My In Laws have arrived from the USA and brought with them a copy of your book “The pros talk embouchure” Congratulations for an excellent resource which I am sure will make interesting reading for all kinds of players. Thanks also to you for allowing me to contribute.
I have read with interest your own observations and the start of the book. Our views differ somewhat on the subject of closed versus open aperture. My own playing really came to life after I studied with Bobby Shew who teaches the more open concept. It’s like anything else I guess, too closed is un productive and too open is also un productive. I have personally found a way of balancing a more open setting with the necessary compression to ascend into the upper register. The way I see it there are 4 key areas where we can increase compression:
1) By compressing air in the lungs,
2) By changing the level and position of the tongue inside the mouth,
3) By bracing the muscles around the embouchure (without squeezing the lips together)
4) By correctly using a shallow (high compression) mouthpiece. My main focus has always been on the first area of compressing the air.
HOWEVER! ………You have said two things which have really helped me and have brought about an instant improvement in my playing.
1) Rolling in the lips slightly. I have never done this before but doing this has given me more compression at the point of exit for the air (aperture). More snap in the sound and great stability on high A’s etc.
2) Pulling the stomach in towards the spine as I ascend. I already did this on the “in” breath (Bobby Shew wedge) but when I continue to think of pulling in as I go higher it’s all 20% easier! Common sense really when you think about it. Guts go up, lung space decreases, compression increases!
Have you read “The Essentials of Brass playing” by Fred Cox by the way? An interesting book.
So thanks again for your positive contribution to the brass world. I am sure the debate will continue. I think there is no right or wrong with trumpet playing, only successful and unsuccessful!