OK I finally decided to put this label out there. If you've never read or heard of the term before? Well that's because I invented the phrase a few years back. "Tension/Suppleness Threshold Factor" or T/STF for short. I dabbled with this idea in the "Lip Compression Is Not Enough" topic but didn't want to name it just yet. Today I changed my mind after deciding that the term really is necessary in order to explain why and when lip compression is or isn't helpful "Tension" is the muscular contraction and movements applied to those muscles and lips flesh which rest on or outside the inner rim of the mouthpiece. "Suppleness" is required for all lip flesh that resides within the mouthpiece cup in all registers ESPECIALLY the upper register. The "/" punctuation between "Tension" and "Suppleness"is actually very important and is put there to emphasize the distinction of these two key areas of embouchure. The "/" is a reminder that the more definition or contrast we make between those two areas of muscle usage the better will be our tone, range, power endurance etc. You may look at the "/" as being similar to the fulcrum used on a child's see-saw in the schoolyard play area. "Threshold" is there because it indicates a changing of the "/" or fulcrum. When in the lowest of register the "Threshold" may exist comparatively well away from the mouthpiece rim. Conversely in the upper register the fulcrum sits right on the inner rim edge of the mouthpiece. Much of what we do when ascending into the upper register is condensing the size of the threshold or fulcrum. Consider the "/" to be like a dart board: In the lowest register the tension exists only on the outside of the target area. In the upper register it is that area just surrounding the bulls eye. The bulls eye itself is analogous of the vibrating lip flesh within the mouthpiece which must always remain soft and supple. At least it you want to have a decent upper register. "Factor" is listed last. It means that the comparative value of zero tension will shrink when ascending or expand when descending. It is a changeable ratio. In addition to shrinkage or expansion more or less muscular tension may be applied in the facial muscles that define the "Threshold". How did I discover this idea? Well for one the idea of it being a "discovery" might be a misnomer. Or an exaggeration. While no one else has talked about it before I did (or at least not used my terms specifically) we should remember that Newton didn't invent gravity either. Its always been there. He just defined it. As trumpet players we've always had a T/STF whether we knew it or not. At least from the time you first ventured above a G top of the staff that is. I made the discovery some ten years back while on a paid gig that became very tiring to the trumpets (myself and my buddy Bill). The whole gig was near constant playing and many many long tones. As the encore number came around in our final set I felt the need to showboat a little and cap the finale number with a High G (F concert pitch). All despite being nearly exhausted in the chops department. So I rested a trifle, like two bars or so and finished off the three bar coda with one of the solidest High G's I'd ever hit ( I have a good one by the way). A fermata was over the note and I held it out with every last licking bit of physical strength that was in my body. Hoping to hell that the music director wouldn't sustain the darn last note much more than six seconds or so. While holding this note it seemed like an eternity. Drama in slow motion... So at any rate here I am applying the last gram of energy left in my whole being and hoping to hell that the director cuts the thing off before: A. Either the note stops speaking thus creating a deafening and embarassing silence (this was a really loud loud note) or B. I pass out. Whichever comes first... Anyway during this brief moment and while sustaining the High G I noticed one astonishing condition: Though my mouthpiece was "jammed like lead to the floor" and applying near teeth bending pressure against my incisors I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO MUSCLES FLEXING IN MY LIPS AT ALL!!! At least no tension what-so-ever on that lip mass within the mouthpiece cup. In the weeks and years since then I have worked on understanding this condition and concept over and over. It dawned on me later on that the extreme mouthpiece pressure I was using at that time had increased my Threshold Factor ratio. That by jamming the darn horn against my poor lips I was able to LOOSEN my chops freely within the cup of the mouthpiece. In so doing the tone was freed up and a HUGE volume of tone poured out the bell of the horn on a very high note. So the next thought I had was: "How can I better define my Threshold Factor ratio without applying the horn so darned hard against my chops that my upper teeth are tested to the point of bending"? It was at this point that I discovered that the facial muscles could make this fulcrum all by themselves! That by making a sharper "contrast" of those muscles which do firm up and those that don't I could free up my center lip mass without jamming the horn so hard against my chops. As time passed I noticed that the more definition I chose to exercise between the flesh that stays firm and that which does not contract I could play louder and louder without jamming the dog gone horn so hard against my chops! Arm pressure cuts off lip circulation. This in turn reduces vibrancy. Requiring more and more work to gain the same results earlier in the gig before the chops were beaten. My endurance shot up another 100+%. Not to mention confidence on a gig. Another thing about T/STF that is cool is that since it is a physical constant it can be used by any trumpet player who chooses to learn to apply and use it. It isn't one of those "systems" like pedal tones which may or may not help a given trumpet player. T/STF will always help a trumpet player. The other significant chops concept which is applicable across the board is something the late Lee C defined as "Zone of Efficient Vibration" or "ZEV". Lee borrowed it from Roy Stevens and then expounded on it times ten. It simply means to leave a little extra upper lip mass descending below the upper teeth. Lip positioning on the mouthpiece being irrelevant to ZEV. In fact the best lip positioning on the mouthpiece is a variable factor best left to the trumpet player to decided for himself. With ZEV one can explain the reason why so many trumpet players can not play well above the High C. A condition that almost seems like a plague among the great masses of trumpet players. You've noticed this yourself I'm sure. How many decent trumpet players do you know who couldn't play above a High D to save their life? Answer: the great majority. One thing that the pedal tone systems often did was to shift the trumpet player to a higher lip placement on the mouthpiece. Maggio and Gordon promoted this. Sometimes this worked. Other times it failed miserably. In those cases where it did work it was due to an unintentional correction of the ZEV. In other words the higher lip placement on the mouthpiece automatically dragged more upper lip below the upper teeth. Unfortunately for most pedal tone adherents they would achieve variable results. Had they instead considered lowering their upper lip BELOW their upper teeth? Their results would have been more consistent. Play with the correct ZEV? Any intermediate to advanced trumpet player with existing weak upper register will almost instantly be able to blow a solid High F to G or so. Not making this up! Seen it happen on a predictable basis. Doesn't even surprise me any more. Other than the astonishment of those cats who discover how valuable a concept it is to themselves the whole idea seems almost a "ho hum" to me. T/STF and ZEV compliment each other. If you have a proper ZEV but weak T/STF? You'll have good register but weak endurance and accuracy. Have a good T/STF but improper ZEV? You'll have great endurance, accuracy and tone but little in the way of register above a High C. All the above is PROVABLE in every single application. Same as water seeking its own level. Or in other words, any intermediate to advanced trumpet player who learns to apply both T/STF and ZEV will certainly be able to cure his range and endurance problems quickly. At least to a High G* or so. No guess work here. Best of all its free. *Above the High G is another matter. Some trumpet players will develop these notes fairly easily. Others will struggle for decades. I know the answer as to why this is so but the explanation requires an understanding of what I call "deep embouchure theory". Something that is very difficult to explain let alone be expected to be understood. Plus the technique to develop Double C's in those who were initially limited to just the High G may require a sacrifice of time and effort the average person simply isn't going to put in. Nor should he even be expected to make this kind of commitment. However the inability to play Double C's is not a catastrophic limitation. Not compared to the stymie the great majority of trumpet players who are limited by the High C cut-off point. All said and done if I felt like it I could explain how to train anyone to blow a solid DHC. One way or another that is. There are several methods. The problem is that possibly all that they would have is that note and the few ones surrounding it. Possibly so anyway. Unless naturally endowed to develop this way each would find themselves very bewildered and prone to give up the experiment. Trumpet players get very depressed about range issues. Unless they see substantial results on a predictable basis each is likely to give up learning extreme range. You can't blame them. But I COULD show you how to do it. End brag share. Apologies in advance.