder to gauge our abilities.
Also, I could be wrong, but it seemed like your air might not have been consistent during some of your harmonic slurs–like the pitch was rising or falling with the air a bit, kind of like you were kicking with the air or at least not keeping the air steady from beginning to end. Again, I could be wrong, but a thought.
Thanks for sharing with the rest of us and putting yourself out there. I hope this is helpful and wish you every success.
I think again you have really good points, thanks. I am going to take people’s advice from these discussions. I think how I think about playing/practicing very important. I have often practiced by how the lips felt, how it felt when I COULD do certain things I wanted to do but I think practice needs to be more disciplined and planned.
In ways it’s training that needs to be very rigorous in very specific ways. There are so many aspects to practice where you do very different things for very different reasons. I think I will be looking for a teacher again. I haven’t spoken with Greg via Skype yet as I am just getting the app working.
Maybe too sensitive to how the lips feel, or maybe not sensitive enough, or maybe not to the right things…
Sounds like a good plan Steve. I also plan on using a more structured approach. I’ve used the fact that I have limited time as a reason to simply play exercises from memory without a metronome or pre-written plan and no notes. I think it would be better if I put more structure into my practice, yet still allow some free time in which I play music freely, spontaneously, etc. BUT, I also think it’s important to work on music in a structured way (i.e. with a metronome, something written, not just a melody from memory) that can be worked on, refined (different elements like dynamics, articulation, timing, phrasing, breath control, etc.). I think we’ll get farther faster if we take that approach.
I think it’s important to listen to our lips/bodies and not push too hard too fast. But, as long as we’re not doing anything extreme it is good to push ourselves to our limit to see how far we can go, allow ourselves to recover then hopefully eventually be able to push through further to another level of ability.
I think I’m going to check out the Harmonic Slur challenge this weekend and a Windworks lesson or two and maybe try to play something from start to finish–something I can work on overtime and master.
Good luck and have a great weekend.
Holy Moly Steve, I just saw your videos…amazing! We need to talk.
While you are covering a VAST amount of material, I think you could cut it a LOT and spend more time on music. I am not sure that coming back through the day mixing technical development and repertoire the way you are doing it is the best approach; trust me I used to do this for years! I think a more structured “where am I at?”, “what are my limitations?” and “what do I need to work on?” approach will develop better results faster.
What are the techniques required? Sound, valves, tongue, harmonic slurs. We can cover all of this in a much shorter amount of time then get on to the fun stuff.
Great dedication and I really like the spread out approach over the day, i just think there is way too much noodling without direction and just playing for playings sake. That’s fine if that’s what you enjoy but maybe not as productive as it could be.
There are some excellent things going on technically.
I find the bottom lip rolling in discussion fascinating since that is how I play. I’ve been trying to correct it for more than 15 years. It creates a lot of compression for me, making it quite easy to squeak higher notes. This makes most exercises here easy to do passively up to about high C and a little beyond, especially articulated. However, anything actually playable past about a high D or E requires too much pressure on the top lip to be useful since no more air can get through.
To combat it, I’m going through the Largo and some later stages, but mostly loud/quiet octaves lip buzzing, mpc buzzing, and playing, focusing on aperture corners as much as possible.
Trying to not roll in the bottom lip seems impossible without completely reforming a new embouchure.
When you say rolling the bottom lip in, do you mean rolling it under the top lip? I believe that’s what Greg mentions in his video and it happens to be what I was doing, blowing the air down towards the floor. It worked to a point but I usually ran out of lip and/or clamped down shortly above the staff.
Sounds like you’ve made it work up to High C and beyond. I wonder if we’re talking about the same thing, although I think Greg made it work up there as well and played professionally for years like that, as have others.
The movement I make now is towards the center of the mouthpiece/air column, tightening the aperture from the outsides inward; not clamping top-to-bottom like a clam, but leaving the middle of the lips relaxed and shrinking the aperture from the outsides in (ooooohhhhhh).
My range isn’t super high, but I’m an amateur / comeback player just doing this for fun. And I have limited time to practice. I played a lot in grade school through high school and some college, including lessons. Wanted to play more, but could never play much above the staff.
With this new approach, and I doubt I’m playing 100% perfectly / efficiently, but I believe I’m pretty far along; I’ve worked up to controlled High D’s and High E’s, High F is the top of my range but lately I’ve been touching double G more and more.
Less is more seems to be the key–I feel like I have to sort of indirectly tighten the aperture by tightening from the outside like the rim around a drum head–you don’t want any tightness in the middle of the drum head or it won’t vibrate, you want the tightness around the head. I think that’s how our aperture must be, we must keep our lips as relaxed as possible for them to vibrate as fast as possible.
When I was younger, I think I was flexing my lips to create each shape–which I think works for the middle and low register, but the sound is not as good and resonant and the vibration only goes so high…eventually, it cuts out and I clamped down too much.
Been experimenting with shallower / brighter mouthpieces to see if I can play those to get that sound. Having difficulty transitioning, may not have found the right one yet. I recently switched to a 1 1/2C and felt and sounded instantly better and my range actually increased, which was unexpected. I thought I would try it and expected to find it was way too big and I should go down from the 3C I was playing. Instead, the 1 1/2C felt and sounded better and my range popped up–the double G starting speaking more. It’s a crazy journey of discovery, I keep forgetting not to expect results but I never cease to be surprised.
Yes, the bottom lip rolls under the top lip. I think the “psychology” of blowing the air out straight or up helps a bit.
The inward motion of aperture corners when ascending feels new and challenging to me, which is exciting.
I think I’m in the same boat as many others: I’ve found out what works for me to get the notes out, however it’s not efficient and occasionally beat my chops up like crazy on demanding gigs.
It takes a long time and is not a straight upward climb, there will probably be setbacks / backsliding, etc. That was very frustrating for me as I had gotten a taste of the Golden fruit then went backwards inexplicably, I didn’t think I was doing anything different; but of course I was, but it was subtle but made all the difference. It takes time in the “two buildings” but eventually our two different methods of playing converge. I suppose I was fortunate, in way, for not having any playing commitments–I was able to focus on just the new way. But even then, of course, I found myself reverting to old habits, or new bad ones.