Joined: 26 Mar 2010
|Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:59 am Post subject: Constant Contact
|In Master Superchops Expanded Instructions, Jerry says
• “When playing from low C to double high C, the lower lip and wedge of your tongue must never pull back or drop downward!”, page 2.
• “…the wedge of the tongue must never release its full contact with your upper and lower lips.”, page 2.
• “Check yourself continuously: make sure the tongue wedge moves only the slightest amount when releasing the spit of air.”, page 2.
• “…make certain that the wedge of your tongue, apart from the tiny center tunnel, continuously contacts your upper lip and teeth. Do not allow any noticeable back and forth motion of the tongue. A failure here will be a failure to master Superchops.”, page 3.
A couple of days ago, I discovered that my tongue was leaving the top lip after most of my attacks and ALL of my sustained notes. Needless to say, after several months of diligent practice, my endurance had not improved. My sound, attacks, and volume all improved, but not my endurance and range.
The problem was sensation. I FELT that I was doing it right, but my sensations misled me. I think this is the biggest problem with learning anything new, especially something as physically technical as brass embouchure. How does a person KNOW that what he THINKS he’s doing is what he is ACTUALLY doing? Especially after decades of playing one way, it is difficult to even identify what it feels like to play another way. Specifically, I had never consciously curled my tongue as in MSC and attempted felt my upper lip while playing.
The last couple of days I tried to be more conscious of the position of my tongue while spit buzzing. This is when I discovered that I was pulling my tongue away from my top lip during sustained notes. I believe that I did this in an effort to get a bigger sound. WRONG. I knew intellectually that volume should be controlled by tongue to lip compression, but I was unconsciously trying to do it with more air. Spit buzzing allow me to identify this error.
Yesterday, as long as I could keep my tongue on my lips (except, of course, for the groove in the middle), I could just keep on playing. It really felt strong. Today, I was able to play 3 Clarke’s Characteristic Studies in a row. I can’t remember being able to do that before.
Now that I’ve identified the SENSATION of keeping the wedge on the lips, I’m looking forward to more progress.
I hope this helps someone.