Embouchure Change?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jazzy816, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. Jazzy816

    Jazzy816 Pianissimo User

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    Hi all.

    Approximately 2 years and 8 months ago, I got braces on. I got them off in June of this year (they were on around 2 years). During the time with braces on I, much like almost every other brass player who suffers through braces, had to do a lot of things differently at first to accommodate the new hardware. One of those, was a slight shift in embouchure. It happened naturally, I would imagine that I was in pain if I tried using my original method.., so I wasn't exactly aware of it until one day I looked in a mirror and noticed that my mouthpiece was placed lower than before, I'd say about 30% lower 70% upper. This set worked for the duration of braces, and I knew not to expect much of anything during that time so I tried my best to focus on the fundamentals; breathing, coordination, tonging etc. I have had my braces off for just about 7 months now and it feels wonderful. I have pretty much transitioned back to just my mouth, and I am glad. The only problem is that I still have my braces embouchure and mouthpiece placement. It consists of about 70% upper lip 30% lower lip, as I stated. Now this really isn't a bad placement, people play with much more extreme sets than this and do wonders. The reason I ask is because now that the braces are gone, the rim sits on the red of my bottom lip, with it rolled out and somewhat disengaged. I don't like how it feels, and if I am particularly taxing to my lips for a week or so (say extra rehearsals before a show), that lower lip starts to fail on me.THROUGHOUT THIS NEXT SECTION PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS ONLY OCCURS WHEN I AM PLAYING A LOT MORE THAN USUAL. I have to work harder to control it, I crack notes, and I can just feel that I'm not getting a very solid resonant buzz that I need in order to "trumpet" correctly. I experimented last week with a few MINOR and I do mean MINOR changes. The one that I like the most is where I simply roll the bottom lip in (which in my opinion forms what looks like a very very normal, cliche trumpet embouchure both with the mouthpiece on and off the lips. This way, the mouthpiece sits on the skin part of both the top and bottom lips. With only having used it for two days, I have a lot better control than I have had since I got my braces off. I am considering sticking with this new change. The only "problem" I've found is that my upper register isn't where it was, but I would imagine that's because there is a new portion of lip present and I have to somewhat re-find the perfect aperture and corner tension balance to make the upper notes soar.

    I have a lesson tomorrow night and will be bringing this up with my teacher. I wanted other's opinions; based upon the problems I have and the results I have gotten, is it in my interest to continue using this new technique?

    As always, I appreciate the help!
     
  2. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Best advice would be to let your teacher work with you on this. Chop changes are usually not easy. It isn't something you can help with over the Internet (in words). Go with what your teacher advises.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    We have never seen or heard you play. We cannot be sure that what you describe really gives us the whole picture. We cannot be sure that your daily practice routine even makes any sense.

    You see, we are what we repeatedly do. If we have a solid daily routine that we stick to, if we have intelligent practice hygeine, we can play to one side, 50/50, 30/70, 70/30 or anywhere else and get "good results". If we are cracking notes, it is not the "embouchure", it is our practice habits. If it is range that is behind this question, that is another story altogether. In that case, a better description is needed, but range that stops at one note is caused by too much pressure. That in turn is caused by poor body use and breathing habits.

    The solution for players that have/had braces is evolution, not revolution. That daily routine builds habits. Poor success after 7 months is evidence that our practice is not structured or consistent. An embouchure change would not help.
     
  4. Jazzy816

    Jazzy816 Pianissimo User

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    Some good points, thanks Rowuk
     
  5. Jazzy816

    Jazzy816 Pianissimo User

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    Not to play devils advocate here Rowuk, but say I place the mouthpiece on the red of my lip, (something cautioned against by a good percentage of trumpet players), would you still recommend me sticking with that even on a very solid daily practice routine?
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    All of my students success in almost 40 years of teaching has been through evolution, not revolution. With the proper approach, the body gravitates to an ever more efficient playing style. Proper approach means regular live lessons with constant monitoring of hundreds of "little things" that you do not even know about. In my whole teaching time, the cold turkey embouchure changes involving me can be counted on one hand. Some were not even my students. None of them were my choice.

    To play the devils advocate: if you have a really good daily routine and professional help, you can't prevent things from changing (for the better). If your approach sucks, you can't help but run into a wall. The body is extremely resilient and we can get away with a lot - for a while. We are what we repeatedly do.

     

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