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An ongoing case study. A major embouchure change

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:48 pm    Post subject: An ongoing case study. A major embouchure change Reply with quote

This Thursday it'll be two months since starting the change. A little about what I'm doing.

I. Keeping my original embouchure to play rehearsals and gigs but otherwise only practicing the new one.

II. This is not a minor or cosmetic change. Not like putting a little more upper or lower lip in the mouthpiece. This is a radical shift of my jaw position. Changes the angle of the horn coming off my face upwards between 20 to 21 degrees. Am also significantly changing the texture of my lower lip on the mouthpiece. Rolling it halfway out. In order to lengthen the aperture channel. It is this + the forward jaw positioning which has picked up another octave and a half above my former range.

The thing squeaks to well above triple C but Im not concentrating on that.

III. The goal is to achieve a clear octave or more usable range. My original chops are pretty decent. Good to high G and maybe an A to B flat above once in a while. Very experienced, big lead sound. Yet there is no way that my existing chops will ever hang a double C or higher easily. I could go into the reasons for this in a separate topic. This one is just to post results. I may update it every now and then.

Condition today: Am very glad that the first two months are over. The experience has been like a time travel back to when I was a kid and struggling with the trumpet. Just to do easy things.

After two months I'm getting more secure at initiating a tone. Practically each day it gets a bit easier to center the pitch. Something which my original embouchure learned to do 50 years ago.

My biggest foe seems to be over-training. Pushing my weaker muscles too fast. Resulting in swollen chops requiring more down time to recirculate themselves.

Short practice sessions played twice or 3x daily are more helpful than long ones. I take 1 to 2 days off per week. Due to these new muscles needing down time.

Although the new system can play solid tones up to F above double C? The embouchure responds better to middle and lower register practice. I havent done this many long tones since elementary school. As mentioned, the experience re-visits my younger days.

I now have a healthy respect for anyone who can merely play up to high C musically. Including myself. As even these basic skills did not get learned in one weekend.

Conclusion, If anyone is still interested? I may report back in 1 to 2 months. Goals for March thru April,

1. Be able to play some middle or lower register sectional parts in rehearsal without sounding unprofessional. I'm not expecting Wynton Marsallis tone by Spring. Just a decent tone which starts an attack fairly accurately on perhaps one octave of notes. Say G top of the staff down to second line G

2. To gain a smoother transition from lower register to high. This has already shown good progress.

3. To be able to blow long phrases such as Clarke Studies without the tone breaking or fading. This too has improved just in the past two months.

Over all? Its been real work but lots of fun. A huge opportunity is around the bend. Ive just gotta keep on keepin on.
A whole Earth and Sun may have to die and be born again before we see his kind once more. Who is he? Maynard Ferguson 1928 - 2006. He the one so greatly loved and missed.
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