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I Sacrificed My Sphygmomanometer in The Name of Science


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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a feeling a trumpet player named Larry Meregillano read this thread or heard about my little gadget. Because now he's "invented" it (based on a video link one of my trumpet students sent me). Or to be fair, he's taken my idea and expanded upon it. My intentions were just to measure the ability of trumpet players (and non-players) to generate air pressure. He's now marketing the device as a way to build up "compression" strength in the muscles of the oral cavity (face and tongue I presume). Never mind that "compression" (if one is talking about increasing air pressure) is done by the blowing muscles, where as the tongue level, lips and facial muscles work together to create resistance, not pressure.

I thought about the idea of using the device to build up blowing strength but concluded that all the blowing strength one needs can be developed practicing the correct trumpet exercises correctly (namely, Flexibilities, Clarke Technical Studies practiced into the upper register, and Claude's Systematic Approach exercises).

But maybe I'm wrong. Who knows. Maybe Larry's onto something. Time will tell!

As a side note, during the time since starting this thread I have been really busy with lessons and now work as a critical care nurse and while I still get plenty of playing in because I play back and forth with my students during lessons about 15 to 20 hours a week, I rarely go through the Systematic Approach material with them (I feel it's more important to run through the flexibilities and technical studies and also etudes on occasion with them as once the Systematic Approach exercises are demonstrated and explained, there's not much nuance to them).

Since I have no time for to practice on my own, what I play with my students is about it. And of note, during this past year I have rarely been doing the air power building exercises in Systematic Approach (the Part One exercises throughout the book). And not coincidentally I think, I can no longer generate 180 mm Hg on the pressure gauge. I'm down to 160 now. And my G above High C ain't what it used to be... I can still "hit" a double C but just barely. I'm finding that if I don't' practice the needed material I'm sort of becoming Cinderella's horses at midnight.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My device (first written about here in April 2019):


https://i.postimg.cc/GhNfy5jB/image1-4.jpg

Larry's "invention" (published on YouTube July 2020):


https://i.postimg.cc/bvFg7GFZ/Larry.jpg
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oxleyk
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John, time to lawyer up.

Kent
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had forgotten all about this. Also don't have the inclination to see if I have commented before.

Seems to me that if you have an efficient, resonant system, that you can get pretty darn loud with not a whole lot of effort expended.

So just blowing your guts out playing high isn't really measuring anything of any import.

I would like to see who can play the highest, yadda, with the least amount of effort!

Tom
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw him posting about an idea where he was sourcing parts on facebook. If he was inspired by this thread, he didn't seem to remember it, and I'd guess there are other similar gadgets. You can search google patents and there are certainly breath training/measuring things for trumpet.

Larry seems like a decent guy and from the lesson offers I've seen him post, I certainly wish him well and hope he can make up some lost income. That said, I think this is the type of thing where the execution will make a big difference. It's a lot like the valve fingering trainers, where maybe there was a patent at some point but right now a lot of places are making them.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HaveTrumpetWillTravel wrote:
If he was inspired by this thread, he didn't seem to remember it...



Nope, he sure didn't.

To be clear, I have no intention of pushing the issue. If Larry got the idea from my creation of the exact same device a year earlier, I just would have appreciated it if he'd reached out to me. But it's no biggie.

Maybe he'll make some money with the device and the practice program he's creating around it. The guy makes what living he does working on Cruise ships - and right now that's obviously on hold for the foreseeable future. I wish him well.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry reached out to me and has assured me he came up with the way to measure the air pressure on his own and it's just a coincidence that we both came up with the same idea. I'm fine with that and I wish him well with his training system (said system he clearly came up with on his own).

Cheers,

John
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adagiotrumpet
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This being such a complicated and sophisticated device, who would believe two people might come up with the idea independently? Larry is owed an apology.
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry doesn't quite grasp the mechanics of air when playing and makes some erroneous claims about the tongue "creating" air pressure.

There is nothing "patentable" about this. The static air pressure would be measured if there is no flow. (As John pointed out)

The fact that you are blowing into a trumpet mouthpiece is irrelevant.

You would get the same pressure measurement if you simply inserted a portion of the tube into the mouth and clamped the lips around it and then created air pressure by exhalation OR isolated oral pressure.

Also, you could get the same resistance by simply blocking the mouthpiece with your fingertip.

It would seem that one might be more interested in measuring the air pressure in the oral space while playing. Which could easily be accomplished with the same device and a smaller tube through the mouth corner.
(Tube diameter is irrelevant since there is essentially zero flow to the measuring device)

Quote:
Larry reached out to me and has assured me he came up with the way to measure the air pressure on his own and it's just a coincidence that we both came up with the same idea.


Neither of you are the first to measure exhalation air pressure by blowing into such a device. And neither did you invent the transducer device itself.
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On Sarah Willis's show once she had a prof who demonstrated a device for lung capacity. I think having something affordable that uses a mouthpiece is a decent idea. I probably won't buy one, but I think it could definitely offer a reality check or some metric for students, and I could see it being useful for teachers.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HaveTrumpetWillTravel wrote:
... a reality check or some metric for students, and I could see it being useful for teachers.

--------------------------------------------
Yes it could be useful to diagnose a situation of someone not being able to generate enough pressure. But I suspect that the vast majority of healthy players can produce enough pressure for playing up to high C.

A danger with such devices is placing too much emphasis on generating high pressure without regard for proper lip / embouchure technique. High pressure and 'more air' cannot overcome a bad embouchure that prohibits lip vibration.

First develop an embouchure that is capable of producing the desired vibrations and pitches, and then be concerned with producing the air flow to make it work.

Jay
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kalijah wrote:
Neither of you are the first to measure exhalation air pressure by blowing into such a device. And neither did you invent the transducer device itself.


Of course! I just figured it was my idea to use the particular gauge and rubber tube from a relatively inexpensive Sphygmomanometer attached to the end of a trumpet mouthpiece to measure the oral air pressure. Then I saw Larry's video showing him using the same device setup more than a year later. Larry has assured me he came up with the similar setup on his own.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
HaveTrumpetWillTravel wrote:
... a reality check or some metric for students, and I could see it being useful for teachers.

--------------------------------------------
Yes it could be useful to diagnose a situation of someone not being able to generate enough pressure. But I suspect that the vast majority of healthy players can produce enough pressure for playing up to high C.

A danger with such devices is placing too much emphasis on generating high pressure without regard for proper lip / embouchure technique. High pressure and 'more air' cannot overcome a bad embouchure that prohibits lip vibration.

First develop an embouchure that is capable of producing the desired vibrations and pitches, and then be concerned with producing the air flow to make it work.

Jay


YES!!!!!!!!!

With one additional point:

While it is important to develop an embouchure that functions well, and all the brute strength in the world cannot make up for a deficient embouchure, there are a couple of facts to bear in mind:

1) When it comes to the notes well above High C (perhaps the F above it and higher), we develop that range through a combination of strength building and coordination (aka the "feel" or "knack" of how to set the embouchure and tongue level to play those high notes).

2) Whether we are talking about ballet, gymnastics or high note trumpet playing, one cannot develop the feel or knack for something they do not already have the strength to do.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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Trumpetingbynurture
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do think Larry came up with it independently.

It's very much an extension of stuff he's been talking about for several years.

Incidentally I think Larry was also a Claude student for a while.
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