I have some concerns and questions. I want to believe that the work I’m doing with practicing the Maaaooohhh lip formation will take hold in my normal playing. My logical mind however, keeps asking that when I go back to my “other” setting when I play my Clarkes or other exercises and music, aren’t I just reinforcing my old bad habits? My current lip setting is not an extreme lip buzzing, tight, pinched in the middle set, but I feel that it is closer to that than the very loose and open “pucker” type setting. Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle.
I read and hear all over the place about the benefits of the lip corners in, kissing, puckering, Maaaooohhh whatever you want to call it lip formation and I really want to change to it. I assume that is part of what I’m striving for here, correct? Are there other things I could or should be doing to help make this a reality like pedal tones or double pedal tones? Should I be trying to play at least part of my practicing while consciously using the aperture corner setting?
Greg, I wonder if you would be willing to share how you discovered this information that you present in the course and how you transitioned to playing this way. What did you do before which gave you such headaches and struggle? Did you experience frustration during your transition? How long before you felt you were really conquering your issues?
I still usually just get air through the lead pipe when I use the Maaaooohhh starting point. Sometimes I get a buzz but it is still very inconsistent. Therefore I still can’t really do any of the playing exercises in the course without manipulating the setting somewhat or just playing on my normal set, which seems to be contradictory to the point of the exercises in the first place. So I am kind of confused as how to proceed and frustration is setting in.
Adding some additional comments – I do at least try to do the singing C exercises with as much of a Maaaooohhh setting as possible. It is different from my normal setting so at least I’m trying to push it in that direction. One particular problem I’m having is the transistor from breathing to placing the mouthpiece. My mind is confused with this process. I end up starting to release the air before placing the mouthpiece because I want to make sure I’m using aperture corners instead of my normal flat against the teeth setting. Maybe someday I’ll be able to place the mouthpiece first and then breathe. One day at a time…
Don’t know if the feeling is same for you but when I feel like im playing with the soft inner part of my lips is when I really notice the sound takes on character. Cant say Ive gained range but it feels easier to play and sounds better. I don’t so much think about corners (about 1000 different opinions about those) but try to concentrate on just letting whats in the cup vibrate freely. For what its worth, I have been working this or very similar approaches for 3 years always looking for more ease of play, this will hit you upside your head one day and then you will know. When its going perfect it feels like I make a cushion with the red part of the lip in what feels like a bit of a circle (its not) and the stuff you feel with your tongue when your mouth is shut is inside the cup doing the heavy vibrations. Some notes (high) tickle and my lips are really starting feel fine after 45 minutes of Clarke/. I was doing the oooh and when the mp hit the lip was changing before attack (don’t know what) but like yiu wasn’t getting the benefit, then I just placed it on the lip with the ooh shape with no chane then attack and immediately felt the difference, try to get a little more inner lip in there, there aren’t any muscles to resist air in that flesh. Youll know youre on the right track when lips tingle after a short passage. I know Im not Greg so take it for what it cost haha.
Hey Bill, have been travelling madly and heading to Melbourne for three weeks. I will have plenty of time to address the forum in a few days. Stick with it my friend. Cheers, Greg
Rod – thanks for the comments. So it was kind of a sudden realization or discovery for you? Your description sounds like what I am trying to do but it is just not working for me. I’ll keep trying.
Greg – I know you are crazy busy. No worries, please take your time. Still working on it. I’m determined.
Sorry I didn’t see the post. I didn’t mention one thing that helped me not to think about the process but probably helped more than just the mental side. Its just an exercise that got me away from being mechanical, but tends to make things (hopefully the right things) progress more rapidly on embouchure stuff.
I read it a few years ago and a pretty famous player recommended it for a fast warmup among other things, and I think it might be similar to what Greg is doing.
I turn on the metronome to 60, and play a quarter note, then rest for 7 beats and repeat, taking horn off lips and doing a breath between each note. I try to do about 5 minutes on low c, g, mid c, e, and g above. trying for clean articulation, pitch, and tone. But not worrying much if I miss, just keeping the things Greg wants you to do in mind. I find by the time I have done 3-4 minutes on each note that everything starts to coordinate and starts to sound good each time. I think that tends to make it observational vs. work on something. Just note what you are doing right or wrong and sometime within the 5 minutes you hit enough good notes that the brain unconsciously makes he required changes. This coordinates the breath and the oooh of the lips and keeps them from being separate actions. I really don’t think that Greg wants us to actively say Aaaaahooooh each time we begin to play, that at least for me would mess my head, but to begin to learn a shape and feel that can work for up. If on a gig you would never have time to Aaaahoooh before each attack, my thoughts are to learn the shape by doing the exercise, then mimic the shape and breathe and play.
This simple method of listening and letting the unconscious work leads to many discoveries that you didn’t plan, for instance I found that my upper register becomes much clearer and forceful with just a little more lower lip in MP. It just allows you to play 1 note 500 times and see what works. I don’t so much try to correct but to observe whats happening and I unconsciously ease into something that works better. Try this for 5 minutes, and keep the flesh under the mp fully relaxed and see if it helps. Greg please correct this if Im giving bad advice, its just helped me with playing more freely.
Hi Bill and folks, so Sorry for the delay in getting to the forum.
Q. “when I go back to my “other” setting when I play my Clarkes or other exercises and music, aren’t I just reinforcing my old bad habits?”
Absolutely not. Does the mmmaaaoooh feel different as far as freedom of flow is concerned? Does it feel easier to play, even in the low register? The exercise is about developing a new feeling or sensation that will, over time flow through into your regular playing. It is allowing you to recognize the “point of difference” between your old and new approaches. The brain wants to make it easier and this is an invitation via the power of suggestion and actual experiencing.
Bill, your conscious mind is threatened by the phenomenon of “strangeness” i.e. It feels so radical and different that there is NO WAY it can work. Based on your understanding of the oscillation of the air column and the lip sympathetically oscillating on the air column, learn to override these messages and allow yourself to really experiment and recognize anything that comes out of the horn. Be intrigued, not threatened.
You say you “still can’t” do things… I developed this over years (and I will do a video to outline my journey) but stick with it. What you may consider failed attempts are actually steps closer to the goal that should be embraced not rejected.
Love it Rod, great stuff 🙂
Hey Bill, you will get to the point where you can place the mouthpiece then inhale for sure. Again, the fact that you recognise the difficulty you are having is the path to finding the answer. Take two different approaches: 1. Break it down step by step and look for trigger point i.e. old habits that are kicking in. 2. Place the mouthpiece, inhale and release and see ow you go. compare the feelings.
Are you using the visualiser and tissue? That is a great starting point.