So, I’ve been off the horn for two years due to health issues. Am now re-starting again. Have done several years of Wind Works, a live lesson or two and been thru most of the books multiple times. Have never really successfully put the concepts into full use. BUT – now am at it again, two weeks back on the horn and adding notes Very Slowly.
It has become very obvious to me that I never realized how much internal tongue and oral position change when going higher. To keep the Ah Ooo position and not slip back into pressure playing my oral/tongue position is totally different. SSOOO different. Less oral space and less air and finding that ‘sweet spot’ of aperture/air/tongue. Am using a silent brass mute and one ear plug so I can hear myself without over blowing and getting loud.
The way I figured this out was that I found like a vocal break in my playing and messing around with why that happened is when I discovered how else or what else works to get this note to speak.
Anyway – am encouraged that this time after being off the horn so long and determined to put the concepts into practice – This time I will be successful! Zah!
Thanks for the post Laurie!
When the magnifying glass fires up, it’s scary (in a good way) what we might find.
The PROCESS works, don’t be afraid to let go, even going from NO NOTES to LOW NOTES, (whatever the sound) then make micro tweaks to get the Low C blazing eventually.
Once that PURE PROCESS foundation is established, working up through the registers is far easier than you would imagine. You just need to watch for YOU 1.0 of course.
Stay in touch, keep us updated, and thanks for sharing.
Thanks Greg! I appreciate the encouragement so much!
Just to share a quick discovery. I am trying to improve my jazz skills so started using the blues scales. I have found that the minor third interval is a perfect ‘sweet spot’ for feeling the embouchure changes that I am trying to implement. I can Really Feel and play with the aperture and tongue position to hone that change much better than using the harmonic intervals of open, 1-3 etc. which is a much larger jump making me want to ‘punch’ my gut to reach them.
Minor Third Long Tones are now my best friend. Along with your terrific process.
Ten Day Update. So very pleased with my progress. I have added the Wind Stick to build my embouchure muscles and to discover the feeling of what air going thru a very small hole ie the mouthpiece feels like. Mental concepts to this include remembering that there is only about a cup of air in the horn so back off and let the aperture do its thing. The old me trying to cram a ton of air into the little mouthpiece hole just never did work!
I can now play a C scale. I felt hiccups at first line E, second line G, second space A and have yet to really dial in third space C but it is almost there. I am spending a lot of time in just that range [and lower] and it is really paying off. I feel that my aperture and tongue are just a little ‘behind’ in the exactness of each note. So I am in the middle of M2M Book 1. Am using Clark’s technical studies in the range, Maggio [I easily play the low pedal tones] and lots of ‘doodling’.
I have watched some of the newer videos. Aperture changes pitch and the tongue position makes the note sound beautiful. My mental picture right now is that when a line of music goes higher, in this learning mode – I need to decrease volume or keep it the same until I dial in the aperture/tongue combo. Otherwise, my reptilian brain really panics, and I just want to plunge the horn into my face, engage my gut and blow wildly into the horn. No, no, no! I will not!
Mentally I am adjusting to what I am trying to accomplish. So – I am not Practicing Playing my Trumpet. That puts me at Laurie 1.0 – mindless, rudderless and boring.
Now, I am exercising my face and my body as concert hall. I am learning new ‘yoga’ or ‘tai chi’ muscle combinations to establish new neural pathways optimizing my embouchure and musicianship – I will play better! The equipment needed includes a trumpet but that is just the ‘horn’ or ‘earpiece’ needed to hear my progress. I even take off my eyeglasses when doing my exercises because I’ve done them So Many Times but need to see them in a new ‘fuzzy’ way. When I am ready to Play Music, I put them on expecting clarity and achievement.
I am paying attention. I question why a note sounds unclear, fuzzy or perfect. For the first time ever, I can feel the musculature in my chin, under my nose and up along the cheeks to the eyes. I have a method. I have purpose. I am gaining understanding on how this all works and that I can accomplish my goal of better trumpet playing, better musicianship at age 67 and over 50 years on the horn. Zah!
Greg’s Golden Rule #12 on Page 42 of Book 1.
I am ‘Learning The Physical Feeling of Every Note’
So I am 6 weeks into my retraining. My last post has been a keystone post – Golden Rule #12
Learn the physical feeling of every note. I have slowly, fastidiously, painstakingly, paid attention to the physical feeling of every note. There IS One! For EVERY Note! Mind Blown!
Am keeping all things in the front – forward – Oooo – Ah – Aye – Eee – IH – air to the palette – Focus. Body low, calm. And slow – no sense to try to play something fast if the feeling is not locked in yet. Speed follows – does not precede.
A few hiccups in my musculature since my chemo treatments gave me neuropathy in the hands and face giving me the tendency to warble or have the yips on occasion. Also I have a tendency to Not Relax for lower notes after I play a higher note. My new coping strategy is to personify or personalize each note – as follows.
Second line G is GRASS. I make my G sound and look like the best grass lawn I know – and attach that physical feeling to that wonderful picture of grass in my mind. It relaxes me and allows the yips to relax away.
Second space A is the Artichoke I plant in my garden and let go to flower – big round purple flowers. I attach the physical feeling of A to my mental image of my Artichoke flower. I relax and make it the easiest and most beautiful flower I can.
B is Bumble Bee
C is a Cupcake with a candle
D is a Donkey
E is an Earring on the donkey’s ear
F is a French Fry
G is a Goose
A is the St Louis Arch
B is a Baseball
C is a Cork
This is standard mnemonics techniques. Cartoonify them. Make them actionable and memorable and funny and fun. My Artichoke A is the best A I have ever played and as I progress to higher notes I am certain it will help me negate the yips and relax into higher range. Exciting. Gratifying.
Laurie, that is just sensational! THERE ARE NO RULES, just what works for the individual.
You are truly demonstrating the depth of awareness required at times and the dedication needed to make serious changes to the playing psychology!
The weeks keep tripping bye and I am grateful to have the time to concentrate on this trumpet playing adventure. This week has been stressful in non-trumpet stuff and so I am struggling to relax at the trumpet at all. Started trying a technique that I have used off and on in life. It is called EFT Tapping. It is a technique using pressure points in the face, neck, hands and torso – and gently tapping the tension or stress away. I have started using it in my warmup along with singing to get me in trumpet playing mode 2.o
Nothing like a good Tarzan Note and chest tapping to get into trumpet 2.0 mode!
Away We Go. Week what – Eleven? Don’t care – I am improving every week. Understanding every week. Exploring every week. Experimenting every week. Doing trumpet differently every week. Blowing my mind every week. Dispelling old useless habits, bit by bit every week.
For Years I loved playing the trumpet but hated practicing. Looking back I think it was because I was stuck at a certain level and no amount of practice helped.
NOW I am excited to practice to find what new thing I can accomplish today that I never ever could do before…. AND I’m DOING IT!
Fits and starts. Hiccups and setbacks. Oops and Wows. Slow and soon faster. It is coming. No Limits.
Thank You Greg and All.
Great Laurie, I feel very similar. It’s great to be able to experience the trumpet adventure every day. Even the moments of frustration are welcome now. Those moments when things don’t work out the way I want them to 😂. It will work the following day. Having patience is practiced for free! Sometimes I find that I can play something that I couldn’t before Greg. To do this, however, I have to give up an ability that I thought I could. For example, for the past few days I’ve been able to play high C like I’ve done nothing else in my life. But the lipslurs above middle C are no longer so good for me. I’m excited to see what’s next and what I’ll have to give away for it…
On that note, Laurie…move on 🎺