WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Fighting the frustration

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    • #31264
      wjtakacs
      Participant

      The frustration is mounting, but I’m still devoting time each day to this. I’ve always got my visualizer, releasing air with lips forward, ingraining the sensation. The playing side is not going great. It seems like the leadpipe buzz has become more stubborn to produce. I sometimes really need to explode the air from the tongue release to get the initial vibration. I always try moving to the horn each day. The pedal C (maybe not quite a C, it’s a bit lower) is what natuarlly comes out. I really feel like I need to work to move higher. And the sound, once I get to low G and work my way up to low C, is AWFUL. Airy, unfocused, and my brain says each time, “How in the world can I play like this? This will take years to develop if it ever comes.” I can’t figure out how so many of you progress so quickly into this. I think tomorrow I may make a short demo video to post here if that’s ok so my troubles can be seen by all. I work on this for 20-30 minutes each day and then go back to my normal setup and regular warmup. Do I need to do more? I just don’t see how I can make this lips forward position work.

    • #31282
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      I’m no expert and learning this myself but for what its worth this is how I buzz the leadpipe. I don’t play with lips forward. I think this is more of an exercise to get a feeling of engaged corners with the centre of the lips relaxed and open. If I am wrong I am sure Greg will correct me. This is how I do it. First I put my lips together in there normal relaxed position with my teeth aligned and slightly apart. No tension. No smile. No pinching. Then I let the centre of the lips open slightly and engage the corners. This feels like the lips are in a position to cool soup. This engaging of aperture corners feels like an inward movement. Now place the mouthpiece on these relaxed lips. Take a relaxed breath and just release air through the lead pipe. Don’t try to make a buzz. It should feel like your doing nothing. Do this again but this time slowly engage the aperture corners more and an effortless buzz should just happen. At first forget about the tongue. Just do breath attacks. The centre of the lips remain apart in the mouthpiece no touching. I hope I haven’t confused you and this description of my setup helps.

    • #31283
      johnelwood
      Participant

      I’m glad you posted an update, I’ve been thinking about you / wondering how you’re doing–which is odd, because I don’t know you but I care and relate to what you’re going through. While I may in some ways be farther along on my discovery than you, I’m just an amateur / comeback player and I have limited time to devote to practicing.

      And I’m frustrated too–it comes and goes, but I’ve been in and of a funk this past week or two. I’m fighting some frustration and doubt myself, but I do feel better / more confident this time. Last December/January, I dropped to a new low and almost gave up for good and throught about throwing my 30+ year old Bach Strad across the room. I’m sure my wife and daughter wouldn’t have mind my giving it up in some ways.

      Thankfully, I stuck it out and found my way again.

      I’m actually encountering a lesser version of that setback–the engagement of the aperture corners is a very subtle thing. I’ve realized that I sometimes slightly revert back towards clamping down top-to-bottom rather than squeezing the aperture corners from the sides and leaving the middle free to oscillate.

      What’s helping me get out of it is:

      1) I’ve gone back and am watching “Greg’s greatest hits” (i.e. Largo, etc)

      2) Patience – If I am not approaching my practice session in a good state of mind with ZERO expectations, I stop and put the horn down and walk away. Had to do that this morning, actually. Caught myself in a bad mindset and kept my session short. Will try playing some music tonight, just mellow/lyrical stuff, no high notes.

      3) Relaxation – I ran across an exercise online that I kind of made my own and it’s done some interesting things for me. I start on a low C, then relax my aperture slowly and “land” on whatever pedal I land on. That exercise, along with my first ever read of Claude Gordon’s Brass Playing is No Harder Than Deep Breathing” has helped me realize I wasn’t playing pedals right before, I was manipulating my lips a ton to get them in tune. For this exercise, I just land and let my air sigh out till I’m done. Then I take a good relaxed breath (BCH), start back on the pedal for a couple beats then slowly begin tightening the aperture corners inward and ascending up through my range. This has resulted in my playing with a more open / resonant sound and apparently a more open aperture–it’s made me realize that I was clamping even though I didn’t think I was anymore.

      4) Playing music–stuff that’s more lyrical, no high notes. Malice Toward None and stuff like that. Just going for purity of tone, resonance. That helps me think about how what I’m doing is either helping or hurting the sound and helping me refine from there. The 1% rule–the guiding principle on all we do should, for the most part, be purity of sound. Obviously fast harmonic slurs sound like shit, but that’s ok because the ends justify the means. I’m talking about the setup we use and basic aperture engagement/movement, tongue level, etc.

      5) Really focusing on the whole Less Is More thing–at the end of the day, I have a tendency to overthink playing and we’re just putting our lips together and blowing and there are people out there who are doing it much easier than I am. It’s just a matter of figuring out the puzzle and putting my lips into roughly the same formation as they are; I don’t believe it’s about talent or strength, I believe it’s a coordination thing and I believe I can do it–I no longer doubt that I can. It’s just a puzzle that I’m working on, but I am much farther along than I was in March 2018 when I started and couldn’t even play a high C, or even an A above the staff.

      My progress hasn’t been linear and I still get “surprised” myself with little or big setbacks. I enjoyed a long time before my last one, so I was due and now I’m in a bit of one. But I’m learning from this setback and I’ll probably wind up better for it.

      I know it sucks, but hang in there you’re not alone and the deeper the valley, the better you’ll feel on the summitt. You’ll get there.

      I’m sure Greg will respond to your questions and I think the video is a great idea.

      I do think 20-30 minutes is too little, in my humble opinion. I would try to devote an hour to it–but the key is a patient hour and I would try to structure that as much as possible to make it productive, although I think you need to really open your mind and own YOUR experimentation yourself and just try little tweaks to hone in on the most efficient setting possible. Lately, one thing that’s helped me is to think of the fact that I want the notes I play / my sound to be “round” (Oooohhhh) not just to help me engage the aperture corners but the shape of my aperture into kind of a round shape to open the aperture and avoid clamping the middle. That’s helped me a bit, FWIW.

      As far as sound goes, I struggled a bit with my sound too at first getting an airy sound; I think I was overdoing the pucker a bit here or there and that’s where paying attention to the sound / resonance is key. My personal goal is not to screech out high notes, I want to be able to play high with ease/flexibilty and good tone/quality. I like classical music and enjoy playing that, as well as jazz/other stuff, etc. I’m just doing this for fun and to play stuff I like.

      This isn’t going to take years to get your coffee moment. I believe you’re on the verge, but it always takes longer than we want it to. But once you have that experience, you will be well on your way.

      Hope that helps–hang in there, I think you’re close. What really started me was doing octave intervals with minimal movement–I didn’t move my head back or my lips at all, I just tightened and I played an A on the staff to an A above the staff, which was above my effective range at that time. I played around with that and found WindWorks and realized what the heck I did and took off from there. Eventually, I got to where I could do that on high C, D, E.

      I recommend during your experimentation time with engaging your aperture corners, you try that focusing on less air the higher we play and all the other WW guidelines and be willing to crash and burn, miss the note or have no sound come out. Observe the result, then try again and again… For a bit.

      My $.02–Sincerely hope that helps. Can’t wait for your inevitable post that you’ve figured it out!

    • #31285
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Great post, Peter!–that is the same sensation I have when I am doing well.

      Bill, you might be over doing the pucker a bit. The key really (I think… correct me if I’m wrong…) is open lips and engaging the corners, it’s not really a pucker–its more important that (I think…) you have the psychology/sensation of a bit of a pucker from engaging the corners and keeping the top middle lip relaxed and free…

      I think Peter’s recommendation is great.

    • #31289
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      If you can get the easy feeling buzz on the lead pipe then transfer this same relaxed open feeling embouchure to your instrument. The chances are you will get a note lower than low C. This shows that you indeed have that relaxed embouchure. All you have to do to get the low C sounding great is engage the aperture corners a little more and probably raise the tongue a little. I’m guessing this will feel completely opposite to what you are used too. I’m lucky because I’m a relative beginner so don’t have engrained habits.

      The funny thing about all of this is I wasted about 6 months trying to play with my lips touching and forcing the air. Just could not do it. As hard as tried my top space E was a squeak and bloody hard work. Now having discovered that pitch change is all about shape I can play from low F sharp to third space C with no effort. Third space C to G on top of the staff is coming along nicely and I have actually managed to ascend chromatically up to high C. OK at the moment the notes above the staff are not playable but they are starting to speak. For me I think I need to get better control of the aperture corners and tongue arch.

      The other thing I have noticed is that the singing C exercises do wear out the muscles that control the aperture corners. I don’t feel at all tired but all of a sudden my brain sends the command to tighten the corners but nothing happens. At this point I rest or practise my appalling tonguing.

      • #31294
        johnelwood
        Participant

        I like to occasionally do that thing where you pull the mouthpiece out of the horn as you’re playing to make sure your lips aren’t buzzing (low C, G on the staff) / that things are open / relaxed.

        Had a mixed practice session tonight. I don’t think my head was quite right again. Going to try to take tomorrow really easy and focus on better session this weekend with some structure.

        Realized I was overblowing as well–I’ve been clamping and overblowing. This happened to me before; once I re-focused on the PROCESS (basics), the RESULTS started coming back and I found my way again / started progressing further than before, having more consistent sensations.

    • #31330
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Was thinking of this thread this morning as I was warming up.

      I’ve been facing a bit of a backslide into clamping down top to bottom rather than tightening from the aperture corners / sides and overblowing.

      I think I’ve been focused more on results than process as I had been having great results and progressing towards a strong loud double G, when suddenly I began feeling less and less sure of High C, E, F and experiencing a thinner sound and less secure feeling.

      This morning was interesting. I started off by focusing on placing my mouthpiece doing the tissue concept and putting the mouthpiece on my lips, follwed by the horn.

      I did some low C’s and G’s on the staff and checked that I wasn’t actively buzzing; all good.

      Warmed up a bit with a little stamp scales, then went into some harmonic slurs–focusing on passive air (not blowing) and engaging the aperture corners and had GREAT sensations, easily ascended up to High C and beyond almost effortlessly.

      THEN, on my next harmonic slur upward, I ran into issues before High C. I think I sort of got excited that I got back to where I was then focused on blowing harder and clamped down in the middle again–I shifted from focusing on process to results.

      I realized that I need to change my mentality from feeling good when I hit a note at the top of the harmonic slur–just because I hit a note doesn’t mean I’m playing correctly.

      I started focusing my mind instead on focusing on the sensation and how freely, not on what notes I was hitting directly–I would reflect on that afterwards. I also stopped ending the slur at the top–just slurring up to see how high I could go; I wasn’t really trying to do a range exercise, but that’s effectively what my actions were which brings me to another point–I need to be more structured with my practice!

      Harmonic slurs are great and important and when done right can reinforce the right things, but if our minds are focused on the wrong things they become something different altogether. I wasn’t quite in a Gladiator Trumpet mode, but effectively I was just seeing how high I could go and that was messing with my head.

      This morning and the past week or 2 battling through this last sort of setback has actually been good, I think, as it’s forced me to really focus and reflect on what I’m doing. I thought I had it down but while I was playing consistently, I was just sort of playing by feel and that can apparently come and go–unfortunately. I suppose I’ll never cross over a line which I’ll never have another problem playing ever again–I’m always going to have to be diligent in understanding what it is I’m doing and why. Some players may just naturally “get it” and never have issues. But I know even some “natural” greats have battled issues from time to time.

      This experience has also made me really respect the WindWorks approach even more, as it’s really made me realize WHY it starts with the mouth and blowing the tissue, then the airstream, then corners engaging as we play the leadpipe.

      And it made me realize how the Harmonic Slur challenge is so key–harmonic slurs can tell us if we’re playing efficiently or not. If our corners aren’t feeling the burn after playing a lot, we’re not using the right muscles–we’re probably clamping down top-to-bottom (middle) and bashing our face against the mouthpiece and overblowing—like I was.

      As I did my hour commute this morning, I was doing a thing with my lips–clamping down top-to-bottom, then engaging the corners and tightening from the sides.

      It amazed me how subtle the difference was. If we think about it, that’s obvious / makes sense. Our lips are small (some of ours more than others…). The difference between engaging our lips in the middle and clamping down top-to-bottom and not engaging the corners, versus engaging the corners and tightening from the sides and letting the middle stay relaxed is tiny! It seems so minimal and insignificant of a difference.

      And while we’re focusing on the air, what notes we’re playing, moving the valves up and down, articulating, it’s even more imperceptible–impossible to perceive!

      Yet, it is THE difference. It makes all the difference.

      I started doing a thing as I was driving in (safely…I was still looking at the road…). My commute is, for a stretch, through a construction zone and is a 10-15mph stop and go thing.

      I put my fingers up to my mouth, took a breath and let the air out passively and focused closely on clamping down top to bottom from the middle as I arched my tongue (aaaahhhh, eeeeeeeee), then a 2nd time while thinking “Ooooohhhhhh” and engaging the corners from the sides and tightening the lips towards the center of the aperture.

      While very imperceptible when doing the movement with my lips closed/together, each of these felt much different–engaging the aperture corners resulted in my lips pushing against my fingers and was a firmer/more secure feeling and the air didn’t cut off as soon as with clamping down top to bottom.

      Part of the air cutting off could probably be cured from starting with the lips farther apart; but the 2nd felt better.

      And, what was interesting is that even the 2nd one (engaging the corners), the air cut off at the “top” (the tightest setting) as my lips kind of touched–this sensation seemed familiar to me like when I’ve “bottomed out” on a shallow mouthpiece and made me think/realize that even when engaging the corners, we can still tighten the aperture to a point in which the lips cut the air off. Even when engaging the aperture corners, we must balance the embouchre to tighten enough to compress the air as much as possible to go as high as possible without cutting the air off completely–seems obvious as I type that, but seems like with everything going on while trying to play it’s a point of clarification, at least for me.

      Anyway hope that stream of consciousness is helpful to some other human being(s) out there. If not, I apologize. And, if I said anything that was technically wrong, please correct me as I am obviously on this journey as well and am still in the process of finding my way.

    • #31331
      wjtakacs
      Participant

      Hi All, thanks so much for the input. I’m happy to share this video with you in the hopes that someone can tell me what I’m doing wrong! Thank you!

      • #31414
        jchtrumpet1
        Participant

        So I guess I posted before seeing your video….so I am a knucklehead. But, I figure you are on the right track based on my understanding of the process. At the end of your video you played a few scales up to an Eb above high C. Do you feel that you are manipulating to achieve those pitches? You didn’t appear to be doing so….at least not very much. And the goal is to continuously achieve flexibility, endurance, and range with less effort.

        I figure you are on to it. I am curious to see how you are getting on with the harmonic slurs in the program. I find that the better I get at those, the more efficient my playing seems to be.

        I will post a video tomorrow and join the party. Thank you for putting it out there.

    • #31340
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      Hi. Great video. I’m not really in a position to comment as you are a far more experienced player than me. However I think your only problem is you pucker far too much.

      IMHO if you just back off the pucker I think the buzz will come easily. How do I know because initially I did what you are doing. I pushed the lips too far forward into a pucker and I could not play. All I had to do was to backed off the pucker then placed the mouthpiece on the lips and bingo. Not sure where the round opening comes from. For me as I ascend the firming of the aperture corners just makes my oblong hole between the lips smaller in width and height. I also feel the tension of the centre of the lips increase slightly. I think of this as a guitar string tension increases so pitch increases. Combine this with tongue arch and you have the whole shape concept. These are just things I feel and you may well feel something completely different so take my comments with a pinch of salt. The pucker though I think is far too much. Hope this helps.

    • #31347
      wjtakacs
      Participant

      I just had a skype session with a guy I trust as he turned me on to Greg’s stuff and he basically said the same thing. Too much pucker. I’ve got to experiment more with a slightly less puckered setup. I meant to say thank you, John, for your concern. I really appreciate you guys looking out for me and trying to help. I feel that I’m getting closer. Not giving up!

    • #31358
      Nate
      Participant

      It seems like what you are doing is good and seems to reflect what Greg is sharing in his videos, perhaps the endurance needs more time? I’m working on the moderato lessons, and one thing I do for the leadpipe is to hold my mouthpiece in one hand (fingers) and the leadpipe in the other and start the BCH breath into the mouthpiece (no buzz) and bring the mouthpiece and leadpipe together. I frequently get the buzz/pitch like that can can do the scales and arpeggios (one octave) that way. I can then do the same breath into the mouthpiece and bring the trumpet and mouthpiece together and typically get low c. After doing that a few times I work on harmonic slurs, tonguing, etc. trying to maintain throat openess, relaxation, no tension. (though my abdominals are firm, but not kicking) After some time spent on windworks I play my other exercises (like Clarke) and orchestra music trying to keep the same (or similar) feelings as the windworks.

    • #31361
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Great video, Bill and thanks for posting and sharing your experience. Some of the audio kind of cut in and out, but it was helpful. It was hard to hear you clearly when you played, but I could tell you are a great player, as Greg mentioned.

      It seems to me that you’re probably not too far away from where you need to be; it’s probably more of a subtle adjustment than what you’re attempting.

      Take my $.02 with a grain of salt as I am not qualified to instruct you and my intent is not to contradict anything on WW or what Greg has said. I’m just an amateur / comeback player doing this for fun, with limited time to practice. And lately I’ve been struggling again–hoping for good sensations this weekend. I do think I’m learning from the struggle though, so I’m grateful for that–I think I’ll come out of it more solid.

      I agree with Peter, it appears to me that you’re too puckered. Again, I don’t want to contradict anything but when I have had success I was not that puckered to begin with.

      I could be wrong, but you might be taking the MmmmwwwwaaaaOooohhh setup thing too literally. My take on it was that was to get us setup to put the mouthpiece on our lips and have the sensation of an open throat, easy air and engaged corners.

      I don’t usually have that much red on the mouthpiece rim, my setup is more like your “normal” setup than what you’re trying with WindWorks, FWIW.

      I suspect that your normal setup isn’t that far off from ideal, you’re probably just clamping a bit top-to-bottom as you play.

      I suspect that there is a spectrum that players are on–one one end, there are players like I was that weren’t engaging the aperture corners much at all and were doing other things to tighten the aperture to ascend (rolling my bottom lip under, tilting my head back, etc.). On the other end, there are players like Greg who primarily engage the corners as they ascend and tighten the aperture around the air column optimally and are able to play very high. You’re probably somewhere near the left of middle, which is great; but that probably makes it even harder to perceive of the “point of difference” than if you were someone more like me who was drastically at the other end.

      You may not need to approach this quite so drastically; it might be as simple as having your lips a bit less puckered as you place the mouthpiece on your lips but still with a gap then really think about that Oooohhhh and feel those corners and play with that as you ascend–I can see now from the video why you weren’t able to do that and what you mentioned in one of your posts about your bottom lip. It does look to me like your bottom lip is a bit too open/low/red on the rim; I typically have mine kind of tucked into the bottom rim of the mouthpiece in what I guess is a more typical setting, just naturally flat against the mouthpiece.

      I was tied up at work today. If I get a chance this weekend / have good sensations and come up with a video that has a chance of adding something meaningful, I’ll share it.

      My $.02 is to slightly tone down your approach–which for the most part was all very good and thorough as far as I could tell. But it did look like you were a bit too far forward when you place your lips on the MP. My understanding, FWIW, is that the forward pucker happens as we tighten the aperture by tightening from the corners/sides inward and keeping the top lip relaxed–lately that’s seemed like a knife’s edge for me, I’ve been walking a tightrope fluctuating from one to the other.

      Good luck–I’m glad you’re getting some good support from a number of folks. I’m sure you’re close to a big development with your playing.

    • #31364
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      John wrote
      I could be wrong, but you might be taking the MmmmwwwwaaaaOooohhh setup thing too literally. My take on it was that was to get us setup to put the mouthpiece on our lips and have the sensation of an open throat, easy air and engaged corners.

      My thoughts entirely. Maybe Greg can chime in here but having look at the videos again my take is that the MmmmmaaaOoooohhhh exercise is just getting a player who plays lips clamped into feeling a new sensation. A sensation that will feel very odd because the centre of the lips are relaxed and open. However I don’t think Gregg says anywhere that you play with such a forward pucker. Certainly I cannot. However if I put my lips together touching ever so lightly and then let the centre of the lips open a little, where I can feel the lips still together are the aperture corners. If I then engage these corners by pressing the corners ever so slightly together and moving them inwards, I have my playing setup. Engaged corners, centre of the lips apart and relaxed but no pucker.

    • #31410
      jchtrumpet1
      Participant

      I would like to see a video. You are committed to this and I would like to understand where you are. I feel like I have always played with the WindWorks approach…….almost. My issues came when reaching for the upper register before being ready to do so. Of course, I could be fooling myself too.

      Post a video. I will do the same. We can probably all help each other.

      I am very confident that Greg has exposed the truth about playing this instrument as frustrating as it may be.

    • #31446
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      I have made a short Quicktime video but can someone tell me how to post it. Cheers.

    • #31450
      PHK
      Participant

      Today was different again and when I read this theme I felt this might help a little.
      Some years ago I was advised to play the trombone to feel more clearly the vibration of the lips. Having bought an old instrument off a friend I used it for a while but then let it go when I started doing MtM. Now WindWorks has come out I have started to use it to warm up the chops in the morning and sometimes warm down at night. You really understand the CHB playing a pedal C on trombone. I then had the idea of doing WindWorks on trombone rather than just playing a few notes. This morning I worked on Largo step 4. I found a real focus for the aperture. A different instrument has a different expectation. Rather than going on to do the pitch bend warm up I transferred this feeling to the trumpet. The effect was staggering and I realised I had previously still not gained purity of process. I was then able to maintain this feeling to the F# with utmost concentration and stopping along the way whenever I was not on the target.
      The bottom lip under was the prescribed method of Farcas. I can remember in my 20,s (I am 72) using a mirror to get the Farcas position. If only. Just like Bill my range was great but fairly soon there was a feeling of losing power and the doubts set in and the brain cuts out. So much of playing is about confidence. I managed when I was younger but after a 25 year break I could not get that confidence back. The more I practised the worse I felt I was playing. I now play mostly jazz rather than classical and find the fresh challenge stimulating. Through WindWorks my confidence is returning and sometimes I play things I only dreamt of years ago but consistency is not there yet. I still feel anything above the stave is an issue once I get to band but when improvising I can use the good days to advantage and the poor days to be creative. The point of difference at the top of the stave is traumatic and frustrating but having moved to another level of process this morning I feel more confident I will overcome this. Thank you Greg.
      Final point for Bill. Once you find the vibration don’t be impatient. Like many others, I have had to keep going back to Largo. It pays off every time.

    • #31511
      wjtakacs
      Participant

      Thanks all, I’ve got to reread all this great stuff. Had two show rehearsals this weekend, and they went surprisingly well and I felt much better than expected. There’s a lot of high stuff (Legally Blonde) which I usually crap out on pretty early on in a rehearsal. But, even at the end of a 3-hour rehearsal I was still cranking away, albeit perhaps not as accurately, but my chops didn’t feel wasted as they normally would. Perhaps I am subconsciously using a bit more forward direction of the lips. I am certainly not consciously doing it. I’m topping off at about an E above high C – I don’t get it every time, but in past shows I wouldn’t even try for it as I knew it was out of reach, and I would struggle for D’s. Now the D’s are more secure, and the E’s are possible. Couldn’t get any of the F’s though. This is still a journey of discovery for me. I have to experiment more with the aperture corner setting.

      Peter, the best way to share a video is to post it on YouTube (unlisted) and post the link here.

      • #31524
        peterdlevis
        Participant

        Thanks. Link should work now I have set it as unlisted.

    • #31521
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      Here is my leadpipe buzzing video.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udaF1LHD2fI

    • #31592
      wjtakacs
      Participant

      Peter, thanks so much for your video. Your explanation makes more clear that paradox of the lip corners appearing to pull back when they are actually moving inwards. I really wish there was a way to know 100% what is going on inside the mouthpiece when we play. Maybe that would help me figure out some things. I’m thinking of making a new video to show what I normally do and how it sounds on the leadpipe. I don’t buzz when I play but I think my lip setting is such where I can buzz on the mouthpiece and it feels comfortable and does not sound pinched. But I must pinch at some point which would account for my range and endurance limitations.

    • #31596
      peterdlevis
      Participant

      That would be an interesting video to see. I’m sure you are not far from success.

    • #31605
      Greg Spence
      Keymaster

      GOING LIVE in 50 minutes 10am AEST 11th Sept (10th in USA) to explain this. Tune in

    • https://mysterytomastery.com/wihsc-week-3
    • WOW, guys I am conflicted. On one hand I’m sorry to have been away but there is A LOT going on here in all spheres of my life BUT on the other hand I LOVE the fact that you are all talking about it; that was the purpose of the forum, not me coming in and dictating.

      The answers are all here and all of the contributors have it nailed. Johns understanding of my approach is profound and obviously very well researched as is Peter and his fantastic video (I want to use that if he will let me!!!)

      YES, to much pucker as you are trying to ascend Bill. The purpose of the AaahOooh is to get on to the horn with the open and free feeling and then carry that feeling up. The inwards movement you are looking for pushing the lips out will not happen when you work slowly through the exercises.

      Someone mentioned harmonic slurs… YES! When you start low and slowly ascend (over weeks and months) you will find the subtle movement that Peter alluded to and you will not forward pucker anywhere near as much as that.

      I can guarantee that the repetition of the PROCESS you are doing (regardless of the cranky reptilian brain) will be seeping through into your playing and based on what you wrote about the shows you are doing and how your endurance seems to be improving, I think proves the point.

      This takes time folks! It’s not simply a choice and an OKAY HERE IS THE POSITION and away we go. Have you all been doing the #wihsc? Everything is explained over and over and over and over… haha

      Thanks and come and say hi in 40 minutes 😉

      GOING LIVE in 50 minutes 10am AEST 11th Sept (10th in USA) to explain this. Tune in

    • https://mysterytomastery.com/wihsc-week-3
  • #31658
    peterdlevis
    Participant

    Thanks Greg good to know I’m on the right track. You seem totally committed to this way of playing and I am sold. If you really think my video is of use then by all means use it. Just PM me and let me know what you need.

  • #31639
    johnelwood
    Participant

    Wow, thanks Greg–that means a lot. If I am able to help Bill or anyone else, that would be amazing. Been tied up at work and limited on practice time. Found myself sliding backwards a bit, losing my way but actually I think it will help me solidify my understanding even more. Doing harmonic slurs (C on the staff to E on the staff), then ascending up to the top of my range this morning helped me a bit find my way back. I need to spend more time on things. If and when I free up and am able to do a video that I think would be helpful, I’ll post something. But for the time being, I’ve got my hands full.

  • #31651
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    No worries, Greg! This show is now officially kicking my butt. After successful rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday, my playing has tanked for Monday and Tuesday. I’m not sure what changed. The rehearsals were longer, but I was still feeling it way earlier on within the rehearsal those two nights. The only other difference is that I did not other playing on Sat. And Sun. but on Mon. and Tue. I did play throughout the day in lessons. I suppose it’s not a good sign if my throat was sore after those later rehearsals – probably an indicator of choking off the throat. Last rehearsal tonight. Haven’t had a lot of time to work on WW concepts but got to get back to it and try this altered less-puckered set. That makes things more vague and mysterious to me, but I’ll fiddle with it. I do remember Dan Quigley saying to me that what helped him was actually not really trying to create an embouchure per se at all. That’s even more cryptic!

  • #31682
    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Hey mate, YES, don’t try. In the words of Roger Federer, trust you practise. I would like really like another chat asap if possible.

  • #31689
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    OK, I finally had a chance to really read what all was said in this thread. Man, there’s a ton of great stuff in here that I will really need to read again and take notes. Peter and John, just because you are a “beginner” or a “non-pro player”, never think that you can’t teach someone about this process or that I can’t learn from you. I don’t see it that way. Much respect to both of you. Your descriptions and advice may very well be the missing link to getting me over the hump on this. I plan to make a new video on Friday. After thinking, I’ve realized that Greg has never really seen me play. Maybe that would shed some light on things. I plan to show my normal setup and how I can easily transfer air through the mouthpiece onto the leadpipe and horn which turns into a sound. It sounds relaxed and open to me. But, as I said before, I have no idea what my lips are doing inside the mouthpiece. I’m also going to try using a different mic on my laptop which should be better. Then I’ll do some slow harmonic slur sequences into the upper register for all to have a look. I have not done the WW slur exercises because I’ve been trying to achieve the basic lip formation first. I can usually slur quite well in my opinion with the exception of when I’m tired. Then harmonic slurs feel much more difficult. Maybe then I can play something lyrical like With Malice Toward None (which is hard, bu the way!) and/or some licks from this show that is kicking my a$$. Any requests? Is there something I can play which would be particularly telling of my issues? John, you mentioned that if our corners are not burning or tired then we’re probably clamping in the middle. Yep, this is me. I NEVER feel tired in the corners, and I’ve heard so many guys say that but I’ve never understood it. I’ve heard the description of lips squeezing the airstream and the statement “My lips ‘grip’ the mouthpiece, the mouthpiece doesn’t grip me. My lips pinch, then I add more mouthpiece pressure, then slowly (or not so slowly), it’s GAME OVER. I feel the brunt of this in my top lip. Fortunately I have not had a distinct injury due to this, but who knows when that could happen if I keep playing this way. OK, almost time to go to rehearsal. Talk to you all later. -Bill

  • #31690
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    Haha, Greg, wwe were typing at the same time. YES, of course yes! Things are a bit tighter schedule-wise now, but I can make it work sometime for sure.

  • #31761
    johnelwood
    Participant

    Thanks Bill, I would be thrilled if something I posted was helpful to you or someone else on here and I’m sure Peter would feel the same way. I have found Peter’s posts very helpful. I’m sure your Skype with Greg will be very helpful; Greg’s gone through exactly what you’re going through.

    “I have no idea what my lips are doing inside the mouthpiece.” – I know what you mean and have felt the same way, even recently.

    You may want to try closing your eyes and, with your normal setup, play a C on the staff with passive air at MF and hold it for a bit while you focus on your embouchre, which muscles are engaged, etc. Then slur up to the E without kicking the air; which muscles engaged to do that? Did you feel as though it was more of a top-to-bottom clamping in the middle, or was it a tightening inward from the aperture corners towards the center hole in the mouthpiece / the air column? You may want to slur back and forth from C to E several times as you focus on sensing what you’re doing.

    Then, ideally, try again using the same setting as your “normal” setup; but this time think Oooooooohhhhhhhhh as you place the MP on your lips. Don’t say Oooohhh and then place the MP on your lips while they’re puckered; just think Ooooohhhhh and sense the muscles on the sides of your mouth–engage those muscles and keep them engaged like your finger on a trigger, but not tightened–keep as relaxed as possible, stay open, good breath (BCH) then squeeze those muscles inward and the E should pop easily/quickly, in fact the G may come instead.

    This just worked for me and got me out of the funk I was in the past week or so–I had subtly moved back to clamping in the middle and overblowing to try to hit certain notes, instead of backing off and focusing on process and letting the note come out. Thankfully, I had great sensations today and feel like I’m back on track.

    The Harmonic Slur challenge video today was very good; I listened on the way home and Greg covered some great things in it. I think you might find it helpful even just listening in.

    I was thinking today that if I had just been participating in that challenge the past 2 weeks, I probably wouldn’t have had my setback the past week or so. Oh well, it’s over and I feel like I’m back in a groove and better for having the setback. I’m going to try to participate the next couple weeks though as I think the harmonic slurs are key to progress and solidifying an understanding of the sensations we’re after.

    “John, you mentioned that if our corners are not burning or tired then we’re probably clamping in the middle. Yep, this is me. I NEVER feel tired in the corners, and I’ve heard so many guys say that but I’ve never understood it. I’ve heard the description of lips squeezing the airstream and the statement “My lips ‘grip’ the mouthpiece, the mouthpiece doesn’t grip me. My lips pinch, then I add more mouthpiece pressure, then slowly (or not so slowly), it’s GAME OVER. I feel the brunt of this in my top lip.”

    I don’t play enough to get tired in the corners as often as I should, but I do feel that when I’m doing harmonic slurs consistently and am using good form. From your post above and other posts you’ve made, I believe that when you tighten your aperture at the top of your range, you are clamping down your lips top-to-bottom, inevitably eventually cutting off the vibration of your top middle lip–the oscillator. That is what I did and what Greg described as being his problem previously as well. Instead, if you engaged the aperture corners more and tightened the lips towards the air column/center of the mouthpiece from the sides, it does feel like you are gripping the mouthpiece and the more you get used to that and it seems that the more efficient we become, the more secure that feels. When we tighten the aperture from the sides, leaving the top middle lip relaxed, it helps keep the top lip vibrating and from touching the bottom lip and cutting off the vibration / sound. It also seems easier and like the harmonics are closer together.

    Hope that helps, FWIW.

  • #31795
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    New video. Thank you all for putting up with me.

  • #31797
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    Another short one showing the lip position pulling the trumpet off the lips when playing a high C.

  • #31798
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    Sorry, not sure why sound is wonky on 2nd video.

  • #31800
    peterdlevis
    Participant

    Man I can feel your frustration. Your normal set up looks good to me no pucker. The interesting thing is you said that an inward movement of the aperture corners resulted in a pucker. That’s not what I get. I think your inward movement is a forward one not an inward one. I would hazard a guess that’s the problem. All I can suggest is try to move your aperture corners inwards without your lips looking much different ie not moving forward. Maybe your feeling of an inward movement is actually a forward one. Does that make any sense ?

  • #31801
    peterdlevis
    Participant

    Just looked at your video again and your cooling soup lips looks good but when you engage the aperture corners inwards it is a forward movement not inward. An inward movement is very subtle. It looks the same as your cooling soup position but with a smaller aperture opening.

  • #31802
    peterdlevis
    Participant

    Just had another idea. Cooling soup lips. Put your finger tips on the aperture corners. Now move your fingers inwards towards each other but not forwards. That’s the movement.

    Promise I will shut up now. 😀

  • #31808
    johnelwood
    Participant

    Bill,

    You sound great! I wish I had your ability to play that strong. Right now, I’m still just trying to master the passive air approach. I have developed an ability to ascend easily and can play longer and higher up there than ever before, using the WindWorks approach.

    My $.02 is that your normal lip setting on the mouthpiece doesn’t look bad; it may be fine.

    Your attempt at the WindWorks setting is too puckered still. My interpretation is that it’s not how you set your lips on the MP; it’s what you do next that matters.

    I believe that you should pretty much use your normal setting, perhaps with the tissue test to make sure where you’re placing the MP is correct. But the Mmmmmmmmwaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhooooooooooo thing is really (I think) intended more as a mental approach to playing, not a physical one. My interpretation is that you should place the MP on in as natural a setting as possible.

    But it appears to me that you are doing what I thought you were doing, what I was doing and what Greg mentioned he was doing–it appears that you clamp your lips top to bottom as you ascend. You sound great, strong, but you’re probably smashing your lips together and against the mouthpiece like I was.

    It’s a subtle thing, a knife’s edge, but it makes all the difference…

    My advice would be to place the MP on with your normal setting and think Ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, perhaps “say” it (barely) with the MP still on your lips, just enough to feel the engagement of the muscles on the sides of your mouth / aperture corners.

    Now, play a C on the staff and, focusing on those muscles, squeeze them inward from the sides towards the air column and try to leave the middle of your lips relaxed. Hopefully the E will “speak” and perhaps you’ll even skip that and the G above the staff will come out.

    Less is more, the 1% rule–use as natural a setting as possible. And remember, passive air and less air is needed the higher we ascend.

    I tried uploading a video but ran into difficulty; I’ll try this weekend.

    Greg has some great videos throughout the course on this, but I don’t have those handy.

    I ran across a couple last night on YouTube relating to a product I had never heard of. The videos were amazing as they were done by Tom Hooten (Principal Trumpet of LA Philharmonic) and Yehuda Gilad (Clarinetist and Professor at USC). What they talk about with respect to the aperture corners and the description of this product may help you have an epiphany about what it is physically you need to change.

    In some ways, it’s very subtle but it makes a world of difference.

    I believe these videos reinforce what Greg explains in WindWorks and may provide additional color to it. I’m not trying to suggest buying this product. I did, but it’s expensive and might be a waste of $$$. We’ll see.

    AND:

    Note: From 1:00 to 2:00 is GOLD!!

    I found it fascinating that Clarinetists have the same issue that we do. I heard previously that playing trumpet is similar to a double reed instrument (i.e. Oboe); I think Greg may have mentioned that.

    Hope this helps!

    I’ll try to come up with a video that helps as well, but Skyping with Greg and going through the other videos in the course and the two above are likely better.

  • #31809
    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Hey guys, here’s my take. Get your popcorn out. It’s a long ride but I think you’ll be able to relate and find it worthwhile.

    Bill, sometimes I may have put words in your mouth so don’t don’t panic if your intention was slightly different. The points I make may be relevant for others.

    Thanks for this thread everyone!!!

  • #31846
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    Peter, you’ve given me some more to think about and try. I suppose part of my confusion is that I thought we wanted the embouchure to come forward more as well as in. When I form the cooling soup set, then try to bring corners in, my lips pucker out simultaneously. I can’t figure out how to isolate the movements at this time. The aperture does get smaller, however.

    John, thank you! I can play strongly but now wonder if I over exert and overblow. It certainly feels like hard work at times, so that’s an indicator. Wow, sound like Tom Hooten is describing exactly what we are trying to replicate. I’d certainly be willing to try that gadget but ugh, $120. If it works it’s certainly worth it. Since I can’t seem to figure out how to make the muscles do what I want them to, maybe that’s just what I need. I really think that if I can figure that out, some kind of astronimcally huge epiphany will take place which will change my playing forever for the better.

    Greg, about to dive in to your video. Not sure I can get to all of it at the moment but I’ll just pause and come back until it’s done!

  • #31858
    johnelwood
    Participant

    I love what Yehuda Gilad says from 1:00 to 2:00–“Muscles are dumb…and must be trained…And we’re taught all our lives to clamp down in the middle of our lips…not to tighten from the sides…”

    You don’t need a Wind-O to figure things out. I ordered one last night because I’m curious, but $120 seems a bit rich…

    I saw Tom Hooten with the LA Phil last year play Pictures at an Exhibition. We sat in the choir seats behind the orchestra at Disney concert hall.

    I didn’t know who he was, thought he was some alternate…we went to a matinee.

    Hadn’t seen Pictures in years. Best I ever heard it live, amazing. Got choked up, actually. We were only a few rows from him. One of the audience members struck up a conversation afterwards with him. He seems like a great guy, very down to earth. Plays with extreme ease and filled up that hall with such a resonant sound, it was amazing. Perhaps the finest orchestral trumpet player I’ve heard live.

  • #31936
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    John, I’m very curious as well. Please, once you get it and try it, let me know if you think it would be worthwhile to me. I’m willing to part with the cash if it gets me going in the right direction. Tom even says something like, even if it only gets you to feel what it’s like to move your corners in that way. I rewatched his video. He does mention that forward motion of the chops at about 1:30 in. This is part of the confusion I have. I guess I don’t know what that means. I’m thoroughly convinced that I squeeze the lips together as I ascend and want to change that. Still trying to figure out how.

    Tom came out this way to perform at Texas Tech and I went down to hear him. Truly inspiring! Great person and player who went through his own chop mystery to mastery while in school.

    Saturday night went much better and it was a great way to end the week. Took yesterday off and now back at it for symphony this week. Hoping to make it through in one piece.

    • #32018
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Bill,

      Got it yesterday. It’s pretty much as it seems–it comes with the device and some various bands of different tensions and shims for different size mouths, as well as balloons for adding an element of resistance against the air.

      It’s pretty much what I thought–you squeeze from the corners of your mouth to open the hole in the middle which you blow through. Seems like an interesting design. I could see how as an isometric exercise it may help build some endurance/strength in those muscles which could give an advantage. And I do think it may help certain players clue into what Greg explains by “aperture corners”; we all understand things differently.

      Bill–what Tom Hooten is referring to as the “forward motion” is as you tighten your aperture from the sides, your lips push forward toward/into/against the mouthpiece. This can also feel kind of like a gripping sensation.

      I believe what you are doing is what I was doing and what I believe Greg mentions he was doing–clamping our lips top-to-bottom, which cuts off the vibration in the middle of our lips.

      I don’t know if this will be helpful or make any sense, but FWIW–here’s a video trying to explain in a different way what is meant by the aperture corners:

      And here’s another of me playing some harmonic slurs with passive air…any feedback would be appreciated, but the feeling/sensation I have is easier than anything I’ve experienced thus far when I use the WindWorks recommendations. This isn’t the best I’ve done, just something I recorded the past couple days trying to get some sort of example of when it has gone reasonably well. I’m still very much on this journey myself, am in no means an expert or a teacher. I post this simply in the spirit of trying to help others on this journey, FWIW.

      The ease of which I rise to High C is about as good as it gets to me. I could go higher and the little kick to E is not from my abdomen or even a kick of the air but my compressing the air with my mouth. That’s not really WindWorks prescribed material, it’s just me screwing around / experimenting / exploring. In time, I plan on focusing more on my dynamic range ability and continuing up my range.

      For proper context: I’m no monster player, I’m just an amateur doing this for fun/fulfillment. I dreamed of going pro when I was in high school but didn’t have the chops–I couldn’t get much above the staff; a G above the staff was the top of my useful range despite tons or practice and lessons with reputable teachers. A little over a year ago, I played high C for the first time. When I successfully focus on the WindWorks principles (aperture corners, open throat, resonant sound, less air as we go higher, etc.), I play great.

      Everytime I repeat Largo, it is stunning how it is all there, laid out by Greg.

      Also, while I think this Wind-O thing and other realizations into what I’m supposed to be doing with my aperture corners has helped me, I have also realized the fact that trying to actively focus on what I’m supposed to be doing with my lips/aperture corners/air, etc. fails. I have realized that there is a bit of genius in the approach laid out in WindWorks in that it lays things out gradually to build a subconscious understanding of things and recommends we focus on the 1% / efficiency / resonance of sound–when I focus on those things, not on my aperture corners, is when I have the best Process AND Results; I believe it has to become subconscious.

      Perhaps none of us are smart enough to be able to control all the various fine motor movements required to play this instrument successfully; it has to become subconscious/second nature.

      Hope that helps.

      All my best,

      John

  • #31953
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    Awesome stuff as usual, Greg, and of course you are 100% right. Thank you! No more beating myself up. Positive outlook and realizing that my playing isn’t garbage. Back to having the visualizer out and going to it often. I’ll need to rewatch this again and again. One day we’ll get those beers! Actually, been meaning to talk to you about our brass quintet visiting Ozzieland in the summer of 2021.

  • #31968
    Greg Spence
    Keymaster

    Judging by the comments, not too many have sat through my vid but I actually think it is probably the best technical video I have done as well as all of the mind STUFF. Ozzieland would love to have you Bill.

    I am far from convinced about the Wind-o and would look for real life reviews. I found it odd that neither of the dudes actually used it. I get where it is coming from but notice that when you send attention to the corners of the mouth, all sense of Aperture Corners is lost. The activation at the corners of the mouth is in direct RESPONSE to the activation of the Aperture Corners, not the other way around.

    Of course I encourage people to try everything but at $120, I’d do my research.

    Cheers all.
    Greg

    • #32020
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Your video, as usual, was Gold, Greg–it was really helpful for me and I’m sure everyone else to hear you give specific feedback to Bill with regards to the video he uploaded, was he too puckered, etc. That is really useful information. It was great.

      My initial post with the Wind-O stuff above was just prior to your response to Bill.

      My post wasn’t so much about the product, which is curious/intriguing. I received it, I’m going to play around with it a bit more before making a judgment on it. But I respect Tom Hooten, who says he used it occasionally to remind himself of how much the aperture corners can/should be engaged, etc.

      I was using it this morning a bit, was screwing around on my commute to work…thankfully I didn’t swallow it and wind up with the thing in my throat. Will be interesting to see if I get any benefit from it tomorrow. It kind of screwed with my head this morning, my practice session this morning turned into a bit of gladiator trumpet, trying to tell what if anything it did for me–which is ridiculous as I just used it this morning, but my patience isn’t always my strength…

      Going to take it easy tomorrow and see how it goes. It’s probably similar to the pencil exercise or other isometric things which I have actually avoided thus far. But now that I’m starting to gain confidence on the movement of my aperture/lips, I feel like perhaps I can explore lip buzzing and other things. Before, I literally had no concept of what the hell I was supposed to be doing without the horn to give me feedback on whether or not it sounded resonant and felt good/natural.

      Doing another lap through Largo to solidify things a bit more, etc.

  • #31975
    bo.lundquist
    Participant

    Hi!
    I have used the Facial Flex from time to time for maybe 10 years. I feel it strengthen my muscles around my mouth. Anyone more than me using this simple device ? Good or bad for you ? (it smooths out wrinkles as well 🙂

    • #32016
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Creepy looking “Facial Flex” video, Bo, but looks interesting / like it might be even more effective than the “Wind-O”–I got that yesterday. Played with it a bit today, I’ll post something about it separately. How has the Facial Flex worked for you? I’m not yet ready to pass judgment on “Wind-O”; going to give it a little more time.

  • #31978
    Simes
    Participant

    Bill, thanks so much for your honesty in sharing. Without this, I would have missed the absolute gold dust in Greg video response (not to mention laughing at some of the things he says the way through it because my sense of humour is the same and I love the way your mind works Greg!) 🙂

    I wholeheartedly believe in what Greg says and bought book 1 a few years ago, lost a little faith (though my own misunderstanding), then jumped on WindWorks as soon as it was launched and despite all the fabulous nuggets of information that are present in ALL videos, the lights just came on like a football stadium while watching Gregs response video. It’s the brain stuff! 🙂 Repetition of the process is fine, but no good on it’s own without understanding just HOW much that reptilian bugger needs to change.

    I can see where Greg gets the kick out of the possibilities open to people now and teaching this. I just hope I can convert it all now I have a new understanding. Can’t wait to get back on the Harmonic Slur challenge tonight!

    PS. I have been playing to semi-pro standard for 30 years and doing some pretty decent big band and function gigs these days, but inconsistently not knowing whether it was going to be ‘good’ Simon or ‘bad’ Simon. I just wanted to feed back some positivity and kudos for where I hope this will lead me now. Thanks for taking the pain to work through and unearth all of this Greg and Bill once again, for the honesty 🙂

  • #31998
    wild_flower32
    Participant

    Hi, Bill,
    I really appreciate your willingness to put your thoughts and issues out there via video. Hope I will have the courage to do the same some day for the benefit of others.

    I understand your continuing analysis and torment, and eagerness to force results. I’ve often had the same drive and approach. However, I’m finally getting to a point where I’m realizing that no matter how much I analyze and obsess over getting things “right,” I can’t force or control results. Shifts will take as long as they take, whether I’m frustrated or not, and frustration only feeds the sense of frenzy. For me, expectations are a major part of this. I can’t have any. I just have to give in to the learning process and be good with my current playing in the meantime. Repeating pure process over time will yield results with little attachment to the highs and lows in the meantime. I treasure those golden moments when everything seems to align and my playing feels freer. But, expecting those to happen and then thinking that because they didn’t, something’s wrong, can lead to frustration. It can be hard to perceive the continuum of change, as it’s often subtle. Greg’s approach is much deeper than it might appear with deep psychological rewiring. Honestly, for me, that is the hardest work of all, but I hear my sound blossoming at times and know that I am pouring a new foundation that will allow me to develop further in the long run. This all comes down to shedding ego, letting go of ANY expectations and surrendering to the learning process.

  • #32044
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    Yeah, John! Great analogy (I played with that thing too as a kid), and nice effortless ascent to high C and D! Thanks Simes and wildflower, I used to think there was a stigma of shame or embarrassment to share my struggles on the trumpet. The thought of “Well, I’m a professional, I shouldn’t have these problems, and everyone else sounds great so I must be the only one. People will think less of me,” and other junk like that. I finally decided that was bunk. Over the past several years I have reached out to many, many pros, professors, teachers, etc. A lot. I learned quite a few things, but maybe most importantly was that I am not alone. There are so many in the trumpet world who struggle on this blasted piece of plumbing. The other really cool thing was that just about everybody I approached was willing to try and help me, many of whom didn’t charge me a dime. The trumpet community gets a bad rap for having inflamed egos and whatnot, and sure there are some that do, but by and large we are a brotherhood and most will do whatever they can to help. Greg has gone above and beyond, however, with his numerous videos and selfless communications with me. I owe him so much.

    Wildflower, a light went on reading your response. I think I’m finally ready to believe that if I continue to repeat the process, that is a huge step in the right direction. It might take a long time. Dan Quigley said it took him 4 years to figure it out, but he got frustrated and quit a few times. I’m not going to quit. I sat at my kitchen bar counter for 45 minutes just using the visualizer and good ole’ mmmaaaooohhh over and over. I suppose that progress will not be a “eureka” moment but a gradual change and that you don’t actually make a conscious decision to use these concepts.Next week I’ll have time to start in on the ground floor of the slurs and investigate my abdominal usage while playing. I know it’s there. Greg, a question: how do you know when it’s ok to start using that. You say that it becomes engaged when you add volume, well, I’ve got to do quite a bit of loud playing.

    Update on this week: things are so far so good. Honestly, I’m playing much better than expected. I feel surprisingly calm. The success I’ve been having is helping increase my confidence as the week goes on. We are opening the season with Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, which is essentially a trumpet concerto. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. Then you’ll have more of an appreciation of what I’m up against. We played it through about 5 times last night, and my chops held on for much longer than I ever expected. 2 and a half hours of doing that over and over is a longgggggg time for me. I’m thinking about how to do 1% (or more) less work when I play and that is probably helping. I could be delusional, but I also felt like maybe, just maybe, my corners were coming in more when I played instead of allowing my lips to get squashed by the mouthpiece. I’m encouraged. I may post a recording if all goes well in the performance.

    Thank you all! Signing off for now.

  • #32055
    wild_flower32
    Participant

    Bill,

    In my experience, there will be “eureka” moments, but they may or may not be the final answer. Expecting to immediately repeat them can lead to disappointment and frustration. Staying emotionally detached from the highs and lows also helps, although I’m far from mastering this.

    Interesting discussion about devices. I’ve collected more than a few over the years. I’ve found that some introduce tightness and other elements that I don’t want in my playing. At times, this would take several weeks to show up. I believe that “mmmm ahh oooh” is an effective way to get the feel for bringing the corners in. The key, for me, is not to force this into my regular playing. I’ve tried direct implementation and caused chop confusion at one point. I was downright obsessed with making this change. Now, it seems that focused practice without forced results is a better path. I am training body and mind, and this takes time…lots of it.

  • #32083
    johnelwood
    Participant

    Thanks Bill, hope it was helpful. I feel good at times ascending with passive air, but will need to work up to having as strong a sound / dynamics as you’ve developed. My gut is that you’re current setup is most of the way there, you are probably just clamping a bit towards the top of your range.

    Wildflower’s posts resonate with me–I think there is a lot of wisdom there, as I too have experienced that when I think I have it “all figured out” and can just focus my attention on specific attributes of playing (i.e. aperture corners, etc.), that’s usually when things fall apart.

    But when I focus on producing a resonant sound with as free / natural a sound as possible, that’s when I get great sensations, sounds, results.

    I still haven’t formed an opinion on the “Wind-O”, I’m going to be patient and give it time. This morning was uneven, there were times I thought it had a big benefit and times when I felt it made me stiff, etc. In fairness to the Wind-O, most of my issues were likely my focus on results rather than process.

    Going to try to be more disciplined tomorrow; didn’t use the Wind-O today at all, going to give it a break.

    Working on another lap through Largo, etc. and focusing on my air–deep open breath, support, etc.

    Bill, if you’re interested in the Wind-O, I can send it to you if you want to pay for shipping–not sure how much that would be; it’s pretty small and light so probably not much, depending on where you’re at.

  • #32113
    wjtakacs
    Participant

    John, sure, I’d be interested in giving it a whirl when you have finished your assessment of it. I don’t want to steal it away from you too soon if you’re still working with it. Of course, I’d be willing to pay shipping. Thank you!

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