A Little Leaking, Too Little Pressure???

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by oldlips48, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

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    As a more mature comeback player, I am very aware (perhaps too aware?) of the "do nots" in playing. In this case I'm thinking of the "Do not use too much pressure" mantra.

    Generally speaking, I've tried to use as little pressure as possible, and this has in fact paid off with improved endurance and range.

    My concern is this (and pardon me if it's too silly): I seem to occasionally get some air leakage between my lips and the mouthpiece, and I'm thinking it's due to a combination of having dry skin and needing to shave. I certainly don't have the same skin I did when I was 16. My lips have much less natural oil and much more hair. I have a rather thick, coarse beard anyway and I've noticed when I'm playing later at night (for me that's anything after 7:00pm) The leakage is reduced if not outright eliminated if I: 1) shave my upper and lower lip, and 2) rub a slight amount of lip balm above and below my lips (but not on them) to help get a seal.

    My normal day starts very early, I have shaved by 5:00am, so by 7:00pm at night I have quite the "5 o'clock shadow" going.

    Am I in fact improving the seal with the shaving/lip balm combination? This strikes me a one of those "detail" things to improve performance, like a knuckleball pitcher keeping his fingernails trimmed. Or am I being a little too OCD?

    Any and all responses are welcome. I'll even read the novel that Lovevixen will submit. :-)

    Thanks Everyone,
    Steve
     
  2. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    I have a full beard but know that when I leak air it's a combination of 2 things.

    1.I'm using too little mouthpiece pressure to form a seal. I personally think that you need some pressure. I know that there is a mantra about no mouthpiece pressure but I think the key issue is in the use of excessive pressure.

    2.The other is embouchure firmness. This is a matter of putting in the hard yards.

    The magic formula is the balance between the two. For any given note the more disciplined the embouchure the less mouthpiece pressure is needed to capture the air in the mouthpiece.

    Just my thoughts.

    Regards,


    Trevor
     
  3. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

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    Mar 1, 2007
    Hey Trevor,

    I'm also thinking it's more a matter of "appropriate pressure" rather than excessive pressure. And I hear you about the hard yards. I guess my thoughts on being clean shaven in the mouth piece area has to do with optimizing what you got.

    Right now here in New Hampshire it's 23 degrees Farenheit with 30mph winds. How's Dubai?:D

    Steve
     
  4. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    Steve,

    No wind, not a cloud in the sky and top of 26 C (80 F). Might go to the beach methinks.

    Wishing you were here.



    Regards,


    Trevor
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    As long as the leak is not louder than what is coming out of the bell, you have no desaster!

    Do a search on Eric Bolvins pencil trick. That is an easy way to firm up those leaking corners.
     
  6. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

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    I agree with Robin, it is probably a result of having weak corners.
     
  7. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

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    Mar 1, 2007
    OK smart guys, I've tried the exercise. Now, how do I get the pencil out of my trumpet.....

    ROFL
     
  8. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 25, 2009
    Play a triple high C and burn it out!!:cool:

    Seriously, pucker up more and get the flesh in the cup.
     
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    If shaving helps then shave, I worked with a very fine trumpet player who carried a battery shaver with him just in case, as far as pressure goes use as little as possible, not zero pressure, if you used absolutely no pressure you would blow the horn off your face, soft long tones and lip slurs should stop the leak.
     
  10. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

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    I talked about this with Manny Laureano once. He plays with a small amount of air leaking out the side of his mouth. He actually said it was actually helpful for him, although I can't remember why. I tried to do it, but found it so uncomfortable that I couldn't even play. The bottom line is that if it's a symptom, but there are no averse affects on your playing, I wouldn't worry about it.

    On the subject of beards... I've had a beard on and off for most of my adult life. I've always wondered if it made a difference in the sound, but I really don't think it does. There is, of course, a difference in feel from your side of the horn, but I think that's it.

    -Jimi
     

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