Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I'm not positive about switching embochures yet, but if I was to start learning a new one to practice now while still using my other one for playing would it still be fine if I decided not to switch later and went back to my old one if it didnt work? Then if I do decide to switch I can just give up my other one right?

    The reason I'm still considering this (even though I need to do lots more research before I deditcate to switching) is that I believe my range has not increased at all since 8th grade (now in 10th)...Maybe 1 note at the most. My tone and endurance for all my notes has increased but not my range.

    I also think I use mostly something like a pucker embochure but it may have some small elements of a smile embochure still in there. I was origonally taught in 6th grade to play with a "smile" one. After reading lots on the internet I found that they are both faulty embouchures that in the end will limit my abilities.

    Also I use about 2/3 top lip and 1/3 bottom lips and play slightly to the side. I know playing to the side doesn't matter and ive heard of the 2/3-1/3 embouchure but I've always heard it as 2/3 bottom and 1/3 top. Does this effect it much?

    *I found one site of someones post about using this but found no other real credible information*

    What do you guys think?

    I know alot of you are against switching embochures but I really feel like something is holding me back. Especially range since I have been practicing lots more recently and spending good ammounts of time dedicated to range increase, slurs, and special excercises for it while my range still can only go up to about a G right above the staff in the middle of a song.

    I also feel like I am missing a lot of control with this embochure when I have more and more recently been hearing just how many tones and pitches are out of tune when I go through playing things.

    Anyway I'll look up more stuff later but I have too much other stuff that needs to be done now. Please give me your opinions.
  2. k_hower

    k_hower New Friend

    Oct 9, 2009
    I've never heard of either a smile or a pucker, but as far as the 2/3-1/3 thing goes, it's all up to you. That has been argued since the birth of Trumpeting. Arban's book talks about this a little, and basically there is no right answer. I myself use a 1/2 and 1/2 and it seems to work just fine for me. As far as range goes, I wouldn't switch embouchures just for that. There are some great range building books out there. Try some of those first.
  3. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    well I definitely havent been working on range stuff everyday since 8th grade but there was a time in like feb.-march in 9th grade when I focussed on slurs and excercises for a while and I have a lot recently with no success either times.

    Also with the 2/3-1/3 I would say it is dangerously close to being an overly top lip controlled embochure. It is right on the edge of what I think most would consider a faulty embochure and close to a 2/3-1/3 embochure. Thats why I focussed in on that a bit but i should have mentioned it.

    (might I also try moving the mouthpiece position a bit before trying to switch too?)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  4. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    I think any kind of do it yourself embochure change at this point would be a mistake, particularly if you base it of random information on the internet. Grab a teacher and have him analyze your current setup/skill, talk about your goals, and come up with a rational approach to get there...
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    For a real embouchure change, count on at least six months of sounding like you've just picked up the trumpet for the first time and are trying it out. If you really want to switch embouchures, you should find not just a good, but a great teacher. I don't wan't to be a curmudgeon, but most teachers out there are not qualified for that sort of thing, just as most doctors (other than psychiatrists) are not good psychiatrists. No offense implied, just the facts. Going from bad to worse, most of the trumpet teachers who bill themselves as embouchure experts aren't, really.

    It sounds like you aren't happy with your range. Here is something that might help, just in time for Halloween:

    Ghost Tones (Best I could find for a Halloween scary font!)

    Start out by playing long tones, but with a decrescendo down to the point that the sound is inside the bell but not projecting outside of it. It won't happen at first--it will cut off before then, but not to worry, just keep on trying, letting it get softer, softer, softer....

    When you have success with that, try to start a long tone by "ghosting in." No articulation, just air, until you can hear a "baby" tone inside the bell that you can bring out. You will also hear other "baby" tones along with the wished for tone at first, including some unborn high g's and double high c's.

    When you get that down, try getting a ghost tone with a "puh" articulation, and when you get that down, your normal "tuh" or "duh" articulation.

    Why all this nonsense? In order to play very, very quietly we need a small aperture. In order to play high notes we need a small aperture. Playing extremely softly requires more strength than playing at a comfortable dynamic, and to pull it off, our chops need be darn near perfect. As we build that strength and add endurance our range and sound will improve.

    Practicing this exercise isn't an embouchure switch, but sometimes evolution is better than revolution.

    Have fun!
  6. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    Thanks for the practice idea!

    But as for an embochure change even if the change isnt working out after the first 1/2 a year to a year if I just use the new one for practice and the old one for playing untill I can work up that second one couldn't I just switch back? The only thing I would loose is practice time but even then what if I split up practice like 25% old embochure and 75% new one?

    I think the private instructor I'm looking at will be good for this and I will talk to him about it more. Unfortunately I can't shell out a ton of money on a really good instructor for stuff like this though.

    Honestly though since I want to work twords a career with trumpet playing and its still pretty early on for my playing, with all the time I hope to put in to trumpet practice soon I think it would be worth the switch :/
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown

    I really, really try to be a "both and" kind of person rather than an "either or." Really, I try. In the case of a real "embouchure change" the "either or" kicks in super big-time, and for good reason. When it comes to changing our chops, there is no "best of both worlds." Muscle memory is incredibly powerful and hard as all get out to reprogram. While working on new habits the old ones are active in the background, doing push-ups and waiting their chance.

    Give the ghost tones a chance and/or change and stay changed.

    Real trumpeters are 100% commited, not 25/75, or any other ratio one can choose other than 100%.

    Sorry if this is bad news, but it comes from experience, and uhh, I can out-play and out-teach most teachers around, in America or Germany, anyway. It is, of course, my humble opinion (believe it or not), but heck(!), I know my stuff.

    Stop looking for short-cuts or stop-gaps. Give the Ghost Tones a chance before you do something really stupid!
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is not possible to support two types of embouchures like you suggest. Embouchure is so much more than just the position of the lips - is is the muscle interaction with the entire geometry of your face. It also involves use of the tongue and breathing. For an embouchure to function correctly, many habits have to be built and that automatically rules out changing procedures. With the development of new habits (muscle activity), you will not be able to isolate the old way and go back to it.

    That being said, I consider embouchure changes to be one of the most misunderstood things about playing trumpet and to be the #1 enemy of the lesser experienced player.

    Most of the time a good daily routine can bring about a natural change without a dedicated physical repositioning. Vulgano Brother is right, get a GREAT teacher before attempting this adventure. You do not know what you are getting yourself into and the chance for failure is great.
  9. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    The embouchure is a balance act between several muscles.
    In the old days (when I started playing for the first time) it
    was a "known fact" that going from low to high notes was
    done by smiling more!
    Taking a big smile can both be seen and felt by the player.

    Today puckering your lips (pucker = pulling corners inwards =
    anti-smiling) is suggested as a good strategy by some when going
    from low to high notes.
    Puckering can both be seen and felt by the player.

    There also are those players who say that they do nothing when
    going from low to high notes. This usually isnĀ“t quite true.
    Although nothing much is seen or felt by these players,
    the truth in many cases is that they both smile and pucker at
    the same time, i.e. there is a balance act between "smiling muscles"
    and "pucker muscles".
    Since nothing much seems to happen, sometimes these players claim
    to do nothing.

    Like rowuk says:

    This was just some info on the side. The most important thing for you
    to do is what has already been suggested: Get A Good Teacher!
  10. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I will try more things like ghost tones, but in the end if it doesn't really help and years later I stick with this embochure and am stuck with some of the limitations I have now, I would regret not trying to switch earlier.

    I did use to have messed up teeth around the time I learned the trumpet and now after braces my teeth are perfect but I still play off to the side. Would working on centering the mouthpiece change anything?

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