A Second Opinion

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Batman, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Batman

    Batman New Friend

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    Hi all,

    I started University 2 months ago and have therefore recently begun having lessons with a new teacher. He seems like a nice enough guy but he's a bit "wishy-washy" with his explanations of things and I'm not sure I agree with everything he says so I just thought I'd post on here to see what other people make of it all. (Note: Please don't mistake this for arrogance; I'm not suggesting for one minute that I might know better, I'm just a little confused because I feel like some of his ideas conflict what I've been told by previous teachers).

    In my lesson last week I asked about building a higher register as this is something that I have always had trouble with. However, when I made reference to embouchure and tongue position he suddenly became very dismissive/ evasive and insisted that the only thing I needed to concern myself with was air flow as it is simply the air speed that controls the pitch of the note. "Focus on the air speed", he said, and everything else i.e. tongue position and lip compression would just "sort themselves out". It's a nice thought - the idea of being able to just automatically do what I need to do with my tongue/ lips without thinking about it - but it just seems a bit kind of vague and wishy-washy... If I only think about the air without paying any attention to the embouchure, could this not lead to the formation of bad habits? For example, I suspect I begin to tuck my lower lip underneath the top slightly as I begin to ascend on the trumpet.

    Following on from this, when asked about lip slurs/ flexibility exercises, he said he doesn't like the name "lip" flexibilities because it's misleading in that students tend to then try and do everything with just the lips alone. I agreed with him because, I said, "it's more about tongue position" i.e. aa, oo, ee... but, again, he didn't like it! He said he didn't like calling them "lip" flexibility exercises because it's all down to the speed of the air and I shouldn't be trying to use different vowel sounds for different notes...

    This contradicts everything I've been taught before - that it's a balancing act between air, lip and tongue. If I hold a long note and then suddenly increase the speed of the air without adjusting anything else, the note just kind of "bulges"... the pitch doesn't change whatsoever. What do you guys think of this concept? He spoke a lot about Arnold Jacobs if this helps put things into context.

    P.S. Another thing I find quite unusual is that he never looks at my embouchure during lessons; he "prefers to listen" and says that he can "hear" if there are any problems - he doesn't need to see them. He's just generally very evasive with regards to embouchure or anything 'technical'.

    Sorry for the long post!

    Thanks
     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I kinda like what this person is telling you... for instance:

    We have a very gifted moderator here on TM that will expand on this concept with the "Ray of Power" theory, that I have applied and works well within the context of the above comments.

    Once again, I do tend to agree with the above especially after experiencing this as a truth within the past decade of my 40 year experience as a trumpet player. It took me 30 years to realize this. Don't let it take this long for you.


    What I think is you have yet to experience the Vulgano Brother Ray of Power. I will let the Master take it from here. Stick with this teacher, he sounds like a good one, young grasshopper.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    By the way, welcome to TM... We your portal to Zen awaits.
     
  4. Batman

    Batman New Friend

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    Jul 2, 2013
    ^ Haha, thanks very much, gmonady! :)

    So... you're against thinking too much about the embouchure/ tongue and you don't advocate using vowel sounds for lip flexibility exercises or for different areas of your range?
     
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

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    My money is on the guy that was successful landing a college teaching job...
     
  6. Batman

    Batman New Friend

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    Jul 2, 2013
    ^ Lmfao.

    Edit: Good point but my previous teachers, with whom I feel he contradicts, are equally qualified.
     
  7. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    Oct 9, 2013
    Roseburg, OR
    If fact a LOT of highly qualified and successful teachers would disagree. What has unlocked range for many of us is the correct tongue arch visualization. Now everyone is different and what works for one doesn't always work for another. To that point, the "air only" and "sound only" guy's approach doesn't work for everyone, just as the tongue arch approach may not always work. Having said that, you need to give your current teacher a chance before you fire him. If after 6 months there isn't a significant improvement in your playing and your teacher doesn't change his approach with you, you do need to fire him.

    It is good you are questioning him. He should be able to explain the reasoning for the approach he is using with you.
     
  8. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

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    Cant help
     
  9. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

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    It's not just air... as a player you also have the ability to manipulate the apeture. HOW you manipulate the apeture is up to you.

    Whether or not tongue arch is effective or not is like debating evolution with a religious zealot. If they believe it, then it works... If they don't believe then it is heresy. Describing the differences between "more air", "faster air", compression and the like can start fistfights at a trumpet hang.
     
  10. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    There need not be a contradiction at all. Consider a motor car engine (please bear with my flaky analogy): to get the motor to run at a set speed one instruction might be to supply fuel at a certain rate from the fuel tank while another instruction might be to provide a certain volume of fuel/air mix to the cylinders. All else being equal, paying attention to either instruction will result in the other instruction being implicitly followed, and some drivers might find it easier to visualise one rather than the other (I told you it was flaky).

    In order to provide higher speed air with all else remaining fairly constant you will find you are adjusting your lips, tongue arch, pressure, whatever, in any case. By playing higher notes while paying attention to lips, tongue arch, pressure, whatever, you will find the airspeed increases as well.

    Personally I am mindful of the air pressure while listening to my sound (providing control feedback). And other people in TM can advise better and with greater eloquence than I can.

    --bumblebee
     
    Vulgano Brother likes this.

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