Forming Aperture

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bamajazzlady, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. bamajazzlady

    bamajazzlady Mezzo Forte User

    May 16, 2011
    I'm new to trumpet playing and my issue is forming an embouchure to get a pleasing sound out of my horn. I was told that to form an embouchure you form your lips as if you are "cooling soup", "blowing out birthday candles," etc. so is it really that easy to form an embouchure? The one thing I can say is I put my mouthpiece in the center and my top and bottom lips are both RI as the only thing I know is don't play in the pink and don't play in the red. Keep in mind I don't have a teacher yet but I don't intend to DIY teach either but I just "pick up my horn and do something!"
  2. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    Really good idea to get the teacher pdq if only because you may initiate some bad habits fooling around that then become hard to get rid of. That said, make a nice seal of the mpc on your lips and blow. Where it begins to sound like a trumpet, do it again.
  3. LeeMorganFan

    LeeMorganFan New Friend

    Apr 7, 2011
    I'm a new trumpet player myself (5 months now!) and have been struggling with this since my start. My teacher is a big advocate of the "cooling soup" method. I've tried it and can get a decent middle G but struggle with other notes.

    However, I seem to get a better sound and more range, by simply sealing my lips closed as if saying the word DIM, keeping the corners of my mouth firm, and my aperture relaxed, and initiating that "cooling soup" method. This has been working pretty good for me. The critical piece here is keeping the aperture relaxed and trying to get your lips inside that mouthpiece.

    This is something my teacher has taught me right from the beginning. I almost gave up trumpet because I was struggling so much with embouchure but I've been making good progress lately. You should definitely find a good teacher in your area. Check out this link below, it's my teacher, Charles Porter, on YouTube with one of his instructional videos. Enjoy!

    How to Form a Trumpet Embouchure - Trumpet Tips & Tricks with Charlie Porter - YouTube

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    IT is really interesting that VERY often, beginners offer advice as if they are really on course. Where does this "unhumble" desire to broadcast before really being sure come from?

    If I go to a forum and get an answer from a beginner, is it something that I should really consider? Is not the embouchure something that we want to get right the first time?

    So, my take after 30+ years of giving lessons is that standing next to an accomplished player gives you something to emulate. I believe that ALL written descriptions are VERY subject to misinterpretation. I NEVER talk about embouchure in lessons. I play first and the student plays back - long tones and slurs, every week!

    For the record, I call it M-bouchure. In the beginning we put the mouthpiece about 50/50 on the upper and lower lips. The longtones and slurs help the position to "gravitate" where it works best. More important to me than the lips, is the breathing behind it!
  5. jtpowell

    jtpowell Pianissimo User

    Mar 15, 2011
    Hmmm beginner and pleasing sound. The most pleasing sound was probably me stopping. Now that I looked back my first few lessons I sounded awful and my teacher was actually ok with that very beginning. From memory I think we focused on breathing exercises, breath support, and how things felt. We did all of that before we made sounds. I too was anxious, zealous even you could say, just to pick up my horn and start making sounds. How can a new trumpet player not be? I was like all I dreamt about. When's the next time I get to play the horn. The sooner you can get a teacher the better and hopefully in person to start over internet type lessons. It's been most instrumental for me to have an experienced teacher who can guide and channel all my zeal.
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    We seem to have had several beginners posting recently asking about fundamental aspects of playing.

    First off, playing the trumpet is not something I would suggest anyone try without instruction.
    As rowuk and many others have said, there are just too many ways to get into bad habits which
    will require much effort and time to correct if you want to become proficient.

    Second, if you insist on learning to play without getting instruction, then at the very least you need
    to get some structured direction on attaining a decent embouchure.

    Here is a good book I used 10 years ago when I got serious about playing:
    BE Book

  7. Steve Hollahan

    Steve Hollahan Pianissimo User

    May 31, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Hello, the best advice I have ever read was in the Arban 'Method' intro. Arban advocates placing the mouthpiece in the most comfortable position, learning to play pleasingly and with endurance, flexibility etc. He states that players who tried to change their lip positions usually were worse off. This advice, though 150+ years old, is still valid. Teachers who place too much emphasis on embouchure usually fail students. As a teacher once told me "Hold your corners firm and blow"
  8. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    Arban was right.

    "What we learn first, we learn best". That even holds true for the mistakes we make. It is so important to "get it right" the first time because if we don't, we spend the next two years replacing that undesirable habit with the correct habit. Setting up and/or embouchure changes should NEVER be attempted without someone who knows present and working with you. I can read a book about basketball but that will not prepare me for the NBA. The steps need to be systematically broken down and coordinated with each other. The easiest method might not be the right method.

    The interaction of the vibrating reeds with the mouthpiece and the air stream is so important. It is not all lip - lips vibrate because of air opens the aperture and the wave (physics of acoustics) that closes them. There is no magic mouthpiece - it is only a funnel. It is not all blow - no amount of air or speed of air will make a faulty embouchure efficient (don't believe me? ask a friend who plays clarinet if more air makes a bad reed work).

    It is a risky business to try to go it alone. "Physician, heal thy self", comes to mind. Find a mentor, trust the method and have fun making music.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A beginner's job is to "goof-off" experimenting to find what sounds best and gives the best results. Advanced players "hard-wire" that through a routine of practice, yet devote some time to goofing-off to get better. The reason America has so many good trumpet players is because we have so many bad ones--Darwinism at work. Rowuk is correct--emulate the great players until your own "voice" develops.

    We are musicians, not mechanics.
  10. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I would really recommend you talk in person to an accomplished player or teacher! When I started out, for the first week after starting I forgot what I'd seen on day 1 and was making a sound by rolling my lips right out (a bit like an "extreme Maggio" I suspect) and in doing so using the softest part of my mouth, and had a range at the time somewhere about C below the staff, going to maybe E? The guys in the band set me straight at the next session. (Well straighter, since I ended up using far too much pressure for years).


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