WindWorks Trumpet Academy › Forums › WindWorks › Moderato C Series Practice Video and Questions
I have continued to record practices, I think you can learn a lot from watching yourself and others can help too.
I have put timestamps in the YT description section that you can click to go instantly to the timestamp listed. So although I posted the whole practice video, you can easily jump to the pertinent WindWorks exercises.
I am looking for feedback of any type, what do you think I am I doing wrong, right, too much, not enough, wrong technique, right technique etc.
Feeling more comfortable, I started talking during the practice about what I’m doing and why and other comments about how things feel etc.
One thing I tried this practice was to sing into the leadpipe, then start the bluzz(?) simultaneously, and then cut out the singing, as a transition from singing to playing. It’s a very interesting thing to do as you sing and play at the same time. What do you think?
Today I lost a lot of strength very quickly during practice, any suggestions would be helpful about strength and endurance during practice.
I’m not an instructor, Greg is the master, but I am confident in saying that that was way too much lip buzzing. And that’s what gave you endurance problems.
I have a relatively long commute and there was a little extra tonight. I listened to your practice routine on the way home (Part 1) and you were primarily lip buzzing, mouthpiece buzzing or leadpipe buzzing the whole time. My commute is about an hour, maybe more tonight. That’s way too much.
My $.02, for what it’s worth, is to do ZERO lip buzzing. Lip buzzing probably isn’t going to do anything good for you or your lips at this point. I don’t do any lip buzzing and I feel like I have a good grasp on what I’m supposed to be doing, how the horn works, etc.
If I were you, I would throw out most of what you’re doing and go all in on WindWorks 100%–give it a go; give it a chance. All the other stuff you’ve been trying hasn’t worked for you.
Go back to the beginning and progress slowly, carefully.
The main point you need to get to, and which I don’t think you’ve gotten to yet is what the Ooooohhhhh is all about–engaging/tightening the aperture from the sides/corners, not the top/middle, to ascend along with the tongue arch.
I think Largo starts on the leadpipe; you could start there and just think Oooohhhhhh and while you feel the muscles on the side of your mouth engage as you say Oooohhh, engage/tighten those inward to squeeze the aperture smaller (slightly) and you should ascend. On the leadpipe, there aren’t as many slots as the horn so you may need to tighten it a bit before it pops and it might not pop the first time you’re playing around with it; it may take time.
I would go back to Largo and go all in, 100%. No lip buzzing, that’s probably only going to do you harm right now–like it did today; no permanent damage, but you blew your chops for the day.
I was tempted to post a video but I already practiced this morning and wasn’t confident I could demonstrate anything that would be of help to you. I recently watched the beginning videos (last night) and they mean more everytime I see them. I recommend going back and watching them again and starting at the beginning.
A lot of us have done several “laps” on Windworks and get more out of it each time. I think you will to.
Keep the faith–if you keep applying yourself this much to your playing, it is inevitable that you will win and you’ll become a monster player! The odds are in your favor, but I would try to focus your energies a bit more.
My $.02, FWIW. I sincerely hope it’s helpful. I was thinking today about how cool it will be when you post your “I got it!” post–that you had your “coffee moment”!
Watched a bit of Part 2. I recognize the Paul Mayes thing you’re doing, but I don’t think that’s what you need to be doing. That, coincidentally, did help me a lot this weekend rebound from a funk I was in and re-focus myself on the WindWorks fundamentals (i.e. engaging aperture corners, relaxing, etc.).
But it seems like you’re not at that point yet. It hasn’t clicked yet for you what the Oooohhhhh is about and how engaging those/tightening them changes pitch and the ease of ascending that follows, etc.
I got myself into a funk where I began clamping down the middle of my lips a bit and started going backwards. Playing the pedal and relaxing, then engaging the corners and tightening in a relaxed way was very helpful for me.
But I think you should avoid playing pedals or buzzing, except perhaps a little bit on the leadpipe as demonstrated in Largo.
You might want to check your air as well, be sure you’re not engaging the air and you’re being consistent. By focusing on WindWorks, you’ll focus your efforts more narrowly and will be more likely to benefit from all the time you’re putting in, etc.
When you do the MmmmmWwwwwahhhhhhhhOooooohhhhhh thing, you’re away from the mouthpiece but the whole point of it is to get you ready to set your chops on the mouthpiece–you want to still be feeling the “Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh” as you put the mouthpiece on your face, feel those muscles engaged and tighten/engage them and release them, back and forth and see what that does to the sound/pitch, etc. That is the whole point.
It’s not just a relaxation thing–the MmmmmmWwwwwwAAaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh is a bit, but the Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh is really about the aperture corners and preparing to produce a tone, etc.
Remember, this isn’t about going through the motions; that’s not going to get you anywhere different than you already are. You must understand the point of what it is you’re doing and why, grasp it and make it your own. I know you know that, but it’s important to focus in on that–keep exploring and fleshing out the beginning before you move on and pile on more / different exercises, etc.
One thing that helped me was watching Greg or other great players play octaves; they barely move, just a slight tightening of the aperture. I gave that a shot and tried playing octaves (i.e. G on the staff, G above or A and A) and was able to do it even though I honestly didn’t think it would work. But I surrendered to trying it with no pre-conceived notion of what was going to happen. That opened my eyes a bit into how much easier playing is than what I thought, etc. I am still on this journey and battle myself to move to the next level, but I still ama amazed at some of the sensations of ease with certain notes I’m hitting now, etc.
Thanks again. I’m going to redouble my efforts on being focussed to WindWorks. I’m going to try to get through the exercises more quickly with less extraneous playing. I hadn’t realized playing trumpet required so much intensive training. I always thought I would ‘figure it out’. Not being a music major I never had the experience of intensive training. That being said, here is the last video hopefully of my ‘doodling’ type practice routine. Back to the Circle, Square and Reptile. I’m just going to stop playing now when I get to where I need to rest, and plan ahead of time how many times I’m going to play each exercises and not go beyond that trying to perfect it.
BTW I found that singing into the horn, then playing a note while singing, and then transitioning to just playing is an instructional thing to do, you might want to try it.
Just a heads-up, I sounded pretty rough today, and ended up spending too much time trying to ‘make things sound better’ with lots of extraneous playing, pedal notes, low register quiet playing, lip flapping etc… I wasn’t too happy with how things sounded today. Should have just come back to it later after a much longer break I think, idk. Prob way too much lip buzzing again. It feels good to do it, but that much is not good for me, I think I agree.
Sounds good, Steve. I think some more structure would do us both good–I need to do it too. I understand what you mean about buzzing feeling good, but I think there’s a high chance that buzzing before the whole aperture corner engagement thing “clicks” for you is risky as you may be reinforcing the wrong thing(s) when you buzz your lips / mouthpiece.
My $.02 would be to limit that, perhaps just do the blow through the mouthpiece and buzz the leadpipe a bit like in Largo–I would follow the course mostly, followed with some limited personal experimentation focused on one aspect (i.e. aperture corner engagement / harmonic slurs / octaves with breath control).
And I would play some music and try to focus on making the best, most resonant, most open sound throughout your whole range–I think doing that helps guide us in the right direction, whereas we might manipulate to achieve a certain pitch in a way that adversely impacts the sound, etc.
I’ve found that focusing on my sound has helped me get back on track when I’ve strayed away from the fundamentals, FWIW.
Practice video Friday 9-6-19, Moderato C Series. Exercises are timestamped in the YT description box.
I think I am learning quite a bit from everything going on here and really appreciate your feedback. My practice today was Much more focussed and limited and shorter. No lip or mp buzzing or leadpipe playing, and a Much briefer warm-up. I feel it was an improvement from previous and am interested in your takes on it, and I got some music in. I would be happy to provide feedback to anyone else that posts practice videos.
Part 1 of 3:
5:00 Spirometer breathing exercises.
7:40 3rd valve exercises.
12:15 initial warm-up.
20:40 Playing “The Girl with Flaxen Hair” (TGWFH) as a test-piece. (up to high D).
25:40 WW Moderato Singing C Exercises on C.
33:30 WW Moderato Exercises on C.
49:00 “TGWFH” quick partial run though. (up to high Bb). Soft improvisation on C.
57:15 final WW Moderato Exercise on C.
1:13:20 return from break, review of previous harmonic slurs.
1:22:50 WW Moderato Harmonic Slurs on C.
Part 2 of 3:
2:00 return from break, brief warm-ups.
17:15 John Daniels whisper tone exercise.
25:20 WW Moderato C Series Harmonic Slurs.
Part 3 of 3:
0:00 Brief warm-ups and some musical bits: something from Greig, theme from Jupiter, something from Mozart, bits of the Neruda concerto intro.
15:25 std. warm-down.
Nice Steve! Definitely looks like it was much more focused/structured and great you played some music with metronome–keeps us honest, in my opinion / helps us gauge how our execution is. Sometimes I just like to play freely, but I think it’s important to spend some time with the metronome.
The harmonic slurs sounded good, seemed like you had some speed. How’d they feel? Seems like you should benefit from that. Did you feel a burn in the corners/sides of your mouth?
Jupiter is one of my favorites. Sounded like you have a nice tone; obviously the audio/video is limited.
You may want to do some of the vid closer up for feedback on your playing as it seems like much of WindWorks is about how we position the lips onto the mouthpiece, engage the aperture corners. Someone may spot something you’re doing or not doing that would be helpful and might be helpful for others to see your setup, etc.
My $.02 FWIW.
I played a little more tonight after an uneven session this morning. Struggling lately, hoping to snap out of it this weekend and get back to more consistency in range, sensations, progress, etc.
To answer some more questions,
I have been able to slur more easily between octaves as you have asked, it is much easier to go G to G etc.
I have felt the burn in the corners, of the mouth, but this concerns me a bit, because I have felt something very similar previous to starting WW after doing many reps of other lip slur exercises. I’m not sure I always do the WW slurs correctly, because after going fast, if I slow down I can feel that I am using the air as a ‘lift mechanism’ when ascending, so maybe it’s a good idea to also check for this like Greg suggests to check in with your air after playing. Just returning to a slow tempo after fast ones to check you’re still doing it right.
I still have concerns regarding the method in general and this is why: When I do try to ascend to the upper reaches of my current range, using the WW embouchure, I do feel now that the center portions of the lips are now much more free, and the sides of the face are much more activated. However, I feel that the mp is now much more supported by the regions Greg is referring to as the aperture corners. So it feels like these have become the pressure or support points for the mp instead of the middle portion. What’s concerning about this is that my range seems to be nearly the same as it was previous to WW, about up to TA3 (trumpet A 3, first line above the staff) on a consistent basis, that’s my ‘highest comfortable note’ (HCN) as referred to by Bryan Davis. There’s not much I can do to play above TA3 after I have some significant practice time in. And I feel the mp pressing into and being supported by the aperture corner region of my lips rather than the center. So because I am limited to about the same range using this method, I feel there is something more fundamentally wrong about my playing, that I’ll be stuck here, just like I was with the std. embouchure. It’s not going to stop me from proceeding, it’s just concerning thoughts in the background of my mind. I try to not think about this very much and just go forward. As Jimmy Stamp said (I read) there is no up or down on the trumpet, only forward!
In general I think the course is really well constructed and Greg has done an outstanding job with it and it’s probably worth much more than what we are asked to pay for it.
I’m going to make a page to print out that has all of Greg’s suggestions listed sequentially in rows in large font so I can place it on my stand and read through them as I am doing the exercises, since there’s so much to be aware of. I’ll post it here if anyone’s interested.
I tried to add back in some warm-up exercises after my successful practice without them, and it wasn’t a good idea! I was looking through the Stamp warm-ups book and decided to try a number of the exercises but ended up playing Way too many. Someone suggested to try the alternate warm-ups listed because the standard one has too many large intervals too early in the warm-up process (for me right now) and I agree. So after playing through a lot of these I was basically shot for the day! It seems like the more I play the worse I get somedays 😉 For me it’s hard to judge how much I am draining my strength as I play. Just needed to stop and put the horn down for the day, and I did eventually. It’s hard to do, to stop trying to ‘make up’ for bad playing by continuing to play other things that are not what you’re supposed to be doing. I think that’s a critical thing for myself anyway. But I’m learning. I think Greg has a great attitude about this. Again, thanks for the help!
When I feel like things aren’t working after strenuous playing I try to rest and play shorter phrases initially, quietly, mid and low range, scale flow studies focussing on continuity, smaller intervals, descending arpeggios, quick, light, short, gentle repeating low-range arpeggios, and scale fragments, with gentle air, eventually working higher in range only if it’s easy to do, maybe some quieter mp b(l)uzzing glisses. I don’t know if these are the best things but these are things I’ve tried.
Great idea about putting all of Greg’s pointers on a print out on your stand. I’ve been thinking of doing that and did something similar prior to my finding WindWorks and it seemed to help. I think it would be a big help.
I’m not sure I understand your concern regarding support being at the aperture corners rather than the middle of your lips. my understanding is that the top middle of our lips is what primarily oscillates, so I don’t think having that be the main pressure point would be a good thing; it seems that would likely cut off the vibration.
I have to admit that I’ve done the Stamp exercises for years and have the Stamp book but only just bought it and haven’t read it yet… I know the warm ups, but I used to tdo them with my old roll the bottom lip under / tilt the head back technique which limited me to G above the staff as my highest comfortable note.
BUt I think I understand, now, what Stamp meant by there is no up or down on the trumpet, only forward–when we engage the aperture corners, it pushes the lips forward towards the mouthpiece forward. Not a pucker, per se, but forward.
I’ve been struggling lately, kind of lost the familiar feeling I had developed–an ease of playing. I still understand what I’m supposed to be doing but find I have to focus on it and it’s not as familiar feeling as it was. Not sure why, I’ve been busy at work and perhaps playing less, etc.
This morning, doing harmonic slurs (C on the staff to E on the staff) repeatedly to feel the engagement of the aperture corners then ascending up as high as I could go helped me start to recoup what sensations I had lost.
Harmonic slurs, when done right, are the key to unraveling the mystery. When done wrong, they just reinforce bad form / habits.
I plan on doing another lap through WindWorks to solidify things.