Embouchure Help

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by pmacdonald, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. pmacdonald

    pmacdonald New Friend

    Oct 21, 2007
    First of I'll start with giving you guys some information:

    Playing Experience: 7 years
    Band Types Played In: Concert Band - 6 years, Jazz Band - 6 years, Orchestra - 1 year and Marching Band - 2 years
    Favorite Music Type - Jazz

    Embouchure Type
    I've been reading An Introduction to Donald S. Reinhardt's Pivot System for awhile now trying to figure out how to cure my embouchure 'problems' that are holding me back. I don't know exactly which embouchure I have but I will describe it.

    • Downward air flow
    • I feel more comfortable playing my trumpet slightly to severly downward (more on the severe end)
    • I was told by my last teacher that I tended to have a smiling 'embouchure'
    • When I play in the upper registry my fault is to have the lower part of my embouchure protrude and fill with air. This kills my range. As of now my range extends to a full sounding high G below the double high C. I want to increase my range though.
    I'd like to completely rid the 'air pockets' when playing in the upper registry. It only happens when I'm playing in the upper registry aswell.

    Here are my questions
    • According to the article link posted above which embouchure type is reccommended as being 'proper'
    • What can I do to fix my problems posted above
    • At which angle should the trumpet be pointed when playing to be at the best position for the greatest flexibility and range.
    • How should the jaw be place when playing (this goes with the paragraph below)
    At my jaws resting position my lower teeth sit almost below the upper teeth yet just ever so slightly back a little. When I'm playing I have the tendency to pull my jaw back slighty. When I bit down my lower teeth sit behind the upper as I have a slight overbite.

    YouTube - There's a Bumblebee in the Monette Factory!
    I admire how still his embouchure looks so at ease while playing here. No matter what range he's playing in it seems as if his embouchure is the same; I admire this. I appear to have too much tension and when playing in different ranges I can't switch as easily or as quickly as he does here. But I'd like to be able to. A big part in this I believe to be my embouchure.

    Although you can see in the video when he does go down in range for a quick second you can see his head dip to assist the lower note. This is my problem that I am also needing help to get rid of.

    Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I`m sure you will get plenty of suggestions, this is what worked for me, I also used to play with the horn pointed down and jaw receded, I worked on pushing my jaw forward and taking the pressure off the top lip , as I go higher I aim the air at my chin or bottom of the mouthpiece rim, and arch the tongue, as far as air pockets forming practice softly and don`t over blow even in the upper register try to get what some call a pointed feel in your embouchure. Practicing lip slurs ,scales ,Colin, Clarke etc. will help switching registers smoothly.
  3. pmacdonald

    pmacdonald New Friend

    Oct 21, 2007
    Can you post a link to some of the excersies that you reccommend? Also, can you describe what you mean by a more pointed feel?
  4. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    To deal with embouchure problems you need to find a private teacher who can deal with this. Secondly, you must understand that embouchure changes are risky and require much practice and time in order to feel natural. Changing the embouchure is no small undertaking. Get to a good teacher.
  5. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Your range is great. 98% of what you need goes to G about high C. Embouchure changes are dangerous and very often you may to go back to where you were. Playing softly: good for anyone, any embouchure.

    Tom Parmenter plays with the horn going almost straight down, like a clarinet and the man soars, great sound. I say stop fretting and let's play!

    MySpace.com - Ed Mann - 51 - Male - LA, California - www.myspace.com/jazzlips
  6. pmacdonald

    pmacdonald New Friend

    Oct 21, 2007
    I'm not looking to completely change my embouchure but I know it's not correct to have 'air slots' that fill up when you play in the upper register. When I get above a G the notes pretty much just stop coming out. I've read that this is a problem of tension and means there's too much of it.

    Any more opinions?
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you have a solid G above high C, what happens above that? Does your range just stop?

    Pockets of air indicate lack of strength not tension. Can you play a pianissimo G above high C? what about a pianissimo G major scale over 4 octaves (I mean REAL soft).

    What is your daily routine? I mean what exercizes do you play EVERY day. Some people call this a warm up. My routine is 20-30 minutes long and is breathing, longtones on the mouthpiece and trumpet, BASIC slurs and some easy tonguing. Everything else is variable and based on what I have to play next.

    I always find it interesting that players often tell us what they think is wrong, but in lacking a real daily routine have NO possibility to put that in perspective, much less get a solution.

    To be honest,
    I don't think that you have a problem. I think you are in the process of talking yourself into one. Let me know what your routine looks like and how long you have had it. Let us know what your trumpet teacher has to say too.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    DO NOT try to do this yourself. you will at best drive yourself crazy, at worse end up not being able to play. get yourself a GOOD EXPERIENCED teacher. Stop reading about playing.
  9. pmacdonald

    pmacdonald New Friend

    Oct 21, 2007
    I'm not going to try to change anything myself. But here are some more notes. My endurance is horrible. I feel teeth gap imprints on the middle of my upper and lower gums so I'm guessing I'm pushing on the mouthpiece too hard. Any tips on lightening up?

    I tend to need a lot of air to play in the upper register and I can't stay up there for long periods at a time.

    Also, if this says anything, when I play lower notes my tendency is to move my head downward slightly.

    And rowuk, I probably couldn't play a G Major scale over 4 octaves that soft. I'd be lucky to even hit the note as it seems the easiest for me to just slur up octaves. I've only played a high D consistently in a song, nothing higher (but I've been first part throughout all of my years playing).

    Once again I'm not going to change anything just yet but I'd like opinions because I feel my playing is suffering greatly. After playing in the upper registry going to the lower registry, and trying to play the upper registry again my tone is gone aswell as my lips.

    Any help?


    Edit: Also, rowuk when I start getting to the top of my range and can't go any higher the sound just stops.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  10. pmacdonald

    pmacdonald New Friend

    Oct 21, 2007
    I realized something else today that's not really about the embouchure. I've been noticing that my attacks sound sloppy (Most of the songs I play are all smooth. Today I started a new pratice routine to become a well rounded player). I found that when I use my tounge to attack it hits my upper lip...I love the sound of a trumpet playing cleanly and like I said my sound is sloppy and the tone isn't solid either.

    Any tips on keeping a good tone with short staccato notes and tounging cleaner?

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