WindWorks Trumpet Academy › Forums › WindWorks › Should I roll the lips out when I play??
Tagged: aperture corners, leadpipe, pedal tones
So, I’ve always struggled a lot with endurance, and I think the reason for this is because I rely a lot on mouthpiece pressure and pinching to play the instrument. I was experimenting with alternating btw leadpipe/horn trying to get a sympathetic oscillation and noticed that if I roll the lips out a little bit I am able to get a note, but it is a very low pedal (F2), and I am barely able to raise it a fifth up to pedal C if I bring in the corners. I tried getting up to a low C using this embouchure, but it ended up being really flat and the tone did not resonate at all (also my lips got tired almost immediately). I can’t tell if I’m supposed to play like this over the full range of the instrument or if it’s just for pedal tones. Are my corners just not developed enough to sustain the low C?
I think you might be over thinking it a bit.
You’re not alone, we all have.
In my experience, it works best when I place the MP on my face in a relaxed, natural position.
The AahhhOoohhh thing is really about engaging the corners. I tend to think of that more now than actually say / form that position with my lips–I dont believe WindWorks is about that.
You simply want to release the air through your lips, keeping the lips as relaxed as possible while still maintaining enough engagement of the facial muscles surrounding the lips to keep a seal on the MP. Less is more.
I have been experiencing this a lot lately, trying to develop my control of my increased range.
It has been amazing lately how little I need to do to achieve the pitches above the staff.
I believe I was really getting in my own way a lot, trying to tense my lips before attempting a pitch above the staff.
I have been focusing on relaxing and being willing to miss or crack the note I’m attempting, to the point that I was almost trying to miss to see how little effort is really required–ironically, when doing that I started hitting notes higher than what I was aiming for!
We want the lips to interact with the air like the vocal chords.
The only engagement we want is to reduce the aperture by engaging the aperture corners, which pushes the lips forward towards the mouthpiece.
I would try to avoid rolling the lips in or out, its not about that. Its about reducing the size of the aperture as we ascend while keeping the lips as relaxed as possible by engaging only as much as necessary to keep a seal on the mouthpiece.
The tongue arch is helpful and important as well.
That’s my opinion / interpretation, FWIW. Hope it helps.
If you don’t have the visualizer, that’s okay. But you start first by taking a concert hall breath and then forming the aah-ooh embouchure. Immediately after forming the embouchure, release (not blowing) the air with using the tongue to stop and to release the air. Tu-Tu-Tu. Do that as demonstrated a few 50 – 100 times or more (not necessarily all in one day). Continue performing that same procedure using the visualizer or even the mouthpiece again many times.
You may be ready for the leadpipe. Do not change anything about the process. Don’t even think, “I’m going to play the leadpipe.” Better yet think, “I’m going to release air through the mouthpiece just like I have been doing and that air is going to travel through the leadpipe.” You might then get a sound that is a pedal or not. You might not get a sound at all, and that is okay.
When you say you roll-out your lips, are you manipulating your lips into a position different than the embouchure demonstrated by Greg? Don’t change the way the lips have been brought together with aah-ooh. If the leadpipe speaks, fantastic. Now change the pitch by engaging the aperture corners inward. The pitch should be higher. Relax the aperture corners slightly, you will get a lower pitch. Relax corners more and you may get a pedal and if not, no worries. Do NOT make a pedal note your goal. Let the leadpipe play you.
When I read your post, I get the idea that you are results-driven and not process-driven. You are doing stuff with your lips trying to get results. Focus on the process and let the results happen. Sure we all want great results, but many times we are manipulating our bodies in negative ways such as blowing hard, squeezing lips together, etc. We may get results with all that manipulation that we think is good, but it has consequences such as pain, bad endurance, and a range ceiling that is lower than we want are negative and keep us from obtaining the results we really want.
Great post, Ronald.
I think some have interpreted that it’s important to form a certain pucker/forward shape with the lips in order to get results / follow what Greg is instructing, etc.
I don’t believe that is the case at all, I believe the point of the AahhhOoohhh is really more of a mental thing and more about changing pitch, not about getting the initial vibration.
I would presume that most people’s problem is not about how they put the mouthpiece on their lips, what position, etc. Not to minimize that aspect–I do think the visualizer and considering where the air is going is useful/important.
However, I believe the most important factor, the one which most of us fail on, is tightening the lips/clamping down and overblowing.
I think most people could probably place the MP on their lips as they’ve always done and focus from there on ensuring they’re getting a sympathetic vibration, that they’re changing pitch by engaging the aperture corners inward horizontally from the sides, rather than pinching top-to-bottom like a clam. And paying attention to how being relaxed feels and sounds better, more resonant, etc.
I think some of us, myself included, didn’t realize that we could change pitch by moving the lips inward/forward (ooohhh) towards the center of the MP / air column. I think I felt that wasn’t natural, would result in an extreme pucker, airy sound, etc.
To be honest, I dont think it probably ever occurred to me and despite the fact that I took a lot of lessons and had various band directors, no one ever suggested it.
I think part of it was the teeth–I was cautious about pressure and felt like I should keep my lips out of the way of my front / eye teeth, so i used more of a flattened out / smile embouchure. As I ascended, I would roll under my bottom lip and thin out my lips and add pressure–which worked to a point.
Now I think of it more as I need my lips engaged (aahhh ooohhhh) and ready to tighten inward (oooohhh) from the sides horizontally inward as I ascend. I think of getting my top lip in front of my front/eye teeth–I think that’s mentioned in the Maggio book as well.
It’s more mental though, I place the MP on my lips in what I think is the simplest, most natural position possible.
I beleive actually that the method Greg is describing is actual the most natural, efficient way to make sound on the trumpet. In fact, that’s the whole point and key to developing efficiency and effectiveness on the instrument–the easier we get to High C, the easier it will be to get higher, etc.
Thank you to the posts that have been made so far. I wrote this in a hurry, so I should probably elaborate a little more.
This is purely experimental. I’ve been working through the course for about 3 weeks now doing the preparatory exercises, singing C, etc. So far, it has been a tremendous help, and I am slowly starting to lock in some of the concepts in Greg’s videos. My main concern with my playing is that I am pinching off the upper register, and I was just wondering if putting more of the lip tissue on the mouthpiece would relieve some of the pressure between the mouthpiece, lip, and teeth. The aah-ooh embouchure always seemed a little bit more outward than what I am used to, but the focus seems to be on bring the aperture corners in more rather than worrying about the inward/outwardness of the lips. Overdoing it might cause more issues, so maybe it is best to just use a position that feels the most natural and doesn’t clamp the middle of the lips.
The aah-00h is a “little bit more outward” than anyone plays by pinching and or stretching the lips thinner in the upper register. When someone is concerned about using lips to cushion increasing pressure, alarms go off and red flags are waving.
The idea that you need more lip to cushion increased pressure is clearly not what you want to do. Learning the shape for each note is what you will or are learning in WindWorks. The shape involves aperture corners, jaw, and tongue position. When you learn how to put together the shape of each note, you should not have dangerous pressure against your lips and teeth.
That is why I insist that you follow this course’s method. If you do, you should be able to play notes above the staff softly without kicking air and jamming the mouthpiece into the kisser.
Glad if what we posted helped.
I was pinching off my upper register too–my range was G above the staff, practically.
I wouldn’t say that putting more lip tissue into the MP helps relieve the pressure.
I would say that engaging the aperture corners surrounding the aperture, tightening only as much as necessary as we ascend with the middle of the lips relaxed changes pitch without much/ excessive pressure.
The key for me was focusing on passive air released into the mp/horn and experimenting with engaging the aperture corners and realizing how little effort was needed to change pitch (especially middle C to E on the staff). That helped me hone in on the movement(s) needed to change pitch.
And focusing on how little difference there was between G below the staff, G on the staff and G above the staff, etc.
Along with the fact that less air is required the higher we ascend and the harmonics are closer together the higher we go.
I do believe that less is more and the more natural feeling the better; however, we must remember that what weve been doing hasnt been working so what feels natural at first might not be optimal/efficient.
The downside to coming to this site is that many of us have played for years. How it is that downside? Well for me, I got instruction for Greg’s marvelous videos and exercises and expected immediate results in all registers. Ooops, that not how retraining works.
As you progress in this course, you are going through lessons on every note climbing higher. More lip slurs, more articulation patterns. Do not jump ahead in your training. We have to be patient with ourselves and the lessons. You are building a new foundation for a new house. Longtime players, like us, try to put a roof on, but we haven’t finished pouring concrete. Furthermore, we do not have a frame. How are you going to put on the roof? Your building from the ground up; do not concern yourself with your range yet. I don’t want a house that going fall apart after the first year. Build it with a solid foundation, first. Continue to follow the blueprints.
I am now asking John Elwood to tell you about the two houses because he described this so well in another thread.
Great post, Ron. Thanks, but I think Greg described the two building bit best–I believe it was in his Trumpet Chat #7–the one he posted in response to the “Am I The Only Dummy” thread.
The concept is that we’re living in our current house while we begin construction on our new house. We have to live in our current house as the new one isn’t liveable yet. We start by building the foundation, the walls, eventually the roof, etc. Eventually, we move into the new building.
Our minds are complicated and while in many ways playing trumpet is very simple, it does involve a lot of different fine motor movements that have to be coordinated delicately to have optimal effectiveness and efficiency. That takes time to learn / coordinate, but I believe Greg / WindWorks does a great job providing the important goalposts / principles to keep in mind.
Not sure if you’ve seen this, but I thought this was very helpful:
This one actually might be even better and it’s shorter:
I agree with Ron that it’s best to follow the course and develop gradually, as Greg recommends.
However, to be honest, that’s not how it worked for me and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with experimenting a bit with range–as long as you are disciplined (hard to do) in not having any expectations, avoiding manipulating to achieve Results rather than focusing on correct Process.
We have to change our wiring in our minds from feeling good about achieving a certain pitch we’re aiming at to feeling good about following the Process correctly as outlined (i.e. relaxing the throat, lips, not kicking the air to change pitch, etc.).
I experimented early on with playing above the staff with less air (less air is required the higher we play) and being relaxed and achieved some good sensations and results and that helped encourage me to work more at it.
My progress was not a straight line upward, but I learned something from each setback, which were thankfully short-lived.
Good luck, hope what we’ve posted is helpful to you.
I think we need to revisit this.
What do you do to create the embouchure?
Some of us learned to form an embouchure by saying, “m-m-m” or “em”. Holding out the sound of the letter “m”. Others may have learned to form an embouchure by clamping down the lip and buzz. You may have been told to roll the lips in a little when playing higher. These are not WindWorks. There are good players that use these or other techniques.
Can we find a more efficient way to play? That is what Greg has asked us to discover. When you form the “aah-ooh” embouchure, you may think, “My lips are too far out.” If you think of this as curling the lips out, maybe it is. To me, that is a natural position.
What do you do to roll the lips out after “aah-ooh”? They are out. The only way I know to get further out is to pucker or pout with the bottom lip stuck out.
Someone help me out on how you roll the lips out or curl them out? I don’t understand what is meant by rolling or curling lips out.