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Lip set point



 
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natchezz
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Location: Circleville, Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2002 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm into my 4th week of MCFB as outlined in the Getting Started thread. I very defininately see improvements already!

Did Carmine talk about a lip set point? I've read other trumpet teachers say you should set your lip for a G on top of the staff for everything. Should I be setting for G on top of the staff, then relax a bit to start the Lesson 1 six-note exercise on the G an octive lower? If applicable, can you relate the lip set point to all the exercises in the Getting Started outline?

On the intervals that start pushing the limits of my current range, is it ok to relax my lip tension during the rests as long as I keep the mouthpiece on my lips?
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PH
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2002 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your lips need to be touching and your mouthpiece needs to be placed so that part of both lips are inside the rim circumference. THAT'S IT!

You just let the calisthenics and repetition take it from there. I suppose that your body and your unconscious mind do establish some kind of set point over time as the exercises do their work. The beauty of Carmine's approach is that this is yet another thing that you (the player) never have to think about! A peaceful mind is the best goal any player can aspire to.

As for relaxing lip tension during the rests (i.e. when breathing through your nose)...absolutely do not ever do that. As the instructions say, keep the setting and lip tension just as if your were still playing the note prior to the rest. Ignore the way it feels. Ignore the way it sounds. Don't "fix" anything or you'll undermine the way these studies accomplish their mission.

The goal is not to play higher on the interval studies. The goal is not to make your embouchure stronger. The goal is to establish balance and flow. The goal is to refine your coordination through a focus on the procedures and an obssession on timing. The range (and endurance, flexibility, beauty of tone, and every other desirable quality) comes as a natural and (seemingly) incidental result of pursuing the process religiously.
Follow the procedures exactly. Be consistent in your approach to the studies. Refine your timing. Keep the blow steady. Use the force!
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Wtrager
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2002 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did Carmine talk about a lip set point?

No he did not. Infact, the initial attack which is a breath attack actually sets the lips in their proper and best position.

On the intervals that start pushing the limits of my current range, is it ok to relax my lip tension during the rests as long as I keep the mouthpiece on my lips?

No, Do not relax. The object is to keep the tension the same, in this way there is little chance of manipulation.
Sincerely,
Wayne
http://communities.msn.com/TragerTrumpetTalk


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Emb_Enh
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have found it ''helped'' to think of setting for a G on top of the staff...try it ...it worked for me!!...you may find itbeasier to use a lip set point a little lower first, say 4th space E?

Roddy o-iii<O
http://www.R-o-d-d-y-T-r-u-m-p-e-t.cC

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[ This Message was edited by: Roddyo-iii<O on 2002-06-18 09:05 ]
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_Don Herman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine that most anything you care to try would be fine, be it setting for a G on top of the staff (Pops and others), curling or not, sticking your tongue between your lips and spitting, or (my favorite) praying to the high priest of mouthpieces that this one will be The One! Nuttin' wrong with any of this, and CC's method may lead you to do things like this to achieve the efficiency needed to do the exercises.

But. The CC method is meant to get your mind away from all this anaylsis and onto to simply making sounds in synch with your beat. It will lead your body to find a way to do it, or ya' ain't doing it right! For me, the only thought comes when something doesn't work and I start over, trying something a little differently. Making it through CC will force you to develop an efficient set of chops, airflow, and all the rest without to much self analysis, if you let it.

Easier said than done, particularly for a deeply analytical analog design engineer like me. I find it hard as all get out, as a matter of fact! Too often I want to stop in the middle, think about what's going wrong, and reset to try again. Charly, what would Carmine say about that? (Yeah, I know...) I think the whole idea is to make it so you can simply put the horn up and play; any thoughts other than the music will be a distraction (e.g., how should I set my lips to play that note, and let's see, I need to breathe on count 4 1/8 to get just the right amount of air, etc.) CC should get you to the point where you don't need to think about anything else, because you'll know if you put the horn up sound will come out.

Hopefully, good sound, but in my case... How's that old saying go? It's a holy instrument, because I play it but only the Lord knows what'll come out?

Not sure I've made my point too clearly, but maybe it's a start. I reckon a summary might be: "Do what you need to get the job done, but try not to spend a lot of time thinking about." Hopefully Charly will step in with his usual concise clarity and help us all out.

Yours in music - Don
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"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music." - Aldous Huxley
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Max Reverb
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've been relaxing between blows but still keeping my mouthpiece in contact with my lips. And getting good, consistent results. I'm awful positive that I read somewhere in this CC forum that it isn't absolutely necessary to keep everthing tense when doing the cals. I reread the text in MCFB and see where CC says to keep the tension, but then why did he even mention relaxing tension while keeping the mpc in contact with the lips? I understand the end result of getting balance and reducing the steps and not thinking about everything. But the statements about reducing these steps almost seems progressive, from 5 to 3 to 1. I tried keeping the the embouchure tense yesterday and couldn't even get thru the excercises individually. My sound got horrible and pinchy and pretty much stayed pinchy the rest of the session, even when I worked on other stuff. And there was the extraneous motions during the excercises. I know what you (PH and Charly) are gonna say...disregard the sound, don't think, it will all work itself out. I just seemed to be having better results relaxing between blows. I was doing the seconds s<L>s and thought I was actually gonna explode. Your comments as always will be appreciated.

[ This Message was edited by: Max Reverb on 2002-02-26 11:14 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Max Reverb on 2002-02-26 11:16 ]
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max,

"I'm awful positive that I read somewhere in this CC forum that it isn't absolutely necessary to keep everthing tense when doing the cals. I reread the text in MCFB and see where CC says to keep the tension, but then why did he even mention relaxing tension while keeping the mpc in contact with the lips?"

It has been questioned by some posters whether the tension should remain while nose breathing. It should. No where does CC mention relaxing the tension while keeping the mouthpiece in contact with the lips. Hold your position (while nose breathing) as if you didn't have to breathe, as if you are still playing the note on which you left off. THAT'S the way to do Caruso! For example, if the Caruso approach were to be translated to a non-wind instrument, there would be NO rests between intervals, harmonic scales, etc. The nose breathing procedure was created by Carmine to accommodate breathing in the least disruptive way of the setting that you start the exercise with. Every time you do a Caruso exercise, the setting that you use will be just one of thousands and thousands of settings that you will use to start a Caruso exercise. Think of it like a pendulum that keeps slowing down but never stops. Over time the average distance from complete rest becomes less and less to the point that, even tho the pendulum NEVER STOPS, the distance from straight up and down will become infinitesimal. At this point your percentages in playing are very high. THIS is the goal: HIGH PERCENTAGES, NOT PERFECTION!

"I tried keeping the embouchure tense yesterday and couldn't even get thru the exercises individually.

Completing an exercise does not mean finishing it. First of all, the interval studies have no end so they cannot ever be finished by achieving a certain high note. Completing an exercise means that, while following the Four Rules, you play until just air comes out, and then finish off whatever note or interval you might be on, with just the air coming out. That's it! You've completed that exercise. It's hard but, avoid be result conscious. ESPECIALLY do not predetermine how far you think you should be able to play any given exercise. This will vary from player to player and from day to day in the same player. STOP THINKING SO MUCH! JUST DO IT! (Thanks NIKE)

" My sound got horrible and pinchy and pretty much stayed pinchy the rest of the session, even when I worked on other stuff."

After doing Caruso exercises, play 5 low F#s pppp and hold them as long as possible without completely, totally running out of air. Build up to 40 seconds per note. Do these employing the Four Rules. This is a Caruso exercise that is not in the book. After doing these, put the horn down for fifteen minutes. When you come back, your sound should be free and open. I'm going to guess here that buzzing/mouthpiece drills, a la CC, might be in order. That's a whole other thing but, like pedals, can do wonders for the embouchure.

"And there was the extraneous motions during the excercises."

What were these extraneous motions?

"I just seemed to be having better results relaxing between blows."

Of course the immediate results will be better as to how well you play the exercises. Remember, **VERY IMPORTANT** You're not trying to play these exercises "better." You want to play them right. The things you want to play better are your music. The calisthenics are not music. They are what prepare you to play music. They are pre music. How they sound or far they go is irrelevant.

I know what you're going thru, but for now you may need a little faith that what you're doing will make you become the player you want to be. You'll go thru plateaus, etc., but if you are practicing Caruso correctly, should always be able to play music at the level that you could when you started the calisthenics. Then, at some point (usually within the first six months) your music playing will definitely become noticeably improved, and continue to improve for as long as you do the calisthenics.

Good questions and comments Max.

CR
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natchezz
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you guys for your patience in helping to clarify the details.

I don't see how anyone could just pick up the MCFB book and start doing the exercises correctly without the help of a former CC student.

Say I'm doing the 2nd interval. I get to the G-A-G above the staff, but all that comes out is G-A-G an octive lower due to my fatigue. So I continue to play (keeping the tension going) even though it's not the right pitch but a tone is still there, not just air. I keep going until only air happens even though that could be 3 or 4 more sets (of 3 notes), right? I'm still a little fuzzy on when to stop.
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right Natchezz. It would be difficult to do without help. It is such a radical approach.

"Say I'm doing the 2nd interval. I get to the G-A-G above the staff, but all that comes out is G-A-G an octive lower due to my fatigue. So I continue to play (keeping the tension going) even though it's not the right pitch but a tone is still there, not just air. I keep going until only air happens even though that could be 3 or 4 more sets (of 3 notes), right? I'm still a little fuzzy on when to stop. "

Stop when you can't make the notes play any higher or just air comes out. Work your lips to go higher and you may use all the pressure you want to get the notes. Just be sure you are following the Four Rules. Rest fifteen seconds and pick up where you left off until you can't go any higher or just air comes out. Always finish the effort to complete the last interval. After the second blow, the exercise is completed for that session.

CR
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Murray
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an interesting article about Laurie Frink describing Caruso's method. The address is: http://www.trumpetguild.org/conferences/conference99/friday/f14b.htm

When asked about "leaving muscles set during nose breath" her reply was, "The idea is just to leave the setting the same - not to keep it tense. The nose breath is not for isometric purposes; the muscles should stay quiet and relaxed."

It seems that this explanation differs a bit according to Charly. I just wanted to call your attention to what Ms. Frink said.
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Max Reverb
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that explains why I'm still making progress cuz I'm relaxing a bit but keeping the setting. I still think that even tho Carmine says that you should keep the tension, that this would be the ultimate, the mere fact he mentions the relaxing, this would still be better than taking it off the lips. Laurie Frink has been recognized as the heir apparent to Caruso and she does say that alot of times his method was customized for each student. FWIW. I'm curious what you think, Charly. You too Pat. You guys are awesome for devoting your expertise here. I still think you are gods of the trumpet.
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PH
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carmine's method was definitely customized for each student. With just the 6 notes study I have several friends that he gave different variations according to their particular needs. The version in MCFB is the most common, however.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that how well you play the exercises is important. The important thing is how closely you follow the procedures and how regularly you repeat the studies.

Often times I will sound good on the calisthentics or be able to take the interval studies higher than usual and that will turn out to be a relatively bad day when I go on to play music. On the other hand, I can remember a few times when I actually had the sound shut off on the six notes or I couldn't get out of the staff on the first setting of the interval studies and yet when I went on to playing music I was having a killer day. There is no direct relationship with how well you play the studies and how fast you improve. The relationship is between how closely you follow the procedures and how fast you improve.

At one point I had a dreadful head cold and couldn't breathe through my nose. Carmine told me to double the amount of time I allowed myself for the nose breath (i.e. 8 counts instead of 4) and see if that worked. He said that if I was so stopped up that I couldn't get an adequate nose breath in 8 counts then AS A LAST RESORT I could breathe through my corners as long as I didn't displace the setting. However, he told me that this was a last resort because there was no way that one could either relax the lip tension or breathe through the corners without subtly changing the mouthpiece placement and distorting the setting. This was to be avoided at all costs (said CC) because it would undermine the effectiveness of the exercises and retard my progress.

However, on the other hand you are not supposed to exaggerate the muscularity of the embouchure or set it unusually firmly. When you are playing the notes in the calisthenics you should play as normally as possible (within the four rules) and when you are resting you should keep set as if you were still playing. Don't overdo it, just do it!
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murray, Max and all,

First off, thanks to Murray for bringing this to the forum's attention. I am very interested in any updates and comments on Carmine that I can find.

I have an e-mail in to Ms Frink regarding her reported comments in that 1999 master class. Those comments are somewhat different than the advice being offered so far on this forum by Pat, Wayne and myself. If Ms Frink has the time and is gracious enough to reply to me, I will share her thoughts on this subject with the forum.

I will anxiously await her e-mail before commenting.

CR

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[ This Message was edited by: bugleboy on 2002-02-26 21:48 ]
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Max Reverb
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More food for thought:

Check out "The Basic Caruso" at:

http://abel.hive.no/trumpet/artist/friedrich/seminar/caruso

Check it out out, esp. #3 under "Six Basic Rules".

I was ignorant in stating that I read something in this forum about relaxing between blows. I purused ALL the threads!! I apologize. I must be pre-alzheimers. This is where i saw it, at the above web page. One too many internet surfs I think!! By the way, I did better today with the exercises and keeping tension. I've stuck to this MSFB for a month now and continue to see awesome results. And I will continue. I really believe in it. I had really solid G's above high C AGAIN!!!!! To Charly, Pat , Murray and Wayne in this ongoing, progressive strive to be the best one can be, THANKS!!! MANY THANKS!!!

[ This Message was edited by: Max Reverb on 2002-02-26 23:05 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Max Reverb on 2002-02-26 23:12 ]
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_Don Herman
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2002 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Max,

Since you've gotten the experts views I felt no need to contribute (couldn't improve what they've done). I'd like to note that OJ's site does have a few mistakes here and there, and I think Charly has corresponded with him regarding the Caruso info in particular.

Murray and Charly -- I'd love to see Ms. Frink's contributions. She's widely known as perhaps the best Caruso teacher available now. I've never met her, but many highly regarded people value her teaching (and playing) abilities greatly. It'd be great to see her additions to what's been said (and/or, not said).

Finally, I think the whole idea (well, one of 'em) of Caruso's method is to teach you how to play without excess tension, so hopefully we'll learn through the exercises to relax what needs relaxin' and to strengthen what needs' strengthening. Minimal movement is what the book says, as I recall. How does that relate to tension, in the lips and elsewhere? Just a thought...

Thanks guys (and gals, of course)! - Don
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"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music." - Aldous Huxley
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_bugleboy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2002 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Don,

"To often I want to stop in the middle, think about what's going wrong, and reset to try again. Charly, what would Carmine say about that? (Yeah, I know...) I think the whole idea is to make it so you can simply put the horn up and play; any thoughts other than the music will be a distraction (e.g., how should I set my lips to play that note, and let's see, I need to breathe on count 4 1/8 to get just the right amount of air, etc.) CC should get you to the point where you don't need to think about anything else, because you'll know if you put the horn up sound will come out."

Don, you have a funny way of answering your own questions sometimes.

Just remember, that doing a Caruso calisthenic does not need or imply that you achieve a particular degree of success on that exercise. You just do it, according to the rules (day after day, week after week, year after year), and then proceed to other exercises or etudes or scale studies, etc. Resist being result conscious while doing the calisthenics, it will only make you needlessly frustrated. A book that Carmine was introduced to by one of his students and would recommend to "thinkers" like you and me was "Zen And (In) The Art Of Archery." Can't think of the author off hand, but it should be easy enough to find. The book is written by a Westerner engaged in Japanese Zen as it is applied to archery. He keeps hoping for approval from his Zen master, thinking that he is improving his skill and getting closer to the goals of the Zen activity. The Zen master, however, has decided to dismiss him from the program as being a poor candidate for the Zen ideals in his resistance to instruction. The author had been thinking too much and applying his thinking to the physical activity in which he was being conditioned, against the instruction of his teacher.

Carmine never dismissed any one of course. He would just keep emphasizing, "DON'T THINK!" But,
even if you do think, you're playing will improve (in spite of yourself) but the thinking will definitely slow it down and, IMO, limit the absolute level that you can achieve. But even with thinking, you can still get to be pretty good! Carmine used to say that if you want something to think about while you're playing, think about your foot.

Regards,

Charly

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[ This Message was edited by: bugleboy on 2002-02-28 14:09 ]
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_Don Herman
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2002 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yo Charly -- Thanks for the response! Yeah, it's amazing how often a properly stated question is (or leads to) its own answer. The "Zen..." book I've heard about; maybe it's finally time to break down and get it. Finally, thinking about my foot might help me keep it out of my mouth more often...

Take care - Don
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jgadvert
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2002 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I can add one thing to this that is helpful to me(in attempt to get the lips to touch) is always pushing upward with my lower lip towards my upper lip. I naturally curl my lips in a bit and that helps to(achieve compression).
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