Home Forums WindWorks embouchure and aperture questions

This topic contains 28 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  johnelwood 7 months ago.

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  • #15710

    howardnovick9
    Participant

    I”m a 61 yr-old comeback player with several years of recent playing (including 2 yrs lessons from a Claude Gordon student) after a 40-year hiatus. I’ve always had a problem with my endurance and with sounding “thin” when i get above C in the staff. I’m excited to have begun MTM and am up to the first buzzing exercise at the end of Largo. My tone and endurance have actually diminished over the past several days and I’m concerned that I’m doing something wrong. I have a few questions at this point:

    1. Should I make a point of playing with the “ooooh” pucker that I form in preparation for putting the horn to my lips? Or is the “oooh” just a pre-playing exercise?
    2. When I do harmonic slurs, it seems that doing them via change in tongue level is relatively effortless, but doing them via engaging and disengaging the aperture corners takes concerted effort. Am I doing something wrong? Should I try not to move my tongue level?
    3. I have no trouble playing with a relaxed buzz on the leadpipe, but I find it very difficult to get a buzz with my two fingers pressed against my aperture corners when trying to do the exercise in the last video of the largo stage. Any tips that might make this easier?

    thanks,
    Howard

  • #15723

    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Hi Howard, welcome to WindWorks and thanks for posting.

    I am not sure how familiar you are with me and my material but I have had a LOT to say about some particular CG “certified” teachers, not all, just some. They were telling their students (I know many of these students now 😊) telling them NOT to look at my material. I am sorry but that is simply disgusting and anti-teaching! #rantover

    I must say up front that the CG approach was life changing for me however I was left with some questions so I broadened my research and found some very interest information, hence this course. I suspect you might have the same questions?!

    How much of the buzzing are you doing? It should be a very small part of the routine and thus will not have a negative effect on your playing.

    In general, when doing the PROCESS driven work here, you are not going to sound good at first. As I am emphasising more and more and more, you are developing new sensations (feelings) and a new psychology (understanding of the system). “Trying” to sound good will create manipulation.

    1. Have you watched the Leadpipe-SHAPE video? I suggest to check it out again. Believe it or not, the “oooh” is a very complex little exercise.

    The idea is that you discover your APERTURE corners, the corners of the black bit, the opening between the lips, NOT the corners of the lips and mouth. I would guess that over 50% of people are still misunderstanding this.

    When doing this with the fingers (or preferably visualiser) you are discovering the open feeling we want to carry through to all of our playing. When adding the leadpipe, is there a buzz? Is it sympathetic or synthetic (meaning artificial, manipulated). It doesn’t matter if there is no sound, embrace the feeling over and over and over and over etc. etc. etc.

    As I say in the video, do I play all notes at all registers like this??? No, but it’s a great place to start. SHAPE must change as you ascend but you need to keep in mind the aperture corners and the feeling of the Body’s Concert Hall (BCH).

    So to the answer your question, it is definitely not just a pre-playing exercise, it is how you play but it changes as you ascend in range. Take is slowly and discover these changes.

    2. This is a wonderful question as it highlights the awareness of what’s going on. Your aperture corners are already changing if you are doing the harmonic slurs. It is impossible to change pitch without the aperture corners changing. The tongue is also moving; it has to.

    Some people do not recognise tongue movement, some people do not recognise aperture corner movement but if the feeling of playing is free, then lips and tongue are working in synchronicity. When you put your attention to “using” the aperture corners, you immediately over engaged thus making playing more difficult. I want draw your attention to that fact that both the tongue and lips both change but need to be in balance.

    Your timing of this question couldn’t be better. I am filming a video on exactly this for the Ultimate Level today. Why do I leave it so long? This issue of tongue position is not that important compared to other concepts until we get into the upper register. To put it simply, like I do in the video “the lips choose the note/pitch/overtone, the tongue makes it sound nice”.

    Relying on tongue position alone to play higher generally causes confusion and failed attempts. The thought that the air is going faster over an arched tongue when playing higher notes is scientifically flawed hence the confusion of many CG students. Adding an “awareness” of what is happening at the aperture corners will unlock a lot of confusion.

    3. How hard are you pushing the fingers onto the lips? It must be very light. If the lips are not vibrating, they are too tight in the middle. That’s OK, that’s what we’re here to discover.

    Close your eyes, hum a note then replicate the air pressure used when humming behind the lips when doing this exercise. You may notice you are forcing the air to try and make the lips vibrate, that is not the way to go. BACK OFF the air. The vibration happens further back on the inside of the lip tissue than you might be used to. Don’t panic with this, just stick to pure process and as you let go of the grip in the lips, an oscillation will start.

    Sorry for the LOOOOONG post but it all very important. Make sure you watch all of the Largo Videos in order, it will all make more sense after this.

    Cheers,
    Greg

  • #15800

    howardnovick9
    Participant

    Thanks for the prompt and substantive reply, Greg. I re-watched the SHAPE video and was hoping you could clarify one important concept: You say, “Shape must change as you ascend”. In what way does shape change? The way I am now doing it is to bring the corners in towards each other, thereby pushing my lips towards the mouthpiece. Is this correct?
    Regards,
    Howard

  • #16266

    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Hey Howard, yep that sounds good. Eyes closed and Concert Hall “Check In’ as well as lots of humming to keep the process free.

    Use the SOUND as the judge for the time being. Just being aware that it does move in the mouth is all I am concerned about. Let’s just stick with the simplified idea for now, “the lips pick the note, the tongue makes it sound good” 🙂

    Cheers,
    Greg

  • #16280

    JuttaC
    Participant

    Hello Greg/Howard,
    I hope you don’t mind my butting in here, but I wonder if you could clarify this question of aperture corners a bit more. I think I really don’t understand it.

    This does seem to be a recurring question, so I wonder whether it’s possible to explaing slightly differently for those of us who still don’t really understand what they are meant to do? It does seem such an important point, and I don’t want to learn the wrong habit now, which will only have to be unlearnt later on.

    I understand that the aperture corners are… well, the corners of the opening between the lips, but I can’t see how you can tighten just those points. Is the tightening just immediately next to the aperture, or do you actually tighten the lips outside the aperture, maybe the entire sections from the corners of the opening to the corners of the mouth? And how do you tighten them? I can certainly feel some tension in the lips when going from the “aaah” to the “oooh”. Like Howard, I’m wondering whether to do “more of the same” and push the lips further forward into a “whistling position”? Watching your videos, Greg, it certainly looks like the corners of your mouth pull outwards (into a “smile”) as you ascend, but maybe you’re doing both, thus “stretching the tissue from both ends”?

    I hope this makes some sense. If there is a video that clarifies it, pleas let me know, but I have rewatched pretty much all the Largo videos and I cannot find what I’m looking for.

    Thanks!!

    Jutta

  • #16377

    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Hey Jutta, it is a very good question and you raise a lot of points.

    The awareness of the aperture corners and the inward – horizontal movement is to avoid clamping down the chops in the middle. In the low register, I simply want you to recognise the extra firming of the aperture corners at the rim of the mouthpiece.

    Have you got the “sympatheitcal oscillation” happening on the leadpipe. You will really feel a looseness in the lips and a slight grab at the aperture corners. I don’t want to think further outside the rim, that is all taken care of with the activity of the corners.

    As far as ‘smiling’ goes, Watch 3:17, the appearance is a smile but the grip is inwards.

    The course is comprehensive and if you copy the instruction, you will get the results.

    In looking for the finger demo, I rewatched the Mouthpiece Revisited and the Leadpipe/SHAPE revisited. There are so many answers in those two videos alone.

    Hope that helps.
    Cheers,
    Greg

  • #16454

    JuttaC
    Participant

    Thanks for your help, Greg! That video helps a great deal. The videos are so full of information that it can be hard to find what you’re looking for – particularly if you’re not intimately familiar with the course or have less than perfect memory. And, of course, the significance of certain points does not always register immediately, so I will definitely bear your comment on “not clamping down the chops” in mind.

    I know when the penny finally drops on embouchure and aperture corners, I’ll be thinking to myself “ah, that’s what Greg was talking about! :-)” It’s happened more than once already, and always when my playing has suddenly improved…

  • #19568

    freddiegavita
    Participant

    Hi Greg,

    just a quick question about point 1, getting from the ooooh to the visualiser. The visualiser should not go onto the red of the lips right? So you’re kind of adapting the ooooh as it goes on so the rim goes onto the white of the lip above and below, otherwise the lips are protruding into the mouthpiece too much? Or are you trying to get a feeling for the lips vibrating right at the centre with the lips puckered into the mouthpiece and as far away from the teeth as possible? Kind of like if you were to lip buzz an octave below low C?

    Freddie

  • #24270

    jakob.jonasson
    Participant

    Hi Greg,

    I am new here. I am a comeback player, I’ve been back 3 years after a 15 year break.
    Things started out great but once I started to focus on the range it seemed like everything collapsed. I have been practising at least an hour a day and for a period of 3 months I did the Claude Gordon Systematic Approach (1 – 2 hours a day) with no gain in endurance and limited range improvements (2 half tones with quite a lot of force). At this time I started to get headaches while playing and suspected something I was doing was wrong. Than I found you, thank God 🙂

    I have been thinking about the aperture for a while, I suspect I am doing something wrong but it would be nice to get that verified.

    1. I have noticed that my jaw is quite close and teeth close together while I am playing. When I do the mmm-aa–uhhh then it is open but once put the mouthpiece on then it closes up.
    Should train myself to play with space between the teeth in all ranges?
    2. When I go higher I have noticed that my lower lip goes slightly under the to one even if I focus on the aperture corners. Is this ok or should I try to have no up-down movement whatsoever?
    3. When trying the new instructions, I pull my lips together horizontally, but that creates a kind of kind of pucker where the lips stand out a bit. This is what the umm-aa-uhhh encourages my to do as it happens naturally. If I go higher, focusing on the corners than it is even increased. Any tips on how to improve this?

    I am really exited about your material and feel confident once again that I can be the player I want. Thank you for your efforts.

    Best regards, Jakob

    P.s. would really appreciate help from anyone 🙂

    Hey Jacob, apologies for not seeing this sooner! I am about to add a video to the bottom of this link to explain further. Cheers, Greg

  • #24274

    hanshab9
    Participant

    This is also very interesting for me. I started learning to read and write music after I retired at 68 and started playing alphorn and fluegelhorn then I am teaching myself. I find that I have a different fluegelhorn position for the low register as opposed for higher. For low notes i raise the bell and for mid register i bring the bell down but for higher notes its just the opposite.THis may be part of the problem. I find that bringing the aperture corners in will get me so far but not to the D above mid C. For those notes in addition i seem to drop the mouthpiece position to a lower position on the upper lip. So far I have not been able to play the E in the upper staff without doing this , but getting to the G above the staff has been occasional only. I find that air pressure has a significant impact on the ease at which i get to higher notes and keeping my chest raised and my stomach muscles tensed and holding the chest up as I play helps make the higher notes much easier. I guess my question is how should air pressure influence playing. I find that bringing in the aperture corners alone and tongue position does not work for me right now. What about compression techniques? Do they fit in your scheme of things?
    Thanks a lot
    Hans

  • #24584

    hanshab9
    Participant

    i just figured it out. A revelation. I was not playing with enough air pressure and was blowing from the lips. I started tightening my abdominals from way down low and keeping the throat open, ( sighing the air through the throat and lips) the upper register immediately opened up. Where before I had trouble getting to the D in the upper staff I now get to the C above the staff. I let the mouthpiece hold the lips in place, and stopped focusing on embouchure and shape but on releasing air with the abdominal muscles keeping the jaw and throat out of the picture. I blow less hard now and get higher notes. I could never get the higher notes by shape change as I was so focused on embouchure that the aperture closed as I was trying to go higher by changing shape. I could probably get there eventually but the high air pressure and keeping throat open by sighing seems to work for me. Lets see if it still works tomorrow…

    Hey there Hans, I am so pleased you have had this revelation. The really interesting thing is it all comes down to perception. What you are feeling to get the results is great but if I was to say to a student “use your abdominal muscles and increase air pressure to play higher” all kinds of negative issues will arise. This is where it is cool that you have been through the SHAPE recognition period and are now ready to let it go and move on (for the time being).

    Once you hit another ceiling, learning to recognise SHAPE and using PASSIVE Reduction will again become important.

    Best Wishes,
    Greg

  • #28859

    kenosis
    Participant

    Hi Greg,

    As you know, I am an avid fan and of your methods and this thread has reminded me of the one nagging question I continue to have so I thought I would mention that here as I suspect once others get past what the aperture corners are this may well be the next question that comes to mind. What does “>tension< of the aperture corners” really translate to in terms of the shape change? The dictionary definition of “tension” is “the state of being stretched tight” but this in my mind is not what you are trying to get us to understand/do; especially in light of the comment you make in the ultimate text/video about the embrasure for middle-G is used at all registers. I can accept that from personal experience but “tension” is just a conceptual fail for me. Perhaps some clarification on this would be helpful, maybe even a diagram perhaps showing which way the lip muscle forces are directed?

  • #28901

    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Hey all, please watch this:

    and a younger me…

    Here is the youtube channel for further watchingness… https://www.youtube.com/user/mysterytomastery1

  • #29172

    kenosis
    Participant

    Thank you Greg for you epically useful impromptu lecture. I get it now and I am relieved to know that I had deduced what you were aiming for. And thank especially for addressing my concerns about “tension” in such a personal but generally useful way.

  • #66794

    lyndaarmstrong07
    Participant

    Good morning Greg. Lynda Armstrong here. I have been reading, re-reading and listening to and watching your videos. I also have been trying a variety of things when following you precisely doesn’t work for me. I’m not complaining…..your lessons are awesome!! However I do have crooked lips and probably jaw too since I have had TMJ issues for many years. Before taking your lessons, in the past I have felt I can play high notes and in fact all notes better if I setup a little to the right of centre. Does this seem like a good idea? Thanks for your help.

  • #72294

    hixsta
    Participant

    “Before taking your lessons, in the past I have felt I can play high notes and in fact all notes better if I setup a little to the right of centre. Does this seem like a good idea? Thanks for your help.”

    Hi lyndaarmstrong07,

    IMHO Claude Gordon demonstrates that mouthpiece placement is not critical, just find your
    sweet spot. Terryl Stafford played with the weirdest embouchure I have ever seen. When I met him years ago he said that he tried to ‘centre it’ many times and it was nothing but heartache. He played off centre and pulled it across.

    Jon Faddis also plays with an off centre embouchure. Both Terryl and Jon seem to place of centre then pull their top lip across to centre. You can see a ‘fold’ of lip on one side.

    Trust me, don’t worry about it and just follow Greg’s method word for word. It ‘wind’works!

  • #76829

    david.skip
    Participant

    Hello there,

    in the video about the aperture corners, you speak of the unfurling concept. I also noticed you doing it (and something else in the extreme u.r.) on a you tube video; Air Support.

    Could you please either direct us to some more comprehensive instruction on that or possibly dedicate a video to it ?

    Thanks in advance, keep up the great work !

    Skip

    • #80027

      johnelwood
      Participant

      Skip,

      FWIW, my understanding of the unfurling concept is that as we contract the aperture corners inwards, towards the Air Column / center of the mouthpiece, the lips move forward into /against the mouthpiece and the lips somewhat unfurl/pucker. This is little by little, but of course is significant over a large interval. The vibration of the lips happens within the aperture itself, the part of the lips that touch the air column.

      Claude Gordon talked a bit about this, showing the diagram of the circle and he and Clarke talked about the lips contracting towards the center of the mouthpiece as we ascend.

      The muscles in our face can appear to be pulling back, like we’re smiling as we ascend; however, this is opposite to what is truly happening–we are in fact contracting our aperture corners inwards towards the center of the mouthpiece / air column, which reduces the size of the aperture.

      This is different than what some people, like myself, who previously understood that we should thin out or lips, roll them in and perhaps even actively buzz them against the mouthpiece to produce the sound.

      If we, however, take a good breath and release the air, the energy of the air moving through a small aperture (if we have an efficient shape, with the vibrating surface as relaxed/loose as possible and the only engagement surrounding the aperture), the energy released into the mouthpiece, instrument, causes the lip tissue to vibrate and the sound wave is created.

      The concept of scrunching up the lips and contracting them forwards towards the mouthpiece seemed foreign to me when I first started playing that way; but it works so much better than how I used to play.

      I don’t recall a video specific on that but will post a link to one if I think of it if Greg doesn’t get to it.

      Hope that helps. Best, John.

  • #80067

    david.skip
    Participant

    Thank you John !

  • #80079

    graham.williams
    Participant

    Hi Greg,

    This is my first post on here.

    Im a returning player, having taken a 20 year break from the horn. Now I’ve been doing MTM for the last year or so and self diagnosing and working through stuff and filling my head with all sorts of concepts and knowledge. I’ve been able to move towards a more relaxed technique or what I at least perceive to be so. At times I sound great and things seem to be going in the right direction. However, I sometimes re-gress and find that I get ‘inteference’ in my sound as I ascend, this despite maintaining an open aperture, bringing in my corners and forward arch on the toungue. It sounds as if my lips are in contact and Im getting unwanted overtones. I play on a Bach 1.5 C and on placing the mouthpiece and doing the mwaoooo drop my jaw whilst still retaining upper lip in the cup. What is going on?

    • #80160

      johnelwood
      Participant

      Hi Graham,

      You’re in a good spot. Like you, I took a long break from the trumpet, 20+ years as well. I came to find WindWorks, and various videos on YouTube, in 2018 and have found the WindWorks content instrumental in my ability to play like I never thought I would be able to.

      I have experienced what you have described–regressing and having “interference” in my sound at times.

      I used to play a Bach 1.5C as well, briefly, but moved to a 1.25C and 3C for most of my time. Recently, I moved to a Yamaha Bobby Shew Lead mouthpiece as I’m focused on developing my range and and that type of playing this year.

      I don’t think the mouthpiece is your issue, but you mentioned the mouthpiece so I wanted to give you some context. I will say that when first coming to WindWorks / coming back to the horn, I started out on my ancient (1970’s) 7C that I started playing on. In hindsight, I realize now that I (at first) overdid the “MMmmAaaaOoohh” thing and the “aperture corners” thing and overdid it to a point that I was doing an extreme pucker that caused my lips to protrude into the cup of the mouthpiece.

      I believe this is why, for me, my range and ability to play actually increased when I went to a Deeper cup mouthpiece (i.e. 7C to 3C, 3C to 1.5C, to 1.25C, etc.). It gave me more room to work in, which I needed due to my inefficiencies of “Shape” at that time.

      I couldn’t play a shallow mouthpiece before, as I bottomed out in it. Now, the Bobby Shew Lead feels great and I can play everything I could play on the 3C and 1.25C, but the sound obviously is brighter and it makes it easier, in a way, to play above the staff. It hasn’t really increased my range, but it’s a higher compression mouthpiece and it allows me to be more efficient up there. It’s a bit more volatile, I have to be more precise with shape and articulation (I think); it allows greater flexibility, but with that comes less “slotting” of notes–my “Shape” has to be more accurate, etc.

      My understanding of what I am experiencing is that my sense of “Shape” and the balance of that Shape and my Air, is becoming better and better–more and more refined over time.

      What helped me do this is a lot of time experimenting with harmonic slurs, the WindWorks exercises, flexibility and “flow” exercises (i.e. Clarke Techn. Ex #2) and feeling the sensation of riding the air. Some time with Stamp as well, trying to be more and more efficient to the point that just pushing the valves down causes the next note Higher to sound without feeling any change in Shape.

      One thing that helped me a lot, was Slowing things down and not using a metronome and not playing exercises strictly as the rhythym written, but pausing a bit on each pitch before moving to the next pitch and really focusing in on each pitch, making sure each note was a quality sound before moving forward. Then I might play the exercise(s) again, focusing more on speed but still trying to hit good pitches on each note.

      “Interference” – My understanding is that when we experience “interference” in our sound, a “fuzziness”, it’s basically due to poor Shape usually–I believe that often it’s because our lips are a bit too close together and/or we’ve got “air pockets” which are causing inaccurate production of the notes.

      When this happens to me, I stop on repeatedly produce that pitch with a breath attack and play some different articulations until the “fuzziness” stops. This, I think, helps me refine the “Shape” that I was using for that pitch and learn from that experience and move forward. Nine times out of ten, this does it. Sometimes though, it’s because I’m tired and have over done things and have gotten stiff, etc.

      “Regressing” – As far as “regressing” goes…I can totally relate to this. I can share with you my experience, which you may or may not relate to, FWIW.

      As I progressed and experienced meaningful changes in my playing ability, my focus would change from the Process which got me to that new level to my newfound Results. The next day, or sometimes during that practice session, I would excitedly use my newfound Range or other abilities to play things, or try to play things, I never could before, etc.

      Then, I would try to play the next higher note, play louder, or whatever it was that I was working on, forgetting the Process(es) which got me to where I was before.

      This was very frustrating–to the point that my lowest point of playing throughout my entire lifetime was actually AFTER my comeback in 2018, about a year or later into it–when I had gone from never being able to play effectively above G just atop the staff (and never even touching a High C before), to increasing my range to F above High C (i.e. Clarke’s Fifth Study), then starting to slide backwards. I literally almost threw my horn across the room, which would have been the end for me–I wouldn’t have bought a new horn and started again. Thankfully, I didn’t; and I’m glad I didn’t, as I did progress from there, by re-focusing my attention on the things that had gotten me to where I was–good Process.

      A key point to this, for me, has been Music–that’s what this is all about. The key things that focusing a certain amount of my practice time playing Music has been the following:

      1. Motivation – Enjoying myself, getting some enjoyment from playing; not just focusing my time on endless harmonic slurs, range exercises, technical studies, etc.

      2. Focus – By focusing on music, especially more lyrical melodies which require purity of sound and softness, it helps me avoid reverting/regressing into “gladiator trumpet” mode in which I power through endless harmonic slurs, range exercises/exploration, etc.

      3. Honesty – I have realized that my focus and memory can become very skewed/inaccurate. There are days that I pick up the horn and have great experiences playing things, but then flub a few exercises / musical pieces during practice and start feeling down / telling myself that I’m having a “bad” day, not feeling good about my progress, ability, etc.

      When this happens to me now, I catch it pretty much right away and I’m usually able to manage myself effectively. Sometimes, I know I just need to stop playing for the day and start again tomorrow.

      Playing trumpet is mostly mental; if our minds are not in a good place, we can’t play well.

      Often when I’m having a “bad day”, I catch myself and I pick a piece of music that I’ve been working on and I try to play it–in rhythym, at tempo, with dynamics, musicality, etc. I try to play it as best I can, as musically as I can. For me, I’ve found greater success at playing more classical/lyrical type music; I’m not sure Jazz or commercial type music would work as well for this.

      Anyway, what I have found is that often times on those “bad” days, I wind up playing the Music as good or better than I ever have played it before. This not only gives me some postive feedback, which is welcome, but it corrects me–I wasn’t “regressing” or not moving forward, my Expectations were just progressing faster than my abilities.

      I was not being Fair to myself.

      The reason we are here is that we are highly motivated to improve–which is a great asset. However, it can also be a great liability if we aren’t honest with ourselves and we focus too much on our Expectations and not on Process.

      Playing Music helps me stay focused on Process and keeps me honest–when I start getting carried away with myself thinking that I’ve developed past a certain point, playing music that challenges me helps me have some healthy humility and learn areas I need to work on, etc.

      Playing music helps me put my current ability into proper perspective and not be overly hard on myself for not being where I want to eventually.

      On days where Playing Music doesn’t work and I feel that I truly am having issues and “regressing”, that it’s not just a mental thing (it usually is), then I rest (if I’ve been playing a lot and think I may have overdone it), or I refocus on Production – breath attacks, producing pitches on Passively released air, using a tuner, focusing on balancing Shape and Air, and I spend some time playing Clarke First Study and Second Study as softly as possible on passive air.

      And I’ve done multiple “laps” through Largo and am always better for each time–I’ve never not learned something new each time.

      Hope there’s something in there that helps you, Graham, for what it’s worth until Greg or others can chime in.

      Godspeed to you and your comeback!

  • #80273

    Steve
    Participant

    Hi Johnelwood

    Another great post from you – thanks for taking the time. I am 4and a half years in still progressing day by day or rather week by week (I think of you when I get into Gladiator mode..!)
    These last 4 weeks I am focusing on how to play c above the staff with real ease and reasonance. I am focusing on shape but in a departure to my thinking until now I am now thinking less of shape of lips and more of “shape of the face” (but not excluding lips) and what are the tiny imperceptible changes I can be making to help find the shape.. the sound. For about a week I was looking for the one faceshape change that would help the c ring thru easy and clear .. I then came to the conclusion it is not one thing but a dizzy pyramid of “items” (for want of a better word)

    For me today (cos my thinking could change tomoro!) “Face shape changers” is just then an idea I entertain / a space I imagine / an image / and sometimes a conscious physical action.

    I have so far (and it feels a bit silly writing them down) have face shape changes like:
    roll in the face area above the top lip
    imagine the area directly below the nostril
    feel the sound underneath the back top teeth
    the cavity under the front tooth
    roll in top lip
    imagine air cavity under top lip – visualize as circle of air
    kiss forward with lips.. traditional corners
    imagine balloon of air in back of mouth
    imagine jaw as under carriage of a plane clicking forwards…

    as you see no rhyme or reason here and some in contradiction to others..

    is this all too childish.. any comments? But long and the short of it is I now at the end of the day (cos I am one of these guys who has to learn the trumpet each day anew) I might be playing 20 or 30 c s above the staff that I’m happy with and 3 or 4 I’m delighted with.. (in Greg speak a monster putt or the perfect drive!) and during the day maybe 200c s in total. (2 months ago my c was only achieved on one of those perfect days or effort) But all the time not pushing.. over trying.. all shape and not effort..

    cheers for now and stay safe Steve

  • #80357

    johnelwood
    Participant

    Great to hear you’re doing well, Steve. I think whatever works for us that helps us visualize what we need to play more efficiently, relaxed, etc. is fine.

    For me, I’ve been having success taking a big breath and letting the air escape the aperture with the tension in the corners surrounding the aperture and thinking Ooohhh on High C and doing harmonic slurs up from there.

    It’s funny how our perspective changes, right? My “Bad” days, which are fewer and farther between BTW, are much better than the best days I never imagined a few years ago.

    I still get frustrated at times and want to improve, but I have a lot to be grateful for.

  • #80545

    Steve
    Participant

    Hi Johnelwood – I picked up on your “letting the air escape the aperture with the tension in the corners surrounding the aperture ” I pride myself with playing with less tension (ie not over blowing) but just now I took your advice.. plenty of air.. tension around the enbouchure.. but then just almost playing with my mouth open – no concept of blowing – and a high c came out very open easy and full..

    good tip !

    thanks steve

    • #80589

      johnelwood
      Participant

      Nice! That’s great. When I have the Shape right, just releasing the air makes the pitch sound, and noted up there seem to be naturally louder, more resonant. Less air is required the higher we go, it just needs to be faster air, more compressed.

      The body has compression when we take a big breath, releasing air through a small aperture compresses it pretty well without even abdominal support.

  • #89222

    Hung
    Participant

    Hi Greg. I am a beginner. I have one question here. When we tune up the guitar, the machine head works to stretch the stings in order to increase the pitch. But compressing the corners of the aperture toward the middle would increase the tension and hence the pitch. This seems to work opposite to the physics of guitar strings. Am I confused?

    • #117868

      Murray
      Participant

      Hung- when you stretch the strings in a guitar, you are increasing the tension and hence the pitch. Hope this helps. (:

  • #117931

    JuttaC
    Participant

    Hung/Murray, here’s the way I look at it, for what it’s worth. On the guitar, you can change pitch in two ways: you can change the string tension by turning the pegs, or you can shorten the string by putting your finger on the fret board. The outward pull (“smile”) is more like the former, while the inward pull is more like the latter. By pulling inwards, you are actually shortening the length of lip that is free to vibrate, thus “shortening the string”.

  • #118766

    johnelwood
    Participant

    FWIW, I dont believe tension in the lips when playing trumpet is analogous to guitar.

    My understanding is that reducing aperture (changing Shape) is what determines pitch.

    While tension is needed outside of the aperture in the muscles surrounding the aperture,the tissue that interacts with the air column must be left free to vibrate as fast as possible to achieve the pitches above the staff / High C.

    Tension in the lips themselves doesn’t help us, it hurts our ability. The tension surrounding the aperture is to keep the aperture small as the air is released thru the aperture. Like the hose /water analogy.

    My $.02 FWIW. Good luck!

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