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Embouchure Functioning


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royjohn
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree that a lot of trumpet playing ought to become automatic at some point, I don't think most of us will be completely automatic all the time.

Most of the time, an experienced driver does not think a lot about driving skills. But at time, say when avoiding skids in a snowstorm, the driver may think about how he is steering and using his brakes and accelerator. To say that everything must be conscious at all times or that everything needs to be automatic is a false dichotomy.

As far as concentrating on technique, let me give an example. Several years ago I took a few lessons from Dave Wilken and he sorted out my embouchure type and embouchure movement ("pivot") in three lessons of about six hours duration. I've been on a layoff due to medical issues and recently I picked up my horn and started to play into the upper register. I wasn't doing so well when I remembered that Dave had told me that my movement was up and slightly to the left when ascending. I made sure to go slightly to the left, and, sure enough, the high register up to double C opened up. It wasn't very good, but I could start to play it, and before I corrected the embouchure motion, I couldn't. I guess if I were playing every day, this would become automatic, but maybe one day when tired or stressed, I might have to remember exactly how to do the embouchure motion again...I'm sure the same thing would occur with double tonguing, which I'm not that great at.

IDK why someone would insist that all actions in playing have to be automatic or accomplished through visualization. It just doesn't always work that way. You use what techniques you have to use to accomplish a good result.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

royjohn wrote:
While I agree that a lot of trumpet playing ought to become automatic at some point, I don't think most of us will be completely automatic all the time.

Most of the time, an experienced driver does not think a lot about driving skills. But at time, say when avoiding skids in a snowstorm, the driver may think about how he is steering and using his brakes and accelerator. To say that everything must be conscious at all times or that everything needs to be automatic is a false dichotomy.

As far as concentrating on technique, let me give an example. Several years ago I took a few lessons from Dave Wilken and he sorted out my embouchure type and embouchure movement ("pivot") in three lessons of about six hours duration. I've been on a layoff due to medical issues and recently I picked up my horn and started to play into the upper register. I wasn't doing so well when I remembered that Dave had told me that my movement was up and slightly to the left when ascending. I made sure to go slightly to the left, and, sure enough, the high register up to double C opened up. It wasn't very good, but I could start to play it, and before I corrected the embouchure motion, I couldn't. I guess if I were playing every day, this would become automatic, but maybe one day when tired or stressed, I might have to remember exactly how to do the embouchure motion again...I'm sure the same thing would occur with double tonguing, which I'm not that great at.

IDK why someone would insist that all actions in playing have to be automatic or accomplished through visualization. It just doesn't always work that way. You use what techniques you have to use to accomplish a good result.


Great if that works for you. The difference here is that you went to a qualified teacher of the Reinhardt method. You didn't just read a bunch of crap on the internet, form your own ideas, then pontificate as though you're an expert.
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am so reluctant to jump in but I have to do it.

First of all I am speaking with giants here compared to my paucity of knowledge.

I am seeing some wonderful teachers and players disagreeing when they should be agreeing. I think you all know the right things but differ in the detail and approach.

It is said to learn mastery of anything we need ten years practice. The saying does not say we need 10 years of the right practice.

We will over time improve regardless of what we practice in those 10 years, but you know sometimes the right teacher can explain things correctly and shave that 10 years to 1 year. And I see some of those teachers in here.

We must manipulate the embouchure to play different pitches for if we do not then the sounds created by that embouchure cannot change and we cannot create different pitches,the question is do we manipulate it consciously. I will say now categorically we can and sometimes we must.

But you know when we walk if we think of every movement we make lifting the toes bending the knees lifting the leg swinging the leg shifting the balance, we stumble. but if we just do it without thinking we can walk easily and even run.

My aim is unconscious playing but to get there I must correct bad habits consciously that inhibit the embouchure and so I must manipulate. and in manipulating I learn enough to finally not manipulate. It is a magnificent paradox

There is a secret sauce and we are all different and need our own secret sauce. Some like sweet sauce some live savory some like rich.

I taught for around 20 years - not trumpet, and there was in my thousands of students only one I could not teach.

One thing I learned quickly, different students have different skills and need different teaching methods, failure to understand in a student is a failure in the teacher and is a failure to comprehend what the student needs to learn. And sometimes it feels almost impossible to teach some students.

In all the disagreements in here I have seen deep and correct knowledge but different perspective. We are all blind and examining an elephant one has the tail one has the trunk and the rest have legs. We all see a part of the truth and we all see something different, one sees a branch one sees a snake the rest see tree trunks.

There is a common understanding in all the excellent posts I have read and I have read them all, but we are getting hung up on slight differences.

It has saddened me to see the people I respect the most opposing each other when really if you deep dive to the core of what s being said it is just the words that are different but the truth behind the words is the same.
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
And wilktone nails it when he says the teacher needs to know how things should work and make the right prescription. The player needs to play.


Did I say that?

What I've been trying to communicate is a more nuanced and balanced approach to practice and pedagogy. It's a teachers job to understand the physical mechanics of how a student's embouchure is functioning (or malfunctioning) and know the specific goals the to make corrections. Then the teacher needs to prioritize what the student needs to work on and how to best focus when practicing.

When practicing we need to also prioritize our attention. It's good to spend a little time working on the mechanics and paying attention to how we're playing. It's also good to spend some time not worrying about how you're playing and focus on playing expressively.

These are two sides of the same coin.

No one here seems to be saying that one should always worry about how to play, but some do seem to be framing the discussion as *never* think about how you play. I'm not a fan of the later, for a number of reasons that I won't get into now.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
...
That’s not how skills are actually learned. When I first started shooting free throws as a kid I missed 90% of them. By missing 9 times as many as I made I SHOULD have gotten worse until I could never make a free throw again. However....

Focusing on the target and carefree and relentless repetition improves all skills. Focusing on what you are doing or avoiding distracts from”eye on the ball” and retards progress.

------------------------
The comparison to shooting free throws is a good example - there IS a basic technique that needs to be considered.
Keep your elbow directly (or very nearly) under the ball - so the lower arm 'push motion' is straight ahead towards the basket. Keep your lower arm straight up, not angled.
Same with learning to dribble the ball, it is not just 'slap the ball', but actually control and push it. I only realized the 'technique' as an adult, and performed poor in school - either 'inadequate coaching' or 'poor learning' .

I'm sure there are similar 'embouchure basics' that plague players because they never 'got it'.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
Same with learning to dribble the ball, it is not just 'slap the ball', but actually control and push it. I only realized the 'technique' as an adult, and performed poor in school - either 'inadequate coaching' or 'poor learning'

If I may borrow that analogy for a sec: the technique for successful dribbling is likely pretty similar to most players (cut me some slack here, I'm not a sports guy). However, learning how to dribble can be done in different ways. For some people, the easiest way to learn is by having someone explain the technique to them first. For others, it's going out and try to dribble, and learning the technique by focusing on making a successful dribble, which will likely result in them eventually applying the proper dribbling technique because the result demands it.

There have been many, many studies on the different ways people learn. Rather than arguing what method works best overall and force it upon people for whom it's not effective, it's more productive to offer a wide range of ways to learn something and see what works for the individual. Sometimes, this may lead to a mismatch between the teacher and the student, but rather than argue about it, both parties should just accept it and part ways on good terms.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hibidogrulez wrote:
... Rather than arguing what method works best overall and force it upon people for whom it's not effective, it's more productive to offer a wide range of ways to learn something and see what works for the individual. Sometimes, this may lead to a mismatch between the teacher and the student, but rather than argue about it, both parties should just accept it and part ways on good terms.

--------------------------------------
I agree with that. And the key is being able "to offer a wide range of ways to learn" (for both the teacher and the student). And to select a way that is effective, or to realize early-on that there is an insurmountable mismatch.
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About 8 years ago I did a deep dive into the differences between "implicit" (goal oriented) practice and "explicit" (detail oriented) practice. I looked at what research I could find that was in the music literature, but the bulk of what is out there looks either at sports training or the development of motor skills in general.

When taken individually and to the exclusion of the other, implicit (e.g., just putt the ball into the hole) worked better than explicit (e.g., hold the club this way, now swing the club this way, etc.). Some of the criticisms of that research, however, is that the explicit strategies weren't taught incrementally but usually all at once, overwhelming the test subjects with information. There have been inconsistent findings when different researchers went to replicate these studies, making corrections for methodological errors. Some differences have been found between the two approaches depending on whether the skill being practiced was new or already learned. Other research noted that a blended approach that combines the two outperformed either in exclusion and test subjects typically retained those skills longer.

In plain English, if you're going to to either/or, then just worry about the goal of making a good sound. It will work better than trying to figure out how to play, especially if you're not being guided by someone who knows what that should be for you. That said, no one really seems to teach or practice only one way, and combining the two approaches will usually work better than doing only one.

More info, including a link to an academic paper with references and such here. https://wilktone.com/?p=4295
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread was edited and returned.

Personal attacks are not tolerated. If your post was deleted, it was related to the personal attack.

You can disagree without name-calling.

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delano
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
hibidogrulez wrote:
... Rather than arguing what method works best overall and force it upon people for whom it's not effective, it's more productive to offer a wide range of ways to learn something and see what works for the individual. Sometimes, this may lead to a mismatch between the teacher and the student, but rather than argue about it, both parties should just accept it and part ways on good terms.

--------------------------------------
I agree with that. And the key is being able "to offer a wide range of ways to learn" (for both the teacher and the student). And to select a way that is effective, or to realize early-on that there is an insurmountable mismatch.


So in fact it's quite simple? There must be a wide range of ways and you just have to choose the one that works (or that's effective)?
That's quite an appeasement, everything clear now.
BTW does such a wide range of ways to learn to play the trumpet properly already exist or has it first to be created?


Last edited by delano on Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:
So in fact it's quite simple? There must be a wide range of ways and you just have to choose the one that works (or that's effective)?
That's quite an appeasement, everything clear now.

Essentially yes. Sometimes people tend to get a little to zealous about being 'right' and forget that we're all sharing the same passion, even if our views about it differ. The fact alone that there are 9 subforums on Trumpet Herald dedicated to various teaching methods should be proof enough that there's multiple ways to be right.
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delano
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, that's only nine, I am a bit disappionted about your wide range but you did not understand what I meant. Let's keep it simple: which of the nine do you advice me? And why?
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:

So in fact it's quite simple? There must be a wide range of ways and you just have to choose the one that works (or that's effective)?
That's quite an appeasement, everything clear now.

-------------------------------
Yes, it is that simple - but 'choose the one that works' demands that the teacher (or self taught student) has the knowledge and skill to recognize what works and what doesn't. And has the knowledge to make changes to fix the non-working items.

A major factor is understanding what 'working' means, and that includes building a good foundation for long term progress - so that early major faults do not become ingrained habit.

A teacher who has the skill, knowledge, and ability to guide a student in the correct path can accelerate the learning process.
A self taught student must be very careful and thoughtful about where they obtain their guidance.
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delano
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'm starting to understand: if everythings works, it works.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:
... Let's keep it simple: which of the nine do you advice me? And why?

--------------------------
- WHICH
Choose any one of them, and then do exactly what the instructor/method deems is proper.

- WHY
If you do not get good results, it is because you do not have the ability to understand or perform what is required of you.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it all works out fine. More gigs for my students.
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delano
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:

- WHICH
Choose any one of them, and then do exactly what the instructor/method deems is proper.


So you left your position that you 'have to select a way that is effective'? Now all ways are effective?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:

If you do not get good results, it is because you do not have the ability to understand or perform what is required of you.
.
Nope. I would say it is the teacher who does not have the ability to clearly explain what is required of the student. If the student fails to succeed it is the teacher's fault.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrpPro wrote:
JayKosta wrote:

If you do not get good results, it is because you do not have the ability to understand or perform what is required of you.
.
Nope. I would say it is the teacher who does not have the ability to clearly explain what is required of the student. If the student fails to succeed it is the teacher's fault.


Or the darn kid just won't practice!
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:

So you left your position that you 'have to select a way that is effective'? Now all ways are effective?

-----------------------------
Yes it is likely that they all can be effective when done as the method requires; whether a particular one is effective for you depends on your ability to 'make happen' everything that is required of you.

So if you are limited to using only one of them, choose wisely to pick one that you are capable of successfully following.

note: I do not have detailed knowledge about any of the various methods or instructors related to the various TH forums - but I do have (perhaps unwarranted) 'general trust and confidence' that they are all reasonable and use methods that can give good results.
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