Embouchure Change

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpetplayer24, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. Trumpetplayer24

    Trumpetplayer24 Pianissimo User

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    Hi,

    I'm currently going through a complete embouchure change. I used to play very off center and with barely any top lip - I am changing to a center position with an equal amount of top and bottom lip.

    I have made good progress and after losing my high register I can now play up to a G above the stave. I have however lost my lower register - can anyone explain why this is and suggest any exercises I can do to build it up again?

    Any suggestions of exercises to improve tone and/or increase my high register to where it used to be would also be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Forget range; for now, that's the least of your problems. Beginning of last year, I was pretty well exactly where you are. I got through it by listening to Rowuk's advice and following it to the letter. Suggest you consider doing the same. Takes time.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    It takes time and wind to play low range. It will come.
     
  4. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    practice and patience in the process ----- I did the same thing (mouthpiece relocation) took about 1.5 years to get back to where I was ---- but the sound and control were much better than "off center" -- keep at it, don't look back --- and play and be happy!!!
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Basically we are creatures of habit. When you cold turkey a habit, things fall apart.

    Without a REAL lesson standing next to you. I have no idea what you are doing. If you have trouble with the low register, you are too tense. That means something related to your embouchure change "sucks". Whoever is monitoring your progress needs to look at the whole package.

    You can try taking a long hot shower and practicing long tones after that. Normally our state is relaxed after than and low notes should be OK.

    Search and destroy tension! Lots of quiet long tones, big relaxed breaths. No range builders until the low register is solid.

    I usually have problems with embouchure changes because most use them to get more range and twist their face completely out of shape after crashing because of the change. They don't build a foundation, rather the next train wreck.
     
  6. DaChan

    DaChan Pianissimo User

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    Something that I personally like doing is switching mouthpieces several times during practice and switching horns. From me, different mouthpieces and horns will make different styles and songs easier so when I'm running out of steam on say a Bach 5c I can switch to a 7E and a different trumpet or a Yamaha 11, or maybe I throw a harmon into my antique York cornet and switch through my cornet mpcs until I can't get anything out anymore. Maybe the added resistance of the harmon and antique are just what I need at that point in the practice, where the notes would start to crack otherwise. I even find that switching among 7c mpcs from different manufactures provides that slight change to open a window here and close a door there - So if I can't play on say an old bach 7c doesn't mean that my chops are shot for a Yamaha 7c or a new Bach 7c. Maybe I Shift to using a bunch of upper lip or maybe go the other way and use a bunch of lower lip. I think a big part is the unwillingness to put the horn down for the day. Back in the day I used to play to one side because one of my teeth is set further back - I "just said no" to braces back in highschool. Fast forward way too many years and the "issue" went away on its own. I think owning more than one or two mpcs goes a long way on this, not only as far as being able to expand your awareness of tone and range but also in building an all purpose embouchure. I bought a trombone back in July for this exact purpose. It doesn't see much play but I don't regret the $100s I spent on what is surely one of the poorer condition King Tempo bones out there. I even cleaned the rust of the slide with the hard plastic of a mini bic lighter (thinking back to highschool science and hardness tests). That said, I'm not a pro - just a guy who like to play.


    Of course there is the other school of thought that you shouldn't switch through a bunch of gear as it will mess up your embouchure. I even remember going to school with an exceptionally talented clarinetist who refused to learn any Benny Goodman as she claimed it would ruin her classical chops. You'll have to take my word for it - she was one of those sure to be a pro band kids in my high-school days, about half of which actually went pro.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    This recommendation is hard to take seriously. We are creatures of habit and we get good by building good habits. Screwing up a target to hit during development stages is simply bad advice. You may like to switch around, but you wouldn't be if you really had to depend on your chops for a living. It is also not very sensible to play until we can't anymore. We are not building a sixpack in our face. We need to build fine motor control.

    Knowing how the human body works is a good way to improve the odds and the quality of our playing. An all purpose embouchure needs all purpose practice. Maynard showed at what level this could coexist and does David Guerrier in the classical world. That does not make those exceptional players a model for others without the practice discipline, time and/or talent. I also play tuba and tenor horn - but not to improve my chops, rather to simply have fun in less critical settings.

     
  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    My take on changing mouthpieces and horns is that if one's embouchure is strong enough and ones ears hearing enough ... what's the difference? Still, if a student of mine is using a student quality instruments and a 7C that is what I'll use to demonstrate, even though I don't favor the bite of a Bach 7C.
     
  9. DaChan

    DaChan Pianissimo User

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    My understanding is that this player is very much in the building stages and does not have to depend on his/her chops for a living. It has been my personal experience that when I hit a roadblock on my main horn with my main mp I do well to spend at least an hour on a different horn and a different mp. It's my belief that this works to strengthen different but still useful muscles. It may be considered a bad idea to push your chops to exhaustion, and of course I suggest that the player use their best judgement. It is also my belief that the player usually works on what they need to work on, more of their own accord and less as a product of guidance. I don't mean to say that guidance isn't very useful, just that it is the seed of the idea and not the plant that grows from it. I'm not a huge fan of preaching regiment and discipline - not because they aren't useful but because different people have different goals. There are many things I would personally need to be regimented about where I to decide to someday be a studio guy. I don't do much for those things as I have goals that I want to reach prior to reaching proficiency as a studio musician.

    For me, it is difficult to think of a player who has, slowly over years, moved their mp position to a far off center position - wanting to throw their entire sweet spot away. I don't think the OP is doing that exactly but I do think that it is a problem that in large part will rectify itself by switching it up and focusing less on the exact position. I feel this way because I play by feel. I understand that others have a more "disciplined" approach and I don't begrudge what they do - It just isn't the best way for me. I'd say the player can decide what works best for them, so long as they are aware of the points of view of other players.

    PS - the misquotation is all in good fun and not at all meant to offend :)
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    DaChan,

    you missed the whole point. "Bad" embouchure is not just confused face muscles, the sound that we make travels into the room, comes back to our ears, then our brain tells the face muscles to "adjust". During the development stage, we need a reliable and consistent method for muscle memory, training our ears and brain. We are creatures of habit. We store patterns in our minds and they are available for recall later. Before we have a solid sound concept, we need hundreds to thousands of consistent repetitions to get everything working together. Switching horns and mouthpieces at this stage simply prevents synchronizing - our ears aren't getting what they expect, our brain is not connected to anything - we are in free fall. Later on, when our body use, ears, brain and blow line up, we can expand to more colors on our palette - by hardware or advanced playing style.

    This has nothing to do with bling with or without a playing job. It is simply how we as humans most easily learn and develop - walking, reading, speaking, languages, playing trumpet.

    What is really the best way for you is not quantifiable. You should try structure for a while. You may be surprised.......... You even make the mistake of confusing structure with a "fixed" mouthpiece position. With the right strategy, the mouthpiece "gravitates" to its most efficient position. One mouthpiece simply defines the vibrating part of the lips in a consistent way, with a consistent sound for the ears to analyse and send to the brain to provide fine motor control. Many more things are connected to this: hydration, articulation, body tension, focus/concentration. The more patterns stored, the less we need to intellectualize the process, the more energy we have for making music. Fewer patterns equates to less freedom.

    Most players only have "luck" in their decision making. They DON'T know what is best, they simply accept what they have done up until now, regardless of the odds or real results. It is similar to handwriting. We all know and can see how well we write. Does that make most want to constantly improve their calligraphic capabilities? Of course not. They are lucky that those with need to know can "make do". It makes me smile and cry at the same time when I read posts advising "chaos". In our information age, we really don't have to look very far to find out how things basically function and what increases the odds of success. A diversified portfolio works where we are subject to unpredictable external interference.

    The recipe for t24 is a solid daily routine to build fine motor control, better breathing, reduce body tension and develop synergy between sound and understanding. Random messing around will only screw them up even more. Anything more detailed can only be resolved through one on one lessons.

    If you need to be smarter and/or better looking, fine.

    As far as likable, I think that giving someone good odds to improve and steering them away from "marginal advice" promotes long term positive relationships. Perhaps there is a reason why Facebook only has "like", "share" and "block". Anything above that takes real knowledge and arguments.
     

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