Embouchure change?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Hoss4476, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Hoss4476

    Hoss4476 New Friend

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    Backstory: My main problem with trumpet has always been the inability to play high and using too much pressure. I play with a lot of top lip and barely any bottom lip, I have heard 1/2 and 1/2 is correct and 1/3 top 2/3 bottom is alright, but I'm neither its probably 1/4 bottom, 3/4 top.
    Today, while I was messing around I curled my bottom lip in, thus making my embouchure close to half and half. When I did this I used absolutely no pressure and could wail high notes left and right. Sounds great, right? Well, not so much, I couldn't play anything below a concert Bb on the staff without moving my embouchure. With the way I usually play with mostly top lip, I have trouble hitting a concert G above the staff with loads of pressure, but with what I did part of practice today I could hit a double G with no pressure at all (but couldn't play low at all). I've been trying so hard to improve my range over time and use less pressure, but to no avail... Should I try the new embouchure and try to work my way low? or should I stick with what I've been doing? Thanks for any help in advance..

    P.s. I can also play down to a petal concert C with my old embouchure.
     
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    I'm going through this very same change at the moment. At first, I chose to resist it, but in the end, the old pressure embouchure just collapsed and I was left with few options.

    Get advice from an experienced tutor. Where I am, there are none, but a number of TM members (Dr Mark in particular) have been kind enough to give me advice and encouragement. This has helped a lot.
     
  3. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    Most definitely get help from a chop doc, like Pops McLaughlin. Having said that, you may be on to something, because the problems you describe sound like you are playing with too open a setting, which is a very common problem. It is often better to find a setting that lets you more easily play the upper range (say G on top of the staff to High C or D), then work on loosening up on the lower notes. Of course, you can go to far with this, but given where you are now you may have nothing to lose.
     
  4. Hoss4476

    Hoss4476 New Friend

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    I think I'm going to give it a shot. It can't hurt. I just wanted to know if that was a good approach or not. I always here of people starting low and working high. I think you may be right about the too open of a setting. With the new way I found I can feel a much tighter aperture. I just need to work on opening that aperture up without letting my embouchure change. I have to relearn how to play low I guess. I'm just not sure if it's a good approach or how exactly to approach it.
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    I'm taking the liberty of copying your own words, vis "With the new way I found I can feel a much tighter aperture. I just need to work on opening that aperture up without letting my embouchure change." There you have it, high notes require a tighter aperture with more air pressure, and conversely lower notes with a more open aperture and lower air pressure. It's physics. Kiss your mouthpiece with just enough pressure to make an air seal between lips and mouthpiece with nothing additional from your left elbow.
     
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    It will. Please believe me, once you set out down that road, there is probably no going back. Speak to someone qualified first.
     
  7. Hoss4476

    Hoss4476 New Friend

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    I'm not sure what determines "qualified". I already plan to speak to my instructors at school. One is a trumpet player that has played for 25+ years, the other a trombone player who has played for 20+ years... I don't have the kind of money for lessons from the likes of Pops Mclaughlin. I understand it's a high risk, high reward thing, so I will definitely consult them both before going ahead with changing. Trying to change it in school is also a problem because of performances. It may end up being a summer job.
     
  8. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    Pops has a lot of free stuff on his website, and he does skype lessons as well. He is certainly not the only one that can help you, but I know he has helped a lot of players including me. I used to be exactly where you are. It caused me to quite playing for over 20 years. When I came back 12.5 years ago I quickly found Pops and he put me on the right track. Today I am the lead player in our community jazz band. Not because I am a better player than the other guys but because I have better range. I am reliable to G above High C, which is something that was unthinkable for me until I found Pops.

    Hopefully your local guy can help you with all this. He/she will be especially helpful if they have helped others with your issue. I found a local guy six years ago and he was able to build on what Pops showed me.

    BTW, good luck in your quest!
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    DIY embouchure changes are fraught with danger. Changing an embouchure based on what we read on the internet is fraught with danger. That said....

    When I was in high school my mouthpiece setting was real high. The only thing that kept it from going higher was that my nose got in the way. I discovered that by curling my lower lip in and bunching my chin I could play high notes. I had a pedal C, although it was about a step too low. All I wanted to do was to play lead trumpet in a big band.

    When I got to college I got my embouchure revamped. The mouthpiece was lowered so that the inner rim was just a hair above the red above the middle of the upper lip. I used a ballpoint pen to mark where the outside edge of the mouthpiece should be, and spent hours practicing in front of a mirror. I learned to push my jaw out to make up (in part) for my overbite and to hold my chin flat. I had tremors in my sound for about six months as newly discovered muscles got used for the first time.

    At the end, I had a total package. I could play high notes in a lead or piccolo setting with the right sound, play an orchestral fortissimo or a chamber music pianissimo. Huge credit goes to my teacher, Gerald Webster. What made lessons effective were the way he could hear me in surround sound and look at my chops in 3-D. When he played examples I heard him raw and unfiltered.

    Please consult with a good, flesh and blood, here and now teacher before committing to any change.
     

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