WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Lost an octave!

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    • #46982
      leobaroni19
      Participant

      I’m only a beginner who’s been playing for about 6 months. I started the course a month ago and have since lost an octave off my range. Where I was getting a G at the top of the staff before, I now can’t get above the G an octave lower. Although I can get lower more comfortably.
      Also I’m stuck on the singing C C sharp third exercise.
      Tried experimenting with different angles, less mouth piece pressure and jaw position.
      Getting very frustrated and I don’t know if this is common among the other people on this course.
      There seems to be a lot of lessons about being open and not pushing the air but not alot about changing pitch, which now seems to have deserted me!
      Maybe this course is more for returning or experienced players rather than beginners like myself.
      Any advice would be appreciated.

      FROM GREG:
      Hey there Leobaroni19. You have not “lost” anything. As you work through the course and watch the video over and over you will understand more about what you are working on.

      When you mention jaw angle for example, how much work have you done with the tissue, finding your airstream? This takes some very focused, mindful practice.

      I say quite often, “continue what you have been doing up to now, don’t stop doing what you were doing BUT begin to recognise the extra negative tension or manipulation you are engaging with.”

      Let me translate for you what you are saying above. “I have been playing one way for 6 months and now ‘I play more comfortably in the lower register…’ but cannot play all over my existing range with the same freedom after one month…”

      Your expectations may be a little ahead of your ability 🙂

      PLEASE, watch, re-watch and watch again ALL of the videos from the beginning. It is a course of rewiring your mind/body. You’re here because you want to play well. It takes time, patience and repetition of PURE PROCESS.

      Trying to play your original range in this new way takes a little more that a month.

      The choice is totally yours my friend. You can continue down the manipulated/forced approach OR you can understand what I am teaching here, practice it, put it away and continue your regular playing (that you have not lost) and let the new skills seep into your playing over time.

      When I started the process of change, I was a full-time playing professional. I could not get the leadpipe to speak for ages BUT THE FEELING of what I was doing was awesome so over time I transferred the feeling of freedom into my playing.

      Don’t be in any hurry. You have a supportive community here I am more than happy to have a look at you playing over Skype if you would like. Shoot me an email.

      I have done a video for this thread but it will take me time to download/upload etc given the high traffic on the web at the moment.

      Stick with it and best wishes.
      Greg

    • #47007
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Welcome to the Trumpet and WindWorks!

      I haven’t experienced what you have described, but others probably have.

      My gut is that you are over thinking it and are manipulating your embouchure into an inefficient shape.

      The MmmmAaaahhhhhOooohhhhh is important and key, and I do believe that playing forward is efficient and

      My interpretation of WindWorks is that it is somewhat about less is more.

      We tend to overblow and over tighten/engage our lip muscles, tighten our throat, etc.

      The progress charts where we can log how fast we can do harmonic slurs helps us to objectively measure our efficiency of changing shape (pitch).

      What has worked for me is doing the setup as Greg demonstrated with the visualiser and tissue, then doing a breath attack.

      Separating Air (Passive vs Active) and Shape is key.

      I had a bit of a setback this week and found my way again by reviewing the setup, focusing on breath attack and leading with the air and engaging the aperture corners in response to the air, only as much as necessary–opening up the aperture or engaging tighter to see where maximum resonance is / the best sound is.

      Bottom line is that playing music
      Is the end goal. Make sure to play music you enjoy and listen to your sound, let that be your guide as well.

      I caught myself getting a bit lost in exercises, scales, harmonic slurs, etc. I think that may have been part of my problem–I was too focused on increased range and not on Process and music.

      Hope that helps, FWIW. Good luck, you’re in a good place. I wish Wind Works existed when I was young, I think I would have had a better playing experience in High School and College.

      I couldn’t play above a G above the staff and never touched a high C back then but a High C now doesn’t seem very high and I’m working on my range above that.

    • #47013
      leobaroni19
      Participant

      Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. I’ll do as you suggest and let you know how I get on.

    • #47047
      johnelwood
      Participant

      You’re welcome. As I mentioned above, I ran into a little difficulty / relapse myself last week but am happy to report I had one of my best days ever, maybe my best–the day is still early and I haven’t played that much yet. But I’m having a great day, above the staff feels easy / like playing on the staff feels and the sound is full and resonant.

      I got there by re-focusing on the fundamentals, the process and not just thinking about the results I wanted / fulfilling my expectations, etc.

      Also, I focused on leading with the air (Passive or Active, but not Blowing harder / overblowing), just starting with the air and engaging the aperture corners in response to the air column and only engaging the aperture corners (not the lips themselves, the muscles surrounding the lips, I think) as much as necessary and kind of “feathering” the aperture corners in response to the air kind of like sailing a boat, driving a manual transmission car, putting your finger over a hose nozzle–interacting with the air column and only engaging the aperture corners as much as necessary then experimenting with letting go / opening up and seeing what that does to volume, resonance, etc.

      Doing that, I did a harmonic slur easily up to the top of my range kind of accidentally–I was trying to do a harmonic slur but didn’t anticipate going that high, and the tone was full, resonant, musical.

      I still need to figure out how to control things better, but I believe I’m reaching a new plateau of understanding how the instrument works.

      As Greg mentioned above, keep doing laps through the course, watching the videos, etc. I have listened to the videos on my 1 hour commute many times on the way to / from work. I believe thinking about it away from the instrument has helped me a lot.

      Hope that helps you and best of luck–keep us posted!

    • #47052
      captcaptcapt
      Participant

      Hello
      56 year old who just has played very seldom over the years but finding a love for my horn again. Was lead trumpet in JR high and High School and was in the Florida State university Marching Chiefs. I have played on occasion but probably less than 20 hours a year so it is pretty bad as far as tone and technical ability goes. Im not a beginner but definitely not a decent player now. I have started on Wind Works and love your approach to foundational concepts. I am hopeful I can get to a reasonable level of artistry.
      John Black

    • #47053
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Great to hear, John. I had a similar experience and WindWorks has helped me play better than ever before. When things are going right, it feels and sounds better than I ever thought possible.

      Wow, I just read what Greg wrote above:

      When I started the process of change, I was a full-time playing professional. I could not get the leadpipe to speak for ages BUT THE FEELING of what I was doing was awesome so over time I transferred the feeling of freedom into my playing.

      I didn’t recall that from before but know it’s a gradual process. I kind of stumbled upon things initially and popped up above the staff, then had difficulty realizing what it was that I was doing and being able to replicate it consistently. Several laps through Largo, etc. helped me solidify things more.

      Yesterday and today, I have been spending a few minutes on my mouthpiece by itself. I am intentionally trying to avoid saying “buzzing my mouthpiece” as that’s literally what I used to do–I would tighten my lips more than necessary and wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing it for.

      I think I get it now and it does seem to have helped me to have better form and a more precise / efficient aperture/embouchure.

      I have been releasing air into the mouthpiece and trying to keep my embouchure as relaxed as possible and just doing some Stamp scales and trying to get a full and consistent sound.

      I think that and “leading with the air” have helped me quite a bit the past couple of days.

      I need to spend some time on the different articulation exercises in WindWorks and using Active vs Passive air.

    • #47054
      leobaroni19
      Participant

      Wow! Can’t believe the response I’ve had. Thank you all so much for your support and advice.
      When you say lead with the air, does that mean you are changing the air flow in some way?
      I’ve already found I was getting a slight choking in my throat when I was slurring up, which I’m working on relaxing with positive results.

    • #47077
      johnelwood
      Participant

      When I said “lead with the air”, I just meant start the tone with the release of the air through the aperture/embouchure–keeping things as relaxed as possible, then responding to that air by engaging the aperture corners only to the extent necessary to achieve the desired pitch. If you’re playing a low C below the staff, then there’s not much engagement necessary. But make sure the air goes through the lips before you react to the air. It’s a split second, but I think it makes a big difference when I think of it that way.

      I was having a tendency lately to be focused too much on Shape and realized I wasn’t giving good air (whether that’s passively released or Actively supported air). Today, I experimented a lot with different dynamics in all different registers and was noticing the relationship between Air and Shape. I think it helped me understand more about how the instrument works and how subtle changes in how I’m playing effects the sound, etc.

      The choking is definitely something you want to stop ASAP. Tightening your throat not only doesn’t do you any good, it gets in your way. You want the feeling like Pavarotti belting out a high note. One of my favorite things still to this day is to be willing to miss a note, completely airball it and just think of the note then see if it speaks. Most of the time, perhaps 9/10, the note speaks or I even skip it and hit higher. We get in our own way when we choke off our throat, overtighten our lips / engage our lips and overblow. When we back off, relax and open up, you’d be surprised what comes out. Less air is required the higher we ascend and the notes are closer together the higher you go; so, if you’re doing harmonic slurs with a given valve position (or open), then it’s increasingly easier to get the next slot–because less air is required and the slots are closer. There is increasing back pressure the higher we go, but tightening up and blowing more air does nothing to help that. The aperture does need to get smaller but we can’t tighten up to the point that no air comes out.

      The other thing with the air that has gotten me back on track lately was looking at the phrase I was about to play (even if it was a scale in a technical study) and blowing the air towards the middle or end of the phrase and focusing on not chopping my air up into pieces but allowing my tongue to break the air column if I was articulating. I think about singing the phrase as I’m playing it and that’s helping me a lot.

      Today was a great day for me, I played a long time and probably over did it. But above the staff was easy, fluid, full, resonant, in control, musical. And I had my entire range the whole time I played. I took breaks and rested throughout the day, but played a lot more than normal. It will be interesting how I feel tomorrow…

      Hope that helps, FWIW.

    • #47117
      Adrian Hicks
      Participant

      “I think about singing the phrase as I’m playing it and that’s helping me a lot.”
      Great tip johnelwood, I’m re-focusing on this now.

      Keep going LeoBaroni19, you won’t regret it!

      • #47180
        johnelwood
        Participant

        Hixsta, good to hear, leading with the air / trying to keep the air flowing through the phrase, scale, exercise, is helping me a lot right now. Hope it helps you.

        Leo, you’re very welcome. I hope my experience helps you.

    • #47142
      leobaroni19
      Participant

      Thanks John.
      I’ve actually been trying the idea of letting the air flow before engaging the aperture corners which has helped.
      Also I followed Greg’s advice and went back over the tissue exercise and found my air was stronger slightly right of center. That’s improved the tone and made slurring easier.
      Anyway, thanks again for all your help. I think the forum is worth the price of the course alone.
      I’ll keep plugging away and let you know how I am progressing.
      Glad to hear you’re own playing is coming along nicely.
      Leo.

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