Gadgets for Facial Isometrics

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by talcito, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    There are a couple of websites recomending certain gadgets for use in doing facial isometrics. Patrick Hession is selling a product called 'facial flex" and Dillon music is selling a product called "chop-sticks".

    Facial isometrics have been recommended by such great players as Bob Macoy(sp?) and Leon Merian.

    Have any of you experimented with these type of gadgets to assist in facial isometrics.. Will they help improve my playing or will they just help me stay away from a plastic surgeon in a couple of years!
  2. Z4ME

    Z4ME New Friend

    May 22, 2005
    I also was skeptical but decided to try the Chop Sticks about a year ago and now use them daily as part of my practice routine. I have found my playing to be more consistant from day to day and my endurance has increased. The price is about that of a cheap mouthpiece and well worth a try.
  3. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    I'd suggest using the pencil exercise that Pops McLaughlin has come up with. You can easily follow the directions in the book 'Chops Builer' and a pencil is about as cheap as you can get. Check out his books at:
  4. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    A pencil is free. You or a friend has one laying around the house.

    All of the gimmicks are based on the pencil exercise. Why pay MORE for the substitute?

    Hold it using only the lips and start slowly. Start with a half a pencil for a minute a day and add time every week.

    In a few weeks use a full length pencil which BTW is WAY more work than the gimmick devices.

    Again start at 1 minute a day and slowly add a little time every week.

    Never do more than 4 minutes in a day.

    Isometrics are tiring and you do want to be able to play.

    There you got it free.

    Have a great week.
  5. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    An early Christmas---Thanks Pops!
  6. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

    gadget (noun) : an often small mechanical or electronic device with a practical use but often thought of as a novelty.

    Stick with the simple things. Nothing replaces simple, consistent work. You'll get there.
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    In what I have seen the use of those exercsies only leads to tension in the lip, which leads to needing more pressure to play, which in turn leads to trying to strengthen the lips even more. :-?

    So far every one that I have met that uses the pencil exercise uses a lot of pressure when they play.
  8. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    The 2 biggest teachers of the pencil exercise were Reinhardt and Stevens.

    Neither liked pressure.

    Stevens is often CALLED the No pressure system because he built the lip muscles and practiced playing open arpeggios with the horn laying on the open palm of his hand. He made all of his students do this as well.

    I have seen EVERY aspect of playing misused but the pencil exercise does NOT make you use pressure.
    Those people used pressure before and just didn't do the exercises needed to stop doing so.

    Only 2 things can make you use pressure.
    One is trying to play with open chops and the second is having lips too weak to make compression. (The pressure compensates for the total lack of compression in both cases.)
  9. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    I am just telling you what I have seen. The more relaxed the lip is the less pressure you have to use to play, this exercise seems to create more tension in the lip for those that I have known to use it.
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    If I may quote that great philosopher Baloo (from Jungle Book):
    "Look for the ...
    Bare necessities
    The simple bare necessities
    Forget about your worries and your strife"

    Couldn't agree more, Alex.

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