Head Motion

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Manny- I am working some expanding intervals. P. 127 in Arban's, to be specific.

    I notice tthat when I begin to approach and pass a 6th, my head begins to bob up and down (pivot), especially as I increase tempo. I am almost positive that this is why my low register is not as clear as I'd like. (I also suspect it is keeping my accuracy from being what it should be).

    Any tips to alleviate this?
     
  2. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    I have been working on the Thompson Buzzing Book. In it he discusses embouchure shift between the lower and upper range, the bulk of the book is on working on bringing one embouchure setting through the whole range from the pedel to the hi g. Have found that helps with intervals.
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Glenn,

    This is a huge discussion that I may have the time to talk about maybe tonight. It's an enormous issue for brass players and I wonder if it has to be. I have lessons to teach today and if I haven't passed out after "Everybody loves Raymond" (in syndication) so I'll catch you later.
    thanks for bringing this up. I'll try to do justice to the topic.

    ML
     
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Thanks. Ill be looking, Manny, but understand that feeling completely!
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Okay, let's tackle this.

    As I was coming up, it became obvious to me that there were people that stayed quite still when they played and people that moved all over the place. Well, up and down, mostly. The folks that stayed the samed seemed to have relatively few problems and the ones that moved vertically had inconsistent sounds. I became aware of the fact that I didn't move much when I happened to see my bell in a mirror as I was playing an arpeggiation of some sort. It became a bit of a game and I tried to play as low and high as I could without the bell in the mirror moving. To this day, I'm still like that and noticed it again when Dave made the video clips with me at Orchestra Hall.

    There are ALWAYS exceptions to any situation. Vince Cichowicz is a perfect example. He pivoted quite a bit when he played but his sound was always centered.

    I have to believe that the embouchure functions best when movement is minimal. I think of the embouchure as a point of stabilization, a foundation. Even the best built skyscrapers sway a bit in a strong wind but it won't topple as a result of some flexibility.

    Here's the way I think it should work:

    The corners or the buccinator muscles should have a supple firmness to them like any well-developed muscle. The center part of the embouchure needs more suppleness or flexibility to open and close subconsciously in response to the demands of pitch made by the thinking part of the brain. It's sort of like a large soap bubble. There's the outer part which connects to a given flat surface and the inner part that moves while the outer stays attached. When there's too much strain on the outer part it bursts.

    Strength is required to maintain the "fixed" embouchure. Without that strength, as a player ascends into the upper register the corners will curl up and weaken. The sound gets thinner and gradually a different sound emerges. So, when a player plays flexibility exercises, if there is an undue collapse of the corners, the mouthpiece angle slowly changes downward. The problem is that there is ony so far you can continue the downward slope before the embouchure is completely corrupted and the pitch is way sharp.

    The key is to always listen to the quality of sound. If you play and the sound is clear and centered, I don't particularly care what angle you have, it's the right one. If you ascend or descend and you are capable of maintaining the optimal sound THAT is what is most important. Any exercise you play must have the clarity of sound as its ultimate goal.

    If a player does too much curling of the corners, that will affect the sound. If a player engages in consciously arching the tongue without regard to sound/center quality, that will affect the sound. If a player tries to play every tone without allowing the embouchure to make its many fine adjustments, in essence freezing the lip, that will affect the sound.

    Some people will like those sounds and others will not. One very important thing I learned from Alexander technique lessons is to keep the templo-mandibular joint relaxed. That is, the point where the jaw meets the temple part of the skull needs to feel loose and almost separated. Try that right now. Pretend to disengage the two sections of your skull and you'll feel what a liberatingly relaxed feeling that is. Notice how the throat opens, as well? That's important. Now here's the problem: you're going to notice how flat your upper register is if you actually manage to maintain that position. That's why I play the particular brand of mouthpiece I do. I can play relaxed and in the center without worrying about my upper register going flat. 'Nuf said about that.

    Center, sound, core... that's what we want and keeping things from moving around is a good start for most of us without worrying about the exceptions for right now.


    ML
     
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Manny- Thank you very much. There's alot to think about there. My first step is going to be to listen to myself a bit more for consistency of sound across the horn. I think I know where to go to work on that, both in terms of location and excercise sources. Thanks again.
     
  7. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

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    Speaking of the TMJ (temporo mandibular joint)
    - When we talk about pivoting etc, I really like the simplification that David Hickman has suggested (the Reinhardt classifications can be quite hard to grasp).

    About TMJ, let me quote from a great posting by him (on TH):
    Manny do you have a "floating jaw"? ;-)

    Ole

    P.S.
    The rest of Hickman's post is here:
    http://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=392951&highlight=#392951
     
  8. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    I guess I'm confused, OJ.

    Since I don't pivot when I play but my jaw is forward does that qualify me as a pivoter or a jaw floater? You mentioned Dr. Reinhardt whose pivoting concepts I've read and don't subscribe to. So, that's why I'm not sure what you're asking, my friend.

    Later,

    ML
     
  9. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

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    Sorry, should not have mentioned Reinhardt. (Felt the same as you after reading that book)

    About the "non-floaters", Hickman says:
    The perhaps more interesting point in Hickmans post is at the end. That some exercises work very well for some players. Since Clarke had "floating jaw" (according to Hickman) - long tones did not work well for him, but "moving long tones" did.

    Dokshizer was "brough up" on long tones (his teacher, Tabakov, called them "white notes") and Dokshizer also has them in his own method book.

    Ole
     
  10. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Okay, gotcha ( a quaint American phrase for "Why, yes... now I understand").

    ML
     

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