Centering the Mouthpiece on the mouth

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SpiritDCI08, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    All of the instructors I have yell at me because my mouthpiece is not perfectly centered. It is only slighty off center, a little off to the right. I've been playing like this for a while and I have no problems like this. I was just wondering if it will hurt me in the long run.

  2. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Well, you're in a difficult situation. You said "instructors" so I'm assumiong that you're referring to drum corps instructors and not a trumpet teacher. If that's the case, then you're kind of compelled to listen to them if you want to be a part of their horn line. If you're truely off-center only by a tiny bit, then this is unfortunate. For some reason the staff thinks perfect center = perfect playing, which we know isn't the case.

    On the other side of the coin, you may THINK that you're only slightly off-center when in fact you may be far off to the side (or slightly off center but at a severe angle that makes you look far off center).

    If you have a video camera available try setting it up and tape yourself practicing for an hour. Ablut halfway through you'll forget about the camera and see where your setup really is.

    If your tone, endurance, and range are all where you want them to be I don't think anyone will push too hard to force you to switch. At the end of the day, if you want to be a member of the corps you either have to follow their rules or go elsewhere...
  3. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    I have played for over 50 yrs with off center placement due to my jaw and tooth configuration. Not everyone can play fully centered, or should, in my opinion. There are probably extenstive threads on this topic if you use the search function here and on Trumpetherald. I seem to recall a lot of discussion when I was a member of the Maynard Ferguson forum, also.
    Sounds like a hyper drum corp uniformity thing to me.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  4. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Tell your drum corps instructors to pound sand!!

    You play where you play.
  5. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Ditto! As long as you can play, there is NOTHING wrong with playing off center. I've been playing off to the left for 40 years. I remember years, early on, of grade school teachers insisting that I would never be able to play well like that. I guess they were so absorbed in this issue that they failed to notice that I was always the first chair player....

    Anyway, tell your instructors that they don't know what they're talking about. If this is a drum corp, be uniform thing, then tough! You play where you play!

  6. Liblip

    Liblip New Friend

    Mar 29, 2008
    Pound sand sounds right to me. I knew several guys you played off-center in drum corps, it didn't hurt them, their sound, or our uniformity. (You remember uniformity- like trying to cooly march around the remanents of the parade's horses marching in front of your unit!) :shhh:

    I'm pretty much centered, but like nearly everyone a little to one side. My wife will tell you it's the only right-of-center thing about me. -Ed
  7. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    No one 20 feet away from you can tell if your mouthpiece is a bit to one side or the other. If, when playing, your horn points left or right, that is what they will see. Maybe you can try to turn your head ever so slightly so your horn is parallel to the others.

    Otherwise I agree. What is in your best interest musically is to not change the anchor spot. You can try not playing and putting the mouthpiece where THEY want it and see what kind of a response you get.

    I cannot play centered and still sound good. A little bit to the right makes an enormous difference for me.
  8. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    Do you know Mongezi Feza, a great south african jazz trumpet player ? He used to put his mouthpiece completely on the left of his mouth ... and played so beautifully ! When I was young, ALL the horn players in the local marching band (south of France) played on the right, because the audience used to stand on the right side of the street !
  9. Hoghorn

    Hoghorn Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2008
    Manitowoc Wi.
    If your "AIR" center is in the center of your chops then you should be chop center. If your air center is to one or the other side thats where you should be. Whats important is to center on your AIR, not your chops !

  10. The Weez

    The Weez Piano User

    Dec 23, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    FWIW, my mouthpiece is left of center by probably a quarter inch. When I put it in the exact center it feels "off" as far as my teeth and jaw structure.

    I'm no expert though.

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