Excellent Advice From Leon Merian!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dbacon, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    From: Leon Merian
    To: tpin
    Subject: Mouth pieces / sizes etc / rebuttals etc

    After reading all of these posts on what mpc to use...deep,
    shallow, wide, narrow, backbores etc etc...I said to myself " Leon, be cool,
    keep out of it" but I rec'd a few queries from some members who asked me
    what my take was on all of this asking me what my thoughts were. Wellllll,
    I can only say what I've said many times before that choosing the "right"
    mouthpiece is a very personal decision for all players...There are no two
    players exactly alike, and the "PERFECT" mouthpiece does not exist and never
    will exist. Because a certain player sounds great on a certain mouthpiece
    doesn't mean that you {or anyone else } will will find that particular piece to
    be *the right one* for you and make you sound "great also. Playing the identical
    piece will not produce the identical sound !!!
    Generally speaking, most well experienced teachers will suggest
    that one should use the largest piece which is suitable in the type of playing
    that one does. HOWEVER, this does not mean that one must use the largest piece
    possible. That of course is absolutely ridiculous.
    In all of my years in this business, I have run into SO many trumpet
    players who are constantly trying to find a more "satisfactory" piece and their
    search goes on and on and on......I could throw many many names out there but
    sffice it to say, as a classic example, our fellow hornblower and friend Doc. He
    could wallpaper his entire house with all of the pieces he's had made up and
    then some.
    As I've stated many times before the "perfect" mouthpiece does not exist
    !!! Furthermore, changing pieces continuously will definitely have a very
    negative effect on you. Players who do this constantly eventually will become
    very insecure in their playing. It will lead to total frustration believe
    me, I've seen it time and time again with some very fine {name} players.
    You will find that one piece will give you more flexibility and
    facility and another will give you a better range and again another will give
    you more core and resonance....so it all boils down to a compromise. Of course
    a mouthpiece should be as comfortable as possible. If a player uses one that has
    too sharp a rim, then this could be cutting and cause discomfort.
    Conversely, if the piece is too rounded this could lead to inaccuracy .
    I find that many younger players today, far too many, are emphsizing their
    higher registre which is an absolute danger to the exclusion of developing
    a better sound, producing a truly resonant quality in the core of their sound
    which is without any doubt the most important ingredient in a beautiful,
    full,fluid trumpet sound. Many of these younger players {including some of the
    younger teachers} don't realize that strong players who posess a
    good upper registre have this ability through years of practicing the basics of
    playing...not through some magical "new" mouthpiece produced by one of the many
    mouthpiece manufacturers out there today .
    Of course, there are many outstanding players out there
    that use very small pieces and there are also many players out there who play
    with great skill and authority who use large pieces. As I have stated in my post
    on the Concept of Sound a while back....this SOUND is in the players head and
    this is what will determine his/her success in the trumpet world
    more than the discovery of any new "magic" mouthpiece that will do it for
    him/her. Choose a mouthpiece that will serve you well in a variety of
    musical situations. Warm Regards to all you guys and gals
    in TPIN land..........Leon Merian

  2. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Hello All.....I've rec'd a few requests from members asking me about mpc
    pressure and will comply
    with a few words about same.............I would first like to begin by
    saying that pressure is ALWAYS present in your playing and the right amount
    is necessary and needed for resonance and a good sound. The important thing
    is the degree in which you use it is efficient for what you are
    Your *set* must be secure--that is the contact you have between
    the chops and the mpc
    must definitely be secure so that your air stream is directed straight into
    the mouthpiece.Mouthpiece pressure by itself will not do the job however but
    it is required in order for you to direct your airstream. I don't think that
    any player would purposely use excessive pressure because we all know that
    it is physically and musically damaging [to the chops as well as to the
    music being performed].
    I'm sure that most of us have used excessive pressure at one
    time or another and are well acquainted with the outcome---poor flexibility,
    chop fatigue, deep mpc impressions on your chops etc. etc. Using this kind
    of pressure shows me that certain basics of playing have not been acquired,
    and corrected and there is not much you can do about it until these
    fundamentals are addressed----
    You must correct the root causes of your problem.
    You all know how adamant I am about keeping the corners firmed
    and I believe that this excessive use of pressure is generally caused by
    your corners being weak AND secondly but equally important is not having
    enough air to reach the embouchure....in other words an Inadequate
    Airstream. Any *good set* {well formed set} must have firmed corners...If
    the corners aren't firm
    enough then the tendency will be to use excessive pressure so as to keep the
    chops in position.
    Therefore a vigorous air column is absolutely VITAL. You see, if the air
    column is weak then the chops wont have a good, solid cushion of air support
    to help the lips resist the [metal] mouthpiece.
    SO, in closing I would like to say that a good *setting* and good
    *airstream*[vigorous] is of utmost
    importance in order to alleviate this excessive mouthpiece pressure. Thank
    you all and God Bless;
    L E O N M E R I A N
  3. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    As I have stated in many of my posts here on TPIN this nonsensical idea of
    looking for a short cut or quick fix to any aspect of trumpeting simply does not
    exist PERIOD.And in two very recent posts two of you players out there
    and probably many more {lurkers} are inquiring once again for these quick
    fixes to be able to play higher and higher !!!!!!!!! PLEASE let me say once
    again that there is great danger in emphasizing your upper registre, trying
    desparately to play higher and higher to the exclusion of everything else.
    What many young players {and this includes some teachers} are
    failing to understand is that strong, fine players who do have good upper
    registres,have acquired these abilities and capabilities through many years of
    down to earth hard practice of the BASICS in playing the trumpet and not
    through some magical choices of this "miraculous" piece of equipment.
    This overemphasizing aspect of playing the horn to the neglrct of a
    sensible, well balanced approach will only slow you down. hindering your
    progress and really limit your success in becoming a better, more accomplished
    player. I have played with many outstanding trumpet players who use{d} pieces
    that were quite small and conversely played with several much younger players
    who played with great skill and control in the
    upper registre . You see--the concept of SOUND in the person's head and his/her
    basic skills, determine the success or failure of the player much more than any
    single piece of equipment such as the mouthpiece.
    My suggestion then is to find a MP which is comfortable, will give you a nice
    resonant sound, is flexible and fluid and then...GO TO WORK !!!
    Most Respectfully your guys and gals. Corners firm and keep that air on !!!
    L E O N M E R I A N

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