I've missed you all!
Updated: Sep 20
Folks my www activity has been minimal for a several months, now. I want to do a short blog post to touch bases with my readers.
Several months ago I found my self blind- sided by a personal event. I've been laid up since. I am gradually stepping up my activity, but it might take quite a few months before I am fully active again. I'm OK however.
I've been told it will take eight months to a year before I'm completely back up to speed. I think I can beat that
To that end I thought I'd share how I am re working my playing.
If you watch my free educational videos, you'll see that I have been using two embouchures for a long time - regular and altissimo. I am no longer doing that. My altissimo set works very well all the way down into the pedal register and requires no significant re set as I ascend in pitch.
It is a great on piccolo trumpet, but a bit squirrelly on the larger horns, particularly for soft ballads and classical work, but, with practice and hard work, it will come along, and is.
I have also begun doing at least half of my practice on flugel horn, including upper register. This has proven to be a very relaxing way to work on this. When I move back to trumpet, if feels quite nice.
Finally, I am working on using as little AIR PRESSURE as possible - just exhaling through the horn. I was one of those players who would turn beet red when "bringing the heat." I have concluded that I no longer want to play this way. This is particularly easy to develop in the hi C and lower territory, but seems a little more challenging up high.
In the "meat and potatoes" register, when I practice my long tones, I circular breathe so that I maintain the same air pressure in my lungs as I can generate with my cheeks. I want to engage my abs and lower back AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE for the given volume I am trying to achieve. I find this very relaxing, and it is helping me achieve a much more relaxed playing mentality all around.
I can't circular breathe above high C, yet, but I plan on getting there. Right now I work on starting my extreme upper register notes with just the air in my mouth, pushing out with my tongue. This is my "squeak set," but more controlled. This keeps me away from that notion the I have to tank up and use tons of air to just get the note. Next the trick is to couple the lungs into the system to "replenish" the air in my mouth. This gets tricky, because, when I do relax the glottis and let the lungs into the picture, the squeak pitch wants to drop. This has always been the case for me, and previously, I would just keep my tongue up, open the aperture up a bit and just blast away. Well, I am trying to develop the ability to play much more easily up there. To that end, I am doing some of this on flugel till I get the feel.
I don't believe playing trumpet should be an athletic event.
A few years ago, there was a gag video going around in which some had taken a squeaky toy out of a dog's chew toy and put it in the third slide of a trumpet. They were then able to quite effortlessly play excruciatingly loud double hi C's, to the amusement of all. They did't have to blow that hard.
Well, I am basically trying to work out the technique for making my lips the squeaky to and using as little air as possible. I know some of you have already achieved this, on your own, so I know it can be done! I'm right behind you.
As of this writing (Sept 20, 2020), my playing is well on the road to recovery, and it has only been about 3.5 months into recuperation, so it is going well. The squeaky toy project is well under way and all aspects on trumpet work are comings back well. I was working on a recording project that I had to table, but I'll be able to finish it out before Christmas. I am quite grateful for that.
That's it for now.