Exercises to help reduce MP pressure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Asher S, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Asher S

    Asher S Pianissimo User

    Sep 20, 2009
    Suburban Boston
    Although I understand that a big part of reducing MP pressure is developing proper embouchure technique, I would appreciate suggestions for exercises that I can work on to help me reduce mouthpiece pressure.


  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    There are a lot of threads here that cover that topic but I think that the general consensus is that it is just a matter of being conscious of the pressure and avoiding it, plus playing high notes as softly as you can which will strengthen the chops and allow playing with less pressure. Breathing and air control are part of it, too, and those are areas that take a lot of work and effort. But, it will be worth it as your endurance will increase as well.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Soft long tones, and while you are playing them, consciously start to pull pressure off of your chops. At first the sound will probably break down into a nasty double buzz and you'll have air leaking out all over the place. Don't sweat that - just keep after it and do it again. And again. And again. This is not something that will correct in one or two practices, but it can correct in a week or two.

    I had to do this at one point because I had gotten to the point where I needed the pressure as part of my embouchure, and it was detrimental to everything - accuracy, endurance, range, flexibility - pretty much all aspects of playing.

    I started off doing that exercise in a room as dark as I could get it. I just sat there, working the exercise, focusing on the sound, and what was going on between me and the horn. The key for me was to stay relaxed - that was the whole point - make sure that the air was working right and that the sound was being produced with very little pressure and in a relaxed state. It got to the point where I barely needed any pressure to maintain the sound and things were pretty relaxed.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!
  4. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    I've been messing around with lip buzzing, just making a teeny opening a needle of air goes through, it makes a very high buzz like a mosquito. Very soft tones on the trumpet use that same little opening, and train how to use it musically. All of this is very cool and no short cuts, like knowing how to train to run a 4-minute mile but you still have to put in some serious training over time.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Slowing down is usually what my students have to do. We use pressure because it works. The first step is to reduce the need for immediate satisfaction. In ensemble that means playing second or third instead of first. Once we have reduced the need for that which we do not own, we can start to work on what helps.

    This question is normally one that should be asked before school vacations. Then we have time and less pressure to use pressure!

    What works? Long tones, lip slurs, easy tunes, increasing practice time to build a foundation BEFORE we start to work on the top floor. Of course, you can turn your practice session around immediately. With a playing schedule, it is tough to insure that the old habits don't limit the results.

    My advice: wait until Christmas vacation. Then start. When you return to school, your chop will be a bit stronger and you will need a "bit" less pressure. Do the same at the Easter and Summer breaks. At least this way, you keep your chair in the ensembles as well as your "reputation".
  6. Asher S

    Asher S Pianissimo User

    Sep 20, 2009
    Suburban Boston
    Thank you, all. I will try all suggestions.

    ... and no worries about rushing or impatience, or school vacations ;) ... I'm a 43 year old enthusiastic amateur since I was 8 years old, with no designs on turning pro. I play music purely for the joy of it. No rush, no "pressure".

    Thanks again,

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Asher,
    Type in Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment.
    Hope it helps
  8. Asher S

    Asher S Pianissimo User

    Sep 20, 2009
    Suburban Boston
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Play softly and musically.
  10. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    asher s,
    something that helped me was playing a 2nd line G for as long as I could (with breathing). (that's part of Cat Anderson method). Playing that very softly, and eventually you can feel the lips vibrate, and regulate the pressure of the horn on the lips (using less pressure, and still getting good tone - even softly).
    it took me like a month or 2 before I could play the G for more than 10 minutes at a time. -- so it took time, but then you can "get the feel" of light pressure and extrapolate that to other notes.
    anyways - that worked for me.

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