I am struggling with my lip slurs especially when I get up past about 100bpm.
I seem to be able to do the crotchets, quavers and triplets but really struggle with the semi-quavers.
I feel like I am blowing freely when playing them slower but when I see the semi-quavers I start to panic and can feel the throat tighten.
is it just more practice at a slower pace or something else?
I have that tendency as well, and I think many do. What’s great is that you have that awareness! That is the key to your success.
You might want to try watching your volume closely and focusing on using passively released air, not active air. That helped me better isolate Shape from Air and prevent me from using more air to achieve the speed and instead focus my attention on Shape. Are you increasing the volume (dynamics) as you go faster?
Your throat is probably coming into play because you are using more Air as you start trying to go faster–that’s what needs to be avoided.
The approach that helps me the most as I increase the tempo of harmonic slurs is focus on the aperture corners (Shape) and trying to maintain the economy of movement there. Going faster doesn’t require more exaggerated movement or more effort. Rather, trying to minimize the amount of movement and perceived distance between pitches seems to help. The feeling I try for is that of an extended long tone with an aperture corner (Shape) change. Steady relaxed air (passive) also helps.
Getting the system to coordinate as the tempo increases takes a bit of time. I also believe that from time to time it’s worthwhile to push your limits just to take a reading of where you are and where you want to be. However, mastery of the process takes as long as it takes. Patience and a good look with the magnifying glass is often required.
Just my thoughts as I continue to work to improve and become more efficient.
Speedy harmonic slurs (fifthts) are also my problem. Although I focus on this issue since about a year, I seem to stuck.
When I heard Greg’s secret “your lips are too strong allready…” I had to smile, because my meaning was exactly the opposite!
Meanwhile I consider he is right…
A lot of muscle action is going on if I activate my aperture corners so my mouthpiece is slightly moving around also the lower lip and when I accelerating, the movings get stronger, the sound instable.
Now I’m trying to do slurs with the lead pipe sustaining the airflow and moving the aperture corners slightly, try to relax, minimise all movements and play with passive reduction.
Nevertheless the speed as demonstrated by Greg seems to be from another star for me!