Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jealousofmyhorn, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. jealousofmyhorn

    jealousofmyhorn New Friend

    Nov 28, 2010
    Well I'm a sophmore in highschool right now been playing since about 4th grade. With realizing i wanted to start playing the trumpet professionally as a career i've started looking at the smaller details more.. I've noticed that in my embochure that i basically use the right side of my mouth and put all the tension on one side to play.. so its not even on both sides.. Is this really something i should worry about and try fixing? And if so how should i start fixing it?. Because i mean with just using my right side i can go up to about the double g, having a pretty decent tone, and i personally think i'm a bit better at playing then the average sophmore. Any suggestions?
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    This is a very good question.
    First, what made you aware of this? You've been doing it since 4th grade with no problems.
    Many very successful people play to the side.
    I notice you use the term "tension". You might want to google Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment.
    My first instinct is to say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
    How would you go about fixing it?
    One method is to move the mouthpiece a little at a time until its centered. Of course you could just stand in front of a mirror and put the mouthpiece in the center of your lips and practice lip slurs.
    Just be sure that what you want to do is necessary because the process is gonna take a while and you're probably gonna suck for a while.
  3. SPFTrumpet

    SPFTrumpet New Friend

    Nov 30, 2010
    New Jersey
    At one point during my musical journey I had to go through a pretty serious embouchure change, and what I did could also work for you. Just a note so you're aware: My teacher in college told me that 95% of trumpet players don't play exactly dead center of their lips. Most of us play a little off center. It's all a matter of where it feels the most comfortable. Where your mouthpiece sits right now may feel comfortable for you but the closer to center you can be, the more effectively you'll be able to play the horn.

    1. Always practice in a room that has a mirror, or practice with a mirror. This is one of the most important parts of the embouchure change. You need to be able to see what your new embouchure looks like so you can start to associate the feel of the embouchure with the position of the mouthpiece. After a while, you won't need to look in a mirror anymore to make sure it's in the right position, you'll be able to tell by the way it feels on your face.

    2. Because you're changing the position of the mouthpiece on your face, you're going to be using the muscles in your lips differently, and might even start to use muscles you hadn't used before. You will most likely lose range, flexibility and some quality of sound. Don't worry, this is supposed to happen. You're more or less re-setting your embouchure and building it back up again. The good news is, it won't really take as long as you think, as long as you do things correctly.

    3. LONG TONES, LONG TONES, LONG TONES. When I changed my embouchure, I did nothing but exercises from the first few pages of the Schlossberg Daily Drills and Technical Studies. If you can buy this book, it would help you tremendously. If you can't just do long tones in the low to mid range, and focus on letting your air carry you through, and making a nice sound. Stay relaxed, don't force anything and be patient. Your goal is always to make a nice sound. Once you feel comfortable playing long tones in the low to mid registers, you can start to work your way up, but don't try to go too high, be conservative. If you were able to play up to an A or B in the staff comfortably, try for a D or an E, and slowly work your way out of the staff. Don't become impatient and try for stuff out of the staff yet, you have to make sure you feel comfortable with the notes in the staff first.

    4. Patience and repetition are key. Rome wasn't built in a day. If you do your long tones every day and really focus on making a good sound and letting the air do the work, it will pay off in the end. It may take longer than you want it to, but it will be worth it.

    Once you're comfortable with the placement and feel of your new embouchure and you feel secure enough, you can start working on technical stuff again, like etudes, multi-tonguing and repertoire.

    Best of luck!
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008

    When you say "double G", do you mean above double C or above high C, or G above the staff? If you can do the first two I would change NOTHING!! If it's the last, I would consult with your teacher FIRST!! Very few professionals have a "perfect", textbook embouchure. I would be extremely cautious about changing. The only bad embouchure I know of is a static one where you use excessive mouthpiece pressure to form your embouchure. It's bad because you cut off blood flow to the lips and you have no endurance, tone, etc. .
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My recommendation is to practice more and only after you have exhausted that option to think about changing embouchures. There is no embouchure silver bullet. Most young players do not have unlimited range, endurance and tone simply because they practice too little and wrongly.

    Endurance comes from having learned to play WITH the music instead of conquering it. Range comes from an understanding of the purpose of high notes. Double G with good tone shows that you don't know the names of the octaves. An earned double G would make YOU the expert. Sqeaks and squeals never count...........
  6. jealousofmyhorn

    jealousofmyhorn New Friend

    Nov 28, 2010
    Rowuk - I just used double G as a reference because that seems thats waht a lot of people refer to the second G above the treble cleff as, plus i'm a highschooler so i was lazy and didn't feel like saying it was actually G6 (i'm pretty sure if going off of what i have been taught in theory.

    Toby - I'm talking about the G 2 octaves up from the G that is on the Treble Cleff staff.

    Markie - I was just noticing that seemed that all of muscles i was using to hit the high notes and to play were from the right side of my mouth and face. So My band teacher had brought it to my attention several times that i'm really only using half of my face so i was thinking about maybe if i recentered it a litte bit more i would end up using both sides in which would maybe incresase my range and playing skills.
  7. tinker6700

    tinker6700 New Friend

    Oct 4, 2009
    so cal
    i noticed one day that i played slightly off center. i looked at my face in the mirror and could see that my teeth dont line up with the center of my face exactly. not so off center that i look like a freak, or even enough that you would notice without some careful scrutinization, just SLIGHTLY off center. what was interesting though, at least to me, was that i put my mouthpiece directly over my two front teeth. interesting enough that i got out a ruler/straight edge and began to see things about my face and bone structure that i never noticed before in my 30-something years of playing. im no expert, im just saying, based on my observations, that maybe off center, or to the side, is the best place for you to play and theres no need for you change.

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