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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2023 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
Thanks for posting your thoughts, but I'm still not convinced that your approach is really the best strategy. For one thing, you didn't spot the issue in the first place. If you're not looking for and noticing this embouchure characteristic already I don't know that your exercises and mindset is going to have the effect you think it will. Can you elaborate on what exercises you use, how they alter a student's mouthpiece placement to the point where the air stream direction can change, and how keeping the mind on product is going to make the necessary correction?


I think you said it best: "if you're not looking for ... this embouchure characteristic." If you're looking for problems mechanically, you'll find them there. I am still not convinced that what you're seeing as an issue is actually an issue because I have not explored with the student (and I don't plan on "taking your word" for it). The trumpet player has issues, I'm not going to start mechanically in my diagnostics. I will make sure there is no other option before heading down that path. So, I am not worried about that he is stretching his bottom lip out as he goes into the upper register, because it's likely not a mechanical issue. I have already gone into elaboration about exercises in my previous post. This player I would see if where there is a breakdown in form because it is clearly before high C. Then begin to prod there.

I also believe I spotted the "alignment differences" in the tuba player before the reveal. So I believe I did spot it, but I don't know what happens on tuba, like I said.

Wilktone wrote:
But if we assume that your approach will work, is it really going to be the fastest and most efficient? Regardless, if we want to be able to evaluate our teaching strategies we need to be aware of what good embouchure technique is in the first place. Now that you understand this particular embouchure characteristic better, you can put this knowledge into context with your students and consider an appropriate time to inform your students how it's working for them and what to look out for when they go on to teach.


There is the physical but also the mental we have to take into account for fastest and most efficient. Personally I like my approach because it tends to leave the psyche intact. I have seen too many people unravel on the mental side when going through embouchure stuff with other teachers because they are constantly second guessing themselves. Sometimes it's necessary to go there, but rarely. I'm still not convinced by your methods. The biggest problem with somatic teaching is you cannot inhabit the person you are teaching and experience what they are experiencing.

Wilktone wrote:
Again, you're missing the specific mechanical issue that is causing this musician's high range struggles. I will post another clue for you. The following video shows two downstream trumpet players. Both are playing correctly for their embouchure type, but they are doing something opposite of each other.


Again, it is an insufficient video to determine if it is in fact mechanical.

Wilktone wrote:
Once you spot this embouchure characteristic look for it in the first trumpet player video I posted. What is he doing (or not doing) when he goes into the upper register?

Dave


Please quit the "once you spot it," just tell us straight up. If I am saying it is an insufficient diagnostic test for my teaching, I'm not going to suddenly think it's sufficient.
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2023 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Please quit the "once you spot it," just tell us straight up. If I am saying it is an insufficient diagnostic test for my teaching, I'm not going to suddenly think it's sufficient.


Sorry if this tact is getting annoying. I'm asking questions that I hope are going to lead you to discovering something yourself, which won't require you to take my word on it. I'm also considering other participants and even lurkers in my posts, not just speaking at you (even if I'm quoting you).

And I really do want to add that I'm very much enjoying our conversation that we've been having, abontrumpet (and everyone else participating as well). I feel like we've been able to poke at each other's ideas in a productive way and keep it friendly at the same time. Yes, we've gone down some tangents, but I feel we've kept them relevant to the topic.

Back on topic. Please watch these two trumpet players as they perform octave slurs. The first musician pushes his lips and mouthpiece together as a single unit up as he ascends and pulls them down as he descends. The second trumpet player does the reverse, he pulls his mouthpiece and lips down to ascend and pushes them up to descend. Note that the mouthpiece doesn't change its placement on the lips, the lips and mouthpiece ride on a "track" along the teeth and gums underneath.


Link


This phenomenon is, I believe, present to some degree with all successful brass players. Donald Reinhardt was the first person I've found to make note of it. When reviewing the literature for my dissertation I came across descriptions that I'm fairly certain are referring to this phenomenon. There are other dissertations that have covered it as well since, so at least a few other folks are noticing it and pointing it out.

Because every player has a different face, the exact direction they push can vary (side to side). Because player's have some curvature to their teeth and gums as the position of the mouthpiece rim and lips moves to a different position on the teeth/gums underneath there are often horn angle changes that move in conjunction with this embouchure motion. There are more details that I think are important, such as what I speculate this embouchure motion is actually doing. But just being able to recognize it in those two trumpet players will suffice for now.

Now look for this trumpet player's embouchure motion. It's inconsistent. When he descends from middle C to low C he pulls down and then pushes back up to ascend back to middle C. But when he goes to play the high C he doesn't continue to push up the way the first trumpet player in the top video does. It sort of looks like to me that he even is pulling back down to try to play the high C. The pitch also sounds flat up there.


Link


I had him try some different things out in the below video. Please understand that a lot of what you'll see in it was recorded to use as demonstrations of this brass embouchure characteristic and not really how I teach it normally.


Link


The best way to learn about the embouchure motion, I think, is to look for it on other players. I always included octave slurs spanning 2 or more octaves in the videos I took for my research because it is a large enough interval to spot it easily and because it also can help you spot inconsistencies, such as in this trumpet player. I don't want anyone to take my word for this, just ask your students/colleagues/friends to play 2 octave slurs or larger on different notes and look for it. I think if you take the time to do this you'll agree that this is pretty much a universal feature with brass embouchures, regardless of instrument.

We can discuss the best way to teach a student to work with their embouchure motion, now that we have a common understanding of what this phenomenon is. Maybe it's best done through assignments of music or breathing or whatever, but now we have a method for evaluating what mechanical change might work best. And just like the embouchure's air stream direction, these are variables that I feel teachers can benefit from understanding.

Dave
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
... We can discuss the best way to teach a student to work with their embouchure motion, now that we have a common understanding of what this phenomenon is. Maybe it's best done through assignments of music or breathing or whatever, ...

------------------------------------
Regardless of how the student (or self-taught player) is guided to various physical techniques, what amount of sensory awareness should the player devote to learning good technique and establishing it as a reflex?

- conscious repetition of the technique, along with good sound
- repetition of the playing exercise that used the technique, along with good sound

- play it again the same WAY
- play it again and have it sound the same
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
And I really do want to add that I'm very much enjoying our conversation that we've been having, abontrumpet (and everyone else participating as well).


Same


Wilktone wrote:
Now look for this trumpet player's embouchure motion. It's inconsistent. When he descends from middle C to low C he pulls down and then pushes back up to ascend back to middle C. But when he goes to play the high C he doesn't continue to push up the way the first trumpet player in the top video does. It sort of looks like to me that he even is pulling back down to try to play the high C. The pitch also sounds flat up there.


I believe I noted the same phenomenon in my last post:

abontrumpet wrote:
So, I am not worried about that he is stretching his bottom lip out as he goes into the upper register, because it's likely not a mechanical issue.


Right, the pitch also sounds flat and the sound is poorer. So if we fix the sound (and consequently the pitch) we can fix it without talking about his face...because his embouchure is set up pretty well to take this musically oriented approach. Until nothing else works, that's my plan of attack with this player (who I am not next to and not working with).
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:

Regardless of how the student (or self-taught player) is guided to various physical techniques, what amount of sensory awareness should the player devote to learning good technique and establishing it as a reflex?


That's the million dollar question, isn't it?

Personally, I find it hard to quantify a general recommendation here because I think it depends on too many factors. How much practice time is the student going to devote to daily? How much additional playing time does the musician have (rehearsals, performances, etc.)? Are there major mechanical issues going on that need to be corrected before the student can progress or are there just minor ones? Is the student devoted enough to practice something boring for a while that is musically uninteresting but can help develop their playing mechanics?

The best I can offer is that I feel some daily practice time should be spent with routine exercises that are simple enough to play so that the musician can concentrate on playing correctly. Then when they've reached their goals for that day the student should move on and spend time practicing musically. I tend to separate these two types of practice, generally into their own practice sessions but bounce back and forth between focusing on playing with good technique and focusing on musical expression in any given practice session.

The other question that would need to be answered is whether the student actually understands what good playing technique is. With embouchure analysis in particular I feel that one of the reasons many players choke up when trying to think about how their embouchures are working is because they are analyzing things wrong in the first place. They may have misunderstandings of how they should actually be playing and/or they are trying to do too much at once instead of breaking things down into component parts and making sort-term attainable goals.

Dave
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

abontrumpet wrote:

I also believe I spotted the "alignment differences" in the tuba player before the reveal. So I believe I did spot it, but I don't know what happens on tuba, like I said.


abontrumpet wrote:
I believe I noted the same phenomenon in my last post:


Please forgive me, but I seem to have missed both of your correct responses (or at least the response I consider correct). Rereading your posts on those examples I am missing mentions of air stream direction (lip alignment) or the embouchure motion. Now your teaching strategies may just do the trick, but I suspect that they probably wouldn't be as effective as simply telling those students how to play. Were you already familiar with these two embouchure characteristics (air stream direction and embouchure motion) before this thread? If not, please take the time to look for them in your students and report back how your musical approach leads to corrections or improvements in these embouchure characteristics. I'm not yet convinced that going after the sound in an intuitive way is going to get students from point A to point B consistently.

abontrumpet wrote:
So if we fix the sound (and consequently the pitch) we can fix it without talking about his face...because his embouchure is set up pretty well to take this musically oriented approach. Until nothing else works, that's my plan of attack with this player (who I am not next to and not working with).


There is often the idea that you shouldn't talk about how to work with the embouchure until nothing else works first. I'm not suggesting that we should ignore the musical approach or working on air, tonguing, or whatever else. However, I advocate for teachers gaining an accurate understanding of brass embouchure technique so that they can spot embouchure issues, like the ones I posted. When you see them, make the corrections and move on. Ignoring them in the hope that they will go away on their own might work, might not work, and might not just be the fastest or best way to get there in the first place.

Again, now that we have a common point of understanding of brass embouchure technique and the background to see it in other players we can have a discussion about how to best teach it.

The point of contention we seem to have reached now is the difference between what is sometimes called implicit learning (goal oriented, e.g., imagine the desired sound as your focus) and explicit learning (detail oriented, focus on how to play).

With the caveat that it's been 10 years since I did a deep dive into this topic, my resources are old. There's probably been more research on this topic since that would be illuminating. But here's a summary of what I learned.

When compared in isolation (only implicit instructions versus only explicit instructions) the goal oriented approach has been consistently found to be superior, both in the end results and longevity of the results. Those studies have been criticized, however, for several factors. For one, the explicit instructions were sometimes dumped on the test subject all at once, rather than scaffolded into smaller goals that build upon each other. The other general criticism was that there is usually evidence that explicit learning happened in the mind of the test subjects even when they were instruction purely through the goal oriented approach.

Studies that also used a combination of implicit and explicit teaching strategies show that a combination of the two seems to be better than either two alone. I think perhaps we all agree that this is how we tend to teach anyway. The question, as Jay asked above, is how to do so effectively.

Dave
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
Were you already familiar with these two embouchure characteristics (air stream direction and embouchure motion) before this thread?


Familiar with upstream and downstream? Yes, but I've never had an upstream student so I don't have first-hand knowledge of issues there. Embouchure motion, I am familiar with holistic teaching, which involves me observing aural input with visual input as well as feedback from the student via question and answer.

1. If we get improved sound and the visual input changes, I take note of the new visual input
2. If we get an improved and very good sound and the visual input stays the same, then I take note of that too.
3. etc.

Wilktone wrote:
There is often the idea that you shouldn't talk about how to work with the embouchure until nothing else works first.


If I can get quick and lasting change without saying: "hey, that's kind of funny, you know you do this with your chops?" and instead say "so do you hear how your sound loses color and quality when you slur from middle to high c?; yeah? Ok, so let's explore where the color shifts...; ok, do you hear from G-A, your sound starts to do this...*demonstrate*; great, so let's see if we can sound a little more like this....*demonstrate*; etc." This allowing them to be more critical aurally which is what I want them to be in the practice room. I can do a LOT of different things (visually and mechanically) with my embouchure and still get a good result and even when my embouchure wasn't the "best," I was able to still be convincing musically, so that's the head-space I'll keep a student unless absolutely necessary. Nobody performs in front of a mirror, but everybody uses their ears when performing.

Wilktone wrote:
The point of contention we seem to have reached now is the difference between what is sometimes called implicit learning (goal oriented, e.g., imagine the desired sound as your focus) and explicit learning (detail oriented, focus on how to play).
...
Studies that also used a combination of implicit and explicit teaching strategies show that a combination of the two seems to be better than either two alone. I think perhaps we all agree that this is how we tend to teach anyway. The question, as Jay asked above, is how to do so effectively.


I think all good teaching is implicitly implicit-learning, aka goal oriented. So my explicit instruction is to service the implicit goal (using your terminology). In my above example I am literally telling the student, try to not sound like that, instead sound like this, i.e., telling them how (in a sense) to play. Likewise if I am reworking their breathing habits upon set-up: set, relax the chops, breathe, play; or "don't tense the lips when you breathe on that quarter note; or "breathe from the lips" etc. (very much how to play) those don't get in the way of the goal, they help the goal. But when sound is being produced, I will always reach for sound based instruction, along with trying to engender more ease in their physical approach (as it relates to effort while playing) before I reach for pointed observation about their embouchure habits, which vary quite drastically across the spectrum.

With advanced students and colleagues I freely use more pointed "sensation" based cues if I know they have set habits that won't be mentally an issue. But even with them, I rarely have the need to address the actual embouchure from a visual perspective. When I encounter points where my teaching fails, I am constantly reassessing and trying to come up with new solutions. I have gone to the drawing board many weeks and then come up with a new solution that works. But it's never had to be the embouchure. . .well, I have one colleague, he has quite a bit of embouchure motion when he tongues, but I'm not his teacher, lol.

PH wrote:
This requires excellent diagnostic skills and a firm grasp of the psychology of teaching and learning.


I love this quote from earlier in the thread. Ultimately it comes down to what I think the student can handle. If they can handle more pointed instruction, great, I can dish it out. If they are juggling too many things already, I'm going to keep it to myself. There are much more useful "truths" that i can impart to a student for lifelong self-improvement than those related to the embouchure.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When a suggestion results in better results, does the teacher encourage the player to 'remember that', 'practice to do it that way', or some other method to instill the 'learning'. The player might not be aware what was done differently, so how to 'solidify' the player's understanding of what to learn.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:

Regardless of how the student (or self-taught player) is guided to various physical techniques, what amount of sensory awareness should the player devote to learning good technique and establishing it as a reflex?

- conscious repetition of the technique, along with good sound
- repetition of the playing exercise that used the technique, along with good sound

- play it again the same WAY
- play it again and have it sound the same


Sorry, been responding to Dave instead of you, but this is another great and illuminating question.

I actually focus quite a bit on the "way" somebody is playing as well as the product they are hearing and trying to produce, but not in the way that has been discussed. Most of my "the way" you are playing relates to the respiration part of the equation.

I think you can actually separate they way you are playing from the product being produced. I often ask somebody: what makes a natural player a natural player? The answer is: that they play naturally. (Obviously very reductive and designed to make a point rather than be taken literally; naturally always triggers some debate so let's not focus on that for this discussion).

So, often, with students, I am reworking the WAY they play to be much more in-sync with their "simple blow" (the act of blowing out a candle for example). The more we can get them to approach the instrument in a lower effort manner, the better the potential for improvement.

How does this look practically? I have them play something and say "play it exactly the way you want to play it (in terms of approach) and ignore the product." Then I have them repeat that process and at the end, the product syncs up with the approach and the product is usually better.

So I am often saying "play it with the same approach" (i.e., play it the same way)
as well as
"Play it again with these sound goals in mind" (i.e., play it again and have it sound the same).

Checking in with that side of things often at the beginning of the reworking stage is vital. It is also vital when learning new works/pieces of music... constantly lowering the effort and trying to achieve your "simple blow."

EDIT:
As this relates to the discussion with Dave, sometimes inefficiencies in the "simple blow" result in embouchure disfunction (as PH said, it's all connected). So a compensating technique via the embouchure to satisfy the demands of the desired product that is not being properly satisfied by the "approach" will often resolve itself when the "approach" has been rectified (no need for compensation).


Last edited by abontrumpet on Mon Jan 23, 2023 1:13 pm; edited 5 times in total
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
When a suggestion results in better results, does the teacher encourage the player to 'remember that', 'practice to do it that way', or some other method to instill the 'learning'. The player might not be aware what was done differently, so how to 'solidify' the player's understanding of what to learn.


Another great question.

Illuminating the awareness of what was done differently is vitally important. Sometimes that is a sound thing, and sometimes it is an approach thing (as it relates to my last response to you).

When the student leaves, ideally they are "remembering that" moment that they discovered how what they did differed than what they normally do. It will linger over the course of the week but only as an "eau de lesson" or they remember it in essence. They will strive to make new inroads and then bring those inroads to me the following week.

But how do we solidify. Question and answer. Really get to the bottom of what the student is experiencing in that moment. You can tell when a student doesn't understand what happen or is trying to "give you the right answer" and it's important to prod verbally. Then making sure they are aware of what they experienced proprioceptively and aurally.

Hopefully the experience is a high they are willing to chase through the week. I'll solidify it on simple assignments depending on how much of a departure it is from what they normally do. Or just have them work it into the passages they were struggling with before for the next time around.

Not sure I got to the heart of your question, but feel free to ask for clarification.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The discussions have been very useful to show the variety of teaching methods that can be used. I think the material can also be helpful to students to have a better understanding, and to get more value, from the instructions and lessons from their teachers - the 'learning' part!

My guess (and hope) is that there are many people reading this thread and finding it useful, or at least interesting.
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

abontrumpet wrote:
Familiar with upstream and downstream? Yes, but I've never had an upstream student so I don't have first-hand knowledge of issues there.


While it's true that upstream players are in the minority, they are common enough that I'd be surprised if you don't have one or two in your studio now. No one, to my knowledge, has done any sort of statistical analysis of how many upstream to downstream players there are (my best guess is maybe 10%-15% of players are upstream). Trumpet seems to have the most, with some pedagogues like Stevens-Costello and Arban actually recommending a mouthpiece placement with more lower lip (which is how you can tell a player is upstream). Horn pedagogy really discourages an upstream placement and so many upstream horn players change instruments or quit out of frustration (this happens to a lot of upstream players on any instrument). With low brass there needs to be enough space on the chin to set the mouthpiece low, but you can still find plenty of upstream low brass musicians.

I'll post some videos that demonstrate upstream embouchure below so folks can see what it looks like and start to recognize an upstream embouchure when you see one.


Quote:
Embouchure motion, I am familiar with holistic teaching, which involves me observing aural input with visual input as well as feedback from the student via question and answer.


That's a sound strategy (pun intended), but what I advocate for is more targeted. Now that we understand that the embouchure motion is present to some degree in all players we can learn to recognize when it's not working correctly. You can even help students avoid problems before they start because you can recognize a mechanical flaw prior to a bigger breakdown in chops.

It's sort of like recognizing a smile embouchure. Sure, some players get away with it OK for a while, but the quicker you can fix the problem the better.

Here are some upstream brass musicians so everyone can start learning to identify what they look like. The distinguishing characteristic of upstream embouchures is that there is more lower lip inside the mouthpiece. Horn angle can vary, so don't use that as your guide.

Here's an upstream trumpet student. Notice the placement with more lower lip inside the mouthpiece. It's fairly common for upstream musicians to have their teeth aligned and the horn angle to be close to straight out like this example. As you watch him slur the octaves you can spot the embouchure motion of pulling down to ascend and pushing up to descend.


Link


Here he is again warming up on his own mouthpiece from the side.


Link


Here's an example of a professional upstream trumpet player, but his jaw is receded and his horn angle is tilted down somewhat.


Link


Here is the same player showing off a bit.


Link


Many upstream trumpet players do best with such a low placement. I sometimes use the above clip as a demonstration that placement on the red of the upper lip can work extremely well, provided that the player's anatomy is suited for this mouthpiece setting.

Wynton Marsalis and Jon Faddis are both upstream trumpet players


Link


Upstream embouchure players often develop very good upper registers. Here's another upstream trumpet player known for his high notes.


Link


Brad is another upstream trumpet player. You can see his embouchure motion of pulling down (and to his left, it looks like) to ascend and pushing up (and to his right) to descend.


Link


Upstream trumpet players can also play orchestral music at a very high level. Here is Martin Kretzer, look at 2:07 and 2:14 to get a good look at his chops.


Link


Horn players, as I mentioned above, have a tradition of strict instructions to place the mouthpiece with more upper lip inside. Because of this it's harder to find upstream horn players because they end up switching instruments or quitting out of frustration. Here is a video of an upstream horn player.


Link


She has a common issue with upstream embouchures, she pulls her corners back to ascend. Her upper range and endurance would work better by developing the strength and control to hold her mouth corners in place as she ascends.

Be sure to listen to her story at the end of that clip.

Bruno Schnieder is an example of an upstream horn embouchure.


Link


This video won't embed, but it has a clearer look at Schneider's upstream chops.

Dennis Brain was also an upstream horn player.


Link


When placement is close to half and half (like the tubist I originally posted about) you might need to look in a transparent mouthpiece to tell for sure what the player's embouchure tendencies are. Here is an upstream trombonist. Earlier in the clip he's placing where he's used to, but after getting some encouragement to place even lower he is able to access upper register notes that he wasn't getting before.


Link


As I mentioned above, most upstream players find a horn angle close straight out to work best, but some of us play with a receded jaw position and a lowered horn angle.


Link


Dick Nash is a great example of an upstream trombonist.


Link


Kai Winding was another.


Link


I can't find any videos of him playing, but Russel McKinney, but he is an example of an upstream bass trombonist. Not sure if this link will work for you if you're not on Facebook.

Blair Bollinger is another bass trombone example.


Link


Brazilian trombonist Rafael Rocha is a monster upstream trombonist.


Link


Upstream tubists need a large enough chin to place the mouthpiece low enough.


Link


Oren Marshal is a good example of an upstream tubist.


Link


I hope that these examples are enough to show both that upstream embouchures is not only a valid way to play but also gives everyone enough of an idea how to spot it "in the wild." From a teaching standpoint, I find that there are certain things that upstream players need to work on more than other players and they can sometimes respond poorly with certain instructions (such as free buzzing into the instrument).

So check out the players around you and look for low placement embouchure types. I'm sure you'll see some if you look for a bit.

Dave
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Mike Sailors
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bg wrote:


The "end result" teaching of today will be seen by future generations as the dark ages of trumpet teaching.


I couldn't agree more. The upside is that there's not a lot of competition out here 😂
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Sailors wrote:
bg wrote:


The "end result" teaching of today will be seen by future generations as the dark ages of trumpet teaching.


I couldn't agree more. The upside is that there's not a lot of competition out here 😂


Since bg didn't respond to my earlier inquiry, care to elaborate?
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
You can even help students avoid problems before they start because you can recognize a mechanical flaw prior to a bigger breakdown in chops.


I think we are talking past each other. Regardless, we disagree fundamentally on certain things and that's ok! I'll do me, you do you. <3

All the best
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abontrumpet, please remember that I'm not just communicating with you. In fact, my target audience are the lurkers.

I guess the point of contention is that you're not convinced that the airstream direction (determined by mouthpiece placement) and embouchure motion are important parts of brass embouchure technique. Personally, I think we should learn about them simply because they are part of the bigger picture. The benefits that teachers get at being able to recognize chop problems and know what a student should do to correct them is enormous. We can quibble about how to best teach it, but only if we approach it from an accurate understanding of reality. What I don't think we can debate is that the examples I've provided demonstrate the principles and results of how brass embouchures function, and malfunction.

Earlier you said you wouldn't take my word on this, nor do I want you to. Really all I can do is encourage you to take a little time to look closely at brass embouchures for the characteristics I've described and learn to spot them yourself. I'm confident that if you do, you will see them because it's actually the truth.

What you do with that knowledge is up to you.

Quote:
The "end result" teaching of today will be seen by future generations as the dark ages of trumpet teaching.


Again, I can't speak for Brad, but I think I understand and agree with his point, hyperbole aside. So many teachers and players lack understanding how embouchures actually function. That alone is disturbing with professional teachers, but it's truly bothersome when many of them express pride in their ignorance.


Dave
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
... lack understanding how embouchures actually function. ...

--------------------------------------------------
I'm big on 'understanding', but for practical application the important things are:
Recognize when there is a problem that needs correction.
and
Know 'some way' to guide or perform actions that will result resolve the problem.
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method 2: make the RIGHT THINGS happen
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
I'm big on 'understanding', but for practical application the important things are:
Recognize when there is a problem that needs correction.
and
Know 'some way' to guide or perform actions that will result resolve the problem.


Jay, I think you're missing my point. The important things are to recognize *what* the problem actually is and what needs to happen to correct it. Without that, whatever strategy you decide to employ is going to be hit or miss and you will have no way of telling if you're fixing the issue or covering it up to return another day.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
abontrumpet, please remember that I'm not just communicating with you. In fact, my target audience are the lurkers.


I understand that, which is why I quoted a specific portion of text.

Wilktone wrote:
I guess the point of contention is that you're not convinced that the airstream direction (determined by mouthpiece placement) and embouchure motion are important parts of brass embouchure technique. Personally, I think we should learn about them simply because they are part of the bigger picture.


I agree with this. I disagree with how you implement it (per my understanding).

Wilktone wrote:
Earlier you said you wouldn't take my word on this


Apologies if I wasn't clear. I will not take your word that the specific playing in the video was actually suffering an embouchure malfunction and not instead suffering a malfunction with another aspect of the production system.


Wilktone wrote:
Quote:
The "end result" teaching of today will be seen by future generations as the dark ages of trumpet teaching.


Again, I can't speak for Brad


Yes, but you continue to do so and enable them to make bold claims without offering a better alternative. The end result should be "play like a pro." Anybody who does not have a goal or end-result in mind is just a bad teacher. People who go: "yeah bro, teachers suck, we rock cuz end-result teaching is stupid" are just as lame as those that say "end result teaching is the be-all end-all and all alternatives are stupid." So I'm hoping they chime in with productive conversation rather than high-fiving each other on the frat-house lawn. When I ask them, I'm asking them, not you.
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree with this. I disagree with how you implement it (per my understanding).


Gotcha. That makes sense and helps me put your thoughts into a better context.

Quote:
I will not take your word that the specific playing in the video was actually suffering an embouchure malfunction and not instead suffering a malfunction with another aspect of the production system.


But can you see the air stream direction flipping in the tubist's videos and hear him cracking the notes there? Can you see how his upper register expands right away when he moved his placement lower? Did you see how the air stream flip went away when he started in the upper register with the low placement and descended from there? Did you notice him struggling to play in tune right around the flip (he did)? There are objective things that all of us can both see and hear in those videos and when we objectively fixed them there are improvements immediately after.

But if you need more evidence that the air stream direction flip is a problem, here's a video of the same player. He had gotten some advice that instead of fixing the flip in air stream direction he should instead practice slurring from above and below this flip to coordinate the change in air stream direction. While I feel it's possible to get better at that, it's getting better at playing wrong. When I asked him to play right at that point where his lips fight for predominance this is what happened.


Link


This video might have been useful earlier to help show the problem with flipping the air stream, but for those of us who are aware of air stream direction and how it coordinates in embouchure technique know that the embouchure works best when the air stream stays going one direction for the entire range. This is something that we can objectively seein other brass players and some of the upstream videos I posted above show functioning embouchures that are consistently in one direction. I can post more, if you want, including many downstream embouchures.

Likewise, with the trumpet player who I helped work out his proper embouchure motion you can see and hear the results. When he consistently keeps his embouchure motion moving in the correct direction to ascend the notes sounded more focused, and were in tune. He certainly could feel how much easier it was to play up there and his reactions were left in the video for everyone to notice. I don't have a recording of it, but later that evening after our video session he called me back to play a G above high C for me. He had been struggling for years to play above high C.

And I have some video footage of other players trying out similar things with their embouchure motion that I can post if you need more examples there too.

Quote:
Yes, but you continue to do so and enable them to make bold claims without offering a better alternative.


I'm not speaking for Brad, I'm speaking for myself. And I am offering what I feel is a better alternative - correct understanding of brass embouchure technique and utilizing that objective knowledge to make teaching strategies and correctly assess the results of our advice. The two examples I've posted of embouchure issues and corrections show a better alternative - understand the cause of the problem and fix it.

It's faster and easier to tell a student to "sit up straight." I wouldn't worry about them freezing up because they have to think about playing with good posture in the practice room. Why do we worry about keeping a student's attention off their embouchure when it's really no different?

Unless what we're asking a student to do with their embouchure is wrong. That's another problem with a lot of brass pedagogy, the advice is often opposite of what a different player needs to do. There's also a lot of just plain bad advice about embouchures out there too.

Quote:
The end result should be "play like a pro." Anybody who does not have a goal or end-result in mind is just a bad teacher.


That's a mischaracterization of what I'm discussing. I think perhaps you misunderstand the intrinsic (goal oriented) and explicit (detail oriented) approaches I mentioned earlier. The end goal in all cases is that we want to play well, it's the path for going there that is different.

Intrinsic instruction is to put the attention of the student purely on what they happen to be trying to accomplish in that moment. For example, shoot free throws and concentrate on making the basket. Explicit instruction is to go over the details, like hold the ball in a particular way, keep your arm straight, etc. In both cases the end goal is to be able to consistently shoot free throws. No, we don't want to be thinking about how we're holding the ball in the middle of a game. We practice with correct shooting form precisely so that it becomes internalized and doesn't require thought.

The point I was making earlier is that neither is a good approach used exclusively. This is not an either/or thing, the idea is to use the right tool at the right time. One of my disagreements with how you seem to approach teaching brass embouchures is that the explicit instruction is only considered as a last resort. The other disagreement is what, I think, is your reluctance to consider objective descriptions of brass embouchure form and function as important to teach students about.

Quote:
People who go: "yeah bro, teachers suck, we rock cuz end-result teaching is stupid" are just as lame as those that say "end result teaching is the be-all end-all and all alternatives are stupid."


So no one is saying that. Everyone is concerned with the end result.

What I am saying, and what I think some other folks are also agreeing with, is that the culture of ignorance regarding brass embouchure technique is a bad thing. At some point we need to ask ourself if those methods that purport to fix embouchure problems by addressing something different are really the most effective approach - particularly when most of the pedagogues who advocate that don't know the basics about brass embouchure technique to start with. I don't think someone who advocates for ignorance about basic embouchure technique is a good resource to how to fix it.

And really this isn't rocket science. If you think it's helpful for music students to learn about music theory and putting the music they perform into a historical context, embouchure technique is no more difficult. The only reason why it seems so mysterious is because it's not generally taught. I've never seen a brass pedagogy textbook that covered embouchure technique anywhere close to what we've discussed here.

Dave
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