Air pocket under upper lip good/bad

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by chet fan, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    Jul 3, 2009

    What do you think about air pocket beneath upper lip while playing. I have seen many players play with that pocket and when I tried it it gave me some more strength in upper register. Although it is a bit dificult to ste that pocket up properly. I havent spoken about it with my teacher yet, as I am having new years break
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I don't think that it is advantageous. The further away from the teeth, the more difficult the geometry is for the face muscles to handle. More strength in the upper register is plain BS unless you used it successfully for at least 6 months. There are plenty of things that let us squeak more - for a short period of time
  3. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    I have played with this pocket that I let get air as I ascend. I did this when I was in high school, and initially on my comeback. Ok, I still do it to some degree, but I try not to. The times when I seem to need it most - initially during a warmup period, when I become fatigued, and when I am reaching beyond my normal playing range.

    Recently, it's been less and less use of this pocket and less and less pressure when I am warmed up but not fatigued, and not stretching my range - I hadn't noticed any difference in my own tone, but my teacher commented that it sounds to him like I am more flexible and something about my sound quality. Again, I didn't notice anything other than something is beginning to feel different. I am concentrating on that feel, and trying to keep it going - but, of course, when I become fatigued, I still have the old tendencies - time to take a break.

    Interestingly, my teacher had not told me work on my pressure, or work on tone or whatever - to the contrary, he told me, in effect, "don't worry, here is the routine I want you to practice over the next week."
  4. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I've known a couple of good players who naturally had a little air pocket and played fine. I've never known anyone who tried to do it on purpose. This falls in the catagory of "the farther away from 'normal' you go, the less likely you'll find success." If somethine weird happens naturally and doesn't cause any problems, fine. But adding something weird to see what happens isn't usually a good idea. I would suspect if you tried this for awhile, you'd find it inconsistent and frustrating.
  5. vntgbrslvr

    vntgbrslvr Piano User

    Oct 10, 2008
    Waukesha, Wisconsin
    I bet dizzy had a pocket ;)

  6. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Without a doubt. I also found a video which I posted in a previous thread where Wynton M. appears to have a slight air pocket behind his upper lip.

    Anecdotal evidence is just that. I am certainly no authority on what's good or bad, just commenting on what appears to be happening (anecdotal again). Again, the pocket is something my teacher said "don't worry about it, here are your exercises for the next week." Pocket/no pocket? I'm just trying to keep the easy/free/low effort playing going. It comes and goes, but I try to remember that "feel," and if I start feeling it go away, take a break, come back and try to work with it again. About the only time when that strategy becomes a problem is when it's pushing 10:00 PM and I still have so much routine left to do - I might not rest as much as needed so as to get done before 10PM - my unwritten rule for being a good neighbor.
  7. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    If you are looking at picture of players, what you think is an air pocket under the top lip is muscle. Some players have this including my first teacher.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Dizzy didn't have a pocket above the upper lip. His cheeks had a muscle disorder though, which he overcame by - just guess: practicing more!

    There is no reason to not to believe that a freak show COULD provide alternatives. The problem is that the farther players are from established truths, the more that they are "on their own". Standard playing practice keeps the geometry and physics closely coupled with the teeth. There is no reason to not go the proven path.
    Jdosties teacher is a VERY wise person. Just practice the right things and your playing gravitates to its natural most efficient position.
  9. iainmcl

    iainmcl Pianissimo User

    Nov 4, 2006
    New Zealand
    Air pockets are tricky, but have helped me out to quite a degree.
    My teacher put me onto the Balanced Embouchure Method by Jeff Smiley that uses this. As long as you can keep the corners solid, then a small amount of air as a buffer can sometimes be helpful.

    Check out Ryan Kisor sometime. He plays upstream and almost looks like his pockets are eating his trumpet.

    Don't get me wrong though. It works for me, but don't get yourself too hung up on it. It may resolve itself naturally one way or the other.

    Happy practicing :play:
  10. reedy

    reedy Piano User

    Jul 31, 2009
    Wiltshire, UK
    ive never really thought about it, but my teacher mew teacher noticed it at uni and he says its baddddd, yes it does increace range etc but when i play very quitely my bottom lip shakes and creates unwanted vibrato and lack of control, since then i have stoped, my range has increased to what it was when i was using my bottom lip with an air pocket, aswel as my flexability and control over the notes, my advice is to stop it and avoid it, just practice the right things!

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