Corners leaking?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rhosch, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. rhosch

    rhosch New Friend

    Feb 19, 2009
    I did a few searches and read through the threads I found that seemed relevant. I'd still like a little direct advice from some of the seasoned guys here.

    I started playing when I was 8. I never had a problem with air leaking from the corners until somewhere later in college. After college I have managed to play as often as possible in groups... sometimes being a couple of years between anything that was consistent. Practice during the "down" time has been sproadic... usually getting back into decent shape for a wedding, or church gig, or paid pit orchestra or whatever. But the leaking has been there since mid-late college.

    Here's the kicker. My tone seems to be at its best when I have a little leakage, or at least when there is the threat of a little leakage. I know that as I developed as a player the leakage slowly crept in there. Maybe it had something to do with wanting to play high more often in college... who knows. Now I'm mid 30's, and am starting to play a little more, and thought now would be a good time to ask about this.

    My embouchure currently has my corners pulled back to the sides a bit... kind of like pulling a string tight, but in this case my lips. I pull them back a bit, set them firm, and then let my lips be as loose or as rigid as I need for the range. My corners stay set and firm throuought the duration of my playing, from upper register to pedals.

    But I don't "pucker" which seems to solve the leaking problems. It also hurts my tone. I don't know what it does for endurance or range, as I won't stay with a "pucker" long enough to find out due to the tone problems. I read about the "pencil" trick/training, and don't seem to have any problem keeping one horizontal for 10 minutes, at which point I was bored. A heavier pen was comfortable for a minute or two, not sure how long I could keep that up.

    Questions... should I worry about the leaking? I don't generally play mic'd. But it does annoy me when it becomes more of a spitty buzz after a really long practice session or performance. If I need to fix it, should I work on "puckering" or is there some advise you may have that can help but still leave my corners pulled back a bit? If the pencil trick is a good training exercise, what length of time should I aim for?
  2. rhosch

    rhosch New Friend

    Feb 19, 2009
    Oh, other potentially useful tidbits... I play on a Warburton 3D and 4D most often. Not nearly as wide of a rim as something like a Schilke, which maybe would help a bit, but I have much greater control. I've always liked the feeling of a "sharp" mpc rim.
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    You really need to let someone who knows what they are doing see you. I do not see any blog advice being of use in this particular situation. Sorry, good luck.
  4. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Yes, I agree, you need to find a competent teacher who can work with you on your embouchure and get the corners under control. I suspect from your post that you do not play enough to really control it. Playing everyday will help, but no one here can give you the advice to cure your problem. Find a competent teacher visit the music stores and ask, check with a nearby university to see who the trumpet teacher is and talk with them. If they can't teach you then they can possibly recommend someone. If you have a nearby symphony find out who plays principal trumpet and call them or email them that you are looking to study with someone.
  5. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

    Mar 1, 2007
    Your first step should always be to enlist help from a good teacher. But that's sometimes not easy to do (finances, location, etc.).

    I inquired recently about the same issue, and I was directed to this:

    YouTube - The Pencil Exercise for trumpet players

    For your consideration.

  6. Rushtucky

    Rushtucky Pianissimo User

    Sep 15, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    I agree. I do not think that you are going to find a solution on this thread. Find an expert to resolve your problem. Preferrably a professor teaching trumpet at a local university. You did not list where you lived. If you are in Indiana, Pat Harbison at Indiana University or Michael Mann at Indiana State Univ. could and most likely would be happy to talk to you and give you some advise.
  7. rhosch

    rhosch New Friend

    Feb 19, 2009
    Well, I'm in Mississippi in a smallish town. I know the local teachers and I'm not sure that any of them would be of much benefit. There is a nearby symphony, and while I know none of the players in that section teach it might be worth giving them a shout to see if they'd be willing to help out on this specific issue. They know of me from my prior playing, so perhaps they would.

    And who knows... maybe I'll walk around with a pencil in the chops for a few days. :)
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    If you can't find a knowledgable teacher locally, how about online?
  9. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Leaking from the corners is usually a strength issue resulting in trying to do too much on chops that aren't strong enough to handle the demand. It's similar to going to the gym once every few weeks and expecting to gain strength... it just won't happen. We're dealing with a very small muscle around your mouth that really was designed to help you talk and keep soup off our shirts (that still cracks me up Pops McL).

    As a player who has experienced what you're going through and as a teacher who sees that problem, it's most commonly caused by an inconsistent practice regiment.

    Try this... go to either the Arbans, St. Jacome, Brandt, or any of the etude books and pick a longer etude with some acrobatics in it. Something that will challenge you and not allow for much rest. Play until you are tired / leaking... then stop and rest. You will have to do this CONSISTENTLY to see results. You can also try doing long whisper tones... but again, no matter what it is - it will require consistency.

    Check out my new book... I cover some of this as well.

    Welcome to Brass Player Solution
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  10. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Check this sight out for pencil tips.

    Trumpet lessons and trumpet books.

    While playing an enduring piece, excess moisture will work towards the corners and open up your chops there. When there is a rest, just rub the corners with the fore finger and thumb of your right hand to dry them off.

    maybe your aperture is too tight, also, but for every trumpet player, there is an embouchure.

Share This Page