Help Needed With Embouchure Stability

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpetplayer24, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Trumpetplayer24

    Trumpetplayer24 Pianissimo User

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    My change in sound isn't because I have the sound of the french horn in my head, its 100% down to my lips and airflow. I regularly record myself playing and have noticed a big difference in my sound and so has my teacher. My sound was very fat and dark and now it is very small and sounds very 'wobbly' I presume this probably has something to do with my airflow.

    I have noticed a huge difference in how my lips feel when I play and find that I can no longer find the perfect spot for the mouthpiece to sit.
     
  2. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi trumpetplayer24,
    While I contend that listening is formost, your situation appears to be contending with the physical change from one instrument to another. This might sound counter intuitive, but sometimes a break away from both horns will allow your body (and lip) to reset itself. If you do this, take around 4-7 days off. Then when you go back to playing, play nothing but trumpet. Do buzzing (lightly) is a great exercise. There's a device called P.E.T.E(if memory serves me correctly) that attaches to the receiver of the trumpet and the mouthpiece goes into the P.E.T.E.. I own one of these and it's a great way to get your buzz on.
    Dr.Mark
     
  3. calihorn

    calihorn Pianissimo User

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    I think you meant the BERP Buzz Extension and not the P.E.T.E. The P.E.T.E. does not attach to the trumpet but is a handheld prop made by Warburton used to exercise the embouchure and is similar to the pencil and button exercises. ;)
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I always get a kick out of threads like this one. Every one of us knows better. Embouchure stability is not the issue here. The embouchure is dependent on BODY USE, BREATHING and consistent habits. It is not a set of calisthenics to build chop strength, rather it is a set of life goals to get the whole body sensibly integrated into the playing mode.

    When our playing is not stable, there are only a couple of reasons for it - barring sickness, raw chop strength is NOT anywhere near the top of the list. If someone can keep the horn on their face for 2 hours (on the net we can claim anything - it is only a matter of definition), they don't need more embouchure strength. If things aren't working, they need to get someone to look at their whole body and tell them what is wrong. It is VERY easy to see.

    I do NOT recommend chop builders for cases like this. The first thing to check is body tension - from the little toe to the neck. The second thing is the big relaxed breath, the third is too much pressure during playing which is a function of the first two things that I mentioned. If those three things are in order, there is (barring sickness) no wobble or stability issues.

     
  5. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Thanks calihorns.
    BERP, Yes that's it! It attaches to the receiver and is black plastic.
    Thanks
    Dr.Mark
     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi calihorns,
    You stated:
    "The P.E.T.E. does not attach to the trumpet but is a handheld prop made by Warburton used to exercise the embouchure and is similar to the pencil and button exercises."
    ----
    Years ago I long before the P.E.T.E., I came up with an idea that was similar, and (pending you have strudy string and a large holed button) is free.
    Here's the B.S.E.B. "Button String Exercise for Brass"
    Equipment:
    1. piece of sturdy thick plastic string about 15 inches long.
    1. Button with holes about the size of a quarter
    Run the string through the holes so that both ends of the string are on the same side of the button.
    Tie off the string ends so they can not slip out of the button holes.
    ---
    Wash B.S.E.B. with antibac. soap and once rinsed, place the button in the corner of the lip and clamp down on the string with the corner of the lip (the button is against the teeth which are closed). Hold the string with the appropriate hand and slowly pull the string out while maintaining a little resistance with the lip muscles. The button will help pull out the corner of the lip and your job is to pull the corner back against the teeth with your lip muscle. Do the same on the other side. This is simply a calethentics(sp) exercise and a person can work it as they feel fit. Do the exercises slowly and do not let the string rub against the lip.
    Enjoy!
    Dr.Mark
     
  7. Trumpetplayer24

    Trumpetplayer24 Pianissimo User

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    Its nothing to do with the strength of my lips - I have a great stamina that hasn't been affected by changing instruments. I simply want advice of any exercises or techniques I can do to get the embouchure I was playing with before back. I can tell that I have adjusted my embouchure in the last few weeks and can no longer find the spot where my mouthpiece used to sit comfortably.

    I have noticed an improvement over the last couple of days - i've been doing a lot of free lip buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing, long tones and playing in small amounts at a time.
     
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    One variation on this that I've found very useful for reseating my mouthpiece is buzzing it with steady glissandi through the range. You may find that you've developed a 'fuzzy patch' somewhere that just needs a very slight smoothing over. Easy to miss these with just longtones.
     
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Again, I'll interject to state that 90% plus of all those who purchase P.E.T.E. by Warburton DO NOT USE IT CORRECTLY, (nor do they use the "button" or "pencil" correctly either). Call such "dynamic tension" as Charles Atlas did, or "isometrics" as the USAF first did, but in plain English it is a resistance exerciser.

    You don't plop the flat end of P.E.T.E. (or button) between your lips and teeth and forcibly pull it out without bruising your lips, what you do is use the lip and facial muscles to resist the removal against and increasing pull force. Turn P.E.T.E. around and place the curvature between your lips and press your lips against it as tightly as you can for as long as you are comfortable in doing so. In this latter, do not hold P.E.T.E. with your hand whereas it is the weight and balance of P.E.T.E. that is the advantage to this exercise. Wooden pencils just don't provide this.

    Otherwise, while B.E.R.P. attaches to the side of the receiver of the instrument David O'Neill's BuzzzMaster by Warburton is held in the hand. Both accept a mouthpiece. Some will say anything that is attached to the instrument changes it's tonation. I won't get into that, yaa or nay.

    I've often heard the complaint from youthful beginners that a trumpet or cornet is heavy and they just couldn't hold it straight out and parallel to the floor. For this, I remember an exercise my school instructor taught us. Hold your arms extended with the elbows bent and with your index fingers held about 1/2 inches apart 18 inches in front of your eyes with one finger pointing toward the other, and with one finger rotating opposite the other until the bell rings to change classes. Eventually, students didn't complain about the weight of their instrument because unbeknownst to them they had practiced a resistance exercise that strengthened the applicable muscles of their arms. Never understood the purpose of opposite direction finger rotations, but I can still do them more than a half century later and find them to be a challenge to others at social parties.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no business interest with Warburton USA.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The advice is what I wrote: search and destroy body tension, check that big relaxed breath and by optimizing the body, reduce the amount of mouthpiece pressure.

    I have a daily routine that is only used to calibrate myself. Long tones, easy slurs, easy tunes, breathing exercizes. 20-40 minutes every day, (well every day up until 5 weeks ago). I never have to ask questions because my routine keeps me pointed in the right direction. Try practicing after taking a shower - I am serious.

    If we keep tension and force down, our embouchure will always gravitate to its most efficient spot. If we are out of tune with our bodies, everything is a crap shoot. Longtones are the core of developing tone, endurance and expression. Slurs build power and flexibility, easy tunes give us an opportunity to SLOW DOWN and apply what have learned to music.
     

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