Am just commencing Largo status stage. (third day). A question:
When I place an index finger at the base of my throat/neck (small hollow) and play Low C – G with drones, I note a slight occasional grunt and also an upward movement in this spot. Is the movement just part of the tongue action when commencing a note? Obviously I am working to eliminate the grunt which would indicate tension.
I am certainly no expert but when reading your post I was reminded of a problem I have had intermittently in the past and one that I still watch out for. I had the habit of involuntarily closing my throat for a second or two while playing and unlike you I was not aware of it until pointed out in a lesson I took from a fellow band member. I am wondering if the movement in your throat is the involuntary closing that I experienced?
Greg’s concept of the “body’s concert hall” with door, foyer etc may be helpful for you to focus on along with the ” MM-AHH-OOO”. Before practicing, I now do this little exercise regularly along with beginning full breath (with the knuckle in an open mouth) to remind myself to keep the throat open; I feel it has been helping.
Further to this comment, I would also advise you to stick with the process Greg outlines despite occasional setbacks or slow progress. I am a little further along the course than you and feel it is slowly helping me despite a number of bumps along the way. Still a work on progress but there is progress.
I hope this may be helpful to you. Good luck with course.
I’d be curious to hear Greg and others chime in on this. I discovered that I’ve been doing a throat stop (Valsalva) and releasing the air on my attacks in conjunction with tonguing. I had no idea this was happening, in fact, I was certain it wasn’t since my very early trumpet lessons dealt with some of the pitfalls of Valsalva and how to avoid it. Guess I should’ve taken a few more lessons back then…
Now I’m hyper aware of any change of feeling in the throat. Sometimes I feel something like a “click” when I’m doing a harmonic slur, or some subtle movement at the beginning of playing and I worry that I’m doing it again. I don’t really trust my ability to perceive it correctly yet, although eyes closed, focused practice has been helping that somewhat. Maybe do some eyes-closed work intentionally engaging the throat and focus on what that feels like for comparison?