WindWorks Trumpet Academy › Forums › WindWorks › unfortunately a warning
I am an ameteur player and worked with the WindWorks program for about 6 months up through the moderato series and part of the allegro series. I am now suffering greatly and have stopped doing it. The point of exit came when I decided I needed to perform some music, I haven’t been playing with any groups for years. I then found that all my abilities had collapsed. Everything is awful. No range, no endurance, no strength, no flexibility, no ability. I had been practicing the WW exercises every day. It left me with NOTHING. I can no longer play G above the staff. I used to be able to play higher than this, I could MAKE it happen if I really wanted to, but now, Nothing I do can make any higher note come out whatsoever, unless I completely reform my embouchure and it sounds horrible. There is a complete absolute WALL in my range at G. And I can only play it a few times and then even that lapses. I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to reverse everything I have done in WW in attempt to gain some ability back but I CAN’T. I am STUCK with G above the staff, my embouchure has been ruined. My endurance is pathetic, everything is awful. Week after week I cannot shake what this program has done to me. I was not a very strong player to begin with, so take this as a warning, if you are attempting to go through with this program, you may suffer greatly in all aspects of your playing, for a very long time. You may not be able to perform anything at all for a very long time. For me, I cannot go through with this, it seems completely ridiculous to play without breath support, I believe it has caused me extreme harm, and I can’t wait to get back to where I was where I actually had some ability and work it out on my own. I wouldn’t recommend doing any online program at all as far as learning an instrument, there’s just too much that can go wrong. I especially wouldn’t recommend this program for anyone playing classical style, I have no desire to be a screamer.
Hi Steve, I am feeling your pain and frustration but your assassination of WindWorks is not really the answer to your woes.
As those of us who have been around here for a while and seen some of your previous posts, we can feel your pain and we all know how difficult it is to put aside years of inefficient playing and make positive steps forward, trust me, I went through it myself and that’s why this course exists.
STEVE WROTE: “I am an amateur player and worked with the WindWorks program for about 6 months up through the moderato series and part of the allegro series.”
Why only parts of the Allegro series? Where did things become unstuck? What can you do? What can you “kind of” do? What can’t you do?
STEVE WROTE: “I am now suffering greatly and have stopped doing it.”
There is nothing in this course that can cause you so suffer, let alone “greatly”. When everything is based on the simplicity and sensation of humming and talking, what is it that has caused this seemingly MASSIVE overexertion?
STEVE WROTE: “The point of exit came when I decided I needed to perform some music, I haven’t been playing with any groups for years.”
This is where I become very concerned, 1. With what you have been practicing 2. What are your expectations?
STEVE WROTE: “I then found that all my abilities had collapsed. Everything is awful. No range, no endurance, no strength, no flexibility, no ability. I had been practicing the WW exercises every day. It left me with NOTHING. I can no longer play G above the staff. I used to be able to play higher than this, I could MAKE it happen if I really wanted to, but now, Nothing I do can make any higher note come out whatsoever, unless I completely reform my embouchure and it sounds horrible.
STEVE PLEASE WATCH THIS AGAIN!!! https://mysterytomastery.com/lesson/practise/
This is actually very simple…
1. You either used WindWorks as a means to find and fix the apparent playing issues you were having and as described in the video above, kept doing what you were previously doing whilst continuing to play and make incremental changes #circleandsquare
2. You decided to completely rebuild from scratch and throw away anything you ever knew about playing; which I never actually recommend, remember I made huge changes using trombone whilst performing at the highest level!!!
It seems you chose option 2. That is fine however now we need to talk about expectations. After a 6 month chop change (again, which is not necessary) you expected to go and play with a band in the same way you were playing previously or even better, and having played no repertoire. You’ve been around long enough to know that is not rational or realistic.
STEVE WROTE: There is a complete absolute WALL in my range at G. And I can only play it a few times and then even that lapses. I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to reverse everything I have done in WW in attempt to gain some ability back but I CAN’T.
You are clearly missing the point of PROCESS vs RESULTS driven playing and the Point of Difference https://mysterytomastery.com/lesson/point-of-difference/
STEVE WROTE: I am STUCK with G above the staff, my embouchure has been ruined.
No mate! Your embouchure is not ruined. Your spirit is shattered and your approach is confused but your chops are as capable now as they were in the past to play inefficiently and force a result. That may sound harsh but that is why you were looking for other approaches i.e. WindWorks.
STEVE WROTE: My endurance is pathetic, everything is awful. Week after week I cannot shake what this program has done to me.
The program has not done anything to you. We all make our own choices and you have not adhered to the systematic approach that is clearly laid out. Trust me, it pains me to see the trauma you are experiencing and kills me to see what you have written here but I must say that even after saying #justaskme many times, you have not contacted me for help. I am more than willing to help people out, they just need to ask.
STEVE WROTE: I was not a very strong player to begin with, so take this as a warning, if you are attempting to go through with this program, you may suffer greatly in all aspects of your playing, for a very long time. You may not be able to perform anything at all for a very long time.
I have to say that this is simply just not the case. If you try to fly a plane without reading the instructions, you will crash.
STEVE WROTE: For me, I cannot go through with this, it seems completely ridiculous to play without breath support.
Steve, nowhere do I say we don’t use breath support. The body has more power using it’s natural recoil after a good breath than overexertion of the breathing musculature. I will do a video of this and post it below. There is so much energy in the Singing C when you allow the body to expand and reduce PASSIVELY and “let the lips interact with the air as if they are the vocal cords.”
STEVE WROTE: I believe it has caused me extreme harm, and I can’t wait to get back to where I was where I actually had some ability and work it out on my own.
We are all working it out on our own with the aid of people’s ideas and experiences. You must be prepared to take massive steps backwards to take big leaps forward. You are only in the early phase of a rebuild and you are panicking. This is not the first time you have unloaded on me online and I have the apology email to prove it.
Oh, and why would you send me this “You are a really down to earth guy. I really appreciate the effort you have put into your whole online system. I was really skeptical at first, but after a while of trying it I think I understand it better and have seen improvement that makes me really happy, because I have really never improved so much before. Thanks again.”
We are all looking for easier ways to play my friend!
STEVE WROTE: I wouldn’t recommend doing any online program at all as far as learning an instrument, there’s just too much that can go wrong. I especially wouldn’t recommend this program for anyone playing classical style, I have no desire to be a screamer.
As most here will know, style has absolutely nothing to do with the process of efficient sound production on a wind instrument (and add singing to that as well).
There are professional horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba players engaged here at WindWorks so your comments above are simply incorrect and disappointing.
I am teaching myself to play golf LEFT HANDED. Finally back into it after a 12 month lay off due to a severe knee injury. I use youtube lessons, I film myself, I watch professional players and I break the system down to very simple little elements. Eventually the new neural pathways I am building will come together and give me a great swing. When will this happen? I don’t know, but I know it will in time. I am not impatient and if I tried to play in a competition after only 6 months, I would no go too well.
Steve, I highly recommend you seek a good teacher and get regular, one on one lessons.
Best Wishes, Greg
Sorry to hear that you’re struggling, Steve and that you feel that WindWorks didn’t help you. I understand that you gave your best. But I don’t feel that it’s fair that you blame WindWorks for your struggles anymore than it would be for me to blame my teachers back when I was in high school and college for my failure to figure it out then–despite countless hours of practicing and lessons. I’ve been there myself–not getting above the G above the staff.
I thought if I kept my head down and practiced the exercises they prescribed for me, my hard work would pay off and I’d be a great player. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. We have to figure out how the instrument works and how it feels when it’s going good and when it’s going bad. We have to coordinate countless variables involved with our air and shape for each and every note.
I wish I could figure out a way to articulate what I have learned and experienced the past couple years. I’m not a great player, a strong player but I am playing better than I thought possible and I believe you can to. Playing is easier than we believe it is and we get in our own way. Nine times out of ten, when I run into difficulty it’s because I’m doing too much, not that I need more strength, etc. I’ve added nearly an octave to my range–the G above high C comes occasionally, but honestly I don’t try for it that often. I tend to play more classical/lyrical stuff; in part, I think it’s because it’s more structured and I figure I’ll play jazzier stuff later, once I feel like I am ready to screw around a bit. Right now, I’m trying to increase my consistency so playing something precisely (I think) is a better metric for me.
You gave your interpretation of WindWorks a shot. You may want to find an in-person teacher or even take lessons via Skype from instructors. If you haven’t taken Skype lessons from Greg yet, then I think you’re giving up on WW too early.
I’m sure it won’t work for everyone and maybe the way it’s explained and outlined just won’t make sense to you; that doesn’t mean it won’t work or hasn’t worked for others. It just means you need to find another way.
At the end of the day, we must each own our playing and results and not rely on anyone to tell us what to do. We need to understand the Why and the What for ourselves, our own way. And even the greatest players continue to learn throughout their lifetime.
I hope you give Greg a chance to SKype with you and sort things out. I never have taken a lesson from him but know others have and found it very useful for their understanding of playing, WW, etc.
Whatever you decide to do, Own it and you’ll figure it out.
From your past posts and the videos you shared, I wonder if you were spending too much time on unstructured practice–I too myself struggle with that due to my limited time. I work for a living and am just playing for fun, I don’t even play in any groups currently. And I found that spending all my time playing exercises kept me from really understanding how I was progressing. Playing music to a set tempo and having to coordinate the air, shape and articulation precisely and being able to compare that to your past is helpful. And it’s good for the soul and our morale to play music, to listen to our sound and try each day for a better, more resonant sound. That’s really important. It’s tempting to jump into a fox hole and play endless range exercises, harmonic slurs, etc. to speed our progress. But it doesn’t work that way–we have to understand the WHY and part of that is using what we’ve learned in practical applications. I suspect that’s why Greg has the “Process” and “Results” based progress. I wonder if you were focused mostly on Process and perhaps didn’t quite understand that correctly–it is a hard thing to understand.
I wish you the best and every success–I know you can achieve what you want on the instrument and believe you will find it, figure it out your own way if you are patient, focused, open-minded and you continue to be as dedicated and hardworking as you have been.
It was like that for me, but I found I’d not concentrated enough on the very first exercises and was trying to work through the course too quickly.
I’m not saying that the same applies to you.
I just wanted to share my experience with you because since going back to the start and really focusing more on getting the very basics as right as I could, I have started to get my (limited) range back and am sounding much better.
I also find playing easier so I don’t want to go back to working much harder for limited results.
The breath support issue I totally relate to. I think the point is …. Reaching for notes with your stomach!
Instead I’m trying to find them by slowly narrowing the aperture corners after letting just air through the pipe and raising the tongue a little.
Supporting the air a little for higher notes but only after I have heard the pitch faintly sound.
Anyway, whatever you do I hope it goes well.
You are obviously dedicated to learning to get that frustrated!
Hi Steve, I understand what you are saying. I can no longer play the way I used to but I have no desire to do so either. Yes people often told me I sounded good but I just got sick of the constant internal dialogues and mantras that were constantly running through my head during rehearsals and concerts. I’d had enough “Hail Mary ” moments and having a sore throat and shoulders from manipulation. To me the logic of Greg’s approach is inescapable. I highly recommend a Skype lesson with him. I had one after 10 months of the course and realized I hadn’t absorbed the concepts like I thought I had. Coved 19 sucks but I’ve got to assume there are no rehearsals or concerts for you right now because of it. To me it’s an opportunity put aside anxiety inducing expectations and calmly, emotionally detached approach to re wiring myself. Those neuro pathways I’ve created for myself run deep and I know it’s going to take a good amount of time to create new ones. Honestly though, just releasing air into my instrument without force and fear is very therapeutic. I know the sound will come.
Steve, I just wanted to add my two cents… I agree with Eric above. I’ve been a really good player, and I have played for 40 years or more and had a tone that I liked have been in numerous bands and done many recording sessions. I now perform infrequently, but still have a lot of fun with it. I just felt like I had too much tension in my neck and many years ago developed a hernia because of pushing too hard. After three months working with Greg‘s program, I feel like I too do not want to go back to my old sound. Even though I only am really comfortable with my new embouchure up to a G in the staff, I have faith that the openness and ease I feel down there is going to translate eventually into my upper register. And it’s already helping my old sound over much of my range.
So sorry you had trouble, Steve. I hope whatever path you take moving forward helps you get your groove back.
Man, I think you just misunderstood what Greg taught, especially the firsts videos of the course. I’m a beginner, bought my trumpet less than 2 months ago, and WindWorks is doing a great service to me. In the beginning, I tried to learn through YouTube videos and had two private lessons with a teacher. It was not a great experience, all the videos and including the teacher were very vague about explaining proper breath, proper support, etc. What impressed me most was the lack of vagueness of Greg’s explanations. Second, WindWorks is about efficient playing, not a crash course to learn how to play the high register. And the lessons here are so great that they can be used for other instruments! I used Greg’s teachings with my harmonica playing and I improved a lot my tone. I used it with my piano practice, especially the distinction between PROCESS and RESULT, and it helped be great too.
As for the trumpet, I feel I can play the middle register from C to G with high efficiency now, as easy as I can talk, and day by day my endurance and my tone improve. And I don’t use all my practice time doing WW exercises, I bought a method book, Jazz Method for the Trumpet, and it came with a CD and has a lot of tunes in it. I’m doing WW in parallel with the book, so I’m playing music too! Today I learned ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’, it was very fun to play with the CD band.
My recommendation is: go back to the beginning, pay attention to what Greg says and lower your expectations.
ah, you can learn instruments without a private teacher! I learned piano and harmonica all by myself, using online videos.
Wow , Steve, I’ve never heard someone voice so much frustration over a trumpet method before. I couldn’t disagree with your assessment of Greg’s method more strongly. I began lessons in middle school with someone who simply assigned exercises out of the Arban Method each week without much explanation. In college I studied with a protégé of Bill Adam where I played the same “routine” every day. Since then I’ve studied methods by James Stamp, Claude Gordon, John Haynie, Carmine Caruso. I even experimented with exercises by Cat Anderson. The point is I gleaned things along my journey that worked for me and discarded a lot of things that didn’t. Greg’s method is so sequential and thoroughly thought out. It couldn’t be more solid pedagogically. I can say I’m playing my best today because of Greg’s videos and exercises. I also use his ideas in my own teaching with great results. Many of my students have won chairs in all-state band and orchestra. I had a recent graduate that was lead trumpet in the all-state jazz band two years in a row.
Steve, I would also encourage you to get with a good teacher and I would guess you will grow to appreciate what Windworks has to offer.
hi steve .. I m also steve.. not sure if you’re still around to read this.. but I checked out your videos.. you’re like me.. 100% application.. at times i have felt like thowing my trumpet across the room.. on the video you didn’t look much you were enjoying it. I saw one trumpet pro on you tube who said she had therapy cos for a while she hated her trumpet!! (she s back in love with it) I swim.. a lot .. but not that well.. I ask coaches poolside for help.. they had lots of advcie but didn’t really seem to help.. then1 guy once said “Steve.. focus on what you’re best at .. what youre doing well concentrate on that and spend time in the water.. I think for you its the glide on the right side..” .. he was right .. i started to swimn with a literal smile on my face.. my glide got better.. endurance .. speed all went up! (once I even beat my twin brother!) So what is you like most about the trumpet.. is it those Bach madrigals or something.. get back into enjoying those a lot.. cos I think the more time you have with relaxed (and that’s Greg’s key idea isn’t it.. beauty.. shape.. relax..open) face time on the trumpet the faster you get better (you teach best what you most need to learn.. 2 weeks ago i have decided to call “break” much quicker than hitherto.. if my lips are not delighting in playing then get off. wait until they do I tell myself!)
All the best steve.. cheers
PS read that again just before pressing send and it struck me good swimmers are like good trumpet players.. most people who swim are not good swimmers.. they use far too much energy.. flapping of arms.. far too much kicking.. very poor efficiency.. taking 30+ strokes for 50 metres and above all poor endurance and VERY slow. What I aslo notice is that most swimmers don’t get much better, even if they swim every day .. cos the physics / their body shape in water is the great glass ceiling.. Where as the good swimmers spend MUCH LESS effort in the water. have hundred times better SHAPE as for efficency there is no comparison (both their hands virtually together at the front at the top of the stroke.. minimum legkick if any, great rotation from the mid section, head right down ) .. and they can propel themselves for miles at treble the speed, smiling away..
Windworks must be all about shape and glide.. it cant give us the smile though.. we need to do that bit!
good luck steve
Hi Steve, playing the Trumpet has been a source of frustration for thousands of people around the world …probably millions! I feel your pain and frustration. Believe me I’ve been there!!
The effort required to play with a great sound, extended range and endurance is minimal. Just watch the guys who can do it at the highest level. It’s effortless for them!! No harder than normal conversation! Rafael Mendez knew this 70 years ago!
Passive Reduction is with out a doubt one of the keys to playing trumpet efficiently. Taking enough air in is really important when practicing the singing C series. Really work on extending the amount of air you can inhale and then just relax and let the air do the work. When you take this approach you will slowly start to notice the muscles in the lips and face do the work (body is not engaged, just relaxed like a balloon deflating)
I highly recommend you revisit the singing C series and really take your time time with it. Never push if a note doesn’t sound, just relax and let the air do the work. Eventually as the weeks/months go by the notes will sound and become easier. Work on lip flexibilities starting from low C# to F# and only move up when they become effortless. Patience is the key to improving.
Wind Works is an amazing source of information for Trumpet players. Would highly recommend this website to anyone serious about playing the Trumpet!
Trumpet playing can be effortless if approached correctly and efficiently