Aperture and Embochure Development

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bartlesd, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. bartlesd

    bartlesd New Friend

    Sep 17, 2010
    Just started playing the trumpet again after an extended break of more than a few decades. I've been looking on the Internet for info on aperture and embochure development (desktop computers and the internet didn't exist when I first started playing in Jr. High). It seems that there are several approaches to the embochure such as Farkas, Superchops, Maggio, Stevens, etc. along with other terms like downstream and upstream playing as well as corner tightness. These terms are all pretty new to me and are a bit confusing. Is there a good overall resource out there that covers these along with specific exercises and illustration on how to develop the right aperture. I'd like to get off to a good start before re-developing bad habits.
  2. SCV81

    SCV81 Pianissimo User

    Sep 10, 2010
    Bay Area, Northern Calif.
    I'm a decades-long come back player like you. When I marched in drum corps, I mashed the horn into my lips and the best I could ever be was second soprano but after taking in the advice in these forums I applied myself and in the last couple of weeks, noticed a real difference in my range. Looking forward to more tips on this excellent website!
  3. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    The best answer for both of you is to find a good teacher and do what they tell you. No one on the internet can tell you what is going to work for you without seeing and hearing you play. You can look at all sorts of things on the internet and they won't necessarily work.
  4. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    Welcome back. I am extremely sympethetic as I was in a similar sitaution. Many of us here are comeback players after 20 to 30 years of layoff. I have included a really general read that helped me. But, it is also true that you should get a trumpet teacher. The people here are great, too. I have benefited from their many suggestions and opinions.

    Best Wishes,


  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Please don't think about your aperture, corner muscles, embouchure. These issues will take care of themselves. Only a experienced teacher can diagnose problems, guide you through the appropriate exercises, coach you on how to do them correctly. This will ensure steady progress on your comeback journey.
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree with Bob.
  7. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Yes.. dont overthink the details. First and foremost its music. Its supposed to be beautiful and FUN. If you want to acomplish a certain goal you will need a teacher but so many people forget to enjoy what is for 99% of us a hobby. Maybe trumpet players are slightly more compeditive than the average bear and we over work ourselves to get better than the next guy. I found the fun factor encourages me to practice and improvement comes with practice, practice, practice. When I play with a group its easy to see who in the trumpet section is overly compeditive and who is enjoying playing. Best wishes.
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Whew! Where to start?
    OK, I think this might help:
    1) Pick up the trumpet
    2)Pucker your lips as if you are blowing out a candle and blow
    3) While you're blowing, imagine the lips as a "meat pillow" that you don't want to smash, crush or flatten.
    4)Slowly put the trumpet against the lips while blowing and only use enough pressure to create a seal and play. Be sure to not crush the pillow!
    5) That's your embrochure.
    Take the tuning slide out and play a single long soft note(yes it should sound bad) through the lead pipe. Make sure you're only using enough pressure to create a seal between the lips and the mouthpiece. Think of the lips as a "meat pillow. You don't want to smash, crush or flatten the "meat pillow".
    Once you can buzz a single unquivering tone, apply a little mouthpiece pressure. What do you notice? When you apply pressure the sound goes up. When you reduce the pressure the sound goes down, right?
    (If not, you are already using too much mouthpiece pressure).
    Now, play a long buzzing tone again and this time use the corners of the lips to move the tone up and down. Those are the muscles you should be using. Now you know the difference, don't fall back into the habit of using mouthpiece pressure to change pitch.
    There are 7 valve positions:
    Start with the open(0) position and do lip slurs. Go as high and as low as you can and make sure your sound is soft and warm. Make the transitions from note to note smooth. After one minute, go to the next valve position(123) and do the same thing. If you "HONESTLY" do all 7 combinations (that would be around 7 minutes for all 7) every day and use the muscles I told you, you'll be a very happy camper by Christmas.
    Just remember this little saying, "7 in 7, 7 days a week"
    Just a note, this exercise will absolutey kick your butt. Your lip will feel like it ran a marathon. So remember, when you start getting tired, don't revert back to using mouthpiece pressure to change notes.
    As with any exercise of this nature, you're developing a muscle group. That's why it's important to pay close attention to what the muscles at the corners of the lips are doing. Feel what they are doing.
    In time, using the corner muscles will be second nature and you won't think about it as much.
    good luck
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Welcome back! I too had a layoff of more than 25 yrs. One of the biggest things that helped me was doing my own research on the net. There is a dizzying amount of info out there and it can be confusing at first. Here are some links to some info that isn't flashy or will guarantee a double C in 6 months but will put you on the right track mentally. Face it, if you just started back , it can be really rough. It was for me and I found patience is the key to continued improvement and eventually a level of performance you and others can enjoy.
    Clyde Hunt
    Follow the link at the bottom of the article for a really info rich website. Personally, I think Clyde is great and he has the chops to back-up what he teaches.
    If you haven't already, you'll wonder if you have the right mouthpiece. Try this site for some good info on matching your lip structure to the proper size mouthpiece IF you want to change. You may or may not have the mpc best suited for you. This is a HIGHLY controversial issue with some but it is a good read (the trumpet was controversial 100 yrs ago!).
    New Page 1
    Be very wary of alarmist that constantly use the words danger, damage, harm and related adjectives if you don't do what they say.
    Since you have mentioned upstream,downstream try this on for size. A very long but excellent article from the Online Trombone Journal
    An Introduction to Donald S. Reinhardt's Pivot System
    Reinhardt was/is very controversial among traditional pedagogy (teaching methods). Anything that challenges the status quo, will be.
    Trumpet Warm Ups sheet music by Walter Moeck | Sheet Music Plus
    You need a good warm-up and it's only $3 !
    Lastly, keep your mouthpiece with you. When you can't play your horn play your mouthpiece (driving in slow traffic etc.). If that's not possible, do free buzzing. It is the ultimate no pressure exercise. I know this is a long response but I think the info will help you. All the best and have fun.
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Markie I just cut and pasted your exercise to my desktop, because I want to do it and be a happy camper by Christmas!

    I think smaller aperture = higher tone but yes, the way it's done is important, not through pressure but through muscle training and that takes time. And not over-thinking it.

Share This Page