How do I increase lip strength?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vstern, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Vstern

    Vstern New Friend

    Jul 25, 2010
    People like Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong made trumpet playing look so easy. Some of it was natural ability, but I know that they didn't rely on secrets or special equipment.

    Meanwhile, in jazz band, in an arrangment of My Funny Valentine the first player holds out a C, D, then an E above the staff, but cracks the latter two. The first player plans on being a musician, so I know that he is dedicated, but it's just not there yet.

    I'm definitely not ready for first part, even though I'll be the only senior trumpet (no juniors, either) in jazz and marching band. I'm using what I think is good technique, using the lips and not just air to play, emptying all of my air, and using a relaxed tongue, but I don't have the strength to play and not just hit A above the staff.

    At this point, is the only solution more frequent practice? I don't practice as much as I'd like because I'm too worried about disturbing others. One of my parents works nights, and sleeps until about 6 pm. I get home from school at 2:30, so that leaves me about until 7 pm to practice with no mute. I use a silent brass system (the mute alone), but that's not pleasant. What other mute can I use to keep practice at a not-too-loud level?
  2. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Practice is the only solution.

    Go to school early and stay late to practice. Check with your teachers and see if you can use 10 minutes of lunch to practice.
  3. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    SMART dedicated practice is the only solution.

    Go get yourself a really great teacher in your area.

    I've seen Joe Burgstaller take a tiny girl (who could only squeak a high A like you) and get her to play a clean strong high C in about an hour. That girl was nervous as heck in front a room full of other student trumpet players who, for the most part, could hit a high C easily. It was part of a master class I was able to attend...
  4. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    2:30 to 7 PM is plenty of time.

    One way is to get Claude Gordon's A Systematic Approach To Daily Practice and the other books that are used with it, and go through the program. It's a 1-year program.

    I have a good number of the books needed, missing a few, and missing the main one. I'd like to get the whole set together (and any other Gordon books I lack) and go through the program, even if takes me 2 years.
  5. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    Another key is to not over practice.

    Do only what you can handle, and start warming down once you feel a double-buzz or a vertical drop in endurance.

    Just like working out, you don't want to completely destroy those muscles. Tear them up and let them heal... but don't rip them apart. :)
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Dump the mute for most of your playing if you want to build strength.

    Endurance is NOT just the strength of the face muscles. This is because we do not play only one note. The chops include breathing and body use as well as the brain taking the sound it hears and forming it through minute muscle motion.

    Focussing on the face muscles just means that you are missing 2/3rds of what is important.

    The pros that you mention may have made trumpet playing look easy, but the thousands of hours that it took to get there is the untold story. No free lunches. If you want to be a real trumpet player, you need to find places to play where others don't disturb you!
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I was told at a clinic given by Dennis Schneider that I attended as a 10th grader, that the embouchure continues to develop and settle until you reach middle age - I believe the age number he gave at the time was 35, but he might have even said 45 - it's been a looooong time since that clinic. (although I remember him flawlessly ripping through the Goedicke "Concert Etude" at about warp 9 pretty clearly)

    But to summarize what so many others have said, there is no shortcut to it - you just have to put in the time, and it's not a matter of days or even weeks - think instead months or years.

    But, try to think of it as inches instead of yards - look for small improvments rather than looking for big changes. Also, try not to think of your playing as a destination you need to reach - you'll never get there. There will always be something else that can be improved. Learn to contrinue to strive for improvement, but to make the most of your currently level of ability at the same time.
  8. jake g

    jake g Pianissimo User

    Nov 12, 2009
    practice,practice,practice seven days a week and you will find it much easier to play. remember you only get out of the trumpet what you put in to it.
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Do lip slurs (all 7 combos), 7 minutes a day. If you want lip strength, there's the recipe. However, it will kick your butt. Be sure not to use pressure to do your lip slurs.
  10. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    This is really vague - what constitutes a lip slur exercise here? I will argue that slurring from middle G to middle C, and continuing up through the 7 positions is not much of a workout, even though they constitute lip slurs.

    Are you referring to lip slurs such as those found in Colin? Or glissando type lip slurs?

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