WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks I'm I doing F# right? (Largo C# Singing C)

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    • #47989


      I’m a beginner player, bought the trumpet 1 month ago, so I’m approaching everything here with a beginner’s eyes, without prejudice. I think I’m doing alright, I’m playing C and C# sympathetically, without forcing my abdomen muscles, but I’m not sure I’m doing the F# right because there’s very little explanation about the change of shape you must make to attain it.

      After a LOT of experimentation, I can do it 70% of the time I try, but I’m not sure if the way I’m doing is OK or if I’m clamping, I’ll try to explain: as the exercise suggests, I begin with a C, go to and C# and, to achieve the F#, I have to roll my lower lip inside my mouth, so my upper lip is in front of the lower lip, and I have to drop the angle of the trumpet (make it face a little down). In the Largo C# Singing C – Step 3… video, at 1:20min, Greg actually makes the trumpet face down when playing F# but on the video of Step 4 he doesn’t do that.

      So my question is: what I’m doing is wrong? I feel as I’m forcing it.. and I can’t get the transition 100% of the time (and it doesn’t sound very nice). And can you give a more detailed explanation about the change of shape? It’s really clear the shape for C and C#, but it’s not at all clear for F# (Greg doesn’t show it with the “visualizer”). I don’t know if he’ll give more details later on the course.

    • #47991
      Ronald Carson

      This is a great place to learn the trumpet.

      Now getting to the question about what you are doing.

      Lips: Do not curl, roll, or clamp. The shape change involves the aperture corners, the jaw, and the tongue.

      Practice the concert hall breath and then say aah-ooh – that’s your embouchure. Practice this over and over and again. Release your air into a strip of tissue as demonstrated using the “tu” syllable.

      It is important that you practice this often and then practice the leadpipe. When you play C on the trumpet, you should have a good or great sound. Play C# and F# without slurring and each note should sound good. Copy Greg’s sound.

      Playing lower notes and higher notes by pivoting the horn is something you should NOT be doing. Any pivot that happens is very minor and would barely be noticeable. You should not consciously shift the horn’s angle or position to play C# to F#. (Maybe Greg should rerecord that demonstration. It could be because the volume air and an exaggerated change in his tongue and jaw position are causing his horn to pivot up and down.) Step 4 is a better demonstration of what you should be doing. Learn slurring from C# to F# by a change in aperture corners with a slight change of the tongue and jaw. The back of the tongue will rise a little and the jaw may close a little when changing to F#. The tongue/jaw lowers when playing C#. Any motion of the horn is very slight as the shape changes.

      • #53285

        This is good information. There needs to be more “scaffolding” -as we say in the education world. More of a break down of what a shape change is, how it is achieved, how it feels and looks, and how it is different from the way most people form and change their embouchure BEFORE the Singing C series.

        Does anyone know if Greg has a lesson about shape change later on in this course????

    • #48006


      Since you feel that you are forcing to get the note you’re reaching for and because you describe what sounds like a lot of movement and something similar to how I played and I think how Greg described he himself played (rolling bottom lip under, blowing downward, bell down to the floor, head back, etc.)…you probably are not achieving a natural and optimally efficient embouchure, aperture, etc.

      But I would be careful not to overthink it, especially as a beginner.

      In my opinion, the best way to play is the most natural, forward and consistent way possible for you–based on your physiology, mouthpiece, instrument, etc.

      The biggest problem we face is mental, not physical. This website and many of those on this forum are here because they over-thought playing and thought it is harder than it truly is. We get in our own way. Playing trumpet is a paradox in many ways.

      I believe Ron’s post above appears spot on. Very little movement is required to go from low C# to F# on the staff, just a Slight engagement of the aperture corners (the muscles you feel when saying “Oooohhhh”) and perhaps a little tongue arch (perhaps Ohhhhhh on the low C# to Aaahhhh on the F#, it’s probably a little different for each of us). What helped me is using consistent air–releasing air, not blowing it–it’s crucially important that you separate Air (needed for long or loud notes) from Shape (used for pitch change). Some of us tend to over blow to push through an inefficient embouchure to obtain a pitch we’re shooting for, but it won’t sound as good as we’re releasing air through an efficient, open (as much as possible) aperture with relaxed lips (only tension is in the corners, outside edges–not the vibrating surface).

      Things we can observe that help us determine if we’re “doing it right” (a relative term/concept; everyone can always try to improve):

      1. Does it feel good, natural, efficient?
      2. What does it sound like? Do you like the sound, is it resonant? Could it be more resonant?
      3. Is it efficient–how fast can you do harmonic slurs to /from other notes? How long can you hold the note out or do harmonic slurs for? Careful not to over do it too soon.

      I still play with my horn slanted down a bit, bell towards the floor. That’s just how it works naturally for me–as I learned in part from the tissue exercise, etc.

      But I no longer roll my bottom lip under my top lip and blow down towards my feet.

      In my opinion, it’s very difficult, perhaps impossible to explain precisely what to do with your face / aperture to change pitch. Greg, I believe, has done it better and more detailed than most–perhaps anyone else. And I’ve learned a lot from WindWorks.

      But, ideally, it would be 2nd nature–and that is the ultimate goal. We can’t think about what the lips are doing, we need to think about the music, how it sounds, what the conductor is doing, or the band or other performers, etc.

      And, I try actually not to think about it–I try to set things up as naturally and relaxed as possible, release air through my lips (breath attach), stay relaxed and let the lips respond to the air as I ascend and I try to move as little as possible and just keep my lips in the mouthpiece and as straightforward as possible. The aperture is reduced gradually by the contraction of the corners but the jaw moves down to keep the aperture from collapsing / closing shut and the tongue arches (aaaahhh eeeeeeee).

      I try not to think about it and just let the lips respond to the air, but if I run into difficulties then I pay closer attention and tweak things as needed.

      Obviously since you’re a beginner, you may need a little more information–the best thing is Greg’s “engage the aperture corners inwards from the sides, horizontally (“oooohhhhh”). What we’re doing is engaging the muscles surrounding the lips to reduce the aperture inwards towards the center of the mouthpiece center / air column.

      One thing you could try would be doing some chromatic scales from C# to F# followed by some harmonic slurs and observing how the lips move ever so slightly each half step. Or you could try doing gradually increasing intervals (i.e. C# to D, then C# to D#, C# to E, etc.), but make sure you’re using steady air (ideally Passively released air).

      Experiment! And you have to Own Your playing. Greg and others can be a guide for you, but ultimately Your success or failure will be yours alone. You can’t just repeat exercises blindly and expect to get results–trust me on that one… πŸ˜‰ Since you posted this to begin with, you’re on a great start and hopefully won’t waste as much time as I have in the past–learn from my mistakes!

      Hope that helps, FWIW. Best of luck–keep us posted on how you’re doing and best of luck to you! As Ron said, you’re in a great place.

      • #53286

        Thanks for all your thoughts and information, it is helpful. I think ultimately what you said about beginners needing more information is correct. If you are asking a beginner “not to clamp, instead change your shape”, then the best teaching it to explicitly teach what this means so that it can be internalized by the learner. Once it is internalized (because the learner knows what it feels like and doesn’t feel like, looks like and doesn’t look like), then the learner can stop thinking about the lips and “think about the music, how it sounds, what the conductor is doing, or the band or other performers, etc” as you have mentioned.
        Otherwise, bad habits are formed.

        I try using the questions that you have provided as I play. I am still thinking that a beginner could answer yes to these questions without realizing they are actually clamping their lips.

        Thanks again for the help and dialogue!

    • #48022

      Hi, thanks a lot for the answers!! They were great! Yeah, I was forcing, blowing downwards, because I was rolling my bottom lip. About this quote:

      One thing you could try would be doing some chromatic scales from C# to F# followed by some harmonic slurs and observing how the lips move ever so slightly each half step. Or you could try doing gradually increasing intervals (i.e. C# to D, then C# to D#, C# to E, etc.), but make sure you’re using steady air (ideally Passively released air).

      This is spot on! Yesterday I did something like this, I started at C and went up with D – E – F – G (I learned the fingering from an open video from Greg) and I noticed that when I got to open G I hadn’t rolled my bottom lip. Going up like this is an interesting exercise because you naturally change the shape and since you do it in small steps it’s natural, so when you get to G you naturally and gradually made the change in shape. To slur from C do G (or C# to F# for the Singing C) is difficult for a beginner, but today I’m going to do my best and try only to move the corners, jaw and tongue.

    • #48051

      An update: I’m doing it!!! Your tips helped me a lot! I can now slur from C to G 90% of the time, without body engagement, only change of the shape of my face (and I’m not rolling my bottom lip). What helped me a lot was this image from a quiz:


      After I saw it 30 min ago and copied it everything changed for the better!

    • #48064

      Nice! Glad if our posts helped you, that’s what the forum is for.

      I have been thinking of this thread today as I was trying to play relaxed and using a consistent embouchure. I had good sensations using one setting for Pedal C, Low C and High C and minimal changes.

      When playing a low C, rest and breath Middle C (staff), rest and breath then High C, I had the sensation of my lips naturally falling back against my teeth followed by another breath attack (“Huhhh”) and slightly different tongue arch, unnoticeable change in aperture and the middle C came out. I try to pay close attention to how much more difficult the middle C is than the low C and imagine that difference should be about the difference of mid C to High C is (not much) and firm up the corners only and lead/start with the air (“Huhhh”) and use the corners and air released (without a kick) as the foundation of the shape to release the air column through, then I modulate the aperture opening and air to maximize the tone quality / resonance.

      The lips themselves should be relaxed so they can vibrate as freely as possible, etc.

      Definitely had a feeling that my embouchure was pretty forward with my teeth open, corners firm but lips relaxed.

      I know it’s different, but I relate it to whistling and pursing your lips and noticing how the pitch stops when you engage those muscles vs letting the stay relaxed and only engaging the corners.

      Now I just need to do some more Wind Works exercises articulating different ways with Active and Passive air at different dynamics.

    • #52884

      Hi All,

      Great posts. Love the support! The support from everyone is worth the monthly ee in itself!
      I just started the course as a fundamental member. I am also a beginner. I started about year ago or so.

      I will say, I have some similar feelings playing step 1 of singing C.
      I find I am asking myself, “should I know how to change the shape of my embouchure corners yet to change the pitch? Because I am pretty sure it has not been covered in the program. Has it already been taught in this course?”

      Thus, as a learner, it is tough for someone to tell you –Try this exercise where you need to change the pitch even though I haven’t taught you how to change the pitch yet the way I want you to –.
      I understand this will be thought more later. I also understand that it is just feeling it out and trying.

      The challenge of online learning or distance learning or self-learning (youtube), is that when learners are asked to do things that are beyond their abilities without the presence and assurance of a mentor or teacher, they feel overwhelmed and confused.

      I can tell that Greg has gone through great lengths to avoid this and reassure us to be patient and trust in the process and time. And, all his reassurance HAS BEEN SO COMFORTING AND HELPFUL TO ME. I still feel like the original person who posted, HOWEVER, I can hear Greg in my head telling me PROCESS NOT RESULT! πŸ™‚ Gonna keep with it. Excited to see what I learn from Greg and all of you!

      • #52897


        I had some personal problems and had to stop practicing for about a month, but I’m back and I have a practice session of at least 30 min every day.

        What I really want to say in response to what you wrote is that I think the beginning of the course is a little mixed up. What I mean is, it looks like Greg wanted to make this 7-day free trial demo course where the person rushes through a bunch of videos and gets promised things like “in a few videos all will make sense, the body concert hall, the aRRRticulation, etc.”, but these videos are beyond the free trial videos. I’m still going through the Largo Status Stage and Greg is still talking about the 7-day free trial and promising the body concert hall.. as a subscriber I feel like I’m still doing a demonstration and that the course really begins on Adagio Fundamentals where all the videos Greg cites so much are. But unfortunately, I can’t check those videos yet and I’m afraid to jump to much ahead and end up missing something. I think Greg should re-think the beginning of the course, he should be more clear about how the progress works (it’s a little bit hidden) and separate the 7-day free trial experience of the subscriber experience.

    • #53280

      Hi Tandeitnik, I am only on the Largo Sing C step 3, but I agree with you on this.

      I am really having a hard time with the fact that Greg keeps mentioned how the MOST IMPORTANT THING is changing the shape – don’t tighten, don’t clamp – but just change shape. It is in all his videos and written in all the text. HOWEVER, there has been no talk of HOW to create this shape change in our lips or mouth. It is quite frustrating. I am working hard to not let it bother me as I just try but, as you said, I am writing in my journal notes like…
      “What is the difference between clamping lips and changing shape?”
      “Am I clamping or changing shape?”

      The image above is ok, but I think there needs to be more explicit teaching about changing shape if it is going to be reiterated as one of the most important components to making these exercises work. I am achieving step 3…but I still don’t know if I am clamping or changing shape.

      I am hoping Greg will respond to this. The confusion in the tasks is taking away from the experience for me.

    • #53297

      Ivanessa, if you play the first five notes in order, C-D-E-F-G, and pay attention to your lips you’ll notice that the aperture they make gets smaller as you ascend. If you’re using a tuner to check if you are centered at the right pitch (attention, the trumpet is to concert pitch, if you don’t know what is concert pitch, google it) you’ll also notice that the position of your jaw and tongue has also to move to get to the right pitch.

      I think Greg in these beginning videos, with all the PROCESS DRIVEN approach (later will come the results driven approach), wants the student to just observe what the body is naturally doing to change the pitch without giving you prejudices about how you should do it. He wants you to focus on the feeling and to develop the right feeling and not to conscious manipulate your face muscles and tighten them.

      • #53331
        Ronald Carson

        This video talks a lot about many ideas. Starting at about 8:06, Greg talks about the aperture corners.

      • #53533
        Ronald Carson

        In the above video, I reported the wrong timestamp. It’s 3:49.

    • #53329
      Ronald Carson

      Ivanessa, I am sorry that you are experiencing some
      frustrations. It has been a long time since I watched Greg’s video on shape
      change presented in the Largo Fundamentals (Leadpipe – Shape). I was pleased
      that he has expanded the notes beneath the video.

      SHAPE consists of:
      Facial Muscles,
      Tongue Position.
      Pitch change comes from SHAPE change.

      Hopefully, you have practiced with the leadpipe. If you do not have one and do not have a large straw, you can pull out your tuning slide and use your horn’s leadpipe. This is a great place to learn about beginning shape change. Greg, at this point, is having the student focus on the aperture corners. As you get higher and lower notes on the instrument you will use more jaw and tongue changes. The changes in the tongue and jaw can be understood using the vowel sounds such as aww (tongue down, jaw down) and “eee” or using the vowel sound in the word “it” (back of the tongue raised and the jaw more closed.), For now, focus on the lip’s aperture corners. When Greg plays extreme low sounds on the leadpipe and much higher pitches, he is using a combination of all the factors of shape change to be given in later lessons.

      How to know if you are clamping.
      Make the “m” sound as in “moo”, the lips are together.
      If you then were to muscle the lips together as if you were trying to keep someone from giving you some nasty-tasting medicine in a spoon, that is clamping. If you were to complete the word “moo”, you have something very much the same as Greg’s “ahh-oo” aperture. The lips are not clamped and the middle of the lips has a nice opening.

      You may have read Greg’s “The Premium Level” ad before “The Largo Singing C Series”. You will notice
      he says you get, “get MTM eBook 1 (PRINTABLE) and lifetime access to the interactive eBook”.
      The “MTM eBook 1” is written for beginning trumpet players. Using it along with WindWorks could possibly help.

    • #53383
      Ronald Carson

      Ivaness, I do not want you to think you have to do leadpipe exercises as the only way for you to develop aperture corners. Harmonic exercises are the basis for developing trumpet superpowers.

      I am writing to underline the importance of your developing corners by using harmonic slurs. I confess this has never been a routine of mine. I mainly used the tongue when slurring intervals and not the aperture corners. I used harmonic slurs as a tongue exercise. I also used extra pressure to change notes as I ascended. I am using harmonic slurs to break these bad habits. I am learning to use my aperture corners. We need to practice aperture corners and not worry about other techniques at this point.

    • #53391

      Great points Ron!

      Shape is the formation of the aperture using muscles in our face and tongue level.

      We want the engagement of muscles on the outside of the Mouthpiece and keep top lip relaxed as its what vibrates and needs to vibrate fast to achieve a high pitch.

      Harmonic slurs help us hone in on efficient Shape change if we diligently don’t use air to kick. Constant, passively released air helped me isolate what Shape consists of. We are all different, so Greg cant tell anyone what precisely/exactly to do.

      But, generally speaking, the bottom line is that we want to gradually (slightly) reduce the size of the aperture as we ascend without engaging the vibrating surface directly or over tightening / closing off the air.

      Resonance is optimal efficiency and is the optimal Balance of Shape, and Air.

      Good luck, hope this helps FWIW.

      • #53397
        Ronald Carson

        John’s statements remind me that even when we engage the aperture corners, there are changes in shape that occur because the embouchure’s parts are all tied together. These changes are minute. I have been discovering greater resonance by letting the aperture corners do their job, and this decreases the amount of tongue arch I use. We are all different, but there are commonalities and traps to avoid.

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