How is it possible to have two embouchures?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trmpt_plyr, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    I play with two embouchures. I can play up to a modest double C with my low gear set. I have a high gear set with which I can play some nice solid loud DHC's and up to a solid workable F over DHC. Now I can play down into the pedal register with the high gear set. So they overlap. Now, the main reason I don't use the high gear set all the time is that I like the low gear set from the point of view of attacks and tone. The tone is slightly brighter - hotter - with the high gear set down low.

    However, with the overlap, the ability to switch back and forth at will is pretty easy. I practice with both embouchures. Also, I feel pretty comfortable with the fluidity. Last night on a big band gig, we did the Holman arrangement of Bugle Call Rag. I played Doc's part, but chose to end on a DHC on the first hold a the end. I did a three octave glissando down to a low C and played the low C nice and loud with the high gear set on the second hold. It can be done.

    So is my playing with two embouchures good or bad? To be honest, I don't care. The folks in the audience have never asked (well, unless they're a trumpet geek, like I am). Also, Walt Johnson and Roger Ingram both use two embouchures. If it's good enough for them, I'll just embrace it then.

    What I like about having the two slightly different sets is the fact that I can play twice as long before showing any signs of fatigue.

    Ultimately, just use what WORKS FOR YOU! If you don't like the idea of developing two embouchures, don't do it! If you'd like to give it a go, do so without fear.

    "Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so!"

    Peace!

    Nick
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
    horner likes this.
  2. Sam24

    Sam24 New Friend

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    Feb 11, 2009
    I like what Nick D said.

    Man if it works for you, it works for you. There's too much emphasis on "this should be that way or this is correct and that isnt" on these forums.
     
  3. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

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    Mar 25, 2008
    The above advice that having 2 embouchures is OK is similar to
    "I walk around on the roof of my house all the time and I have never gotten hurt, so the rest of you should consider doing it, too."

    Mr. D is a fantastic player.
    But that is bad advice.

    Mr. D might succeed in having 2 embouchures because he is already a trained professional.
    But teenagers who are still in the formative stages of embouchure development who try to emulate his having 2 embouchures are at serious risk of ruining their embouchures.

    Dean
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  4. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    "Ultimately, just use what WORKS FOR YOU! If you don't like the idea of developing two embouchures, don't do it! If you'd like to give it a go, do so without fear."

    I think this was missed.

    ND
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think we are almost to the splitting hairs stage. We can probably round this up with the following: if you have your breathing, body use and brain together, you have a lot available at the tip of your tongue. If not, well, that really shows up at the paying gigs.

    Nick, I think your insights are phenomenal. Normally you don't go into much detail though how MUCH you have invested in your life to be where you are.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
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    Germany
    I think we are almost to the splitting hairs stage. We can probably round this up with the following: if you have your breathing, body use and brain together, you have a lot available at the tip of your tongue. If not, well, that really shows up at the paying gigs.

    Nick, I think your insights are phenomenal. Normally you don't go into much detail though how MUCH you have invested in your life to be where you are.
     
  7. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

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    Mar 25, 2008
    I didn't miss that part.

    I addressed that part.

    And I did not mean to be disresepectful.

    I respectfully disagreed because of the harm that your advice could do to those teenagers who attempt to follow your advice and attempt to develop 2 simultaneous embouchures during the formative years for their young embouchures.

    An analogy would be...
    You, MR. D., are a trained and licensed electrician so you can safely rewire the fuse box in your house.
    The teenagers here should not follow your example and attempt to rewire their fuse boxes this weekend because it is almost certain that they will do something wrong and cause great harm.

    I was not trying to be disrespectful.
    I was respectfully disagreeing.

    I am a great admirer of Mr. D's talent and skills.

    Dean
     
  8. willbarber

    willbarber Piano User

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    Nov 22, 2008
    Medina, NY
    There's a difference between the fuse box and playing.

    There's not much variation you can embrace in electric work, but for trumpet playing, people can be different.
    I agree that you shouldn't go out and try to develop the double embouchure, but if it happens, it happens. If it works, that's good. If it doesn't work, then it should be fixed.
     
  9. Sam24

    Sam24 New Friend

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    Feb 11, 2009
    I think a beginner...(like me I've been playing for a year) would have enough sense to stick to the basics before venturing into more advanced territory like possibly developing two embouchres or playing double high c's or having two horns for screaming in the upper range and then one for normal playing.

    The thing is years and years into playing you find things that work and things that dont work. If two embouchres works then fine. With years of experience I expect you'd be able to figure out if something will work or not...
     
  10. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    All disagreements noted. No problems.

    I'll leave it with this. We're talking about playing trumpet, NOT flying a fighter plane OR wiring a fuse box. Spreading the word 'danger' around here seems a bit much, in my humble opinion.

    Finally, I had plenty of traditional training when I was in high school and college. It was all good, but sadly didn't address things that needed to be addressed for ME. It wasn't that I was a bad student. I'd practice many hours a day. It wasn't that my teachers were incompetents. I studied with well respected teachers from advanced educational institutions, the private scene and three with major symphony orchestras. Most of you have heard of many of them. All that said, they missed something.

    The point? I wish someone had told me the things I had to figure out on my own over many years of blood, sweat and tears and hard work and practice when I was in high school. It might not have made complete sense at the moment, but the seed would have been there a lot sooner. It would have shaved 15 years off of my development time. Hindsight 20/20.

    There were a few renegade teachers and writers out there trying to teach ideas like this but, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was AFRAID to try something different to progress. Yes, I was gripped by the fear of trying something new with my chops and tried to stick with the traditional to do the modern. I got lucky, but at a huge cost. Yes I got on Maynard's band, but the problems I had to hide from everyone were all tied to the fear of trying to do things a bit differently to achieve the goals of extended range, power and endurance. My stubborn resistance to trying something new essentially changed (almost destroyed) my career. When I started to figure it out, I was still afraid to try things on the job. Then I finally figured "what the heck - I'm just playing trumpet and I love to do it! I'll give it a go." Until I got the hang of it, I'd hit dry spots and crack a few notes, but the pay off for me, musically is that I can finally see daily progress with no end in sight.

    I honestly believe anyone can do this. I also am honest when I say that I know that what I do may not work for everyone. I have had many students come here and we'll try my stuff. If it seems too foreign, we just move onto to other techniques (soft playing, aperture control, tongue position etc. all of which help with any embouchure).

    Now to suggest that I might destroy someone's embouchure is a little like my saying that my old teachers almost destroyed mine. They didn't. I won't What my old teachers did do was discourage exploration with the notion that if they didn't understand what someone else was trying to communicate, it must be wrong or bad. This is what I disagree with. If you want to tell a kid, "Cool if you want to think over the high gear low gear thing, but lets get the basics first, and come back to the 'outer space' stuff later," fine. However, to tell a kid "Forget this idea about using a different set now and then. It is BAD and WRONG," is not what I would encourage.

    BTW, I guess some of you WON'T be buying Walt Johnson's book anytime too soon! ;-) Shoot! I can only imagine where that will leave MY little book (if I ever get the darn thing finished!) Oh well... At least I'll just be publishing online! All I'll be out will be the time. I'll have to post about it elsewhere under an assumed name or something!

    These are my opinions and nothing more. They certainly not facts. I already know some of you disagree. That's cool. At least this stuff works for me, and I haven't fallen off the roof or electrocuted myself, yet! I did slide my car up on the curb a couple of weeks ago on some ice, but I wasn't playing my pocket trumpet, so I don't think that counts. I ended with a flat, though. Bummer. I also hate flying.

    OK, gotta get back to practicing. Gotta play the Jazz Showcase tomorrow night and the charts and changes with this particular band are hugely non-intuitive! Back to the shed...

    Peace.

    Nick
     

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