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Stevens & Costello cf Earl D Irons


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Eliot
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:35 pm    Post subject: Stevens & Costello cf Earl D Irons Reply with quote

Hi all ...

I've been using the first few exercises from Earl Irons "27 Groups of exercises for cornet and trumpet" for some months now. Just this week I commenced reading Stevens' & Costello's "Triple C embouchure technique: embouchure trouble and self analysis" (typed out version with "entry" chapter by William Moriarity).

I note that Earl Irons, in his explanatory pages discusses the raising and arching of the tongue to effect higher pitch notes by speeding the air flow to the mouthpiece (pp 2&3).

Stevens & Costello, by contrast (and very briefly) appear to indicate that by raising the tongue in the buccal cavity one reduces the in-the-person resonance chamber which forms part of the instrument (and affects the sound quality). They also appear to explain that for the trumpeter to achieve the higher pitched notes, the performer should maintain (mostly) their initial embouchure set while at the same time forcing more air through the lip and teeth aperture (using one's diaphragm) thus forcing the lips to vibrate at a higher frequency to achieve the higher pitch.

Is there someone on the forum who uses or has used both Irons' AND Costello's work/s who can confirm or correct my understanding as briefly explained above?

BTW the above includes the essence of what I have gleaned from reading through the first 60 or so pages of Stevens' & Costello's work.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tongue arch doesn't increase the speed of the air through the aperture in spite of what the various sources/methods say about this. Tongue arch only changes the geometry of the embouchure. That is beneficial for some, of no effect for some and detrimental to others.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
Tongue arch doesn't increase the speed of the air through the aperture in spite of what the various sources/methods say about this. Tongue arch only changes the geometry of the embouchure. That is beneficial for some, of no effect for some and detrimental to others.


How do you know this?
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My view and understanding -

The physical position of the tongue tissue in the oral cavity is not what affects pitch or air speed/flow - it might affect internal resonance / impedance (but I don't know the significance of that).

The muscle force of moving the tongue into different positions DOES affect other embouchure tissue - such as the lips, cheeks, jaw, etc. So, moving the tongue does result in 'adjustments' to the functioning of the embouchure.

The act of 'blowing harder' or the feeling of 'increasing air speed' is also likely to result in tongue movement, and needs increased resistance of the lips to air flow (and the combination of more forceful blowing and increased resistance increases the air pressure in the mouth, and the sensation of 'faster air' flowing through the aperture. The forces used to increase resistance also causes embouchure adjustments.

The manner in which the lips are aligned, and the 'direction of air flow' also adjusts the lip/embouchure tissue, and can expose the portion of lip tissue that is most susceptible to vibrating at the desired pitch as a result of the air flow.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
My view and understanding -

The physical position of the tongue tissue in the oral cavity is not what affects pitch or air speed/flow - it might affect internal resonance / impedance (but I don't know the significance of that).

The muscle force of moving the tongue into different positions DOES affect other embouchure tissue - such as the lips, cheeks, jaw, etc. So, moving the tongue does result in 'adjustments' to the functioning of the embouchure.

The act of 'blowing harder' or the feeling of 'increasing air speed' is also likely to result in tongue movement, and needs increased resistance of the lips to air flow (and the combination of more forceful blowing and increased resistance increases the air pressure in the mouth, and the sensation of 'faster air' flowing through the aperture. The forces used to increase resistance also causes embouchure adjustments.

The manner in which the lips are aligned, and the 'direction of air flow' also adjusts the lip/embouchure tissue, and can expose the portion of lip tissue that is most susceptible to vibrating at the desired pitch as a result of the air flow.


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Eliot
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to respond. It wasn't my intention for members to find opportunity to disagree with each other.

I have read, seen and observed comments on the forum re airflow, air pressure and air speed and was hoping my question would not continue discussion along those lines. Seems there are at least two lines of thought on the subject, neither of which converge as they approach infinity.

I was hoping that some who had adopted or been through and used or tried to use the Stevens & Costello program/recommendations would briefly describe their experience of success or otherwise. (Eg, it worked for them, or too cumbersome, or I tried it but didn't have success, or similar comments.)

Similarly, I was hoping that those who had followed Earl Irons or similar methodology would comment on their experience - success or otherwise.

Hope so that the above is ok with forum members. And thank you in anticipation for your participation/comments.

Oh and btw, if you feel "intimidated" by commenting publicly to this thread, I'd be quite happy to receive your comment by personal message (ie, PM me).
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SteveDurand
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliot,
About 9 years ago I set out on a personal crusade to figure out how to play in the upper register. For about 45 years my upper limit was the D above high C. I wanted to be able to play the lead book so I needed to play higher than that.

Over the following 2 years I attempted many different methods before finally finding an approach that worked for me.

One thing I tried was the teachings of Louis Maggio and Claude Gordon, which emphasized the idea of using tongue arch to change pitch like Irons does. What I discovered from this was that I could move my tongue into all kinds of different positions with absolutely no effect on pitch. I can push it up and forward, move it back, wiggle it side to side and it makes no difference at all. The only way it affected pitch was in concert with movements of the jaw and lips.

Now that I have developed the ability to play high, I can play a double C with the front of my tongue planted against the roof of my mouth. So, for me, the idea that the tongue is somehow channeling air to the lips is just not tenable.

When I eventually tried Costello-Stevens, my range expanded essentially overnight. This method allowed me to finally get my embouchure aligned in a way that would allow me to play those high notes. However, it does still take quite a bit of practice to ingrain the proper muscle memory to do it well consistently. Out of habit I would often fall back on trying to use more pressure against the lips as I would ascend and that just doesn't work with the Costello-Stevens setting.

The main drawback for me is that I cannot use that setting to play decently below a high C. So, I do a little bit of an embouchure shift to get the notes above a D.

I have been using the Costello-Stevens principles for my high range playing for 7 years now.

Steve
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteveDurand wrote:
Eliot,
About 9 years ago I set out on a personal crusade to figure out how to play in the upper register. For about 45 years my upper limit was the D above high C. I wanted to be able to play the lead book so I needed to play higher than that.

Over the following 2 years I attempted many different methods before finally finding an approach that worked for me.

One thing I tried was the teachings of Louis Maggio and Claude Gordon, which emphasized the idea of using tongue arch to change pitch like Irons does. What I discovered from this was that I could move my tongue into all kinds of different positions with absolutely no effect on pitch. I can push it up and forward, move it back, wiggle it side to side and it makes no difference at all. The only way it affected pitch was in concert with movements of the jaw and lips.

Now that I have developed the ability to play high, I can play a double C with the front of my tongue planted against the roof of my mouth. So, for me, the idea that the tongue is somehow channeling air to the lips is just not tenable.

When I eventually tried Costello-Stevens, my range expanded essentially overnight. This method allowed me to finally get my embouchure aligned in a way that would allow me to play those high notes. However, it does still take quite a bit of practice to ingrain the proper muscle memory to do it well consistently. Out of habit I would often fall back on trying to use more pressure against the lips as I would ascend and that just doesn't work with the Costello-Stevens setting.

The main drawback for me is that I cannot use that setting to play decently below a high C. So, I do a little bit of an embouchure shift to get the notes above a D.

I have been using the Costello-Stevens principles for my high range playing for 7 years now.

Steve


Excellent!
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BarryJ
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The method described above really does work. I watched the two videos and tried the pencil technique. Immediately and over several subsequent days, my tone opened up and I found myself playing with far less pressure in the upper register. This approach mirrors several other beneficial methods I've stumbled across over the years and is much easier to understand.

Barry
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteveDurand wrote:
... What I discovered from this was that I could move my tongue into all kinds of different positions with absolutely no effect on pitch. I can push it up and forward, move it back, wiggle it side to side and it makes no difference at all. The only way it affected pitch was in concert with movements of the jaw and lips. ...

--------------------
Steve,

Can you elaborate on what you've found regarding "in concert with movements of the jaw and lips"?

With that method, do you deliberately adjust your tongue position, or does your tongue seem to 'go along with' movements of jaw & lips? Do you feel any muscle usage or strain on your tongue in various positions?
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SteveDurand
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jay,
What Intended by that comment was to indicate that it was not the tongue that was responsible for changing the pitch but other actions.

I do not do anything specifically with my tongue. I just let it go where it wants. Other than for tonging of course.

However, I am a particularly analytical person so I have payed careful attention to what my tongue is doing in order to understand it. If I play a sustained tone in the normal range of the instrument (low F# up to High C) the front of my tongue basically hovers in the middle of my mouth a little ways behind my teeth. The tip of tongue does not touch anything. When I do my embouchure shift and go higher I tend to pull the front of my tongue backwards and press the sides of my tongue up against my back molars. This movement is not intentional, it's just what happens.

The only time I feel any strain on my tongue muscles is when I play extended double or triple tonguing passages.

Steve
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteveDurand wrote:
... When I do my embouchure shift and go higher I tend to pull the front of my tongue backwards and press the sides of my tongue up against my back molars. This movement is not intentional, it's just what happens. ...

----------------------------
Steve, thank you for the additional details.

I am guessing that the unintentional movement of your tongue is a result of the effect of all the muscles that get employed when you do the embouchure shift for higher range. Your 'tongue muscles' might be active without your conscious control or feeling

From my experience and reading, other people intentionally move their tongue to augment or initiate the other embouchure muscles. The concept of using the tongue as the 'rudder' to steer the other muscles is sometimes used.

The different usage and feeling among people is perhaps due to variance in which muscles are more developed, or which actions produce more sensory feedback.

And for people who are more interested in the 'just play' approach - I think the important consideration is to not inhibit good 'embouchure muscle actions'. For example, don't deliberately avoid using muscles with the goal of eliminating ALL tension and stress.
And I do mean muscle action that would improve embouchure functioning; simply using high 'muscle force' without it being applied properly is unlikely to give good results.
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SteveDurand
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jay,
Not to be rude but, every time I read one of your posts I get the feeling that you are just repeating things that you have read or been told by other people.

What is your personal experience with any of these techniques?

Steve
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteveDurand wrote:
...
What is your personal experience with any of these techniques?
...

---------------------------------------------
I started trumpet at about age 12 and took private lessons for several years with a few different teachers - I wasn't particularly interested, but my parents insisted (now glad that they did). I don't recall the names of the teachers but the last one gave my lessons at Cleveland Institute of Music (I wasn't an enrolled CIM student), so I assume he was an instructor there. Most of the final lessons were still in the 'basics' section of Arban's - none of the more advanced portions.

I don't remember much actual instruction about 'playing technique' or embouchure use. There were a few words written in one of my books (which I still have) about upper/lower lip pressure, but they only began to make sense recently ...

I played in school band through 12th grade and was an 'acceptable' 1st chair player. At that time my dependable playing range was up to G above the staff - I could 'sound' higher notes, but mostly with extreme mouthpiece pressure.

Didn't play much after HS or college. A few years after college I began playing French horn - because the band didn't need any more trumpets, and they had an instrument I could use. I continued with FH for many years. Then about 5 years I switched back to trumpet.

About 2 years ago I joined TH and became aware and interested in the various embouchure technique discussions and descriptions. I found that some of the items from Costello-Stevens seemed to work for me, and I became more interested in the physical mechanics of embouchure. And especially how it could be 'understood' and 'taught'.

I'm NOT a good 'high range' player, but can now dependably at least play up to high C, and squeak a few notes higher.

SO ...... no I do not have a lot of experience or training with 'techniques' but I am interested in learning from other people. And I do believe that it should be possible to write descriptions about the physical aspects of embouchure and technique in concise and understandable language.
It might seem that some of my questions and thoughts are 'nit picking details', but I think there is value in knowing the details.

From what I've read on TH, it seems generally agreed that a 'good teacher' must be able to
1) recognize embouchure and technique problems
2) know what is a better way
3) be able to instruct or guide the student to achieve the better way

If the 'good teachers' have the knowledge for 1&2, then a lot of that knowledge ought to be obtainable in written format.
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Don't take a '20 minute mouthpiece' to a 1 hour session.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
SteveDurand wrote:
...
What is your personal experience with any of these techniques?
...

---------------------------------------------
I started trumpet at about age 12 and took private lessons for several years with a few different teachers - I wasn't particularly interested, but my parents insisted (now glad that they did). I don't recall the names of the teachers but the last one gave my lessons at Cleveland Institute of Music (I wasn't an enrolled CIM student), so I assume he was an instructor there. Most of the final lessons were still in the 'basics' section of Arban's - none of the more advanced portions.

I don't remember much actual instruction about 'playing technique' or embouchure use. There were a few words written in one of my books (which I still have) about upper/lower lip pressure, but they only began to make sense recently ...

I played in school band through 12th grade and was an 'acceptable' 1st chair player. At that time my dependable playing range was up to G above the staff - I could 'sound' higher notes, but mostly with extreme mouthpiece pressure.

Didn't play much after HS or college. A few years after college I began playing French horn - because the band didn't need any more trumpets, and they had an instrument I could use. I continued with FH for many years. Then about 5 years I switched back to trumpet.

About 2 years ago I joined TH and became aware and interested in the various embouchure technique discussions and descriptions. I found that some of the items from Costello-Stevens seemed to work for me, and I became more interested in the physical mechanics of embouchure. And especially how it could be 'understood' and 'taught'.

I'm NOT a good 'high range' player, but can now dependably at least play up to high C, and squeak a few notes higher.

SO ...... no I do not have a lot of experience or training with 'techniques' but I am interested in learning from other people. And I do believe that it should be possible to write descriptions about the physical aspects of embouchure and technique in concise and understandable language.
It might seem that some of my questions and thoughts are 'nit picking details', but I think there is value in knowing the details.

From what I've read on TH, it seems generally agreed that a 'good teacher' must be able to
1) recognize embouchure and technique problems
2) know what is a better way
3) be able to instruct or guide the student to achieve the better way

If the 'good teachers' have the knowledge for 1&2, then a lot of that knowledge ought to be obtainable in written format.


Short answer: No
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SteveDurand
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jay,
Thanks for the response.

As you know, on the internet anyone can post anything they like. It's good to be able to assess the knowledge base of the poster to determine how seriously to take their recommendations.

Steve
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteveDurand wrote:
Jay,
Thanks for the response.

As you know, on the internet anyone can post anything they like. It's good to be able to assess the knowledge base of the poster to determine how seriously to take their recommendations.

Steve

-------------------
I do understand what you mean, and it is true that 'credentials' to support my knowledge base is lacking. I would be HAPPY if someone would make good factual corrections to the points I mention in my various posts, etc. (with at least some discussion of the relevant issues).

Part of my goal is to learn and improve myself, but a bigger part is to provide useful information to the many players who come to TH in search of answers about their problems.
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The 'next note' is the most important one.
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Eliot
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW
The following is a quoted summation of Moriarty's introduction to the Stevens & Costello book, Triple C embouchure technique: embouchure trouble and self analysis.

Quote:
"The procedure is as follows. … practise in a slow, step by step, painstaking manner. It is most important.

1. Bring lower teeth to a position parallel to, or slightly forward of, upper teeth and open the teeth approximately ¼ inch.
2. Align both lips, slightly inverted so that outer reds face each other, within teeth aperture … Have lips touching gently but firmly from corner to corner …
3. Place mouthpiece gently but firmly (using a comfortable minimum weight … )
4. Leave mouthpiece weight on and jaw forward but relax the rest of the face.
5. Open the jaw slightly to take in air and back off the mouthpiece weight slightly to allow the lips to part. …
6. Without closing the teeth, hug the bottom teeth with the lower lip. Then use muscle 9 (see …) close the sides of the mouth by bringing the top lip down to meet the bottom lip.
7. Release the air, resist muscularly, and bring the mouthpiece-arm weight in, favouring the bottom lip slightly. Be careful at this point …

This procedure must become a habit!" (End of quote)

Reading the above (and the bits I've omitted for brevity's sake) left my head reeling while attempting to understand exactly what was required.

My experience suggests that someone, by observation of the 'student,' with the practical experience, understanding and ability to implement the instruction would assist greatly anyone attempting to adopt the recommended procedure.
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Eliot
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having weighed through the Moriarty and Stevens' sections of the quoted (and discussed) book and then found the Costello material beyond my capacity at this stage, and having read the posts following my opening post, I'd like to express my appreciation to those who have contributed to this thread.

If there are others who have tried and adopted the Stevens & Costello method or tried and not adopted the method, I would still appreciate hearing from you, either via this thread or as a PM.

Thanks again for your participation.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I understand it, SC requires an upstream setting. I don't have one of those.

What is your experience with tongue arch?
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