Embouchure Issues

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetTheKid, May 10, 2011.

  1. TrumpetTheKid

    TrumpetTheKid Pianissimo User

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    May 1, 2011
    Sacramento Area
    1st off sorry if I misspelled embouchure :lol:

    The title might be a little misleading since its not really an embouchure problem but I have no other way to explain it.

    Before I start playing my lips feel soft, pliable, and loose like normal and I when in that state I play great but after I stop playing (not during) my lips feel firm and tight almost muscular in a way if that makes sense. When I start playing again later in the day with this firm feeling I end up playing slightly (pretty insignificantly) worse with slightly less range, flexibility, and a weaker tone and when I stop playing after that the firm feeling is even more so and I play even worse the next time I play.

    I play in 3 school ensembles: Jazz before school, band class during school, and marching after school, all of these spaced about 3 hours apart from each other so this becomes a problem by the end of the day.

    If I go a significant time without playing (like 5 hours or so) my lips return to their soft, pliable state and I play great again. Can anyone explain why this happens and how to avoid this and keep my chops feeling nice and loose all day.
     
  2. TrumpetTheKid

    TrumpetTheKid Pianissimo User

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    May 1, 2011
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    I don't think its an endurance problem because never feel tired while playing and as long as I never stop playing the issue never comes up even after playing 2 hours straight for a jazz festival.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    You're experiencing swelling as a reaction to strain. Stop doing this.

    If you a long distance runner and started experiencing throbbing in you calf and instep, would you run another 5 miles after resting a half hour or so? I don’t think so, but if you did continue, you would only do more damage, your times would fall off, and you will never reach your potential.

    You lips are made out of the same material. It's called muscle. You feel it more in your face (lips) as the vasculature in this area is rich. Edema is more noticeable, and you experience in your own words: "lips feel firm and tight almost muscular in a way". Yes it makes sense. You’re straining your lips. Don't do that, please don't do that. Instead, stretch you leg muscles and go out and run a few miles to improve breathing dynamics.
     
  4. TrumpetTheKid

    TrumpetTheKid Pianissimo User

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    May 1, 2011
    Sacramento Area
    Thanks for the reply, so what should I do to reduce the strain on my lips without reducing my playing time.
     
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Send a PM to Rowuk. He's the bomb around here.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The "tight" embouchure can be caused by many things physical and mental. To sort between "dangerous" and "nuisance" is tough over the web.

    I agree with gmonady, that our body talks to us and when we learn to listen, a whole new world opens up.

    My gut level feeling here: the player is beating themselves up in each playing session and has to cope with the symptoms. That beating could be caused by inadequate breathing habits or too much pressure. It could also be caused by a couple of extreme days during the week with too little structured practice time to build and maintain chops in between.

    The "tight" could be tested by playing one of those heavy sessions, the taking a 20 minute hot bath and playing right afterwards. If the hot bath relaxed you enough, maybe some lessons on body use are all that you need.

    We are humans and our bodies are never in a consistent state. Experienced players have learned to make due with what is left as well as minimizing impact by developing good habits.
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Schedule smaller practice times (45 min-1hr) over several hours with an hour (or so) break in between. Start the first time with long tones, scales. This will protect against and give you distance from the time fatigue begins to set in.
     
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Most times stiff or swollen lips is caused from playing too loud.Playing too loud is usually accompanied with using too much pressure. A good rule of thumb to follow, is never play at more than 80% of you to volume. This should help alleviate your problem,of course, this isassuming that you're breathing correctly,let your air do the work, not you arms.
     
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Also good advice and after you are done using that thumb to make rules, then apply that thumb to your lips and message. Message also helps strained muscle.
     
  10. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    I think it is to pace yourself - when we are playing for 2 hours (with adequate rest in between) blood is flowing and nourishing our muscles and giving them oxygen. When we push they swell --- during the 2 hours they are in a state of "being warm", then we stop the muscle starts to either swell, or starts to repair itself -- kind of like if you lift weights your muscles get sore, rebuild over a period of time. then we do it again (lift weights) to build our muscles.
     

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