Hitting the High Notes.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jackaman321, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Meathead exercises can be great for a comeback player or a pro hit with one of those back to back WO's, Carmina Burana's, Tellemann Psalm 111's, Holst's Planets or such (combined with a same day rehearsal) with a week and a half notice. The coordination is a given, as are the breathing, the aural concept and other skills.

    We have a choice. We can train like a professional wrestler, or like a professional football/soccer player.

    Either way, the goal is to be able to give violists and conductors effective head-butts.

    Critics, too.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The success of any method is subject to a statistical spread often called the "bell curve". There is a small percentage that "get it", that never will and the rest in between would profit in varied proportions from any other "system" too.

    Most marketing people ignore this spread as everyone HAS to believe that this is the only truth.

    Part of the eye openers in life are realizing that there is no single road to success. Our body and brains are too individual for that. That is why the ear is our most important tool, not our intellect.

    Anatowind is a very interesting approach for some. I can recommend that we all read about it. Jumping on the bandwagon is another thing all together. That should be planned with someone that we trust a great deal.
  3. markquinn

    markquinn New Friend

    Jun 9, 2009
    Anatowind addresses the fact that each person is an individual. We each have unique formations of teeth lips and jaw. Please recommend that all read about the system. That was the intent of my post, to share the information for others to be aware of and to make their own choices.
  4. vntgbrslvr

    vntgbrslvr Piano User

    Oct 10, 2008
    Waukesha, Wisconsin
    I studied Anatowind many years ago with Jim Simmons (mid to late 80's). At the time he felt highly enough about me to want me to help train others on the system....I ended up declining and getting on with operating a family printing business instead, but understand the premise of the system itself. I haven't been in contact with Jim but a few times since back then...so I'm not a shill for him. Just an old friend that respects the method.

    The method is sound. The idea is to build a solid musculo-skeletal foundation. If/when things get a bit off, it's a regimen that can bring you back into shape rather easily. I know...I used it to bring my chops back after a 15 year hiatus. I'm not selling for anyone. Just showing respect for a scientific approach to the embouchure that few ever really study or understand.

    There's a whole lot of mystery surrounding the chops for most trumpet players....This method helps understand the big picture. It takes each person's structure individually, and fine tunes it to work to it's full potential. Now this can happen to people by practicing naturally or by good fortune just like a gifted athlete, but to really improve muscular structure, (including breathing), training makes sense. Even for athletes.

    I'm far from a specialist, and I don't rely on my chops to make a living, but for a weekend warrior. It's a solid regimen and a great way to understand what's really happening with your chops and why. Much of the mystery and guesswork is eliminated because just like a well trained athlete that knows their muscular strengths and weaknesses and works to improve them.....you understand what it takes to make the embouchure work, and are given a way to help improve your muscular structure to help support your chops.

    I'm finding this thread to be somewhat ironic Rowuk. Every time you talk about not using hardware to compensate (which I agree with wholeheartedly), I think of Jim Simmons while I was studying his methods....Telling me to "Stick with the piece I had"... its not the hardware.....It's the anatomy :) I think that while you still need to practice to keep your fine motor skills up...The Anatowind method is like the bottom of a pyramid. It helps create a foundation for tone and endurance that supports the fine motor processes that we all need to practice to improve.

    Is this the only method? Absolutely not. Does it work? Absolutely. Do I use it daily anymore....I have to say no....As I said I am a weekend warrior...There are times when I have long gaps without playing. When I get back to it....These methods are a great way to bring my chops back into shape quickly.

    I would consider it a building block type process. Really great for beginners to study and learn about their muscular skeletal construction and ways to build a great foundation for a strong embouchure. For experienced players....it may take an overwhelming commitment to look at things differently and go through the process of change. There is a link to an article on their site that addresses the fear of changing one's embouchure.

    While I believe that the basis of the system will work well for anyone, It's probably best utilized by someone that feels as if they are struggling with durability or range even though they practice regularly.
  5. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    wynton marsalis calls it "shedding" in his documentary... he said something along the lines of not enjoying it at all, but in order to get better, we gotta do it... that marsalis... thats a great book btw... if you get a chance find it... i cant remeber the name, but he talks about his child hood and it is very interesting, a good learning experience for us all...
  6. Sparks

    Sparks New Friend

    Jan 2, 2009
    Rochester, MN
    Jack's question on "hitting," or playing high notes, I think part of it is mental and applying some practice and with time they'll come out. Not sure if everyone here will agree but part of the problem is trumpet players get so caught up in the fact that this note is high, that I think we strain the muscles around the face or work them harder than necessary, don't use air, clench up our throat, etc. When we're younger facial muscles haven't developed and we need to work harder to play what we feel at the time are high hard notes.

    Basic thoughts are keep the lip corners tight, center of the lips together and flexible, think faster air, little higher frequency vibration, arching of the tongue, and refrain from using pressure especially on the top lip. I don't condone the pressure thing, but unless one is playing higher than double high Gs, shouldn't have to use more pressure, one can't rely on pressure to increase the range. Lip slurs or arpeggios seem to help me, try Charles Colin Advanced lip slurs. Also, Rowuk here gave a great tip about practicing playing some pianissimo scales. Just be patient and don't try to pull out "the hulk" method.
  7. markquinn

    markquinn New Friend

    Jun 9, 2009
    Good Morning:

    Great to hear from you. I have currently been at the Clinic for the last two days discussion moving Anatowind into my band program in the fall and my personal performance.

    I plan to see Jim in the morning before I return to Cleveland and will be sure to share your regards.

    Your comment below is a very powerful statement:

    a whole lot of mystery surrounding the chops for most trumpet players....This method helps understand the big picture. It takes each person's structure individually, and fine tunes it to work to it's full potential.

    A fair amount of discussion in my program today was centered around how I was moving forward with hooking up air into the head structure and how it releated to the the total muscular formation of the lower partials of sound when analyzed on the strobe. There were three other trumpet players in the session and it was a great discussion because each of us could relate to the others comments through their individual understanding of their personal Teeth, Lip and Jaw formation.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Mattel had this solved with their Barbie doll MANY years ago. There was even a song about it:
    She's a Barbie girl in her Barbie world, wo-oh-oh
    A brain of plastic, she's so spastic..................

    I would be interested in what a forced Anawind really accomplished in a band program as many players are not interested in how it works and if it becomes "work" they leave the program.

    You will also face the reality that one size does not fit all and that sometimes just being greatful for a 60 piece band with some natural talent is better than an optimized quintet for the elite.

    The purpose of school music programs is exposure. Development comes to those who can take the ball and run with it.
  9. vntgbrslvr

    vntgbrslvr Piano User

    Oct 10, 2008
    Waukesha, Wisconsin

    The whole point is to take what God gave you on an individual basis, and optimize it with the scientific understanding of your specific musculo-skelatal traits, and how they apply to the creation of your specific "Ideal" embouchure.

    Much like your advice that typically defaults to basics. That's what Anatowind does. It gets you in touch with a basic setup that you train with to "wake up" the deeper supporting muscular structure. Typically a set position on your embouchure with long low tones used to tax the muscular set. Like a body builder. This trains your muscles and strengthens them so they give full support when used normally in playing.

    No one has suggested this is the be all do all, just that it warrants exploration. I have supported Marks comments because I felt that he was being dismissed because of his closeness to the clinic. All he's doing is expressing his opinion in something that he believes in. I happen to believe in the system as well. In Truth, your recommendation to build a foundation on low long tones and slurs is not all that different than the Anatowind method. The main different between your recommendation and theirs is that theirs is backed up with science that is explained. Yours is backed by experience. Both require faith and effort to work well.

    Again...I don't know Mark (never met him until I saw him post here)....I haven't been in touch with the clinic in years.....I haven't posted about Anatowind in the past and I have over 80 prior posts......I have no dog in this fight other than truth and honesty, and the suggestion that people look at the method with an open mind.
  10. markquinn

    markquinn New Friend

    Jun 9, 2009

    If you are interested in what an Anatowind program can do with a band program, contact Tom Burt through the Clinic. He is currently using the Anatowind science with his middle school program with great success. I met with him yesterday as a matter of fact.

    I have to disagree, there are a great many people who ARE interested in "how it works" this board is a large example of just that. I take a look at the questions in the forum posts and many are from players who are, just like us, seeking to get better on their performance every day. Take a look at the questions being asked just today:

    First trumpet lesson
    Hit a new roadblock - throat tension

    Took a 1 Week Break..

    In the “ I took a one week break” thread, you responded to this thread with the following statement: You should get your playing act back together. Get back to your daily routine and your playing will return to the way it was.

    1 day off= 2 days to get back in shape
    2 days off= a week
    4-6 days need a month
    a month needs 2-3 months
    any more than that we calculate in years.

    I agree with you that taking time off causes a cooling off of the muscular functioning. But how can you prove that taking all the time off causes a fall back in years. If that were the case, I should not even bother to pick up the horn after taking 15 years off. I am just a lost cause because there is not enough time in my life to return to playing shape. There are elements of truth in that statement, but there is also some information that is not accurate. It is time that the instrumental community address some of these common statements musicians make and correct areas that are incorrect before we pass them on to our students to perpetuate another generation of inaccurate information.

    There is no substitute that work is part of the issue. You have stated that in some of your posts on the board. Muscular function is a form of work. Understanding where your natural embouchure is the key before you can move forward to improve it.

    People seem to be caught up on the concept of "Analyze, Paralyze" “I can not follow all that, or I do not need to know it.” I am not going to debate what you have currently functioning in your embouchure works for you to the current extent of your performance. You are working within the abilities of your natural embouchure and individual teeth, lip and jaw formation, i.e. your physiology. If that statement was not true, you would have stopped performing by now. That said, are you going to say that understanding the anatomically correct functioning of how your muscles work in relation to your performance would not be valuable? The whole concept of sports medicine and physical therapy is built upon making performance better through understanding and correcting muscular function in relation to the application (sport, music, walking, whatever).

    You said that 60 naturally talented players are better than an optimized group and I should be grateful to get them. Who would not be thrilled to get a group of kids together who have natural talent and show them how to use what God gave them to the best of their ability? What about the other 100 kids that started and did not stick with it because people told them, "They don’t have it."? Or they worked their butt off doing what we tell them and still are not able to produce a good tone, because they have poor lower jaw contact and do not produce a properly formed fundamental to the sound, can not articulate clearly, or maybe making to high school and can’t multiple tounge as a result? What did that do to the student's self worth about how they perceive themselves and the effort they extended to try and make it work? Do we call that collateral damage or acceptable loss? I do not think you would find that statement acceptable if your child was one of the “acceptable losses”.

    Further more, the standards based education that is being applied in the school districts across the country will not allow that train of thought to continue. It is expected for each child to be able to learn, produce and understand the concepts being presented in the classroom. It’s not uncommon to have my principal come into my classroom during a lesson and ask a child point blank, “What are you learning, explain this to me, show me how it works...”. The student’s explanation needs to be able to be traced back to a musical standard set forth by the national and state standards that I as the teacher am saying that I am covering at that point. Anatowind’s 50 years of research and study align with these standards and give acceptable, definable vocabulary that allows consistent clear communication of concepts, applications, and results in terms of: tone, tempo, volume, range and endurance.

    What you suggest is that I take what the law of averages is giving me. Work with the kids that "get it", those who CAN “take the ball and run with it” and let the others fall by the way side. I refuse to accept this.

    I started in 5th grade as a kid who "got it", playing was effortless to me. I was awarded principal chairs, awards, and opportunities without having to spend hours and hours of practice. It just “happened”. I had braces change my teeth formation and my jaw slant. That change in my physiology was catastrophic to my playing. Endurance measured in hours fell to minutes and ranges dropped by over an octave. NO ONE had the answers to help me correct my playing. I studied with some of the best teachers I could find, I was actively seeking them out once I made the choice to move into music as a career. One happened to be a former Boston Symphony player who had a reputation for helping troubled players. I learned a lot from him, and cherish the time spent; however the fact remains, my underlying problems were not addressed, nor corrected. A musical performance cannot supersede they physiology that creates it.

    The simple matter is that music education at this point in time does not commonly have the answers to physiology. As a result, I became one of those kids who tries really hard, but does not really "have it." Nobody every said it that way, but it was clear. I got passed that 5th part when it was called for in Jazz ensemble, did not make the cut for the upper ensembles within the university, etc. Do you have any idea what that kind of label can do to a person who works his butt off spending hours in the practice room and has no real accepted improvement to show for his efforts??? Just telling someone to go relax and work it out does not EXPLAIN HOW TO DO IT. I can remember sitting in the trumpet studio hearing, just breath better and it will happen; ok, and what if it does not happen? What then?

    That is not to say I was not able to complete my program and move forward. Some people would look at what I did and say that I have done rather well. But I, The PERSON, knows that I did not achieve my potential. That is the key concept to Anatowind. Music starts with the person.

    Through my study at the clinic, I learned that I was not in contact with my crown tooth, and I was also not centered on the head structure. As a result, I was not using all the muscles in their correct function. I was over a period of a performance, taxing areas in the upper lip to the point of fatigue and collapse. Some people would say that I need to rest then and just practice to build it up. Fine but if the performance was a lead trumpet in a rock band for 4 hours and I could only make 2, that was a problem no amount of rest and practice was going to fix at this point. Playing the same muscular funtion during the next session was going to produce the same result. Consider the following quote: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. "Albert Einstein

    Just as importantly, I was going to lose the job to someone who COULD play that position. What purpose did it serve to ACCEPT this limit and live with it under the illusion that enough rest and practice in the proper order would fix it. I would lose the performance job I enjoyed, not get paid for work I wanted to do and also still be stuck with the underlying problem that was the root cause of it all!!

    I worked through a course of study to begin to correct this. It was not magic, it was dedicated effort. I did not destroy my playing with an embouchure change either as conventional music would have you think.

    It’s my hope that a child I start will not have to walk in the shoes I did because he has gotten off to a proper physiological start and formed himself correctly.

    I will say again, and again. If you are looking to address the core issues that are presenting a problem to reaching your performance goals, go look at this information. Study the information and decide if that course of performance is one you wish to pursue.

    Anatowind starts with the person in the study of music. Each individual needs to make their own choice. You can find the Anatowind homepage at Anatowind Music Clinic Where physiology and music meet.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009

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