Embouchure change?

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

  1. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    -While the discussion has gotten a little "warm", the OP originally stated he had 80% of his top lip in the cup. Are there any successful pros with that much lip in the cup? Not saying there aren't but I'm not aware of any. 80% just sounds really really extreme to me. I agree with G- man on the demanding charts driving you to the woodshed. I had to develop range or play everything 8vb. I didn't want to do that so I devoured info from the pros on this site. Relaxation was the key along with intelligent practice. Now when I see a high E or F, I just play it. Still 80% seems extreme.
     
  2. Lionelsax

    Lionelsax Mezzo Piano User

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    http://youtu.be/7u2Nx3noMW8
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I will make some bold assumptions about the OPS playing:

    1) inhale - after the inhalation obvious tension in the upper body.
    2) hold air in briefly then start playing.
    3) due to arm pressure, the upper range (whatever it may be) usually stops at a particular note - on a good day maybe a third higher is possible but also stops at that note.
    4) sound is fairly good in the lower and mid register.
    5) when playing in concert, the breathing gets confused sometimes. Air backs up, the feeling of suffocation makes the player inhale more often - making proper phrasing even more difficult.
    6) emotional issues - frustration sets in every time a higher passage is seen. The worst fears are confirmed when "going for it".

    Where does this go? In circles. Why? Because the basic mechanism of sound production is grossly disturbed by body issues not chops. To compensate for those issues even more pressure is used raising the squeeze factor even more. Pressure is a symptom not the root illness!

    What to do I described above. First we have to BREAK THE BAD BODY HABITS. I have NEVER run into a player with range issues that did not primarily have screwed up body use. Changing the chops makes no sense if our breathing is not even "round"! Once we have the inhale to play connected with no holding in of the air (10 minutes in a lesson) - and have turned THAT into a habit (weeks, months, years), we are well on our way. That is why I advocate longtones in the mid to low register. It is simply easier to get the inhale to blow connected. The lips are free to vibrate. Once that functions, the lipslurs come in. This is a bit harder because now we have to fight with an old habit - pressure to get a pitch change. Simple lipslurs first let us inhale and then transition to the play/slur without "bumps" in the tone production. We get a deep enough breath without upper body tension to support the slur. Things feel much better now. We pull out the hymnbook and play some low register tunes to put the low tension concept into a musical perspective. We take a break.

    A couple of weeks of this "body reform" lay the foundation for more complex slurs. Without the pressure on the chops, the mouthpiece gravitates to a position where our ears are more pleased with the solution. This servo mechanism Play->Hear->Interpret->Adjust is possible for the first time because with low pressure on the chops, the muscles are free to adjust. The mouthpiece moves without us needing a mirror or other positioning device! IF WE DO NOT SOLVE THE BODY ISSUES WE HAVE NO CHANCE TO LET THE SERVO REACT TO FEEDBACK!!!!!

    Before I will ever talk about chops, the players body is of primary interest. Anyone advocating chop change without having checked out the rest is not doing ANYONE a service.

    A player using pressure simply applies the pressure to another position when not taking care of first things first. The results are predictable. Removing the pressure by building a foundation makes the rest even possible.

    Even those that perhaps have had a successful chop change probably simply did not notice an improvement of body use that made it possible. I don't talk about this stuff in lessons, my students get shown what to do - and do it. It works so we don't need to talk about it!

    So in my opinion, you are well within your constitutional rights to post whatever you think. If you post chops without body, I am within my rights to scream Charlatan!
     
  4. WannaScream

    WannaScream Pianissimo User

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    Two thumbs up for afp's advice. Obviously what the OP is doing isn't working. As others have noted, players eventually give up in frustration- after years of doing the same wrong stuff over & over, if they don't get a teacher & fix an embouchure that isn't working. Been there, done that myself. I found a teacher with an approach that made sense to me, took a few skype lessons, made mouthpiece changes- and it's made a world of difference.
     
  5. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    I have personally known Clint (Pops) McLaughlin for 12 years. I have been to his house several times. Not only did he ensure I was on the right track and give me the tools to improve, he has helped MANY players, from beginner to working pro, achieve success. You may not like his personality, and you may not like how he teaches, but he is the real deal. I have watched Pops play triple high C on different embouchure formations. He took the time to figure out all the major types of commonly taught embouchures so he can help each player find what works best for him. He is very familiar with the major approaches to trumpet (Reinhardt, Gordon, Maggio, TCE, etc.), again so he can find what works best for the individual as opposed to dogmatically insisting only one way works.
     
  6. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    It's not a matter of believing in you when you were young, but based on the results you have today it's obvious you stumbled on to the right approach for you at an early age. Many of us stumble or are dragged into the wrong way to play when we are young. Those of us who play wrong spend a lot of time trying to just figure out HOW to play while you were able to quickly move past that and start making music. That is a very cool thing, and at my age I'll never catch up to you.

    If by "open" you mean your air column, throat area, etc; then I agree. But if by open you mean your lips are open, then I disagree. When the lips blow open the buzz stops. Having said that, we all use visualizations and descriptions when we play that help us play our best. I personally think of "biting with my throat" when I get I into the upper range. Of couse, it is impossible to bite with ones throat, but when I visualize that it causes me to get a very high tongue arch, which makes High G and A scream.

    So I suspect that for you, your visualization of being "open" keeps your air column wide open as it should be and keeps your facial muscles relaxed. But your lips are not open, and that is what I think is happening to the OP, as is what happened to me 35+ years ago.
     
  7. Lionelsax

    Lionelsax Mezzo Piano User

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    Which video are you talking about ?
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    The students I started from scratch did quite well. I would show them where to place the mouthpiece, how to hold the lips lightly together, how to breathe in and how to blow. The ones in inherited were much more difficult. They didn't use their air, and as a consequence had the symptoms Rowuk described above. Getting them to blow we'd discover that it was the embouchure holding them back. Each week was the same bit of Satori "Try it again, and this time...." Suddenly a good trumpet sound would emerge, I'd praise the student and encourage to do the same during the next week. A week later we'd be at ground zero, doing the same old thing, over and over like in Groundhog Day.

    We live in a world increasingly seeking instant gratification. For many students, that translates into playing tunes, band music and such and not really caring about how it sounds or feels. In the end it is all about physiology and self-talk. Breathing, posture, tension and chops are all choke points on the physiology side.
    The desire to do it better and hearing the sound in our head before we play the note counts as self-talk.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that we have to be careful in the assessment of Pops qualities as a "chop expert". He HAS helped many players get better and that does not mean that he needs a symphonically big double C, D or Q. Teaching is SOOOOO much more than playing. Getting into someones head requires something much different than immediately comes to eye or ear. I do not think that the videos do justice, but they do show exactly what is needed.....
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I truly am glad you liked him. He really worked well for you. I have different goals however. His video does not do as much to entice me toward my goals.
     

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