Embouchure Change

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Joe N., Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

    Mar 22, 2007
    After one more big jazz festival on Friday and Saturday I won't have any gigs for a while. I've never had the range, flexibility, or endurance that I want to have, and I know this is largely in part because of a faulty embouchure. I am too dependent on my bottom lip, which has little or no curl in when I play. I realize that I use too much pressure on my bottom lip. In saying this, I want to change my embouchure (could be complete overhaul or whatever necessary). Does anybody have any suggestions of proper lip placement for better range and endurace, tips on how to make an embochure change (how to experiment to find something that works), or anything else that would help me out. I do have a teacher that I know will guide me the right way but I also want to hear from people on here about their experiences and suggestions. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    To be honest, I generally do not discuss embouchure changes with my students. They get exercizes to correct whatever may be wrong as I don't want them intellectualising the process.
    Any overhaul of your playing should involve body use, breathing and at the end the mechanics in that order (I call this "the basics"). Playing with pressure means that the work has not been divided correctly between those 3 factors. Anything that you do wrong has to be compensated for somewhere else.
    Yoga or martial arts are very good to get in touch with your body.
    Swimming is good for breathing and timing.
    The mechanics are dependent on your present state - and that is not diagnosable over the internet.
  3. FreshBrewed

    FreshBrewed Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Houston, TX

    I did the same thing a few years back, but before I started the change I gathered and studied as much information as I could concerning embouchures. In the long run it was crucial to the changes I made. I couldn't honestly suggest one or the other to you because we are all different. I wish you luck and hope everything turns out well concerning your changes.
  4. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    The best thing you could do is find a teacher who is an expert on embochure mechanics. Having someone in person to guide you along is huge here.

    Speaking of huge, embochure changes are HUGE DEALS. I have been there, myself. I went from a far right, very low embochure to a centered(esque) farkas. I was an extreme case of bizarre embochure needing sorting out.

    I went through an embochure change my Freshman year of college, two years ago New Year's Day. The first thing I played was the trumpet riff on that old show "Highway to Heaven." It was like starting over on the trumpet. I was horrified.

    It took me roughly six months to get stuff in decent order for playing. It took about a year and a half to get to where I was before the change, and even now I am about a year behind where I should be (God help me, it still feels like I'm rolling a boulder uphill sometimes).

    Still, the progress and improvement in playing and sound is astounding. I can do a lot more than what I used to; I can play higher, longer, just better. I can get as bright as a G bugle, and as broad and vibrant as a C.... I love the bugle sound, personally. :-P

    Joe, this is a huge thing. Everything changes. Maybe a little or maybe a lot, but everything changes. How you tongue a note, how you control the note, how you hit the note, air flow, everything. You better be ready to put at least six months into the woodshed, bare minimum. And be prepared to suck. A lot.

  5. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 7, 2006
    north texas
    The begining of December I reluctantly began to change my embouchue. I played with maybe 5-10% of my bottom lip the rest was top. I didnt really have range or endurance issues, in fact I felt that I played well but my teacher convinced me that I would never make it professionally unless I changed. All I can add is that I did it and it has worked so far. I am still not 100% used to the new set but the horror stories I had heard didnt happen. Just take a bunch of embouchure studies and a goos teacher to guide you and all should be well.
    P.S. I believe it helped my playing significantly.
  6. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

    Mar 22, 2007
    I've done a minor change before, I know it takes time and work. I'm not looking for a quick fix, I want to get better.
  7. Agalego93

    Agalego93 New Friend

    Mar 30, 2011
    Fall River, Massachusetts
    I started my embouchure change yesterday. My teacher and I noticed that I'm only playing with a small portion of my top lip, and as a result over small amounts of time I start to lose endurance because the surface area I use for playing is small than normal. I get range that way, but its highly inconsistent on a 3C mouthpiece. I'm just a little concerned because my University's Music Department is just now regaining interest and since the school was a big jazz school back in the late 20th century, I feel I'll be letting everyone down, being the only trumpet major in the school at the present time.
  8. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    Don't do the change without a knowledgeable teacher to guide you.
  9. dadbob

    dadbob New Friend

    Jan 13, 2011
    Fayetteville, GA

    I'm a comeback player starting early this year, so I have been working almost exclusively on relearning how to play with the correct embouchure. I know this does not translate directly to your situation, but if you are going to make an embouchure change, it seems to me that it is very similar to starting over. In fact, if you ahve the luxury of strating from scratch, then I think the change can come easier and quicker. I have found George Rawlin's Air Play system to be very helpful in that regard. If you google him, you will find his website with videos and tips galore. He also can do a consultation or lessons on Skype. Just one consultation has helped me tremendously.

    Good luck.

  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    A lot of the above posts are supporting your choice for embouchure change. Before you do this, please don't discount the excellent, seemingly singular perspective advice given by Rowuk. I think working on the skill series he recommends is just as, if not more vital than taking a leap of faith in changing it all. My recommendation is to go with Rowuk's advice first. If after this, you still are not to the point you desire, then go with the last option of changing the embouchure.

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