Corners leaking?

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

  1. rhosch

    rhosch New Friend

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    Feb 19, 2009
    Had someone take a look - not a lesson, just a look. Most of the problem is due to my off-center positioning. One of my upper incisors is turned just a hair, and that causes me to sound and play much better off-center. Over the years I had probably slowly shifted as my teeth changed, and that's why the "problem" didn't show up until later in life. Playing centered now sounds horrible. I had noticed that the mp ring on my lips is shifted about 1/8" off center (i.e. not a lot, barely noticeable while playing), but didn't think about that being related, even though almost all of the leaking occurs on the short side. Duh.

    Solutions offered? Fix the tooth (which is not a visual problem, it only affects embouchure), which will probably ruin my sound, at least for a while. Work on strengthening the embouchure, which is good advice for anyone at any stage with any problems (or none). Try a mouthpiece with a wider rim to support the "short side" of the embouchure corner a bit more, though I'll have to be the judge on its impact on the rest of my playing. Slowly nudge the mp back towards center during practice, paying close attention to the tone and position... eventually I might be able to nudge it back enough to help with the leakage without sacrificing other aspects of my playing.

    Final suggestion given : since I'm not a professional and don't aspire to be, determine whether it is bothering just me or affecting my performances. If no one else notices, then perhaps there is nothing to fix, other than general strengthening and getting the chops back into better shape, which would probably a little help anyway.


    Thanks for the other suggestions here. I'll try to dry the lips more and see how that works. The leakage is at its worst during extended multiple-tonguing passages when there is more spit and more wetness on the lips, so that makes a lot of sense. And I'll probably use the pencil training thing as part of my general "getting back into shape" routine, as well as the suggestion of working on endurance by playing until leaking starts and then taking a break. Since the problem first appeared in college when I was playing consistently and the chops were in good shape, I may not be able to eliminate it completely with strengthening alone, but any improvement is welcomed (especially if it comes "for free" when working on better playing in general).
     
  2. Artemisia

    Artemisia Pianissimo User

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Austria
    Your teeth positions or your lips might have changed. Particularly the lips use to change a lot (usually getting thinner throughout the years), that's a medical fact. Teeth also use to change their positions and that can cause many problems later on. So fix the tooth you've been talking about, even though you probably don't like to see the dentist too often ... ;)
     
  3. rhosch

    rhosch New Friend

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    Feb 19, 2009
    Fixing the tooth would mean braces, something that is just not going to happen in my mid-30's for one tooth that isn't a cosmetic issue, and doesn't seem to negatively affect my tone or technique. It might have an impact on range or endurance if I shifted back to the middle, who knows, but that's a big question mark I'll have to leave unanswered. :)
     
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree with Keith but I would also suggest that you play the etudes such as Arban's characteristic studies very soft, this will force the embouchure to work without using pressure which will increase endurance, which should eliminate your leaking corners.
     
  5. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Good call Al. I Agree with that. Playing soft (ala Clarke studies) is one of the best ways to increase strength because your muscle around your mouth has to "hold" a small aperture.

    Keith
     
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
     
  7. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Right again - playing where your physical make-up dictates is what we should do as players. That's another reason that it drives me nuts when I hear band directors correcting that and demanding that ALL players be on the same size mouthpiece (diameter). That's like a track coach saying everyone has to wear the same size shoe!
     
  8. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 25, 2009
    I want to bump this thread up because I thought of it tonight while playing a long enduring piece with most notes above C and never a chance to grab a breath.

    Air started escaping from my corners, playing this piece. The term I labeled it tonight is "Trumpeters Drown Syndrome". What I experienced was my body was in demand for a fresh breath of O2, and the body takes over all your will to get O2, even when your trumpet mind says "no time for a breath right now". I think after so many years, the body learns how to get it against your wishes while it plays the trumpet. It learns your going to inhale as soon as you are completely out of power, so it disengages air against your will so you will have to gasp for fresh O2. It has found your weak point to exhaust stale air, out the corners. When I finally finished the piece, my heart was racing and I was breathing like I finished running. Many pieces are more demanding than others.

    My condensed theory, I hope it's worth a thought.
     
  9. lou gonzalez

    lou gonzalez New Friend

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    Feb 18, 2009
    henderson nv
    relax, man....frank szabo(world class LA player) sprayed me a few times. he had a bad leak in the 70's-80's; harry kim studied w/carmine in nyc, claude in la, he had some leaks for a while, then they went away, then he discovered a "puff" like in the cheeks gave him a cushion, helped w/endurance. he said when he wa playin' hard w/rick james he had nothin' but chop problems, never could warm up...but he has sounded incredibly great for 50 years now.Maynard sprayed us one nite. he was holding some absurd note, and the side of his chops opened, exposing incisors and tongue, bubbles and squirts like a hose with a bad tape job...goddam note gave us a headache, though. vibrato started the leak, i think???
    jimmie stamp(LA star, H'wd Bowl, Phil, etc-great guru) taught szab, jimmie had a leak (off&on)...he said Gozzo had a leak.
    i sprang a leak, and claude gordon told me to do the routines, and it would take care of itself if i got the right feel. his routines took 6 hours-couldn't feel NOTHIN' after 6 hours of his stuff.leak leaked, i played, and practiced more.
    In the 60's, Paul Hord was(is?) a great trpt player on the LAPD band-he led the jr band and we had loads of cats with great big lips-Officer Hord stuck the mouthpiece down in the red part of his lower lip, squished his upper lip, leaked like a sieve. He also played beautifully for hours in all registers, dynamix, varied attacks...beautiful legato, ttk tktk etc...not a beautiful embouchure, but EFFICIENT and effective.
    john clyman(20th c fox, h'wd bowl, l.a. phil etc-guru too) said play the SOUND. the results will speak for themselves. the leak closed up on its own, while i was screaming 4 (yes, 4) shows a nite at the flamingo here in sin city-i was about 22-3.
    a few yrs later, my chops LOOKED great, but the sound was not what i wanted, and i was erratic...and eating off my horn, so i hadda shed my way out of the fears and chop woes...and i spent hours on fundamentals, playing correctly, resting often, and talking to every great player in LA who would give me a minute...
    use a rigorous method like stamp or claudes books, or the tried & true schlossberg ala bill adam...the hours on the horn will fix the leak, or not. the hours will make your playing
    as it should be. AIR/RELAXATION/OPEN THROAT/ rest as much as you play...listen to the great players. one day clyman said "i don't care if you stick in your ___, if it SOUNDS great, it must be in the right place!" john could be subtle like that.
    30 is too young to be concerned and old enough to have doubts-"straight ahead, strive for tone-" per Harry Babison, bass great...all the guys said the same thing.
    put in the hours, learn to survive on the bandstand, always let the air do the work.
    i wish you luck. i am getting over a few days playing much too hard on a show on the strip. if the air ain't right, the A's and C's won't come out, and G is a painful experience.
    99% of the "problems" players come up with are due to poor air control, undisciplined practice, and lack of observation of ones habits.
    don reinhardt wrote an encyclopedia of brass work-lotsa good stuff there,the pencil routine is there&well explained.caruso's book is great. gordies books are what arturo sandoval swore by. stamps method is fantastic, roy main is amazing...
    all their stuff comes down to sitting there and listening for what you want to sound like
    as you put in the hours doing a vigorous, varied series of low-hi/long-short/fast-slow/multi-articulated bits of music you can't play. yet. go to malcommcnab.com, get his version of the tchaickovski violin concerto. on trumpet. he started working it up during watergate...he will teach you all you need to know. you don't need a teacher so much as you need a sound to pursue and enjoy working towards. by now, there's enough trumpet stuff out here to keep you busy for HOURS each day. be sensible, pace yourself, claude always was a bout lotsa walking&breathing ex./shew is on the yoga bandwagon, doc is a freakin HURRICANE and he's 134 this yr.
    buzz or don't buzz, long tones or chromatics-do your 45 min, rest, work on bach or bop, then rest, and practice whats impossible for a while. learn to know your needs. and use a metronome or a music minus one so you are forced to match a pace other than your "comfortzone." good luck.
     
  10. lou gonzalez

    lou gonzalez New Friend

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    Feb 18, 2009
    henderson nv
    learn to circular breath up there. the other night, our boss was doing ENDLESS holds on stuff way too high to hang onto. circular breathing will save you everytime. it is a challenge on f and g though...
     

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