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Six Note Flexus



 
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trumpet56
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:55 pm    Post subject: Six Note Flexus Reply with quote

A student has recently purchased Flexus. IMO this is a really well thought out book and a great extension of Carmine's teaching. However I have one question?
"Mouthpiece pressure and tension in the corners should be relaxed during the measure rest".
When I studied the Caruso method with one of his students he was adamant Carmine insisted that he was not to relax the pressure or tension in the embouchure.
This is the way I have always approached Carmine's teaching.

I am not trying to start a flame war but asking for the reasons behind this quote, and if there are other Caruso practitioners who had a similar instruction from Carmine?
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do it either way. If you relax the muscles and take the pressure off, try to do it carefully and not disturb the setting. Doing it this way could make the exercise last a little longer. If you keep the pressure on and keep the muscles flexed then you won't have to worry about disturbing the setting.

And remember that how far you go on a setting is not the measure of success.

As I remember it there were very, very few things that Carmine was absolutely adamant about.
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bagmangood
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

somewhere in the depths of this forum there's an explanation (from Laurie) of why Flexus has relaxing the corners (I'm going to paraphrase):

"There can be harm in doing these exercises while maintaining the set" BUT whenever someone was studying she would have them maintain the set.

Thought is that the content in Flexus (similar to MCFB) is the "average" and consumable without expert instruction.
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chrisneverve
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One goal of the long setting exercises is to train the embouchure to play in all ranges with the same setup. Sometimes the main goal is a calisthenic workout, but not all the time.
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Jerry Freedman
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carmine adjusted his teachings according to the needs of his students. Instructions on how to do a particular exercise might vary from student to student. It is entirely possible that what he told student A about maintaining pressure etc during the rests would be different from what he told student B. This is why the various books by various highly esteemed teachers are not quite as good as real, person to person in these days zoomed lessons
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gstump
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was told to maintain the embouchure during the rest. I relaxed during the rests and Carmine did not seem to have a problem with that. But he would say to not break the corners.

As was stated above, keeping tension during the rest will generally result in a shorter first set. Who wants that!

It is human nature to want to go farther and farther. I never asked my students to maintain tension during the rest. But either way is fine.
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PH
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is specifically designed to keep people who buy and use the book without guidance from Laurie, John or another equally qualified teacher. The biggest problem with people who use Flexus (or MCFB) without having extensive study with one of the small handful of folks who really understand the approach is the consistent misunderstanding that the purpose of the nose breath is to build strength...feel the burn...no pain-no gain. Wrong!

That is absolutely NOT what this is about!

The purpose of the nose breath and keeping the pressure, embouchure tension/position, etc. when studying with Carmine or Laurie was to be certain that the embouchure position and mouthpiece placement did not change or adjust during the rests and breaths. Carmine told me when my nasal allergies were bad that I could breathe through my corners as long as I didn't disturb the position of the mouthpiece on the lips or the position of the lips in relation to one another.

The lips are allowed to work and adjust during the act of playing, but the embouchure is not to be adjusted in any way during the breath (while doing calisthenic practice).

So my guess is that John and Laurie, by saying you can relax the corners, etc during the breathing is designed to keep people from viewing calisthenic practice as strengthening exercises.

The discipline is not to develop strength. It is to develop coordination by focusing on timing/rhythm!
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trumpet56
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I was told to maintain the embouchure during the rest. I relaxed during the rests and Carmine did not seem to have a problem with that. But he would say to not break the corners".

This is what I meant. The tension would be maintained in the corrners.
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kevin_soda
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
I think this is specifically designed to keep people who buy and use the book without guidance from Laurie, John or another equally qualified teacher. The biggest problem with people who use Flexus (or MCFB) without having extensive study with one of the small handful of folks who really understand the approach is the consistent misunderstanding that the purpose of the nose breath is to build strength...feel the burn...no pain-no gain. Wrong!

That is absolutely NOT what this is about!

The purpose of the nose breath and keeping the pressure, embouchure tension/position, etc. when studying with Carmine or Laurie was to be certain that the embouchure position and mouthpiece placement did not change or adjust during the rests and breaths. Carmine told me when my nasal allergies were bad that I could breathe through my corners as long as I didn't disturb the position of the mouthpiece on the lips or the position of the lips in relation to one another.

The lips are allowed to work and adjust during the act of playing, but the embouchure is not to be adjusted in any way during the breath (while doing calisthenic practice).

So my guess is that John and Laurie, by saying you can relax the corners, etc during the breathing is designed to keep people from viewing calisthenic practice as strengthening exercises.

The discipline is not to develop strength. It is to develop coordination by focusing on timing/rhythm!


I remember seeing one of your clinics online where you mentioned that it's okay to relax during the breath as long as you keep your setting. This perspective completely changed what I was able to accomplish with calisthenics. Previously, I found it incredibly fatiguing. Relaxing during the breath not only helped me play further into the exercise, it prevented me from tightening up.

Thanks!
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gstump
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevin_soda wrote:


I remember seeing one of your clinics online where you mentioned that it's okay to relax during the breath as long as you keep your setting. This perspective completely changed what I was able to accomplish with calisthenics. Previously, I found it incredibly fatiguing. Relaxing during the breath not only helped me play further into the exercise, it prevented me from tightening up.

Thanks!


I think there is a balance of muscle control and air pressure when blowing into a trumpet. When I stop blowing during the rest and try to maintain the same tension the muscle feel is different. Try it. The brain has to send signals to the corners to maintain the same tension. Yes, this can cause premature muscle fatigue. Plus, in my opinion it is an unnecessary thought process.

Best of luck
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pepperdean
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pat is correct. The importance of maintaining the setting is to eliminate variables and build from a stable base. There should be nothing that looks like a movement or manipulation during the rests. An echo from Carmine, I tell students that 'nothing moves during the rest.' A deaf observer would not be able to tell whether you were playing or resting.

It goes back to Carmine's first lesson when he talks about moving parts and reducing those parts to properly synchronize the remaining actions.

Alan
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone who did not study with Carmine Caruso but finds his approach very useful, I really appreciate the willingness of those of you who did study with him to share your insights. Thank you!!!
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is another consideration regarding the resting.

I asked Carmine about this one time and he was steadfast in characterizing his calisthenics as not being isometric. He said they were not isometric because the air was moving. I guess if there is a moving part then it disqualifies the exercise as being isometric. On the other hand it seems to me that if the embouchure (corners, etc.) maintains the tension during the rest then at that point the exercise would become isometric, as the air would no longer be a moving part. Maybe this is why both Laurie and Carmine both supported the relaxing of the embouchure during the rest. And to not have the calisthenic exercise become isometric. Myself, personally I started off being careful to maintain the tension and the pressure (as Carmine instructed) thru the rests for several years. I eventually came to relax the embouchure and the pressure during rests as I still do to this day.

I have always had the impression that Carmine would not be a supporter of the pencil exercises. Myself, I've never done them as an exercise but have always been able to easily hold the pencil for several minutes.
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pepperdean
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never spoke with Carmine about the set during rests nor did I witness any others discussing it with him. I guess what I did looked correct, so....

Now, I always think of all of the opposing force actions present in playing notes. Carmine spoke of 'timing' those actions - lips holding position against the airflow, lips pushing forward and neutralizing incoming pressure of the mouthpiece. I've always characterized this as developing the "appropriate tension" for each playing demand. During the rest, there is no airflow working to push the lips apart so there is inherently less tension, relaxation. It may be important for those who are new to these methods to define relaxation does not mean letting go.

Alan
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