Embouchure Change Gone Wrong

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by chopshop3625, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    he is not a stressed out kid. He is just lying to himself (and us). Trumpet playing is not that tough. If he was paying any attention to his teachers and "professionals", some of the things would be very clear. He asked for help and then came back and said "no way, I play with a serious band". If his chops are that messed up, no serious band would have him. This is BS from front to back.

    He got good safe advice and is not willing to listen or even give it a chance. Punks get treated as such. If they know so much, why the sob story?
    B15M likes this.
  2. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    May 18, 2007
    It's true, rowuk... I taught HS aged band students for four years, and have seen my share of lameness. That may not be the case here, but I want you to know that I understand. Youth today wants instant gratification so much more, and I want it same as the next guy, but there comes a time where you just gotta DO it, and that's all the time. You gotta live it. He'll figure it out.
  3. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    So far, I agree completely with rowuk and whoever agrees with him, but I don't mean to polarize this debate or thread in ANY way possible. Also take my post with a grain of salt. These guys above me have like 5x more experience than I do (literally).

    Know where I'm coming from: I'm currently a junior in high school. I've been playing the trumpet since the band program officially starts out here in Minnesota, which is in 5th grade.

    I started getting private lessons from 7th grade. When I started, she asked me why I was playing the trumpet I was so bad. :-)

    Luckily, I didn't have the most horrible embouchure (when I check, I actually use more lower lip for some reason... And that was not the case. I don't/haven't even notice/d I've been changing gradually over time).

    I play in the Wind Ensemble here in EPHS, MN. We leaving for Bands of America in Indianapolis, tomorrow (yes, I'm so excited!!!) (we play on March 6th, at 11AM).

    Anyway. I've recently changed my teacher. He used to teach at Indiana State University as an undergrad trumpet professor (Michael Mann). Now he's a DMA student here at University of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. David Baldwin. I recently auditioned for Music Education program (yes, I'll be a senior next year, but if I get in, the PSEO program will provide for me).

    Notice I haven't been talking about embouchures at all. I simply wanted to let you know that I'm just another crazy band geek high school junior playing the trumpet.

    Ok. Now comes what I want to say about your current problems, and I'll just repeat what my teacher always drives in to my head.

    It doesn't matter about the mechanics. Just listen and imitate the sounds you hear from the professional orchestras, lead players, and solos, and of course your lesson teacher.

    I've been asking him questions like "is my embouchure ok?" or "is my tongue stopping the sound too much on the releases?" and just generic questions like that. He would always just stare at me, and say "just listen" It's like Yoda saying just... use the force......

    Since this became my focus, I've been listen to a lot of Andre, Hardenberger, and Balsom. (Those three are my favorite). While I still make sure I'm not being to silly about my embouchure and the "mechanics" of playing, I still don't really care. I just listen and then I imitate. I might experiment with different throat shapes or air-speeds, etc, but in the end, my goal is to imitate.

    For the embouchure, I encourage you to find what you feel where your greatest strength is. When I go silly and try embouchures that I don't ever use in my daily playing, I feel weak. That's probably what you're feeling. I suggest you play around and find where you feel is the strongest and "just clicks".

    Remember, once you find something that's comfortable, it's all about listening, not a step-by-step tutorial on how to play like Andre Maurice. If it was that easy, then we'd just all be like him.

    A fellow highschool junior.

    By the way, I'm not the best player around the metro area, and I haven't overcome any of the problems you're trying to overcome... But I guess these are my 2 cents
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  4. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Los Gatos, CA
    Good for you Keehun!

    When I was your age, (too many years ago!) I'd been listening to Maurice Andre, various other soloists of Baroque and Classical period music, Herb Alpert, and a variety of symphony recordings (no-name groups on budget labels through top groups like Herseth/Chicago, Vacchiano, Voisin, et al.). I listened to the recordings, played along with many of them, transcribed trumpet parts from the recordings, and along the way absorbed the sounds I liked and imitated them.

    True, it took some time for me to stop sounding like Herb Alpert and the TJB ;-) but eventually, I got the kind of sound I like (mostly) and am still imitating others, like Roger Webster/Russell Gray on Bb cornet, and Allan Wycherly on Eb soprano cornet.

    I even listen to how other instruments play, including woodwinds, strings, and even vocalists! Listening is the most important thing (I think) one can do to progress as a musician, (in general!) Imitating is the second most important thing!

    If you can make yourself (successfully) imitate a good player, you ARE a good player!

    Keep it up!!!

    Guy Clark
  5. chopshop3625

    chopshop3625 New Friend

    Feb 28, 2010

    And you know what you are? You're a stuck up trumpet jerk. You think you own this website. Just reading that comment my blood boils. I have consulted many professionals. I have heard all sides of the spectrum of playing trumpet. But i won't stoop down to your level.

    I appreciate everything on this thread!! I'm not dismissing anything!! You have no idea what I am going through. i am not spoiled. And sacrifice? You know what I have sacrificed? Everything for my one goal. Everyday I play, then if have time I think about other responsibilities. AND I PLAY WITH DISCIPLINE. I never said I have no answers you twat. My sadness turns to rage. I wanted to connect with players that UNDERSTAND. You totally misunderstand what i meant on taking time off. I'm not even going to try to explain.

    NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL ME WHO I AM AND WHAT I CANNOT DO. NEVER. YOU DONT KNOW ME. You would not be internet hunting me if I left out the highschool part. AND it seems to me you have this superior edge in all your forums. You don't look to help, but to hurt. To prove that your'e always right. How dare you call yourself a mentor. BELIEVE ME. I KNOW SACRIFICE.

    You misjudge me. My teachers have cried for me. Because they know how hard i work.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  6. chopshop3625

    chopshop3625 New Friend

    Feb 28, 2010

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? You think I'm lying? Would I spend 8 months on a quick fix? The person you make me out to be would have given up a long time ago. And you seriously are changing what i said to meet what you think. I did not say "No way" i said "thanks" because I know how valid that advice is. I have given it a chance. And No Its not a professional band, But we are good. We are playing at Next gen and Ellington. I have a responsibility to the band to perform, which is harder when I take a break. WHICH DOESNT MEAN I DONT DO IT. It has been one of the most effective tools up my sleeve!

    You call me a punk? You think my story is BS? Well then. Come meet me. See how i play. Tell me how stupid I am to my face. Ill introduce you to my band. I'll even give you the names of teachers and professors that I've consulted. How Dare you. Every time your students have trouble do you shove it in their face? Call them a punk? Dismiss their hard work? Incredible.
  7. chopshop3625

    chopshop3625 New Friend

    Feb 28, 2010
    Thank YOU KEEHUN!! Yes. All about the sound. The whole problem was caused because the teacher that started me on the change taught me exactly the opposite. This is not an excuse. But yes IMITATION and SOUND. i couldn't agree more. Freddie is my man. Its good to hear it from a "kid" too!!
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    take a big step back, a deep breath and read on:
    Fact: you started an embouchure change and from your standpoint it has not worked after some amount of time less than 8 months (you have switched teachers).
    Now you have a second teacher (for less than 8 months) and are still confused.
    You have "consulted" many professionals that seem to have no answers that fit you.
    You come to an internet forum, get SOLID advice and blow it off because it also does not fit in your perspective.
    Voila - we have found your problem - YOU. You didn't understand what you were getting into (or perhaps even what the teacher wanted from you), before he was finished, you changed to a new teacher that you also doubt, otherwise you would not have consulted all those professionals who also have only confused YOU more. Now you come here and give me a hard time because YOU refuse to look in the mirror.

    Embouchure changes are the most misunderstood part of trumpet playing. Sometimes it takes YEARS until the pieces fit. Why do some seem to get over it quicker? Many times because they only change their attitude but nothing physical. In other cases they were in fact doing something seriously wrong before and the "new" version corrects a BIG problem.

    For normal players, embouchure changes should be evolutionary not revolutionary. Most reports of dramatic embouchure changes are disasters! Internet forums are full of them and the posters ALWAYS blame somebody else.

    The cure is always the same: time out, regroup, develop new habits and then come back better than ever before. An approach that YOU are not willing to take.

    The result is that YOU suffer and that is my point about the spoiled brat, punk and lack of will to sacrifice. You arrange the view of what you THINK that you do instead of measuring what you do by the results.

    You can solve your problem very easily, get off of your horse, take a couple of months off of ensemble and get your face back together or continue to do all the things that have put you where you are now.

    I may be a jerk and twat, but of what help is it to stroke your ego when the basic problem is you not listening and sticking with a good teacher that gives you first hand help - even if the results are not as fast as your young mind is willing to accept. Understanding has NOTHING to do with agreeing with your wrong approach.

    I often use an analogy during lessons: you can travel from Miami to Atlanta by going south or north. Going south just takes a lot longer and has greater difficulties. This is the path that you are on!

    In one point you have made a very juvenile assumption. I do know you, like the back of my hand. You are so much like many of the students that I have taught in the last 35 years. Some wake up in time, some end up studying business administration or gardening.

    The choice is yours. Wake up or shut up.
  9. chopshop3625

    chopshop3625 New Friend

    Feb 28, 2010
    Ok I'm gonna calm down and be frank. You need to retract your statements of "Punk" , "Spoiled", "Sacrifice". That is not me.

    I totally understand what you're saying. However, I am not blowing off advice. Of course i didn't know what I was getting into because i trusted my teacher!! And yes Its a disaster. And yes its my fault! i came here for help. Not to be demoralized by some trumpet player around the world. i stuck with my First teacher for 6 months. And If I had evolved rather than revolutionized I might be in a different place right now. But thats not my story. I had a teacher. Drastic change, end of story. i gave everything I had for 6 months. Thats all i could give. Then i found a new teacher, and yes i have my doubts. Yes I'm HUMAN. We're all different. But that doesn't make me a punk or spoiled brat.

    But why are you on this forum if all you are going to do is bring me down? Isn't the reason you come here to help? Believe me the only person I'm mad at is myself. I take responsibility for my actions. I don't need to feel any worse than i already do.

    To everyone else!!! i really appreciate everything from anyone!! Thanks again.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I have been on the forum for a long time and make a point out of NOT beating around the bush. If I read the players "problem" as attitude, I address that. If it is the mechanics of playing, I post other things. If it is musical, yet something else.

    Your problem is/was not the embouchure change. That was clear to me in your first post. The reality is much different than you "think".

    I am not convinced that your first teacher was wrong, and am not convinced that the second teacher is not the solution. As long as you do not create an environment to clear up the problems, they will not go away.

    You obviously do not have the answers, but a goal. Either you trust somebody, or develop a plan B. The chance of YOU UNDERSTANDING what is wrong in time to fix it yourself for the audition is about ZERO. That is where a good teacher comes in and blind trust in someone that has been there. If that college audition is REALLY important to you, then you have a choice to make: drop all ensemble work that forces you to continue with things that are holding you back and take that time to develop the basic skills that you are presently missing. The other option is to whine about nobody being able to help you - which is not true.

    I refuse to treat symptoms when the problem is so obvious. 4-8 weeks of solid basics building will most likely solve your problem. Bandaids and motivation talks only succeed in cementing the problems forever. Look in the mirror and make a decision. The sacrifices that you THINK that you have made, did not produce results. That should tell you something. On your trip from Miami to Atlanta, penguins at the South Pole should be a sign that you made a mistake somewhere.

    If you wake up, then my discourse does not bring you down, it opens a door - to humility, patience, an a new look on why you play trumpet as well as a path to a future in brass.

    Any retractions will have to wait until you show that you have what it takes to move to the next level - forwards.

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