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Patience, Perseverance + "Palm method"

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:33 pm    Post subject: Patience, Perseverance + "Palm method" Reply with quote

Can't always do it but thanks to lots of lip slurs practice and avoidance of overtraining?
That and as I approach the two year mark in late November?
(two years since switching over to the Stevens-Costello Triple C Embouchure?

Tonight I absolutely nailed all four C naturals with the valve casing resting only on my left palm. No chance for any excessive or undue pressure to help facilitate the tone. Low C, Tuning note C, High C & DHC!

Again, I can't do this every session, although my evening practices are usually far better than my AM sessions or even mid-afternoon practices.

It has only been in recent weeks that it it dawned on me the great value of practicing middle and lower register lip slurs. Now the extreme range is of course facilitated by the heavy use of rolling in my chops. And at the same time I take care to create a "cushion" of lip flesh. Both to guard against potential arm pressure and to help endurance.

Keeping my embouchure perpetually rolled-in can be a bit tricky at times. I still don't have a musical sounding Low F#. Yet this will come in time. And my Low C plays just Fine. Ditto low A too! According to Stevens,

"It is much easier to relax and play lower tones on a high note embouchure than it is to tighten/compress and play the high tones on a low note embouchure". (It's a loose quote, but very true.0
"Check me if I'm wrong Sandy but if I kill all the golfers they're gonna lock me up & throw away the key"!

Carl Spackler (aka Bill Murray, 1980).
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2021 6:29 am    Post subject: Steven's Method Reply with quote

Hi Lionel! It's been a while since I have been on the board. I've been busy practicing!! Glad to hear you are happy with your progress. I would like to give you some of my own insights after being away from my trumpet for 45 years and now back to it for 20 months.
I was diligent with Roy's methods for the first 8 to 10 months, palm exercises and working the exercises from his book. What I concluded was that I was not having very much fun and at this point in life, fun is what it's all about for me when playing the trumpet. I wasn't enjoying working on predominately high notes in my daily practice because I really wasn't trying to actually play in the upper register. I was in my 20's...not so much in my 60's. My wife dragged me to her church and after listening to the performed music there, I decided they needed a trumpet player and that was the motivation I needed to start playing again. I began with the Rudy Muck mouthpiece that was made for Roy and also a Jet-Tone model he later switched to. These are shallow pieces, maybe somewhere between a Bach E to D! Now in his book, Roy suggested a C cup mouthpiece as a good all around piece, but all three of the mouthpieces I received from Roy when studying with him were shallow, and the Jet-Tone has a very narrow throat! I believe that's the one Roy used on some of his performances found on this site. I can definitely play higher with these pieces, but do not like the lower register sound. So I switched back to what I grew up with, a Bach 101/2C. Now, some on this board consider anything smaller than a 7C, specialized equipment. I don't agree. Thousands of these mouthpieces were given to beginning students and I don't believe it was Vincent Bach's intent to start beginning trumpet players out on specialized mouthpieces. That being said, they are all different sizes. My 10 1/2C Mt. Vernon produced from 60-64 is too small for me now. My Mt. Vernon 10 1/2C produced from 54-59 is larger, feels really nice and I like the brightness of the sound. My 10 1/2C CORP is bigger yet. It is actually bigger than my 7C Mt. Vernon. I like the brightness of the 10 1/2C and I like the rim of the Mt. Vernon 7C. They are so close in size, I am currently practicing with them both. But this is the size I like, having tried everything from the 10 1/2C to a Bach Mt Vernon 1 1/4C!
Now for the important stuff! After 8-10 month's practicing the Steven's method, I found that while I was reaching higher notes, my lower register was not improving....and when church asked me to record a piece, it was always in the lower register! In reality, I play from low G to high C above the staff. That is my usable range. If I switch to a Steven's mouthpiece, I can play to double G or A, but what good is it because nothing I play requires that range. I also think that if I were ever to teach again, I would focus on these principles from Roy's teaching. Teeth open 1/4 inch! I play with about a 1/3 inch opening and sometimes as much as 1/2 inch. Bottom teeth parallel or slightly past the top teeth, lips rolled in and gently touching, corners fixed. When blowing into the mouthpiece do not allow the lips to blow out but instead resist the airflow and remain curled in. I believe this to be a very sound and workable embouchure and that is what a student should focus on in all registers. If the student can master the proper technique, then he/she should be able to start high and then play low, or play low and then build upper register. I certainly agree that if you have mastered the proper embouchure and can play the high notes, the low notes will come with practice. I also believe that if the student is diligent in his/her technique, then playing the lower register and working up to the higher register is also possible. There certainly are a lot of players out there that have taken this route. With kids, you want them playing something musical as soon as possible to keep their interest. Music written for beginning players is in the lower register. If a student in the high school band spends an hour a day, with the proper embouchure practicing Steven's drills and the student next to him, also with proper embouchure practices and hour a day from the Clarks Technical Studies book, I bet the Clarks student will have the better sound, get the first chair, date the prettiest girl in school and go on to play with the Canadian Brass!!! Just my perspective! Keep practicing!!

Last edited by AnthonyinVT on Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:17 am; edited 7 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2021 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Lionel

It has only been in recent weeks that it it dawned on me the great value of practicing middle and lower register lip slurs

You and me both. A couple of months back - if I remember right you were saying that these days you were more high notes.. rest then back to high notes - so I was interested to read this post which shows you changing mind sets. I have done the same but I have just moved the rest of my reply to new Flexus post cos not sure it is right along side the Lionel method...

keep going Sir.
My Number 1 supporter

Last edited by steve0930 on Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Anthony - music. What a concept.
Enjoyed your thoughts in balancing the goals.

BTW, paragraphs are your (at least my) best friend.
"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Charlie Parker
"Even if I could play like Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't play like Wynton Marsalis."
Chet Baker

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2021 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roy Stevens hit on most of the important characteristics of the physics involved in complete range production. And his method will work exactly as written for a high percentage of those using it.

However as some have pointed out, a certain percentage of people had difficulty pulling it off. My initial problem was that I had such a puny tone that despite the high notes? It really wasn't worth developing. However this didn't cause me to quit. Instead I looked for and eventually found a way to make a mouthpiece that can develop a full sound.

Also, this is not usually a system that adapts itself to your existing embouchure. While I can't say for sure, my guess is that most trumpet players have a faulty embouchure. At least as seen from the perspective of a successful Stevens system advocate. He would probably look at any one of us having a ceiling in range as immediate proof that we had a faulty chop setting. That's actually a fact. Indeed if you can't play a a decent A above High C? There is probably something wrong with your embouchure.

And I would tend to agree from having finally converted 100% over to Stevens-Costello albeit with an important change to the system that I found on my own. As it wasn't until I discovered that my chops needed a
mouthpiece with an inner rim dimension some 20 to 30% wider than conventional mouthpieces. Only then could I pull it off.

Since I purchased the equipment necessary to carve such a mouthpiece? I've been improving steadily. But I feel like warning people that this is definitely not an overnight success/fix. In my own case I started over in late 2019 just like I was a complete beginner once again.

And this experience has opened my eyes to a whole new world of understanding. It's sorta like I've once again become this ten year old kid who is completely unfamiliar with the trumpet embouchure. And yet at the same time I have this 66 year old coach behind me constantly

It was from this perspective that I finally understood what a gift that lip slurs are at developing chops. Just those simple middle register, every valve combination lip slurs series.

Because when I initially performed lip slurs I was playing on an incorrect chop setting. Just like the great majority of us are. And while even when playing incorrectly these lip slurs did improve my playing? They simply couldn't help my range. Due to my poor mechanics.

However once "armed" with the Stevens-Costello mechanics? These lip slurs work like nitro-methane in a Too Fuel motor. Well, except that I can hold a much smoother idle. That's really the only way I can explain it. A truly strong players, like Pat Hessions, young Maynard and Mark Zauss has a set of chops like a doggone top fuel dragster.
"Check me if I'm wrong Sandy but if I kill all the golfers they're gonna lock me up & throw away the key"!

Carl Spackler (aka Bill Murray, 1980).
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