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A Trick to make C above Staff easy to play


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steve0930
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:26 am    Post subject: A Trick to make C above Staff easy to play Reply with quote

Hello fellow Trumpet players.

First up, I am not a fan of tricks.

On another Thread I wrote how I have recently (last 4 days) been spending a lot more time with long tones above the staff - with good results BUT I was worried about possible impact on my ears.

SO - here come's the trick - I started playing with ear buds in. The result was, maybe dramatic is too startling an adjective, but certainly surprising as I found myself asking myself "Was that a g you played on top of the staff or the c above.. yep it was the c.."

Because I could not hear clearly as I ascended I think subconsciously I was feeling much more relaxed and not tensing up as has been my want until now. Earbuds still in I was then doing arpegios e top of staff up to a, b then down to e very easily. Something hard for me to do a week ago.

Of course for some of you reading this c above staff not even a high note - and you're not tensing up so this not relevant for you. And also I am not here advocating practise in "deaf" mode but what this whole exercise demonstrated to me was how little effort is needed to add notes to my range, and in my case play the c above top of the staff g.

Hope this helps someone like me / at my level

cheers and stay safe Steve in Helsinki
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not being sarcastic, but I can't help but wonder how you know what you are playing if you can't hear it. Am I missing something ?
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi George
No offence taken!

With the ear plugs I guess the sound is reduced by about 90%. Also the high note sound/intensity is dulled so the c above the staff sounds, and maybe then intuitively feels like an "easy" note, whereas it is in fact my current highest note.

Because it feels / sounds so easy it feels that somehow I must be cheating and my initial instinct is to check "is this indeed a c?" Of course I can then slur down to the g top of the staff or lower to check. With this new "trick" this afternoon I am now playing - ear buds in - e and f above c for the first time easily ... the only way is UP!!!!

I did even at one point have my phone "tuner" app open on the table to triple check that I wasn't making a mistake which enabled me to measure the e and f s above c.

hope this clarification helps

cheers steve
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, got it.
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Shark01
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m more interested in how you perform the long tone practice. What are you doing with respect to that?
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Andy Cooper
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your body automatically making changes based on the feedback from your horn.

Changing the feedback changes how you play.
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Shaft
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are some things that can be gleaned
by putting typical earplugs in and playing an instrument.

If a person has played on a rock set they have dealt with things like this.

Messing around during the warm-up.

Yes you can get a certain feel for what is happening with the instrument.
You can play based on feelings.
You can make some adjustments playing that way.
You can still kind of hear your tone a little bit.

If that’s how you want to work on your upper range
a person can spend as many hours as they like doing it.

Play with a click track or an Aviom.
Get custom ear plugs for over $100.

I cannot say that I’ve ever heard a professional trumpeter say that they
exclusively do their practicing & improvement routine with earplugs in however.

Not sure if it’s a cheat or a shortcut or a trick
but if a new thing is learned to each their own.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if the OP's reaction is a result of getting a stronger internal physical feeling of the lip/teeth/internal head vibrations of the pitches being played - and less actual exterior 'sound' from the output of the trumpet itself.

Perhaps the stronger internal feelings give a more effective guide to 'what needs to be done (or changed)' to play the notes.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gentlemen
Thanks for the replies.

I think Andy pretty much hit that proverbial nail:
Quote:
Your body automatically making changes based on the feedback from your horn..Changing the feedback changes how you play


Or as, was it Henry Ford said “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” So just moving the goal posts in my case proved a good idea (don't the British love their football analogies)

And as you point out Shaft no need to make this my exclusive practise set up but what has proved the game changer (!) was kidding my brain/body into thinking that a c above the staff was like any other "comfort note."

Which makes your point Jay spot on:

Quote:
a stronger internal physical feeling of the lip/teeth....and less actual exterior 'sound'


Because I am hearing the c as a low volume comfort note I'm suddenly free of unwanted bad habits, (eg mp pressure, tension) I'm no longer distracted by the sound of my highest note (and all the baggage that comes with that thought) and able to simply focus on discovering as Hermokiwi would say "the knack of high notes."

cheers for now Steve

PS Shark01 - like you I am also a 3 years in Wedge player - I have gone from 680mv to 665 650 and now 64. Dr Dave has helped me each step of the way.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a doubt,well in my case anyway, the feedback we get can greatly effect
how our chops work, or dont work as we would like;An example I experienced was back in the late 80s I was touring with a show that was mostly rock oriented and LOUD;The horn section at the time,(which was later added too),was Tpt, Bone and Sax doubler; The drums, guitar,vocals, keyboard were blasted into the pit and I could barely hear myself even at top volume.It was hell,and after a few weeks of this I was about to give my notice(it was a 6 month contract)when the sound people came up with giving the horn section Q4`s. (i think thats what they called it) Headphones with individual settings boxes so we could adjust what we heard(I turned myself up and everything else down)and the gig totally changed, and I stayed the 6 months;It was amazing to me at the time, how the same charts became so much easier;
They later added another trumpet and another reed,and of course the difference that made was huge.
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Trumpjerele
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been playing with earplugs for several months, at least the loudest part of my practice, because of a tinnitus. the most striking thing is that if I put mutes on the instrument, I don't hear any difference, so I think that mainly, I hear the "internal" sound.

I have not experienced a greater ease, neither in the execution nor in the range, perhaps I have lost some precision in the attacks.

In any case, my ears are well protected.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: A Trick to make C above Staff easy to play Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:

Of course for some of you reading this c above staff not even a high note - and you're not tensing up so this not relevant for you. And also I am not here advocating practise in "deaf" mode but what this whole exercise demonstrated to me was how little effort is needed to add notes to my range, and in my case play the c above top of the staff g.

Once upon a time and for a longer time probably than most a second ledger C absolutely was a big deal for me. I was frustratingly aware that I was behind the curve of my peers, that although I could make a C happen I had to kind of futz around to get it to come out - I couldn't just depend on it to be there, couldn't reliably pick one off and even when it came out it never felt solid, secure, the mp didn't feel solidly anchored and as a result I knew it didn't sound as good and full as it could - I couldn't play it with that lead-trumpet sizzle. Further I didn't have any real facility between a top of staff G and a high C. I could maybe get to where I could play chromatically between say top line F# and high C but put the horn down for a while and I'd have to re-find it again.

What made the difference for me was a fundamental reworking of the mechanics of how I played and being aware of what I'm doing. Some people say they don't need to do that, I absolutely do.

These days sometimes I'll play a high C just because it feels so good to be able play this note that for so long seemed like an unattainable goal big and without the dysfunctionality that I used to feel chasing after it. Now my gripe is I want a back-pocket double C but back then I would have been absolutely ecstatic just to have a high C that felt solid.

This phenomenon or trick tells you yes, you *can* play a C but IMO don't just depend on a trick, focus on the totality of what you're doing when you play it and see if you can make it repeatable.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2021 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again

Quote:
Once upon a time and for a longer time probably than most a second ledger C absolutely was a big deal for me.

This type of comment encourages beginners like me - thanks Robert..

Like you I am not a fan of tricks so now that I have found a way to make an easy c above staff I am looking to "lock down" this progress. My first objective is to ensure that I don't end up needing two different set ups for above and in the staff.

So these last two days I have been focusing on Chicowitz flow studies - below and middle of staff - but before I start, above the staff I play a quiet a or slur g to c (sometimes with sometimes without earbuds) to get set before I start - without earbuds.

As a retired long distance runner I love the "hard yards" element of learning the trumpet.


Cheers and Stay safe, Steve in Helsinki
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:
Hello again

Quote:
Once upon a time and for a longer time probably than most a second ledger C absolutely was a big deal for me.

This type of comment encourages beginners like me - thanks Robert..

Like you I am not a fan of tricks so now that I have found a way to make an easy c above staff I am looking to "lock down" this progress. My first objective is to ensure that I don't end up needing two different set ups for above and in the staff.

So these last two days I have been focusing on Chicowitz flow studies - below and middle of staff - but before I start, above the staff I play a quiet a or slur g to c (sometimes with sometimes without earbuds) to get set before I start - without earbuds.

As a retired long distance runner I love the "hard yards" element of learning the trumpet.


Cheers and Stay safe, Steve in Helsinki

Hope it's helpful. Something to keep in mind, if you're unable to do something it means you have to do something - or likely several "somethings" differently than what you're doing. Your throat, tongue, teeth, alignment, lips all need to adjust. Playing a high C for example is very different than playing a third-space C or low C. If someone tells you nothing should change throughout the range of the instrument or any nonsense like that they're full of it.

Images of me playing from low C to high G - your chops might not look exactly like mine but it's an illustration that things change quite a bit. Things you can't see inside are changing a lot as well.

The mechanics of what I'm doing now *feels* very different than how I played previously.


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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:
Hello again

Quote:
Once upon a time and for a longer time probably than most a second ledger C absolutely was a big deal for me.

This type of comment encourages beginners like me - thanks Robert..

Like you I am not a fan of tricks so now that I have found a way to make an easy c above staff I am looking to "lock down" this progress. My first objective is to ensure that I don't end up needing two different set ups for above and in the staff.

So these last two days I have been focusing on Chicowitz flow studies - below and middle of staff - but before I start, above the staff I play a quiet a or slur g to c (sometimes with sometimes without earbuds) to get set before I start - without earbuds.

As a retired long distance runner I love the "hard yards" element of learning the trumpet.


Cheers and Stay safe, Steve in Helsinki


Steve!
I would like to recommend the integrated warm ups by Laurie Frink: https://daveballou.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/AnIntegratedWarmup.pdf
You´ll find Chicowitz and all the other important stuff. There are a sufficient number of studies if you practice them carefully, minding every single note. Then combine this with diligently practicing the BE method - don´t fuzz around with this or that! Concentrate on say Roll Ins ands Outs -play them every day - then all of a sudden you´ll find that you can play them without ending up sour. Play the crescendo, the tongue on lips, the lip flexibilities. This will work if done properly.
There is no such thing as a shortcut. PLugging your ears or what not...
I don´t mean to be rude - only caring!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but if I do not/cannot "hear" the tone I wish to create before I attempt to do so, there's a fairly good chance I'll miss it. "After-the-fact" feedback doesn't work for me- if I am reacting to what I hear, I've already made a mistake.

I also can't comprehend sounding a tone and not being able to identify what pitch it is as I'm playing it. I must be missing something here in this thread.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trumpet Players - thanks for all the comments much appreciated.

I have been learning the trumpet for 1750 days (4 yrs 9 months) I play the horn between 2 and 4 hours every day, typically in short sessions. I would describe my progress in first 3.5 years as slow. Balanced Embouchure (BE) a year ago got me going in a new direction (more closed embouchure) A move to more upstream 6 months ago got me into a faster progress mode.

Today I picked up the horn (AKA "Trinity") I played a C above the staff, after 5 mins warm up, quietly. I then played the d and e above. I then played some notes in the staff.
Question: Did I notice any difference in the amount of effort, mouth piece pressure or body compression required to play the notes above the staff ?
Answer: No - both sets of notes equally easy with very little effort.

3 weeks ago I would have thought this result would be UNTHINKABLE.

In my head I have changed my ideas about playing the trumpet. I have changed professions from Blacksmith to Neuro Surgeon. What helped get this change was planting the seed of the idea in my brain of how easy high notes can be.

The ear plugs helped plant this idea but maybe they just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
(I am resorting to them less than a week ago..) There are so many variables how can one possibly explain breakthroughs.
In the last month I have been doing
Long tones above the staff, (it was becausue I was spending so much more time above the staff I resorted to ear buds)
A tiny touch more tilt to top lip on my upstream setting ,
Even more forward tongue.
BE Exercises
Whispered G's aligning teeth in practice.
I have a new feeling that my lips are hugging a button


but here is my theory - Confuse the Ears

Change the variables. Confuse the brain. Accelerate the learning. The idea of BE is that put the lips in extreme positions and they will of their own accord find their optimum setting.
If we change the feedback sound loop - in this thread the example was the earbuds - can we also confuse the brain with different feedback sounds and accelerate the learning? Take hearing out of the comfort zone - what we've always heard (cos Craig - with ear buds I am hearing the pitch but my brain is confused because it sounds so easy / not loud / not what i am used to hearing)

But why stop there? Yesterday I was spending more time on my Harman mute. Getting good results. Writing this I now realize I should go back to the lead pipe practice. Some players confess they see no benefit in the lead pipe - but tell that to Javier Gonzalez.

But that's the test isn't it. If you play the lead pipe - then the horn - and notice no improvement in tone quality then maybe this is not the right way for you to learn. But if you do notice the benefit... maybe your brain is onto something.. .

Seymore - thanks for the Laurie Fink link - looks great.

Gentlemen/Ladies, because I am an Absolute Beginner I apologise in advance for my naivety and causing any offence to players who are a hundred times more accomplished than me.

Stay safe - cheers Steve in Helsinki.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:

Today I picked up the horn (AKA "Trinity") I played a C above the staff, after 5 mins warm up, quietly. I then played the d and e above. I then played some notes in the staff.
Question: Did I notice any difference in the amount of effort, mouth piece pressure or body compression required to play the notes above the staff ?
Answer: No - both sets of notes equally easy with very little effort.

...

I have a new feeling that my lips are hugging a button

...


but here is my theory - Confuse the Ears

Change the variables. Confuse the brain. Accelerate the learning. The idea of BE is that put the lips in extreme positions and they will of their own accord find their optimum setting.

I would say the button you're feeling is the portion of the lip that's trapped within the mouthpiece.

Allowing for potential inaccuracy of what I'm interpreting vs. what you're intending to say - I don't know about the "confuse the brain" part. I would say re-train the brain. Whatever you're doing when you're not getting the results you want is nonetheless what you're more or less comfortable with or at least used to. It has to be altered to something different that you're not used to until it becomes what you're used to. The changes might be subtle but nonetheless they're changes.

An issue I have with exercise method focused-teaching is that it's based on a hope that jumping through a set of hoops will cause your chops to do whatever they need to do to self-repair and with -0- focus on the details of what's going on with the mechanics of your chops. At least for me doing endless exercises gave me a certain level of skill in doing the exercises within the limitations of my playing, it did nothing to fix the fundamental problems I was having.

As far as playing higher notes not requiring more effort. Hmmm. You may find you're not working as hard as you thought you'd have to because you were beating your brains out previously and still not getting the results you wanted but for me at least playing for example a fat Ab over high C or the occasions when a double C cooperates and comes out it's a *lot* more work than playing say a third space C or high C. The muscular tension of embouchure muscles is greater, it takes a lot more grunt to push the air. Even playing louder on the same note is more work - it has to be since besides greater muscular tension you're driving the bellows harder, there's no other way to make it happen. I don't think there's any shame in acknowledging this.

Unless someone's anatomy is fundamentally different than mine if they claim playing loud high notes isn't more work than playing lower I simply don't believe them. It's definitely completely contrary to my experience.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Robert
Thanks for the reply. And yes I am sure you are right. At the moment I am playing a C above the staff quietlyand it feels like no more effort than in the staff (maybe a tiny bit more effort, like 1 or 2% but HEAPS less than I'm used to) and I'm sure you're right when I want to go for that big fat sound the chops will know it.

But what has been exciting for me this last ten days is how playing high notes my approach has gone from High Jumper to Optician. Only two weeks ago there was the sensation of the bar getting higher and higher - you could see it getting more difficult in front of your eyes (or - in the theme of this thread - you could hear it getting more difficult) But now I am like my old optician Mr Philpott whom I visited when I was 12. "This lens clearer - or this lens.. now is the green brighter or darker" Like the optician I am trying to get into a world there is no idea that one letter in the alphabet (note on the trumpet) is harder than another" Just tiny adjustments to the retina / the embouchure(mouth,lips, tongue) / to get the letters / notes to click into place / snap into focus.

Becasue i don't know Robert but my guess is an accomplished player like yourself can play a G above high C quietlywith very little increase in effort compared with a note in the staff. Is this some kind of litmus test (I gave up chemistry at 14) for the set up being right? The right prescription in the lens..

Of course once I graduate to fat loud high notes something is going to have to give but I guess my guideline will be "does it still feel easy" because that's what I notice when I see someone like Tiny Thing play.

And where you and I, I think I agree Robert, is in the idea that
Quote:
An issue I have with exercise method focused-teaching is that it's based on a hope that jumping through a set of hoops will cause your chops to do whatever they need to do to self-repair and with -0- focus on the details of what's going on with the mechanics of your chops.


I 'm pretty sure if I just stúck blindly with the Arban my progress would be even slower. But Balanced Embouchure(BE) did / does (?) modify my embouchure. But then I had to work out myself the need for an upstream setting. (for the record I don't label BE as a typical exercise method book)

But now I have to dash - 10 Year Wedding anniversary today Billiards evening in The White Horse tonight (my pub aka garage) and 0300 in the morning we leave to explore Crete for 2 weeks.

Best wishes for all. stay safe Steve
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:
Hi Robert
Thanks for the reply. And yes I am sure you are right. At the moment I am playing a C above the staff quietlyand it feels like no more effort than in the staff (maybe a tiny bit more effort, like 1 or 2% but HEAPS less than I'm used to) and I'm sure you're right when I want to go for that big fat sound the chops will know it.

But what has been exciting for me this last ten days is how playing high notes my approach has gone from High Jumper to Optician. Only two weeks ago there was the sensation of the bar getting higher and higher - you could see it getting more difficult in front of your eyes (or - in the theme of this thread - you could hear it getting more difficult) But now I am like my old optician Mr Philpott whom I visited when I was 12. "This lens clearer - or this lens.. now is the green brighter or darker" Like the optician I am trying to get into a world there is no idea that one letter in the alphabet (note on the trumpet) is harder than another" Just tiny adjustments to the retina / the embouchure(mouth,lips, tongue) / to get the letters / notes to click into place / snap into focus.

Becasue i don't know Robert but my guess is an accomplished player like yourself can play a G above high C quietlywith very little increase in effort compared with a note in the staff. Is this some kind of litmus test (I gave up chemistry at 14) for the set up being right? The right prescription in the lens..

Of course once I graduate to fat loud high notes something is going to have to give but I guess my guideline will be "does it still feel easy" because that's what I notice when I see someone like Tiny Thing play.

And where you and I, I think I agree Robert, is in the idea that
Quote:
An issue I have with exercise method focused-teaching is that it's based on a hope that jumping through a set of hoops will cause your chops to do whatever they need to do to self-repair and with -0- focus on the details of what's going on with the mechanics of your chops.


I 'm pretty sure if I just stúck blindly with the Arban my progress would be even slower. But Balanced Embouchure(BE) did / does (?) modify my embouchure. But then I had to work out myself the need for an upstream setting. (for the record I don't label BE as a typical exercise method book)

But now I have to dash - 10 Year Wedding anniversary today Billiards evening in The White Horse tonight (my pub aka garage) and 0300 in the morning we leave to explore Crete for 2 weeks.

Best wishes for all. stay safe Steve



When on the island don´t forget that "all Cretans are liars" (Epimenides, Crete)!! And good luck for the coming x10 years!
Another convenient saying is: "all roads lead to Rome".
No they don´t!
As I wrote there is no such thing as a shortcut (US:cut off) to a good healthy embouchure. I get the feeling that you have gone astray while searching for this. So my recommendation is that you should consult a well acknowledged teacher
Why? I did not take any formal lessons until I was 72, began playing 1957. This notwithstanding I have had a fairly decent career but on a faulty embouchure - lack of proper air, too much pressure. And much more. Upon semi-retiring I had the time to practice a lot more wherupon my embouchure broke down! So my earlier success was built upon a shaky ground - and the strength of youth.....
I practiced a lot, Arban yes, but Charles Colin advanced lip flexibilities was my main menue.
So better take lessons now than after 40 years....(I guess you are '30ish' or so).
The Pyramids were built from the bottom to the top. Not from top to bottom.
_________________
Cornets:
Getzen Custom Series Schilke 143D3/ DW Ultra 1,5 C
Getzen 300 series
Yamaha YCRD2330II
Yamaha YCR6330II
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Trumpets:
Yamaha 6335 RC Schilke 14B
King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970)
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1974)
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