A final thought for 2011

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by GregMTM, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. GregMTM

    GregMTM New Friend

    Jun 7, 2011
    Hi All, it has been a brilliant year and thanks to those who have supported the website.

    I have been a hermit "hitting the books" in regards to Trumpet Physics and as a couple of you would know I have discovered some pretty crazy things. I will be sharing that in a more formal way next year since time has freed up!

    After seeing many of the post about aperture/embouchure, sound and breathing, I leave you with this to ponder... Sound = Flow + Tension


    Haha, I didn't say force or strain! Drum skins and guitar strings have TENSION!

    The perfect resonant sound (if there is such a thing) is the correct balance between flow of air (energy) and tension (of the lips or the oscillator) Disclaimer there are millions of processes at work when we play a note, more than we can control. I include in FLOW the correct amount of resonance being emitted from the "body instrument" (Another one for next year)

    So...How to find FLOW? Sing people SING and aim to resonate like Pavarotti. This is something you can work on away from the instrument! Close your eyes and feel the free flow of air flowing over the vocal cords. Relax your jaw, shoulders, neck, throat and chest and just aim to resonate more than last time.You will find that the best sound is the easiest sound!

    Sing AAAAH OOOOH in a BIG voice and then disengage the vocal cords and feel the air rush out, effortlessly from the body. Support until you are empty. That is the feeling of freedom you want when playing. The lips play the role of the vocal cords and the bell becomes your mouth.

    Issues arise when we compensate by blowing harder when getting higher to compensate for the fact that the tension is wrong (aperture corners). Crazy really when you consider that there is actually less air going through the instrument the higher you get?!

    I had an AMAZING experience yesterday! A new/comeback player (and an extraordinary sax player) picked up a trumpet recently and played some notes. He said if felt SO EASY...TOO EASY so he thought, I must be doing it wrong so proceeded to buy some books to find out to REALLY play. What a bazaar reaction...

    If you haven't seen the Mystery to Mastery website, please come and say "HI" and I would love it if you could take the time to add a music shop to our Store Locator.

    All the best for the New Year!
    B15M likes this.
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    OK, I've pondered:

    Is it truly: Sound = Flow + Tension

    OR could it be Sound = Flow x Tension.

    Is flow and tension equally additive to impact on sound or are they a multipliable function that has even more impact on sound than the sum of their parts? Think of how much more power we would have on producing sound if it were the latter. Then I must ask to varify the above... How is "Sound" measured that this relationship can be proved or disproved. If there is a derivation to this relationship, please do provide a link as your reflection has truly peaked my curiosity.

    Thanks for planting this thought!
  3. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    AHHHHHHH, .... OOOOOOOOH. Oh, yeah ... I'm trying that when the neighbors wake up.

    Thanks Greg!!!

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  4. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    Sound = Emotion - ( n x beers )
  5. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010

    You have a fantastic website. I have been journaling to eventually write a paper on a comparison between how we teach trumpet versus sport technique. I personally believe that trumpet teaching is at a state where teaching sport technique was 40 years ago before the use of kinesiology (biomechanics, physiology, psychology, and pedagogy) to advance the field. Specifically, in the "olden" days, coaches usually rose from the ranks of retired players who had achieved some degree of notoriety. While highly skilled themselves they had little technical knowledge, worse yet, they had no real clue about pedagogy. “Some” trumpet teachers continue to teach the way they were taught (like sport coaches). Methodology, technique, and information is transferred in apprenticeship fashion as has been done for decades. There are a lot positive aspects to this process. Information that has been refined over a century or two through trial and error process has great value. However myths and errors can also be promulgated over the decades without the introduction of an evidence-based practice.

    Trumpet teachers will first, with great pride, describe their lineage. Even if they have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music, music performance, or even music education, it does not mean they have any serious or intensive training in trumpet pedagogy, itself. The process of creating progressive lesson plans with appropriate teaching cues and mental images for the performer about what is needed to be done, then corrective feedback to facilitate the learning process. And, the technique that is taught is thoroughly “evidence based.” For example, the US Army has a marvelous teaching video on YouTube about how to form an embouchure that can eliminated so much frustration.

    I do get the sense that the preeminent trumpet teachers were “instinctively” good at this (as they are in elite sports) but it has not generally filtered down to the meat and potatoes instructors that exist locally. By analogy, this would be the physical educators of the day. Today’s physical educator in the schools is not only highly skilled but has taken courses in biomechanics, exercise physiology, motor learning, sport psychology, and equally important pedagogical techniques.

    There are people out there who take trumpet pedagogy as seriously as their own playing. I believe you are excelling in the area. You are making such a strong contribution through your publically accessible videos. (I do own the book by Hickman, which I believe everyone who claims to be a serious instructor should also own). It is also a phenomenal general reference for those who love the trumpet.

    I wish you great success,

  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    My thought differs in tutoring than in all the requisite lesson plans teachers are required to propound. I address the student needs rather than any requirement of planning, such being with the aforehand knowledge that every student is different. I don't complicate matters by throwing words at them they wouldn't yet understand. I'm not tutoring them in the physics of acoustics (which I don't know that well myself). Dimenuendo and crescendo are replaced with quietly and loud but they do learn the p & fs notations for such and the > and < symbology. Yes, I've used the word "embouchure" but in the sense that it is a whole of lip and muscle development essential to playing well.

    Do I perceive a difference? Yes, in school they will be in the same book I use to the end of the school year. The 4 students I've been tutoring on trumpet have finished it and will be moving on to the next. Too, I'm now preparing simply arrranged melodies for them to play. Three of them performed in unison the opener a simple arrangement of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing at the caroling here on Christmas eve! How many teachers would have beginners ready to do that?

    To me sound varys with location, good tone is not a variable.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    OK, I studied brass pedagogy in a Master's program that left lots of room for electives and independent study, time enough for hours of practice and jogging with a cute flute player for an hour every morning as we watched the campus wake up. I studied some Zen and electronic music, learned flow (that state of mind between boredom and fear) and partied. Tension was never a part of the equation. We firm up some muscles and blow, pushing fingers down at the right times and places, and I never discovered a trumpet player switch in our brains that can be turned on. If your equation works for you, Greg MTM, that is wonderful. We all have developed different equations to the problem of trumpet playing. For me it is P^R^S. Pitch, Rhythm and Style, all exponential. Tension, in my vocabulary is part of the Style group, making some notes sound exciting. My take, anyway.
  8. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    Sounds like he is describing the mechanical process of making a sound, and you are describing the process of making music.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    sound = (emotion + mind set + ability + musicality X (desire + practice)) + equipment
  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    "Sound = Flow + Tension"

    Sound is the technical term for the music that you create,
    Flow is how the arrangement musically reaches your audience, and
    Tension is the emotion you create in your listener.

    Easy, innit?

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