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Author Topic: "Letter M"  (Read 2730 times)
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boneagain
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« Reply #20 on: Jul 07, 2017, 09:08AM »

Maybe that's  fair generalization but maybe it doesn't account for wide variety of lips among people.

If I look at a picture of Wynton Marsalis, with his trumpet in place, his upper lip is like that but his lower lip has a lot of red showing. He's got more red lower lip showing than I have in two lips.

I tried looking for a similar picture of Ghitalla playing but couldn't find a clear one.

How about this one? https://trompemundo.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/armando-ghitalla-thomas-stevens/

But I think the point is NOT the rolled in lips, but the very specific description of what is meant by "...saying the letter..."

I agree with the core idea here: every language says "M" differently, and within a language, most people have their own variations on saying "M", and based on lip and face structure, "M" might not even be the right syllable.  

Where "M" DOES work, it's great.  But I agree it takes a knowledgable teaching watching to help the studnent find the right model.

But I also think a beginner NEEDS something like "M."  With NO playing background at all, the beginner needs something from HIS OR HER OWN backgrond to help get a toehold.  "Firm corners" means nothing to someone who has never made conscious use of face muscles.  My hat is off to the folks who regularly get students to make their first-ever buzz!
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Dave Adams
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« Reply #21 on: Jul 08, 2017, 08:36AM »

Lip vermillion has so much variety (and confusion about its role in brass embouchures) that I prefer brass players and teachers virtually ignore it altogether. Ghitalla's recommendation would result in a lip position way too rolled in for me to play.

Donald Reinhardt used "like the letter M" in his discussions about embouchure formation. Here are a couple I found:

Quote
The expressions "like the later M", "remember the letter M", etc., refer to the vibrating point or the vibrating area of the upper lip reaching down and slightly inward so that it overlaps and makes light contact with the lower lip vibrating area. This idea of the upper lip reaching down and slightly inward like the letter M is often suggested to certain physical types in the PIVOT SYSTEM as an added point while the mouthpiece placement is being enacted, during the inhalation, and often to ascend the register of the instrument.

Quote
The prepare to buzz, the lips should be saturated with saliva, the membrane of the lower lip is drawn slightly in and over the lower teeth (not by smiling), and the center of the vibrating area of the upper lip reaches down (like enunciating the letter "M") so that it makes a light contact and overlaps the lower lip a trifle.

I agree that simply telling a student to make an embouchure by "saying M" is problematic, particularly on an online forum where you can't see the results. Even these more detailed explanations are open to interpretation and can lead someone along the wrong path. In person lessons are best.

Dave
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« Reply #22 on: Jul 09, 2017, 01:35AM »

I think we are comming to an agreement?
The letter M can be said in so many ways, it merrely say that the lips do touch, and it is still not enough since that can be done in different ways also.

I do wonder about Ghitallas advice, Maybe what he said is not to be taken letterly?
I donīt know, he was a really bad trumpeter though.
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« Reply #23 on: Jul 11, 2017, 11:11AM »

Or one could do like Allen Ostrander would say to me "just do it!"

Please tell more about Allen Ostrander, you was a student of him? I have some of his method books for bass trombone.

Have anyone tried using the letter "P" ? Then you nearly dont have to use the tongue. And you get a beautiful clean start on soft notes.

Leif

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« Reply #24 on: Jul 12, 2017, 08:09AM »

I think we are comming to an agreement?
The letter M can be said in so many ways, it merrely say that the lips do touch, and it is still not enough since that can be done in different ways also.

Maybe, but maybe not. I agree that without additional description just saying "like saying M" can be problematic. I also can't really say how it's different for folks in Sweden or countries other than the U.S., but it seems to be useful in my neck of the woods.

Ultimately we can reduce all trombone instruction down to the advice that it's better to get someone to show you in person. Who was it who said "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture?" Why not simply lock all the content boards here and just make everything about the Chit Chat section if we're not going to do our best to try to describe into words something that is challenging, if not impossible to do?

Quote
Or one could do like Allen Ostrander would say to me "just do it!"

With respect to Ostrander, I think the reason to avoid this is because:

A) It doesn't help the student to become their own best teacher by understanding the mechanics of brass technique better. While I acknowledge that a lot of playing the trombone is "knacky" and requires the student to experiment and find his or her own way, there are some ways that are more likely to provide long-term success than others. You can just as easily get better at playing wrong and think you're on the right track.

B) It doesn't help the student to understand the mechanics of brass technique well enough to offer advice to their own students. Most musicians are also teachers. At the very least, many will offer advice on an internet forum.

C) It encourages a lack of curiosity, questioning, and analysis. It's intellectually lazy to reduce everything to "just do it." Sure, a lot of the time (maybe even most of the time) students need to keep an external focus while playing the horn, but they deserve to have their questions answered and they deserve to learn how and when to do the analysis. Too often I feel that "just do it" becomes a cover for "I don't really know and I'm not going to admit it and do my homework to get back to you next week."

Quote
Have anyone tried using the letter "P" ? Then you nearly dont have to use the tongue. And you get a beautiful clean start on soft notes.

I've heard this many times, but I don't think that one should begin a note by putting your lips together and immediately commencing blowing. Maybe "like the letter P" could be a way to get a student to correctly set the lips in position, but if you want to practice breath attacks I think it's much better to set the lips together first, then use the idea of "hoo, no tongue attack."

Or at least these are my opinions. Make your own choices.

Dave
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« Reply #25 on: Jul 13, 2017, 01:10AM »

 
Quote
I agree that without additional description just saying "like saying M" can be problematic. I also can't really say how it's different for folks in Sweden or countries other than the U.S., but it seems to be useful in my neck of the woods.
In a teaching situation the "M" can be used with succes. Or not. It is never enough though. I am sure even in USA there are many ways to say "M", well actually I know there are.
Quote
Ultimately we can reduce all trombone instruction down to the advice that it's better to get someone to show you in person. Who was it who said "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture?" Why not simply lock all the content boards here and just make everything about the Chit Chat section if we're not going to do our best to try to describe into words something that is challenging, if not impossible to do?
Sure. People can learn to drive a car by the self to. That is not a good reason to not talking and discous stuff like "M" and other metaphores.

"Just do it" may be used in a situation. Sometimes doing an exercise can help even if we do not understand why.

Letter "P" may also be usefull in some situations. Students have so many different attidudes and problems.
I donīt think the "P" should be used as a "standard" method without caution. Neither do I think the "M" should be used without caution.

Ostranders methods books are usefull, I did play lots of Ostrander about 50 years ago. Good stuff. I used it for many students.
I do have an issue with his possions for the F VALVE when the F is on a good first position he tell the low Eb is on "flatted 3rd". Leif have you noticed how so may players play low Eb sharp? Or play in tube with the slide to short and lipping down? I believe in their mind they think flatted 3rd so losng that they get accostumed to the sharp position. I like Lew Gillis #4 for low Eb.
 
 As usual look out for the miss spelling in my posts.


[fixed quotes but not spelling...]
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« Reply #26 on: Jul 15, 2017, 05:46PM »

I think it was Miles Davis who said this, but I could be remembering wrong. Forming an embouchure is like trying to spit a seed out of your mouth.
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« Reply #27 on: Jul 15, 2017, 08:45PM »

I think it was Miles Davis who said this, but I could be remembering wrong. Forming an embouchure is like trying to spit a seed out of your mouth.

That's an old school jazz idea. Not just Miles...many jazz brass players. I have heard it attributed to Roy Eldridge, myself. It works, too.

"M", "P", spitting a seed out of one's mouth...they all depend on the mouth in question. Thick lips/thin lips, big teeth/small teeth, big tongue/small tongue...whatever. A balance must be found...or perhaps better, a set of balances through the ranges...between the essentially non-adjustable upper lip (It can only roll, and not very far) and the incredibly adjustable (with the aid of the movable jaw) lower lip. It's all very individual.

This is where freebuzzing can be very useful. With practice, one can freebuzz with the lower lip in any number of positions vis-á-vis the upper lip...further back, further forward, etc...through particular registers and volumes, but only a few of these positions can be put into a m'pce or playing the horn with good results through many registers and volumes.

S.
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« Reply #28 on: Jul 15, 2017, 09:05PM »

I think it was Miles Davis who said this, but I could be remembering wrong. Forming an embouchure is like trying to spit a seed out of your mouth.

That's an old school jazz idea. Not just Miles...many jazz brass players. I have heard it attributed to Roy Eldridge, myself. It works, too.


In Jules Levy's "Cornet Instruction Book" (1895) he describes an embouchure formation (I paraphrase) as trying to get rid of a hair that is on your tongue. Basically the same concept.


Source: http://sheetmusic.library.sc.edu/MusicPaging.asp?o=1&mid=2991 (Page 3)


Would love to hear someone play exercise 302 (page 61) from this book, too!
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« Reply #29 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:08PM »

In Jules Levy's "Cornet Instruction Book" (1895) he describes an embouchure formation (I paraphrase) as trying to get rid of a hair that is on your tongue. Basically the same concept.
Ha, I like that one!
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« Reply #30 on: Jul 15, 2017, 10:18PM »

What kind of hair?
...never mind...
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« Reply #31 on: Jul 15, 2017, 11:00PM »

What kind of hair?
...never mind...

Unicorn
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« Reply #32 on: Jul 15, 2017, 11:37PM »

Hare lip?
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« Reply #33 on: Jul 16, 2017, 05:55AM »

I have been practising Phil Teelys book for some time now. His advice "try to keep the "M" all the way down" All the way down means the lowest you can sound. Most of us are used the shift around form pedal E or D, me to. I have now been practising down to may be double pedal G without shift, trying to keep the "M".

You know what!

My "M" has changed! Not only in the low!

Another thing that have happend ios that Sam:s "Buzz on and off" Works like a charm!
I found the "M" that is really naturall for me. After 65 years of playing! After mor that 50 years playing proffesional!

There are many kinds of "M". Not all works.
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« Reply #34 on: Jul 16, 2017, 06:00AM »


"M", "P", spitting a seed out of one's mouth...they all depend on the mouth in question. Thick lips/thin lips, big teeth/small teeth, big tongue/small tongue...whatever. A balance must be found...or perhaps better, a set of balances through the ranges...between the essentially non-adjustable upper lip (It can only roll, and not very far) and the incredibly adjustable (with the aid of the movable jaw) lower lip. It's all very individual.

This is where freebuzzing can be very useful. With practice, one can freebuzz with the lower lip in any number of positions vis-á-vis the upper lip...further back, further forward, etc...through particular registers and volumes, but only a few of these positions can be put into a m'pce or playing the horn with good results through manyregisters and volumes.

S.

Absolutely!
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« Reply #35 on: Jul 16, 2017, 07:32AM »

I have been practising Phil Teelys book for some time now. His advice "try to keep the "M" all the way down" All the way down means the lowest you can sound. Most of us are used the shift around form pedal E or D, me to. I have now been practising down to may be double pedal G without shift, trying to keep the "M".

You know what!

My "M" has changed! Not only in the low!

Another thing that have happend ios that Sam:s "Buzz on and off" Works like a charm!
I found the "M" that is really naturall for me. After 65 years of playing! After mor that 50 years playing proffesional!

There are many kinds of "M". Not all works.

I am glad to have been able to help, Svenne. It's hard to get people's serious attention with new ideas, and doubly hard when they feel they might be risking their abilities by trying something new. All I can say is...as you have done...unless you are perfectly happy with the way you play now, don't be afraid to try new things. If something doesn't work, you'll know fairly soon after trying it and you can always go back to the way that you have been playing fairly easily.

I've been a trombone "experimenter" since I was in my early 20s.

Still learning.

Try everything and use what works.

For you.

Later...

S.
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« Reply #36 on: Jul 16, 2017, 07:36AM »

 :)
It is all about balance.
Thank you!
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« Reply #37 on: Jul 16, 2017, 08:04AM »

:)
It is all about balance.
Thank you!

I am happy to have been of help.

S.
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« Reply #38 on: Jul 16, 2017, 12:03PM »


It's hard to get people's serious attention with new ideas, and doubly hard when they feel they might be risking their abilities by trying something new.


I couldn't agree more, there's a kind of fear that to discuss a technique that's unfamiliar could be rocking the boat, or creating "ripples in the field".
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