Doing the singing C series over again i think i had an exciting feeling that for the first time doing the series i had the feeling that the relaxating feel came on to me. Did more of you had to do the series over again to get the hang of it?
Greetings from The Netherlands
Hi Reijer_59, I am glad it is starting to make sense and you are discovering how to open up your sound with freedom.
Be sure to stick with the PROCESS as you work through and be sure to understand that these discoveries can quickly disappear. Don’t despair, they will reappear and be more hard-wired.
I hope to get to Europe later in the year. I will let you know.
Wonderful to hear that, Reijer! Congrats.
Yes, I have done countless “laps” through the Singing C exercises and felt a greater sense of ease each time.
It takes a long time for our brains (my brains…) to create a new understanding of what to do and when.
I also saw your post on the Practice Routine thread, and I recall we had both posted on another thread about your downstream setting and jaw position, etc.
I recommend seeing if you can Skype with Greg–I imagine that would be the best way for you to ensure your mouthpiece placement is appropriate, of if you need to align things differently / try to play straighter, etc.
I used to play more downstream as well and roll my bottom lip under. Eventually, I would run out of lip as I ascended. It still happens occasionally but I try to play straighter and more forward and centered now and that works better than ever.
It still sometimes surprises me that I am able to play above the staff with such little movement of my lips–it feels, especially when I back off the air, as though my lips just kind of fall into position and it feels more open and forward than I thought possible.
Yes we had a conversation a few times here and i did know your a downstream player as well. What i am doing is move out my jaw so my teeth aline more so the release of air is more forward then downwards. It takes time to get used to but the sensation came along when i played more upwards. Use the humming as a start and then the paper towel and my old rim from my mouthpiece as a visualiser. I spoke Greg in an e-mail and he told my he was coming to The Netherlands again. When he does i’m going to plan an lesson with him. If that takes to long i try to get a Skype lesson with him. But i think it’s good to experiment a bit more to see if the jaw movement gives me more freedom and ease to play. thank you for replying to my post and keep well. Ofcourse i love to hear if you find any other improvements that applie to the both of us. Greetings Reijer
Sounds great, Reijer. I think a lesson with Greg in person would be great and very helpful.
I have no over or under bite, my teeth meet exactly in the middle.
But I have always tended to play with my bell down and head back a bit. I used to roll my bottom lip under and in and blow the air downward towards my feet.
Now I play much more forward, open and relaxed. I try to think of the air column as I’m playing and imagine the inner part of my lips (the aperture) interacting with the air column and think about keeping my lips in the center of the air column, trying to move them as little as possible and keeping them relaxed, not engaging the muscles in my lips but moving them only by engaging the muscles on the outside of the lips in the corners (the muscles I feel when I say oooh).
I think about the 1% rule, less is more, less air is needed the higher we play, we want the air to interact with our lips as if they’re the vocal chords, etc.
Lately, I’ve been doing this thing where I experiment doing less and less until I miss the note. For example, I play G below the staff, then G on the staff with a breath attack then G above the staff with a breath attack and I try engaging less and less until I miss. I try using the same amount of passively released air for all 3 notes and playing softer the higher I go, then once I get the pitch I open up and release more air and try to maximize resonance.
Harmonic slurs with consistent air have been key for me as well, ive been doing more of thaose lately as fast as possible with steadily released air–not using air to kick and manipulate to try to help but separating Shape change and Air. Ive been doing those up near the top of my range and some whole notes with passively released air mixed with a little lip bending to help me understand how slight differences in Shape impact pitch, even subtly.
Ive also had more and more of the sensation of my lips naturally falling closer towards my teeth as I ascend and use less air as I ascend. I think lowering my jaw a little has helped keep things in the right position, forward and centered, as I ascend–that way, I dont run out of lip when I ascend like I did when I used to roll my lip under.
When things are going best, it feels almost as if I’m doing nothing to play above the staff, kind of like I’m just thinking of the note and it’s there with the same setting as on the staff and below the staff, no strain or manipulation is necessary, its a subtle difference and feels like I’m directing the air upward maybe slightly.
Congrats again on your recent experience, I hope you continue to have those experiences.
They weren’t regular for me, and there were setbacks and frustrations, but I’m better for those experiences as we learn from failure, not success–which can mask problems we’re not aware of that cause trouble later.
I understand the concept, get the feel of it just right but I can’t play above the staff nevertheless. I don’t know what’s the reason for my failure but it seems to me it’s not the way I play but rather some features of my physical setup that don’t allow me to play higher notes. The middle of my aperture just stops vibrating at higher frequencies.
That is – I’m fine with the singing Cs concepts both on theoretical and practical level but the concept works for me only up to middle C, no higher.
Hi again, you have just nailed your issue and reinforced what I said to you in the chat we had.
The middle C is where you really start to “power-on” and really overblow.
I have given lessons to professional players who cannot do the Singing C exercises the next harmonic up on the E yet have great ranges, they just use force to make it work.
You are physically capable of doing the C Singing C Series exercises, it is just that your body doesn’t know how to respond because you have pulled the air pressure away so the lips can’t respond. Why? Because they are pinched. You could feel it, I could hear it and see it.
You need to change the way you are doing things and that is tough!!!
Can you whistle? Are you much of a whistler? Ive done that occasionally and have found I’m above average at it. I know it’s not a direct correlation to playing trumpet, but it could provide an indication.
Do you think you might be flexing/engaging the lip tissue as you ascend? Or are you sure that you are keeping the red part of your lips relaxed and only engaging the corners?
It’s possible that you have a physical impediment, but probably less likely than the usual causes we all have faced.
I’m not a qualified instructor, that’s just my opinion, FWIW.
Thank you all for replying and sorry that I responded so late, sorry for that.
Greetings from Reijer
I Skyped a lesson with Greg on Monday – from the USA. He had no problem seeing and hearing playing issues I’ve been having and working with me to find a way I can work on correcting them. He was even concerned about getting too involved addressing some very small details he was finding in what I have going on with my playing. Looking at the small details is what led to uncovering decades old problem areas. And this via Skype. It’s pretty amazing the stupid techniques I have accumulated over decades and now have to correct.
Many of my problems right now, are related to use of my tongue, “throaticulation”, and learning to stop unnecessary engagement.
If I were you, I’d go for a Skype lesson now, AND do another in person later just to meet in person.
All the best,
Hello Janet, I had a 10 minute introduction talk with Greg and we had a follow up lesson. During this lesson things got more clear for me. Also the singing C live forum was very interesting last week. So I keep working thrue the Largo state and keep checking for over exertions.
Thank you for your advice Janet.
Greetings from Reijer 🇳🇱