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The simple genius of Roy Stevens


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Lionel
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:18 pm    Post subject: The simple genius of Roy Stevens Reply with quote

Why does the Stevens-Costello embouchure system start with the extreme upper register first?

Actually it first begins by teaching the physics of sound production on the trumpet. As the authors understood that unless especially gifted? Most trumpet players will fail to develop the complete range on the instrument. They'll soon discover that they have a ceiling in their sound production. A limited range. This will lead to their failure. Usually anyway.

After a background of knowledge on Stevens-Costello is taught and comprehended by the student? He begins by forming his chops for the extreme upper register on the horn. The purpose here isn't to churn out a Maynard type progidy by next Thursday. No one can do that. Instead these extreme upper register notes prove at least two things,

1. That high note production is relatively easy when the physics are correct. After all if Roy Stevens could consistently teach his mere beginners how to blow notes well above Double C? Well draw your own conclusion here. As I was most impressed upon learning this years ago. Like everyone else I had been taught incorrectly and though still a fairly advanced player? I had never played significantly above Double C. And,

2. When the beginner starts producing the Double C and above this is concrete proof that his physics are correct. His progress will remain swift. Just so long as he maintains the correct physics and applies himself conscientiously.

I began my conversion to the Stevens-Costello Embouchure about two years ago today. Shortly after a trumpet career ending dental injury. This was a radical departure from my former method which was on a receded jaw embouchure.

Today I'm able to play in bands and developing nicely. Back in November of 2019, I knew in advance that I wouldn't be able to get back to lead playing for three years. As Roy Stevens had predicted this. However today my range in the practice room hovers between E above Double C to a minor third above. And climbing. Once in awhile I pop the A or B flat just under Triple C.

My bandstand register is solidifying and close to High C. Which for a beginner is phenomenal. I have found that a major embouchure change doesn't begin to solidify until about the end of the second full year of consistent, applied practice. Regardless of how much a beginner practices? An embouchure must take about three years to gel. You probably can't recall but your existing embouchure really couldn't do much during your fist couple years playing. This is true both of limited and unlimited embouchure.

Perhaps you wouldn't want to take three years off to learn a new way of playing. I get that. Maybe I had an advantage. Due to tooth loss, I could no longer return to my former way of playing. It was either change embouchure or quit.

And I admit that I needed to make a significant modification to my mouthpiece in order to switch to Stevens-Costello. I call this adjusting to lateral variances in embouchure elasticity.

Seriously, some cats absolutely can not blow high notes on conventional mouthpieces. This may be my contribution to the trumpet player's condition.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2021 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: The simple genius of Roy Stevens Reply with quote

Lionel wrote:
Why does the Stevens-Costello embouchure system start with the extreme upper register first? ...

----------------------------------------------------
I agree with pretty much everything you have written.

My minor difference of understanding is that the unique part of the C-S system is that the TEACHING METHOD places emphasis very early on production of 'extreme register' pitches - and of course the early teaching of embouchure technique capable of producing those pitches.

That aspect of the C-S teaching method is different than what is typically done - where the typical early emphasis is producing an acceptable tone in the 'easy range'.

As far as the C-S 'embouchure system' - I don't think that it is radically different from other teacher's basic 'embouchure concepts' for PLAYING IN THE UPPER RANGE.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2021 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kinds of additional exercises/etudes/solos/improvisations do you also do, Lionel? What other materials are you concurrently working on to balance your technique and musicianship? I'm interested how the 'Stevens' work integrates, proportionately, into a balanced study program. Thanks.
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
What kinds of additional exercises/etudes/solos/improvisations do you also do, Lionel? What other materials are you concurrently working on to balance your technique and musicianship? I'm interested how the 'Stevens' work integrates, proportionately, into a balanced study program. Thanks.


Roy wrote a goodly number of scales, arpeggios etc in the back of the second edition*. These are reminiscent of Arbans. Albeit An Arbans that sometimes explores the register an octave above the 1859 version.

Kehaulani,
Prior to my dental disaster of August, 2018 I was a competent lead trumpet player and did a fair bit of Jazz playing too. Though my range was limited to a high G it was a very impressive note and used to get me a good number of gigs for many years.
I played things like TOP, BS&T & Chicago types of cover bands..That and a lot of Big band lead playing. A fair number of churches were on e willing to pay me to perform on Easter & Christmas. I still have an E flat trumpet I use every Memorial Day save & except those recent ones due to covid. I was a reliable musician. Yet at the same time knew in my heart that I was doing something wrong. Why the heck couldn't I play higher?

That said? Initially I couldn't use the Stevens system as written. Without going to a very large inner diameter rim dimension I simply couldn't blow a solid forte volume while playing above the staff. At least as the book was written?

So the Stevens book was initially useless to me. I had also met other trumpet players with similar results. Not many but some.
So after that ABSOLUTELY HEARTBREAKING dental injury of 2018 I reasoned that I might as well start diagnosing what the Hell was wrong with the Stevens system. I sought to uncover the deficiency within the program and in myself too. And finally make the damned thing work for me.
The first year after my injury I fooled around mostly. I could always double pretty well on the slide trombone so just to stay in music I joined a local community band and played trombone. My injury didn't affect the larger low brass instrument. Only my trumpet. But this was still depressing as Hell man. I wasn't suicidal but not happy either.
I figured that I had nothing to lose. So I sent back to playing the Stevens in earnest. A complete radically different embouchure compared to my former chops.
First thing that I did was to buy a cheap metal lathe. I then cut the rim off one of my old mouthpieces and soldered a brass washer on top. In some cases two brass washers were used. I then used both my lathe and angle grinder to carve out a brass mouthpiece with an inside rim diameter of roughly 0.78 inches. Roughly the size of a US nickel. .

Since my volume improved greatly I decided to explain my results with something I call,

"The Lateral Usage Of Embouchure Muscles In Relation To Range Production On Trumpet"
Maybe the title needs abbreviation.
Anyway!
I tell my student 'Ray' that he's so lucky. As all he has to do to convert to the Stevens system is to throw his jaw out and observe the principles. That and practice. Which like many a student? He doesn't. I feel like firing him but at the same time I'm also learning much ABOUT TEACHING the Stevens system. As such I just let him keep paying me every Friday. Or perhaps I should say, "let his father" keep paying me.
As for exercises?
Recently I've gravitated to a set of common lip slurs in the middle register. When time permits? I will post them. Actually I stole them from Clifford Lyllia


*Quite a trick since the second edition was published sixteen years after he bought the farm. Lol. His editor, the very living Dr William Moriarty actually did the writing for all the two editions. I spoke to him on the phone in '20. Heckuva guy. Amazing resource. In addition to playing and teaching he was President of his NYC AFM local.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting, Lionel. Puts your concentration of Stevens in perspective.

With your experience with a rolled-in embouchure, are you aware of Jeff Smiley's The Balanced Embouchure? If you are, why don't you use that to ensure a more, well, balanced embouchure? I believe you've written about difficulties in middle to low registers.

While Jeff likely was aware of the Costello-Stevens method, he has made the developmental exercises more concise and, IMO, just as effective.

I'm not advocating Smiley or criticizing your approach, just interested in how this all sakes out. Thanks.

BTW, just a historical note. Wasn't Stevens a student of Costello, who actually developed this system?
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
Very interesting, Lionel. Puts your concentration of Stevens in perspective.

With your experience with a rolled-in embouchure, are you aware of Jeff Smiley's The Balanced Embouchure? If you are, why don't you use that to ensure a more, well, balanced embouchure? I believe you've written about difficulties in middle to low registers.

While Jeff likely was aware of the Costello-Stevens method, he has made the developmental exercises more concise and, IMO, just as effective.

I'm not advocating Smiley or criticizing your approach, just interested in how this all sakes out. Thanks.

BTW, just a historical note. Wasn't Stevens a student of Costello, who actually developed this system?


I have corresponded with Jeff a number of times. He may be the one person on the forum who knows my true identity. I'm not famous incidentally.

Smiley is among the very few experts in the field of embouchure who I really respect. At one time, long ago he said some flattering things about my execution of the Roll-In formation. He thought that if I had made my results public, that I might go far in this field of music education.
However at that time, roughly 2004 or so, I lacked the tools to construct the mouthpiece described in my above post. Also, my original embouchure was still working well. As such I didn't succeed with my ventures into the Stevens system.

However my dental injury of 2018 sorta threw down the gauntlet. It was as if the good Lord said,

"Change to Stevens or quit"

And for me the mere notion of quiting the trumpet is akin to suicide. Or perhaps like losing the ability to walk.

Most major decisions people make seem to occur when they have few to no other acceptable choices. Besides the most obvious one that is.

Kehaulani, Your post intrigued me due to its timing. Because I'm recent weeks my embouchure has been linking the two conditions better. Meaning
Both the "Roll-In & Roll-Out".
While working some of the Stevens system high notes... By the way, the statics are real notes now. So anyway by puckering my rolled in position I found greater volume on those notes around Double C.
Basically I was both rolling in while cramming as much upper lip as possible into the horn. By doing this?

My embouchure began working like a complete machine! A very exciting tendency. And check this out!

Back in 1971 or so and while puckering in my then RECEDED Jaw (limited) embouchure I noticed a similar feeling.

My chops were working as a whole unit. And now comes possibly the more salient point of this post. I think
You see twice in my life I've developed good high notes. Or at least high notes lol. If not necessarily always "good". But through completely different methods. Meaning my original limited embouchure formation from back in '71 and more recently the unlimited chop setting. The perspective this has given me has been most enlightening. That said? Each time just as I was developing my good high notes AND while combining the pucker with the Roll-In?

It initially FELT LIKE I WAS DOING SOMETHING WRONG!

The condition actually scared me a little. More so fifty years ago than today. In fact just recently? I've almost been expecting the same condition to return. That is, just as it once did long ago,.but still a similar condition. And here's my explanation for these two turning points. Both the old & new ones. Will use a metaphor.

When a recently poured concrete foundation finally becomes firm enough to stand on its own? The scaffolding needs to get pulled. Otherwise work can't continue. The scaffolding is now a waste product. Needs to be discarded.

In my case? All the effort that I once used to form this embouchure (the scaffold) needs to be lessened. I no longer need to concentrate as severely as before. In order to maintain the correct embouchure condition. As my subconscious mind has become sufficiently programed well enough to take over. At this point the chops feel like an "Invincible Bubble".

One can now "Stand upon the concrete". In another week or so the walls can go up.

If I may? Would like to reiterate that previous comment as I'm trying to reach out to every poor fellow who has ever struggled with range or chops. I really feel for you. Because I've struggled probably longer than any of you...I want to tell each & every one of them out there to please realize that THERE IS AN ANSWER. and it's through some of these concepts found both in Stevens and Smiley.

Okay I had some other stuff about this transition period but it can wait. Today's message I'll repeat,

When you first start really getting your high notes?
.
"IT'LL FEEL LIKE YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG"
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Lionel.
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
Thanks, Lionel.


My guess is that a number of people will try the Stevens system and yet sooner or later declare that it is,
"Too hard".

However I'm thinking that part of this objection ought to be dismissed. Because regardless of how one learns the whole range of the trumpet, it still requires lots of persistence. Having an extreme upper register means having a more complete range of embouchure/facial muscle movements. These first need to be identified then later perfected.

Perhaps the unfortunate result of teaching the extreme upper register first is that those new to the system may incorrectly infer that they'll swiftly morph into fantastic high note artists overnight. While this certainly could occur? It probably isn't going to be an immediate transformation. And this is similarly true even with those who can switch over to the Stevens embouchure easily and within almost an instant.

In fact the greatest challenge I've felt so far has been trying to keep my spirits positive all throughout the 1 "Peaks" & more importantly the "Valleys" that tend to affect my progress. In a way I've been lucky. Because due to having my chops ruined completely back in 2018?

I have absolutely no other recourse today except to move forward on the Stevens.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lionel wrote:
kehaulani wrote:
Thanks, Lionel.


My guess is that a number of people will try the Stevens system and yet sooner or later declare that it is "Too hard".

Yet you think it should be advocated for day one beginners who don't know which end is up?

I'll repeat my questions from another thread that you seemingly missed.

My interpretation is that it's your assertion that developing the low register first is all bass-ackwards wrong and that S-C is the secret to circumventing this. Can you point to any references indicating S-C has been widely embraced in the world of brass pedagogy to start students from day one? Or is widely embraced at universities and conservatories?

Who are some prominent players past or present who were started on SC as day one beginners? Not experienced players who may have looked at it at some point whether they actually think it's valid or not but who were started on it as day one beginners?

Who among the players in pro orchestras, working studio players, top players of the past or present can you provide credible documentation for that they *didn't* start out conventionally - learning to play the lower range of the instrument and progressing from there?

Quote:
A Double C is easier than the High C was on my former limited embouchure.

Where can we hear an example of you playing on this S-C setup that you've been working at for a while now?

As far as Roy Roman's playing Ole that you regard as being on par with Maynard's rendition, are you referring to the video from '84 with a Latin band where they aren't actually playing "Ole" - after the rhythm section knocks out a few bars he just starts out sort of suggesting/appropriating an approximation of Maynard's cadenza from the middle of the recording.

Is that what you're rating as playing Ole "about as well as Maynard ever did back in '61"?
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
Lionel wrote:
kehaulani wrote:
Thanks, Lionel.


My guess is that a number of people will try the Stevens system and yet sooner or later declare that it is "Too hard".

Yet you think it should be advocated for day one beginners who don't know which end is up?

I'll repeat my questions from another thread that you seemingly missed.

My interpretation is that it's your assertion that developing the low register first is all bass-ackwards wrong and that S-C is the secret to circumventing this. Can you point to any references indicating S-C has been widely embraced in the world of brass pedagogy to start students from day one? Or is widely embraced at universities and conservatories?

Who are some prominent players past or present who were started on SC as day one beginners? Not experienced players who may have looked at it at some point whether they actually think it's valid or not but who were started on it as day one beginners?

Who among the players in pro orchestras, working studio players, top players of the past or present can you provide credible documentation for that they *didn't* start out conventionally - learning to play the lower range of the instrument and progressing from there?

Quote:
A Double C is easier than the High C was on my former limited embouchure.

Where can we hear an example of you playing on this S-C setup that you've been working at for a while now?

As far as Roy Roman's playing Ole that you regard as being on par with Maynard's rendition, are you referring to the video from '84 with a Latin band where they aren't actually playing "Ole" - he just starts out sort of suggesting/appropriating Maynard's cadenza in the middle.

Is that what you're rating as playing Ole "about as well as Maynard ever did back in '61"?


It's interesting to note your skepticism Robert. Historically distrust of high note chop experts or gurus has been common. And especially in the case of Roy Stevens. I was told by Dr William Moriarty, ("Bill" editor of both editions of Roy's work) that in the first edition Roy really wanted to take his detractors to task, but that Bill left those comments out. Because he felt that they were unnecessary. As such the editor felt that his comments on the naysayers we're a distraction to the new reader. Bill was probably right as oftentimes a brilliant discovery is best shared with those receptive to it. Rather than those whose only interest is to attempt to tear it apart.

For living representations of the Stevens-Costello? You should contact Dr William Moriarty of St Louis, Missouri. Perhaps if you contacted Allen Colin with "Colin Brass Publishing" in New Jersey you'll find him able to get you in touch with Dr Moriarty. Colin himself would probably know many of Stevens promoters. He's been around the block a long time. My God he inherited that fine business from Charles his dad.

Much of Roy Stevens work died with him. His writings however represent physical laws that if applied? Simply guarantee the production of the complete range on the horn. Maybe not overnight. And maybe it'll take a lot of persistence. It's WORK!

BUT I need to know Robert, are you simply another stone thrower? I'm not sure. I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt here. And I encourage skepticism. At least to a point. In fact I've proceeded on the Stevens system in spite of having been exposed to some particularly blinding criticism. Was back in college, New England, 1974. While in the upper floor of the music dept's practice hall, a place few people ever practiced let alone even visited. Was there where I observed a scathing comment about Roy in form of graffiti. The scribbling on the wall said,

"All that Roy Stevens has is lots of brass player's money".

It was a bothersome complaint. Apparently Roy got this all the time. He was a revolutionary with a five octave range. He also had students lined up in the dozens outside his NYC studio every week! The Stevens approach essentially duplicates conditions present in musicians such as Bud Brisbois. Jon Faddis himself is a brilliant representative of this forward jaw, "Upstream" embouchure. When you play the Stevens system?

You're attempting to duplicate the conditions present in similar players. Whether or not they know that they're doing it. Donald Reinhardt, another naysayer and who should have known better accused Roy Stevens of,

"Trying to convert every trumpet player's to what he called his "Type IVA embouchure". The matter has been well researched. We've long known that forward jaw trumpet players often play ridiculously high notes. But don't expect to see lots of universities start endorsing Roy's work. Because revolutionaries break down myths. In turn whole careers are threatened. Justice comes in increments. And think of all the beginners books made obsolete. And this is my speculation.

I'm not certain that a group of beginning trumpet students would hold well together in a elementary school session. Perhaps private lessons might be the way to go instead. Part of the reason why the lower register is taught in schools everywhere is because it's much easier to play .

Simply by definition, a trumpet player having five octaves. Low F# to F# over Triple C (such as Bud had) has a far more complex embouchure than the poor kid starting out on Low C. To play trumpet well takes more determination than the other instruments.

Anyway Robert,
I haven't decided if you're among these scathing critics or sincerely interested in learning some details about Stevens and his work. I have read your questions and have answers for them, but as mentioned?

If all that you want to do is throw stones at this method? I simply don't want to waste my time feeding your impulses. Wouldn't be healthy for either of us. But again, if you're sincere? I gladly oblige.

In the meantime I'll leave you with these thoughts,

A. The path for me on Stevens has been challenging. The peaks and valleys are frequent. During the downers it tends to tap my emotional energy. Any sincere trumpet player learning the instrument is prone to at least some mild cases of overtraining. I was coming out of another "valley" only yesterday. Take note here! Suspend your doubt a minute.man! Because one of the hardest parts of learning is KEEPING THE FAITH!

So I was coming out of this routine valley earlier today. Not happy from recent practice sessions yet at the same time recognizing that peaks/valleys are just the unavoidable part of the process. No one learns at an even rate! It's always like the stock market. Up & down Up & Down... So with my chops feeling just a little more responsive. And then after a short warm up? My volume suddenly
opened up.

Got my first "roar" in the extreme upper register! A truly big sound on a High E flat to G above then finally to B flat above high C. A roar like I used to get when I blew downstream. Except that now I'm beginning to hammer notes well above my former cut-off point at G. Not KILLING myself in the process either.. I'm happy with this. This what I've worked on my whole life gentlemen and ladies.

I have played those notes many times before but this time I felt my subconscious take over. The lips more relaxed suddenly. Bang! I was told that this would happen. And no doubt I'll go through YET ANOTHER series of Valleys\Peaks too. Of course!

And suddenly I'm having the time of my life. Am FINALLY on the path. There's almost no describing it. And I'd much rather practice or help others than respond to negativity. But I'll tell you this!

The Stevens-Costello system is solidly based in both physical law and facts. Granted that I needed a serious mouthpiece modification to pull it off. Yet this represents the only thing I've found to be remiss in the whole system. Maybe I'll write about this and perhaps rescue a few others as I did myself. It's hard to say if what I discovered is relevant to more people but I suspect that it is.

Yet to give harsh criticism to this system is like disputing Newton's law of gravity dude! This stuff works! Roy Stevens was a genius. He broke through barriers. Why is it that only half the register on the trumpet is taught?

Answer, Because the system is broken. Even our many wonderful, well intentioned teachers can't help kids learn the complete range on the instrument. Unless it's a woodwind, keyboard or a stringed instrument. Ours is the only instrument where half measures are expected.

And those pointing this out will often find themselves surrounded by stone throwers. Why bother with them? I'm having too much fun finally getting my whole trumpet register working.

Who was the world's greatest trumpet player? Okay it's arguable. I'll say Maynard. Now not meaning to bring up his poor son Bentley and the tragic, untimely death in California in 1984. However?

Who did Maynard send his own son to study trumpet with?
Answer, Roy Stevens.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same thing I always do when someone says that this method is good. I look for video of someone using that method and see if that is something I would want to listen to. Can you point the way so I can hear the results?
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the thing is, Lionel, that it's not that everyone won't acknowledge Stevens' contributions, it's that they're not universal, ref. the myriad of non-Stevens lead trumpeters, past and present. And secondly your constant drumbeat about Stevens to the exclusion of other successful approaches.

The proofs in the pudding. What is Stevens' legacy? Where are the myriad of prominent and successful Stevens followers? Not being an acolyte of Stevens does not mean that one is stubborn, inflexible, old-fashioned - or unaware. It's that there seem to be other approaches out there that are more efficient for the majority of players.

Eric Hoffer made some astute observations of what he characterises as “The True Believer”. Sometimes we're uncomfortably very close to that.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Lionel and fellow Trumpet Players

Lionel, your post made me smile, fed my motivation and has got the weekend off to a good start. (Thanks Robert P for the prompt to engagement) This could be you writing Lionel, but it's HL Clarke:

Quote:
Though difficulties to Triumph is a splendid motto to follow much thought and understanding are required to reach the highest pinnacle, so many disappointments occur before one has learned to climb very high


Top down or Bottom up - different ways to approach the Trumpet. If I remember Robert P you are from the "sure foundation build up" school of thought. So was HL Clarke until he saw a a young man "playing with such ease a number which seem filled with top C's it dumbfounded me - it was both a revelation and an inspiration" With his new set up he laughs at the discovery that now the lowest note he can play is g in the staff.

Personally I am in the High to low camp. In the last two months I can now play an easy C above the staff and as I come down I cannot play properly the c below the staff, and yep, you guessed it , then I'm laughing too.

By the way Kehaulani as an advocate of "The Inner Game of Tennis" I assume you noticed one thing you and Lionel have in common when he writes "but this time I felt my subconscious take over"?

A questioning critical intelligence, ambition and a refusal to give up - whatever the approach / method each person chooses these are the qualities that will determine our success in mastering the Horn. And for that reason, Lionel, take a bow.

cheers and stay safe Steve in Helsinki.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lionel wrote:

It's interesting to note your skepticism Robert. Historically distrust of high note chop experts or gurus has been common.

Who did Maynard send his own son to study trumpet with?
Answer, Roy Stevens.

You've made a number of assertions but aren't forthcoming with anything to support them, not even an example of your own playing. You say your double C's are easier than high C's used to be. Okay so let's see or even hear an example of you playing these sizzling double C's in a musical context. Even so much as the opening bars of "Maynard Ferguson" with *all* the notes vibrant and fat and that singing run up to the big dub C like Maynard did. Either F-G-A-C like he did on the album or F-G-A-Bb-C like it was written and how he usually played it. There's only five or six different pitches involved depending on which way you play it - C-F-G-A-(Bb)-C.

You say the approach of developing the lower range of the trumpet is the wrong way, that they should be working on their high range before they've developed a solid "spot" for the mouthpiece or any feel for musicality.

On *what* do you base these assertions you make regarding this method?

I'll be honest - yes this sounds absolutely absurd. But hey - convince me. Show me the crop of phenom elementary and middle school kids with a useful double-C range and musical sound and technical facility all over the rest of the range of the horn produced by this method that will completely alter my perception of how things should be done. Not some one in a million freak that it all comes together for but show me how this method gets repeatable results that you suggest it should and is far superior to the traditional way of starting beginner day one students out.

Sure, I've heard young kids squeak out some practice room higher notes - nothing they could use in a musical, performance context and the rest of their playing was being developed but certainly nothing mind-blowing.

For all your praise of this method's superiority you can't name *one* player who was brought up on it from day one let alone a parade of them to demonstrate the results - so on *what* are you basing the claim that it's far superior and that's how things should be done? I gather from your somewhat hedging response that S-C hasn't found widespread high regard among music schools...but you assert that the real reason this is so is a failing on the part of the schools to see the light? Or that supposedly anyone who's having success is using S-C whether they ever heard of it or not. That's...interesting.

Who did Maynard send his own son to study trumpet with?

Answer, Roy Stevens.


Maynard took his son Bentley to Roy Stevens after Bentley was struggling with Maynard himself teaching him. As I understand it he didn't particularly flourish under Stevens' tutelage either.

Let's just say when it comes to a couple of proponents I see people talk about related to this method I don't find their playing to be impressive. Maybe when I was 16 I would have but not now given that I listen for overall musicality not just squeezing out high notes. I don't care about practice room high notes, I don't care if someone can squeeze out shrill, shrieky high notes on a gig but nothing they do in any register is musical or inspiring to listen to. I'm not aware that either of these people have attempted "Maynard Ferguson" in public, if they did I have no doubt it would have been an absolute trainwreck.

You mentioned Doc as supposedly a proponent of S-C. Again, where can I find a citation that he credits it with making a fundamental difference in his playing?
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SteveDurand
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lionel,
It's clear that you are an avid supporter of the Stevens-Costello technique.
I am also a fan of this approach for playing in the upper register. I started using this technique for high notes 7 years ago and finally broke through my High D limitation.

When you get it right, high C seems to take almost no effort and Double Cs are relatively easy.

However, It is no panacea. I have encountered severe limitations with this setting and can only use it for notes of high C and above. Below high C I suffer from poor tone and limited flexibility.

I went through the book religiously and tried all of the exercises to expand my range downward but I have not been able to get a satisfactory result in 7 years of trying.

My preferred repertoire requires much flexiblity and I cannot achieve that using an S-C setting.

I also searched for examples of people using this system playing things other than screaming high notes. I was pointed to the videos by Roy Roman and, frankly, was kind of underwhelmed. I also looked for other videos of him playing things other than high notes but could only find some slow hymns. I was not impressed.

Based on my experience, I would not suggest that a student start with this method. I don't think that it should be introduced until some level of competence has already been achieved.

Steve
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is something to say for a rolled-in embouchure. Whether it's for everyone was addressed above. But I immediately increased my range considerably and easily with it. No lead screamer, but I went from an F above High C and workable A above the staff to a useable E above High C and a playable Double High C.

The difference is that I did not only do that. Additionally, I began from the very first working the entire range of he trumpet. not just the screech tessitura. I did this through Jeff Smiley's The Balanced Embouchure. I also supplemented this with exercises from Maggio, which also ties all registers.

It's like Cognac. Some love it some hate it. Point is, though, just because it's for you doesn't mean it's for, and has to be, for me.
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Voltrane
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As said Robert P:
« Where can we hear an example of you playing on this S-C setup that you've been working at for a while now? « 
« Hic Rhodus, hic salta » (Roman proverb).
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voltrane wrote:
« Hic Rhodus, hic salta » .
\
LOL
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My views about C-S technique and method of teaching

1) Listening to extreme high range playing is not always enjoyable. Yes it seems amazing that it can be done, but ...

2) The C-S method of 'starting high' (but perhaps not with annoying squeals & squeaks) does give a beginning player some idea of what is possible and necessary for a playable upper register.

3) The C-S technique of teeth alignment, and jaw control and positioning does make the beginner AWARE that those items are important. And the method of teaching those things early can prevent a student from developing embouchure habits that inhibit later incorporation of those items.

4) An incomplete teaching method of 'starting with low notes' can result in learning an embouchure method that results in excess mouthpiece pressure, and 'stretched lips' when attempting notes above the staff.
Yes, a 'good teacher' can prevent that from happening, but it seems to be a very frequent problem with many players.

5) The specific C-S embouchure technique might be closely associated with Reinhardt's IVA, and not best for many players. BUT the aspects of C-S that I mentioned above (items 2-4) are useful to most players, regardless of their embouchure type.

6) A teacher does not have to go fully into all of C-S, but I think some of the core elements of C-S technique and teaching method need to be included in the process of learning how-to-play from the onset.
Establish a good and extendable embouchure foundation from the beginning, and then train that embouchure to achieve its maximum potential.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'An incomplete teaching method of 'starting with low notes' can result in learning an embouchure method that results in excess mouthpiece pressure, and 'stretched lips' when attempting notes above the staff."

The rolled in embouchure in my experience usually does produce an embouchure with little pressure. If the rolled in begins with a squeak and goes from there, it's a relatively "no pressure" system. (Of course, there's never complete no pressure but it's relative).

But to minimize getting locked in just the high register (or low register and climbing up), I again refer to The Balance Embouchure, which uses a rolled in system graduating to a "normal" embouchure in the middle and low registers.
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