WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks The Physics of "you don't need to blow harder"

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    • #48122
      tandeitnik
      Participant

      Hello,

      I’m a physicist, currently doing my masters, so I was curious about the physical explanation behind the Singing C exercises of the largo modulo. Greg teaches that there’s enough energy in the sympathetic C to play high notes and says that to play high notes is not about blowing harder, or blowing faster, as many people say, but it’s all about the shape. From the physical point of view, is he right? What’s the explanation?

      The short answer: he’s spot on. The pitch, the rate of vibration of the column of air, have nothing to do with velocity, but with pressure/energy. The frequency of the note is linked to the energy carried by the wave of air, not by the velocity, and the energy is linked to the pressure. As an example, think about a water tank on a high hill, when the water is up there, in the tank, it’s full of potenctial energy from the gravitational field. As a consequence, it delivers high pressure to a system of pipes, not velocity. The higher the pitch, the higher energy is required, and we as a player deliver it by increasing the pressure. How to increase pressure? Here comes the change of shape.

      Bernoulli principle relates to how the velocity and the pressure change when dealing with a flow of a fluid. It’s for an incompressible fluid (air is compressible), but the compressible equation is pretty similar. It says that

      null

      First, note that this equation is saying something that’s pretty controversial: if you INCREASE the pressure, velocity has to DROP. Yes, when you squeeze down your garden hose the velocity of the water coming out actually decreases! What you’re seeing, a more energetic beam of water is increased pressure. My first point is: to play higher pitches you actually release air with a lower velocity since you’re increasing pressure. As Greg like to write: #controversial

      Finally, this equation says this:

      null

      Explanation: when the aperture gets smaller, the pressure automatically increases (and velocity decreases). There’s no need to push the fluid any harder down the little aperture, i.e., you don’t need the engagement of the body, you just need to make a smaller aperture.

      Blow faster to play higher notes? #debunked

    • #48150
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Nice! Interesting to have some science behind what’s happening.

      This is very timely for me, as I’ve been riding a wave lately fueled by my renewed focus on what I’m doing (or not doing) with air.

      I was having difficulties playing consistently above the staff. I’d play resonant, clear beautiful sounding notes the first time or two, then things would get raspy and I would instinctively engage the corners or revert to clamping down the lips (old habits) and/or blow more air.

      I was taking air for granted and not focused on the “Body’s Concert Hall” component of playing.

      The Trumpet is a wind instrument…while over-blowing is a common problem (it was part of my problems) and should be avoided, and less air is required the higher we ascend, air is nevertheless very important–just as, if not even more, important as Shape. In fact, I think Air is more important.

      I’ve had at least two major coffee moments the past several days and they have made me realize how it all connects together.

      In short, I believe that there is an ideal combination of Air and Shape for each note and Dynamic (PPPP to FFFF).

      It must be possible to play a resonant and efficient High C, for example, at PPPP and at FFFF and each of those notes and everywhere in between requires a different shape and air.

      I have realized that there is a Balance between Air and Shape–too much of one or the other and you don’t achieve optimal Efficiency or Resonance.

      It’s a delicate balance of Air and Shape for each note and dynamic combination–I was missing the dynamic consideration and oversimplifying things and expecting there to be a straight linear relationship between Shape and Pitch; I suppose there is, but Dynamics are crucial to the amount of air required, which impacts the Shape needed.

      I have been paying close attention to the back pressure of each note I have been playing and giving more or less air depending on the dynamic I was playing and modifying the shape to achieve what felt and sounded like optimal efficiency and resonance–which I suspect are the same; in other words, I believe that the optimal sounding (resonance) and efficiency are the same combination of Air and Shape for a given pitch and dynamic. It’s most likely slightly different for each player as we all have different physiology, mouthpiece, horn, etc.

      I have been visualizing each note as a ball floating on top of a column of air or, alternatively, visualizing releasing air through a ring–trying to get the air right in the middle without touching the sides, which causes drag/friction.

      I can feel the air supporting my embouchure and suddenly I understand precisely What to do to maintain consistency. I try to release enough air until I feel a little resistance in each note, regardless of the dynamic and pitch–this seems to feel more efficient and like the air is providing some support to my chops and the sound/resonance is good. I’ve been starting each day by releasing air into the horn to warm it up as I keep it on a stand in a room that is notoriously cold in our house. At first, this was just to warm it up but has morphed into my spending a couple minutes releasing air into the horn and feeling the small amount of resistance against the air as I release it and I think about the max amount of air the horn can take before I start playing.

      My first few pitches are releasing air through a relaxed embouchure, not caring if a pitch sounds, but it usually does. Then I do some Stamp and try to keep the air pressure/resistance up and maximize resonance. It’s a feel thing, it feels good and sounds good when going right.

      I was frustrated as my consistency was all over the place. I would not get tired and had the ability to play up to the top of my range at the beginning and end of each practice session, but I realized I had swung too far over to the opposite side of the pendulum in my desire to rule out air and focus on Shape so I wouldn’t overblow or cloud my understanding of how to change pitch by changing Shape.

      We need both, it is a balance of Air and Shape. Without the right amount of Air, we can’t achieve the right amount of Shape.

      Blindly playing Clarke 1 and Harmonic Slurs and Stamp scales is not as effective as playing them while paying close attention to the Balance of Air and Shape and the pressure you feel as you’re playing the exercises. We have to own our practice and understand Why we’re playing those exercises and the only way we will get a benefit is by honing in our feeling of what it means to play efficiently–with optimal resonance and efficiency, and what to do when we veer off course.

      It seems kind of like sailing a sail boat, the boat isn’t going to move anywhere if the sails are just flopping all over the place and it’s not going to the right direction or it will capsize if you have them pulled too tight. And it’s not going to go anywhere at all if there is zero wind. But, if you set the sails optimally, the boat will go faster than you realize with less wind than you anticipate necessary.

      Or I was thinking it might be like a stringed instrument–a loose string or too tight of a string won’t sound good. It has to have the right amount of tension (pressure–the balance between Air and Shape) to sound good and be optimally efficient for a given Pitch and Dynamic.

      I ran across a couple videos (hope it’s ok to mention this; they’re free on YouTube) by Paul Mayes “Trumpet Professor” which talk about air pressure and keeping the top lip relaxed. It helped solidify some of the feelings I have been having and my rediscovery of Body’s Concert Hall, air, breath control, etc. His explanation of how the Trumpet is a low flow / high pressure instrument, versus the Tuba is a high flow / low pressure instrument was really helpful to me. This ties into the fact that less volume of air is needed the higher we ascend, but there is more pressure–but that’s a good thing if we use that pressure by balancing it with shape and not clamping the lips so tight that it cuts off the air completely or Blowing a larger volume of air through, which is more than the instrument can handle, which also cuts off the sound. We have to learn to Balance the Air and Shape such to use the air pressure to our advantage, to help the lips vibrate faster to achieve a higher pitch. It can seem counter-intuitive and bad instincts are hard to retrain, but I’m getting there.

      It’s all in WindWorks–there’s a reason Greg starts with BCH. There’s a method to the madness, but it’s been helpful to find other insight from others that reinforces what WindWorks describes. I was even reading some of Herbert L. Clarke’s guidance in his books and I’m having a new understanding of what he was trying to say and what the whole point of Clarke’s exercises were about. I kind of knew it before, but have a renewed sense of focus about it all now.

      Thanks for the post / info! Had a great playing day today–further solidified my understanding and increased my consistency.

    • #48353
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Here’s a great video I ran across tonight from Greg. I had seen this before, but it has been a while and this resonated with me (no pun intended…) and what I’ve been experiencing lately.

      Greg says it better than I have tried–“A perfectly resonant tone is the balance between aperture corner tension and airflow”

    • #48407
      eric
      Participant

      Thank you for a very educational post, tandeitnik. Do you have any comments about the physics of resonance, the body’s concert hall, etc? What happens when the neck/throat, tongue/mouth, chest wall, and other muscles engage with too much tension? Eric

    • #48447
      tandeitnik
      Participant

      About resonance: the trumpet is an open tube system with characteristic modes of vibration that it naturally ‘likes’ to vibrate. These characteristic modes are determined by the characteristics of the trumpet, especially the length of the tubing. For example, in open position, every trumpet player know that the characteristic modes are C-G-C-E-G-C, the trumpet naturally vibrates to these notes (because they are probably solutions for the homogeneous equation that governs the open position trumpet), so they sound better because they dissipate energy in the form of sound waves with maximum efficiency. We, as players, drive the trumpet system with our breath, so now we’re dealing with a forced system. It can be shown that such a system will dissipate energy in an optimal way when the frequency of the drive-system is equal to a characteristic frequency of the driven-system – when this happens we have what we call resonance.

      To achieve resonance we have to provide a flow of air with a frequency equal to one of the characteristic modes, this is where the vibrating lips come about. Now, how you, as a player, can make your lips vibrate with maximum efficiency as to achieve the desired frequency (and support it with high quality) is where the teachings of Greg comes. I think what tension does is to diminished the quality, it gives you less control, less mastery os what you’re doing. With tension everything is tight and responds too quickly to small changes, we don’t have room to control.

    • #48470
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Very cool, thanks.

      But of course there must be tension, it just needs to be in the right place…the corners, not the lips…at least not the top lip (for a downstream player).

      When things feel and sound most resonant and efficient, my corners are tight and I feel like I’m increasing and reducing the aperture slightly, sort of modulating the resonance. Its more like I’m releasing air like holding the neck of a balloon open and stretching the aperture open letting the end of the balloon vibrate.

      I still need to work on advancing my range further and my consistency but I get an optimal feeling each practice session at least a few times up at High C and beyond.

      The one key clarification I think, for me, is that I believe the optimum shape and airflow for a given pitch is different depending on the dynamic (PPPP vs FFFF)

      I believe or presume that the aperture needs to be more open at FFFFF than at PPPP and that the apeeture doesn’t need to be as tight (the same shape) at louder dynamics.

      Is that correct?

    • #48514
      tandeitnik
      Participant

      About volume, speaking thinking about the physics side, it’s not about how much open is the aperture. As I said, the diameter of the opening will determine the pressure, so it determines the pitch. Volume probably is connected with the intensity (power, energy per second) of the flow, and this is related to the flow rate. The flow rate is probably regulated by the muscles that support your lungs. If I’m right, you run out of breath quickly playing forte than playing piano simply because you use more volume of air to sustain a forte volume, so it ends quickly.

    • #48559
      johnelwood
      Participant

      I have a sensation at times of achieving a pitch, then opening up the aperture a bit and releasing more air through and achieving more resonance. Actually it may not even be increase in air as much as opening the aperture and the resonance increases as I’m not kicking the air or “blowing” when it happens, the air is relatively constant (I believe, if I recall correctly).

      But my understanding is that increasing the volume of air will do one of 2 things:

      1. It will increase the dynamic volume of the note (i.e. PPP to FFF, etc.)

      2. The pitch will go up to a higher harmonic

      I believe the difference is the amount of resistance in the embouchure (i.e. tightness in the aperture corners).

      Recently, I felt like I kind of had an epiphany / “Coffee Moment” when struggling with my consistency above the staff–sometimes I would have a rich, resonant, full tone up there and other times it would be airy and thin.

      I realized my air was not as good as it should have been. And while we shouldn’t overblow and give the instrument more air than it needs for a given dynamic/duration, we need quality air to support the embouchure and obtain/maintain a good balance between the air and aperture corner tension.

      I was thinking of things two-dimensionally, forgetting the fact that the dynamic volume was a very important factor. It must be possible to play with resonance at soft dynamics and loud dynamics. We shouldn’t / couldn’t sacrifice the quality of tone just because we’re playing softly or high.

      When giving more air support, I guess not volume per se, I was able to increase the resonance and maintain better consistency and resonance of tone above the staff. And it felt optimally efficient as well, like i was supporting my embouchure.

      Anyway, if I understand you correctly–you are saying that Shape is the same regardless of the volume or pressure of air for any given pitch. In other words, we don’t need to tighten the aperture more if less air is flowing through the aperture. I was thinking that we could open the aperture more for a given pitch if more air was flowing through–that we were maintaining a balance between Air and Shape, so if we gave more Air then we needed less tension in the Shape.

      I understand that less air is required the higher we ascend and that the whole premise of WindWorks is that Shape determines pitch, not air. But isn’t it a relationship between Air and Shape–a balance?

      I’m probably over thinking this but want to make sure I understand it. I’ve had good sensations / success lately, but the more I understand what’s going on precisly the more likely I’ll be able to continue moving forward.

      Thanks,

      John

    • #48676
      Steve
      Participant

      Hi guys…
      enjoyed reading these posts.. I didn’t understand alot but then I don’t need to.. which is where the Inner game of tennis kicks in…best book written some say on how to play the trumpet…. idea in the book is that to learn (tennis or the trumoet) you don’t need to annalyze.. make things happen .. rather give power to your inner self..let things happen. I am not a good trumpet player.. yet.. but I am pretty good billiards player. I am analyitical (self1) about shot selection but when it comes to execution I go into intuitive “self2” mode.. and after the shot I might think “wow.. how did I do that.. was I just lucky!!” I think it can be the same in the trumpet..you need to give “self2” a nudge towards learning.. let him/her to understand concepts like reasonace.. relaxed lips.. loose top lip.. body hall.. shape and for me warm air (imagine you are trying to fog up a mirror in the bathroom.. very relaxed open throat) and just let go.. cos I don’t know about you but my best experiences/sounds on the trumpet (3 years) have been from nowhere.. effortless..like magic.. wow how did I do that! Sportspeople know this..its their ability to get into the zone.. and the converse is true.. in our billiards match Arto.. one of our competitors.. was playing really well.. above his standard.. he was in the zone.. so I must confess I played an underhand trick “wow Arto you’re playing amazing tonight.. what’s your secret” sure enough from then on his peformance went down as he stopped letting go (self2) and reverted to making the shot (self1).. My twin brother was playng in the same match.. he is a btter player than me but didn’t play as well as me when the pressure was on.. he was focused n winning (self1) and not playng beautiful billiards to the utmost of his potential (self2) so that’s my question.. is too much analysis / focus on “winning” / development actually going to inhibit / slow up development? Rather be informed.. watch all the videos.. Greg.. Trumpet Professor (I like Paul’s videos though not his 2 pence coin strengthening exercises!) M2M etc.. have a clear enough understanding of the direction of travel you want to go in to be able to gibve self2 that nudge-to-learning and then hand over the steering wheel to self 2.. allow him/her “to play beautiful sounds” (or for that matter allow self2 to fail.. then self1’s job is to pick up self2 .. bit more of a nudge and
      then encourage to have another go!) sit back and enjoy the ride! cheers steve

    • #48695
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Thanks Steve. I agree with you, it’s impossible to be able to consciously make decisions necessary to accurately control everything necessary to play.

      I don’t recall if I saw it on WindWorks or somewhere else, but someone made the analogy to explaining to a toddler how to walk–walking is one of the simplest things we do which we take for granted and it’s second nature.

      But the thought of having to articulate / explain that in a way that is understandable would be daunting; perhaps impossible.

      But, if we understand and consider WHAT and WHY we are doing, then we figure it out for ourselves.

      I suppose the problem with the trumpet is that it does involve things which are counter-intuitive and contrary to commonly held perceptions, such as we should just blow harder / give more air to go higher–which is blatantly false and destructive.

      We must develop for ourselves an innate ability to sense the balance between Shape and Air and know what that Feels like so that we can have a sense for what to do as we are playing rather than think about it real-time, which is probably impossible for most (it is for me…).

      Otherwise, we’re destined to keep banging our heads against a wall (endless scales, harmonic slurs, long tones, characteristic studies), expecting / hoping for a different result than what we’ve always gotten out of it–not much.

      We must have a sense, a feeling, for what it is we’re trying to do with each exercise we’re doing.

      After 42 years, I think I’m starting to finally figure it out. But there were a couple decades in there that I gave up and didn’t play much at all. The past couple of years have been pretty steady time-wise, but in hindsight could’ve / should’ve been much more structured. I think eventually I’m going to reach out to Greg for a Skype lesson to make sure I’m interpreting things well and to see what tips he has for me to work on, etc. I’ve heard great things from everyone that’s done that.

    • #48757
      Steve
      Participant

      Hi John…thnaks for the post.. and I agree.. you need to have the theory principles understood.. thats the “nudge to learning” hence the value of all the guys like Greg (for the about to walk toddler the “nudge” is enough to just look at Mum and Dad) just 5 minutes ago I was simply trying to play a nice sounding f below g on top of the staff.. morning here in helsinki.. i was not happy with the tone, tight and felt like needed a lot of effort and air.. i was focusing very lightly on the touch/sensation of the top lip – seemed to help a bit but not really the direction i want to go in (mouth piece pressure) So I took out my go-to-100cms,(diameter of my little finger) 5 euro metal pipe frnm the hardware store.. (variation of the lead pipe but i do find this better..) transferred the mouth piece and just focused on playing a nice reasonant and above all easy full note probably an octave below the f for a minute on and off. Went back to the trumpet and played the original f as easy and reasonant as you like.. self2 had worked something out alright! Then I stopped. But I’ll be back in 30 minutes or so! By the way i’m not convinced about the structure idea.. i know people preach it a lot but its not how we learn as children.. structure feels to me a bit like work (my first marriage!!) aged 30 i started learning Finnish – I listened and read and read and read. novels..very slow going to start with (i rememebr having an english and finnish raymond chanmler book side by side! never opened a grammar book after the first year (and Finnish very grammatical.16 different cases if i remember for any given word!) and nowadays I can’t remember did i read a certain book in finnish or english.. BUT maybe you’re right cos yesterday i decided I would practise caruso method (earlier been a bit sceptical about it.. but then I’ve never tried it!! ) as shown here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E69JF0-028Q every day for 6 weeks and see if i noticed a result.. I’ve alreday done it once today!
      all the best.. cheers for now Steve

    • #48798
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Good to hear, Steve–sounds like you’re onto something. I too have been doing something similar to what you describe. I would start with setting the mouthpiece (MP) and horn to my lips, keeping them as relaxed and natural as possible.

      I then release a breath attack on a pedal tone–whatever slotted naturally.

      There is some inconsistency out there about whether the pedal C is a real note or requires manipulation. For me, I can’t play a true C without using my lip to bend up to it. the note that slots on my horn is more like an A or Bb. None of that really matters, in my opinion, on this exercise as my intention is to simply play as relaxed as possible and obtain optimal resonance on each pitch.

      Then I rest a few beats, then release a breath attack on Low C…rest a few beats, release a breath attach on Middle C…

      Each pitch, I try not to change anything. I try to just let my lips fall into place in response to the Air and I keep everything open and relaxed, more than willing to miss any note and learning from that failure. The important thing for me is pure process–staying relaxed, open, not the results of achieving a certain pitch and manipulating process to get there.

      I then play High C and feel how the only change from middle C is tension in the muscles at the sides of the mouthpiece, the “aperture corners” and I’m not blowing harder I’m releasing the same air as before. Once i obtain the pitch, I open the aperture up slightly and modulate the air to experiment with the right balance of Shape and Air to achieve optimum resonance–when I get it right, the note seems / sounds loud even though I’m not using more air, it just starts to resonate and ring out.

      One could alter this by going to the E on the staff, then the G, or whatever note is relevant for them and do the same thing and build up more gradually to achieve that sensation of how little additional tension is actually required to achieve the higher pitches–on good air.

      With regards to structure, I battle that myself and I don’t practice what I preach as much as I should. But I believe that is important in general and based upon what you’ve shared with us, I think it’s very important for you. There are so many variables to consider when playing and it’s easy to jump in a hole and lose your bearings–I have done that before, more often than I would care to admit. I could be wrong/mistaken, but I think you’ve done that as well.

      Tom Hooten, principal trumpet with LA Phil, has some videos out there about how he battled things himself in college and had a disastrous embochoure change. One thing that he attributes his success to is using an app called “Seconds Pro” which allows him to structure his practice sessions, including rest breaks, on his phone or iPad. I’ve downloaded the app but have yet to have time to structure it. But my thoughts were to schedule certain percentages of my practice time to different attributes of playing, including playing some music and probably some extemperaneous playing.

      But I don’t think it’s good or healthy for us to play extemperaneously 100% of the time as I think we lose our bearings on where we really are.

      For example, I used to mountain bike a lot. I got into great shape to the point where I was having difficulty finding a hill I couldn’t climb without taking a rest on the way up. Then I slowed down a bit and took it easy for a while, and when I went back to some of those trails again I suffered a lot and couldn’t figure out what was wrong… What was “wrong” was that I stopped riding as much and my endurance was reduced and it was no longer realistic for me to have the expectation that I had about how I was going to ride that trail.

      Without structure, I don’t believe I keep a good track in my mind with regards to where I’m at. How long can I hold a note, how fast can I do a harmonic slur, what pitch can I reach today / this week, etc. My memory sometimes jumps back to past peaks and not to recent results–I set my expectations a bit too high. And, sometimes I have great days that exceed my expectations–but those are relatively special and few. I am trying to get into the habit of taking notes during / after I play to note how I did, what I did and what my sensations were (good and bad).

      And perhaps most importantly is Music–choosing a piece or pieces of music to work on that you love the sound of, that you want to master, that you can enjoy deep down the sound you are producing…but that has challenging aspects to it, certain parts that you may need to work up to. I have tended to gravitate towards some of the simple/lyrical melodies composed by John Williams, as they’re relatively simple but have challenging aspects to them for me. I often play portions of them extemperaneously during my practice sessions, but make it a point to play them as written with a metronome all the way through start to finish on a regular basis to keep myself honest. I don’t play in any groups currently, so I can lose myself a bit in just screwing around. So I force myself to play start-to-finish and see how it goes. I have surprised myself both good and bad at times. I think this may be the most important feedback we can give ourselves. Similarly, I’ve been working on the Arban Characteristic Study Number 1 a lot lately. I played a lot of Arban when I was younger but never really worked on that due to my range limitation but now have found it useful to solidify my ability to play consistently and with different articulations and dynamics and at an up tempo.

      My $.02 FWIW. Best to you–let me know how things go, you might discover something that helps me. My biggest problem right now is time and the fact that I just moved and am focused on all that nonsense / getting settled.

    • #48865
      Steve
      Participant

      Hi John
      Thanks for this long reply. Clearly compared with you i am an absolute beginner!!½ I have now downloaded that app .. my initial starting point is this not for me but I m going to give it a go! Good points you make about sound.. I have a you tube recording of Nakariakov playing Apres un reve
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGVo4F0wBAo easy piece.. highest note is a D in the staff so I use it just (well not just!) for my tone. In terms of the hard piece I have Gounod AveMaria where the highest note is an A immediatly above the staff. This in the last 6 months has just about got into my zone.. ie I can play it nicely 7 times out of 10.. so you can see I have long way to go.. at the moment will hit a high c on a slur easier enough but not in a line of of music – I see that taking at least 1 year from now… but don’t be afraid to tell me I’m wrong!
      I do have an Arban but in my whole playing life 3 years – only spent 20 minutes total in it..so any advice which would be the section/pages I should start with? I do appreciate for example Bryan Davis Airflow music and his free weekly technical studies – is the Arban better than this?

      Very good intell about the pedal c and then feeling how little tension needed to go higher.. somehow my intuitiion tells me that in all sorts of ways.. none of which I can get my head around.. .. pedal tones can be the key to unlocking the trumpet for me !

      Learning from yesterday
      Free effortless blowing (which results in very light buzzing) on a trumpet mouth piece top.. (from a modular mp..) both before and after playin.. and lots of it (when reading or watching tv) .. very soft.. including pedal tone embourchure.. .. seesm to energize my lips when I go to pick up the trumpet..maybe I need to log the trumpet top time on your app…!!
      cheers for now.. stay safe steve

    • #48868
      Steve
      Participant

      PS…
      I remember one of Greg’s exercises in the book was a low A to A above the staff.. (impossible for me a year ago) similar to your idea John in last post of pedal a and then breath attacks..
      just now done several of them..warming up with smaller jumps before low pedal note to A above the staff..another milestone day!

      learning from today..
      where as before I would take out my Jo Rai mute (is this what they call a Harman.. with the hole in the middle..) and replicate for 30 seconds the note /phrase before going back to trumpet..which did help to get better core to sound.. Today i just focused on 45 very easy seconds on the Jo Rai.. doing MUCH easier interval jumps../keeping this post relevant to the title./ not blowing at all hard.. .. (to “fool” my inner self1 if you like into thinking it’s easier than i hitherto understood…)then went back to trumpet and pedal a to A was coming out with minimum effort and sounding tip top!!
      Thanks John.. and good luck with the move
      steve

    • #48895
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Nice to hear, Steve! I’ve had a lot of success playing those mental games with myself–having the confidence/audacity to fail when attempting a pitch, trying to use as little effort (Shape, not Air–we need good consistent Air, but Passively released is fine/good) as necessary. More often than not, I find that I am doing too much when having difficulties and when I back off engagement of muscles things get better. I think we tend to overthing/do things a lot, worrying about the air being able to escape the sides of the mouthpiece if we don’t tense enough–how often does that happen? For me, I could probably count on one hand…we tend to do too much. Playing above the staff is coordination of Shape and Air, it’s not about strength of Air and the muscles that define Shape. It’s striking the right balance and letting things resonate.

      BTW–a friend pointed me out to Tom Hooten’s Instagram site. You might want to check it out, he has some good stuff on there and will be doing a lesson on Facebook Live. Not to take anything away from WindWorks / Greg–I still recommend you Skype with Greg. But I have enjoyed finding info from other sources as well and have found more often than not that they make sense / coalesce with everything I’ve read on WindWorks. I think it’s useful to hear things from different perspectives, share info with others, etc. It has helped me.

    • #49076
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Steve, I just realized that I thought you were “steve” not “Steve”. But glad if my points were helpful to you.

      I’ll have to check out that video clip. I love Bryan Davis’ stuff as well. Best, John.

    • #49290
      Steve
      Participant

      Hi John
      lower case steve here.. indeed I wrote a “dont give up mail to Steve a day ago.. came up with idea that there is a lot in common with swimming and trumpet playing – all about shape, efficiency and economy of effort and 95% of swimmers (me firmly in this poor swimmers bracket although I swim up to 3 times a day in Helsinki open air pool in the summer) not only poor in these respects but fail to really progress despite swimming every day.
      in last two days after a year absence I have got back to playing scales on the lead pipe..very softly.. Javier Ganzales says one of the reasons (for him they are legion!) why he is such a fan of this is that when you go to the trumpet its just so much easier!
      Last night still played 10 minutes too long.. got to learn to stop in time!
      stay safe s teve.

    • #49441
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Cool…but you’re Titlecase Steve, not lowercase steve… 😉

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