Embouchure question from newbie.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by peterthepainter, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. peterthepainter

    peterthepainter New Friend

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    Mar 18, 2012
    Calpe. Costablanca. SPAIN
    Hi. This is my first post, and a fairly basic question about embouchure.


    I am a comeback player (sort of) because I played French Horn for many years to quite a good standard but gave it up about 30 years ago. I was a lip-pressure player, for sure, in those days, although my endurance was never much of a problem (as I recall).


    Now I'm older and wiser (hopefully) I'm now making a big effort to play without pressure. My question is, when I'm playing, should I allow air into the space above the mouthpiece between my lips and teeth, or do I need to maintain a tension to keep the lips in contact with my top teeth and gums? As I relax I find my top lip wants to "balloon out" a little just above the mouthpiece, and I can still get the notes o.k. but I'm bothered whether I should work to avoid it, or if it's bad technique?

    ps. Enjoying the forum. Thanks
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It is bad technique when the geometry of your face changes when playing. Air moves the muscles to a different less predictable position.
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Put your trumepet on a table--the slicker the better and play open tones. (An old Farkas trick.) From John Glasel, pull the horn away from your face when playing, let the "buzz" sound bad, and try to make it good. Both work the "O" ring around the mouth.
     
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    There's a couple or so of inaccurate statements/assumptions in your posts.

    1. Instead of eliminating arm pressure consider using LESS arm pressure in general. As a matter of fact try doing this: Ascend up to you highest MUSICAL sounding tone. With or without arm pressure. Next play the note m/p to m/f and crescendo the thing to as loud as possible. Use as much arm pressure as you need to gain volume. So long as the tone sounds musical and you don't do this too often in a rehearsal or gig there is nothing wrong with this technique.

    The only difference between yourself and myself might be the threshold at which you jam to get the volume as well as your highest musical note.

    It is VOLUME that arm pressure effects. Not high range. REDUCE not eliminate it. Raise both your pressure-less range and volume but do not strive to eliminate it. Save it for the end of the gig and for forte or louder high notes. Guard against over training too.


    2. I see no problem with letting a little air collect above or below your chops though you'll hear and see others who disagree. In general these types are less knowledgeable so feel free to disregard them. There are bigger "faults" than this though the great majority of problems brass players have are associated with inadequate BREATHING and AIR SUPPORT. Not embouchure.

    This is statistically provable time and time again: Those cats who learn to put plenty of SUPPORT behind their horn excel. The others don't.
     
  5. peterthepainter

    peterthepainter New Friend

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    Mar 18, 2012
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    It is VOLUME that arm pressure effects. Not high range. REDUCE not eliminate it. Raise both your pressure-less range and volume but do not strive to eliminate it. Save it for the end of the gig and for forte or louder high notes. Guard against over training too.


    Thanks for all the advice.

    I am relieved at the assertion that SOME pressure is required!
    When I spend time practising with as little pressure as possible to make a sound, that sound is not great and volume is low, plus I get air leaking around the mouthpiece. However, after a little time doing that, when I return to my practice pieces with a degree of pressure I can player higher and more easily, so I know it's doing me good. I shall certainly persist with it.

    Also, pressure creeps in as I start to tire (I guess that's normal) so if my normal playing begins with too much pressure, when I get tired the extra pressure means my higher notes just won't come out easily, and sometimes not at all, especially if I'm trying to play them mp.
     
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Peter, First there are some errors regarding your perspective about pressure. before I can make any recommendations I need some info. How long have you been playing the trumpet? Do you have a teacher? How often do you play?
     
  7. peterthepainter

    peterthepainter New Friend

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    Mar 18, 2012
    Calpe. Costablanca. SPAIN
    Hi Bob.

    Background is I played French Horn from age 11 until I stopped playing regularly in my mid 20's. I passed the top grade (UK Associated Board Grade 8) with distinction when I was about 18.

    I don't remember analysing my playing much in those days. I was young, I just played. I remember my teacher mentioning lip pressure reduction, but it wasn't a big deal then.

    I am now 55, so 30yrs out.

    I first picked up the trumpet in August 2011 and play a bit every day.

    I don't have a teacher, yet, but I live in Spain and I have been looking for a good trumpet teacher who speaks a bit of English without much luck. I have wondered about online lessons.

    I've been around music all my life, my wife is an advanced pianist and organist. Therefore I have no problem with music reading and interpretation, it's all about getting it to come out of the trumpet!

    I assume playing with minimal lip pressure will help me move about the full range of the instrument more easily. I've been hanging the instrument from the ceiling and playing open tones (makes my chops ache) and it seems to help.

    What do you think?
     
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Peter, I've had great results teaching Skype lessons. hanging the trumpet from the ceiling is a nice trick but it won't help you actually play the horn. In fact it may make you form a too tight embouchure. As to pressure, there is no such thing a "no Pressure" system. There is normal pressure and excessive pressure. I don't talk about pressure with my students. Even the ones who come to me using too much pressure. When one develops their embouchure in a normal intellegent way pressure takes care of itself. Excessive pressure is a result of trying to play something the embouchure isn't ready to do. There are no short cuts.

    When you play a little bit every day, how much is it. !5, 30, 60 minutes? If you want to increase range you need to play at least an hour daily.

    I would suggest to not think about pressure and just play and check out lessons. You will progress faster without bad playing habits.
     
  9. 7cjbill2

    7cjbill2 Pianissimo User

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    I can't buy into the "no pressure" thing, I think you're always going to use a little bit of pressure at some point, especially when you tire. In another post, when I let air fill-up the space between my lips and the front of my teeth because of a leakage problem, and I've narrowed it down to probably muscle conditioning. I think it's best to NOT let that space fill up, if only to avoid some problems or bad habits from developing later.
     
  10. Tudorbug

    Tudorbug New Friend

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    A humble suggestion. Go to Trumpet Herald's forum for Fundamentals. There is a really interesting thread titled "19/30's exercise explained" that includes a PDF file. Study the PDF file and then the entire thread very carefully and very thoughtfully. I believe that is a lot to learn there. (I last played in August 1961 at Camp Dudley in Westport, NY and resumed in January 2010.)
     

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