Downstream vs. Upstream

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jazz9, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It is much more than the direction of the air. That is merely a simplistic way of differentiating between possibilities. It is more like being right or left handed, a natural preference for jaw and tongue position with the corresponding muscle activity. Airflow is merely a product of your natural geometry.

    Many never find their preferences because they "ATTACK" playing instead of cuddling up with it. Our bodies talk to us. The higher levels of testosterone in many players prevents common sense listening until our inner voice starts screaming (and our playing has fallen apart).
     
  2. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    I've learned a lot from all the replies on this thread..........thanks. Yet another technical thought to bring to the bandstand. I''m reading "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner. I rushed through the first half of the book because it was a lot of New Age dialogue which is old stuff for me. But, I like what he says about too much thought and fear getting in the way of trusted instinct. I know there's a lot of ground to cover before becomming a "master" trumpeter, and I'll leave that dream to the young. Can you make beautiful music with your trumpet without knowing if your an upstream/downstream player? That's what's most important to me, and I believe a lot of beautiful playing can come from self discovery. Following your good instincts is safer than following a bad teacher...in my opinion.

    crow
     
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    You're spot on that following your instincts is better than following a bad teacher, but that assumes that your instincts are good. Which isn't always the case. But at least you save money if you follow bad instincts rather than following a bad teacher. ;-)

    Yes, you certainly can play beautiful music on the trumpet and can become a great player without ever knowing if you are an upstream or a downstream player. That whole concept is only one small tool in what should be a huge toolbox of trumpet playing tips, tricks and insights.

    I agree that a lot of beautiful playing can come from self-discovery, as long as one listens to other trumpet players and has a clear concept of the trumpet sound he/she wants to make and then works hard to match that concept with their playing.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The embouchure discussion usually comes up when we think that we are working too hard for the results achieved or when our peers are moving along faster than we are.

    There is no "rule of thumb", but I maintain if you are practicing less than 30-45 min per day, you have other things to get organized first. I have been teaching for over 30 years and have only had 3 students where ANY embouchure change was necessary. Most of our problems are caused by simply not practicing with the brain turned on.

    There is no cure for "dumb".
     
  5. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    I appreciate the two positive, and constructive responses above. . .

    crow
     
  6. PiperJon

    PiperJon New Friend

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    "Hello, my name is PiperJon, and I'm a 'downstream."

    I was reading through this discussion, and I do find it really interesting, and I looked at all the links re: Reinhardt and his Types and such. And I think all that is great. In its place.

    But damn if it doesn't take a lot of the fun out of things.

    I can see how having a direct and repeatable method to make modifications is great, particularly if it makes for better players, and I'm not knocking that at all. But there is only just so much 'science' to this music thing before it starts to ruin it and make it a mechanical, lifeless thing with no chutzpah. Just because you conquer the Embochure Frontier is not going to ensure that you are a good musician. You're more likely to become a good technician.

    I may not be the best player right now, and I may not ever become an amazing player, either. But I will, if nothing else, *never* be described as "static" or "mechanical" in my playing technique.

    I'll take "sucks" any day. :-)

    Pj
     
  7. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

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    I used to absolutely SUCK at trumpet playing.

    Then I discovered that I have an upstream embouchure and I made the appropiate adjustments.

    I now play Double High C's all day long and I get an absolute thrill out of it.

    Mechanical?

    A kid once commented on how my best friend would use his turning signal even though there was no other car behind him.
    My friend explained that using the turning signal was an automatic act that he didn't do consciously.

    Playing trumpet is like.
    When you first started trumpet somebody explained mouthpiece placement and trumpet tilt to you.
    Nothing about that was natural.
    It was something you had to learn.
    But soon that mouthpiece placement and trumpet tilt became automatic.
    If it was compatible with your embouchure type then you were one of the lucky ones.
    But if you had a different embouchure type, such as upstream, then you were in trouble because you were taught wrong from the very beginning.

    When I discovered that I have an upstream embouchure and I adjusted my mouthpiece placement and trumpet tilt, the good results were immediate.
    It was like having the right size shoes for the first time in my life.
    Within a few days that mouthpiece placement and trumpet tilt were so automatic that I didn't have to think about it anymore.

    When teachers were forcing me to use an embouchure type that I was not born with, THAT was NOT fun.
    Now that I am using the embouchure type that I was born with, I am sailing up to Double C's every day and having so much fun that it should be illegal :thumbsup:

    Dean
     
  8. PiperJon

    PiperJon New Friend

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    Now THAT's FUN! I'm with ya on that, ChaseFan.

    I made a sound like a duck being force fed a frozen pizza. That was fun too! I'll keep working on the double C, though, that would be awesome!

    :-)

    Pj
     
  9. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

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    You also have to take into account the type of trumpet player you want to be. Sure, double Cs are well and good, but they'll only get you so far. I put a lot more stock in musicality like what Piperjon is saying. It's great to be able to analyze these sorts of things, but in the end, it all comes down to what comes out the horn when you play it. Everything else is just a contributing factor. The majority of the audience isn't going to care what mouthpiece position or airstream you use. I really appreciate everyone's contribution to this thread. It's shown me that everyone has a different perspective on things. What I think may not be totally right. Everything I learn on here will just help down the road as I try to help myself and others play better trumpet. :)
     
  10. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

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    Mar 25, 2008
    I guess I've given a false impression.

    When teachers had me trying to play with a downstream embouchure although I was born with an upstream embouchure, everything about my trumpet playing was terrible.
    Tone, endurance, flexibility, range, attack.

    After I discovered that I was born with an upstream embouchure and made the necessary adjustments, everything about my playing immediately improved.
    Tone, endurance, flexibility, range, attack.

    The fact that I can now play Double High C's is just one facet, one symptom.

    You should identify your embouchure type and be sure that you are using methods consistent with that embouchure type so that ALL aspects of your playing will be maximized.
     

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