I changed embouchure, drastic improvement

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by frankmike, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

    440
    16
    Dec 5, 2008
    according to this guy, everything is GOOD, even MULTIPLE embouchures

    look;

    The correct mouthpiece placement is the one where you sound the best and are most comfortable. If one looks about, he sees successful players playing nearly all over their faces. A quick example or two: Wynton Marsalis and Tom Harrell seem to play very low, with much more of the mouthpiece on their lower lip than on the top. Maurice André seems to be well over half on the top lip. I could go through (and so could you) all of the pictures of trumpet players and take a poll and waste a couple of hours, but the generalization would remain true that successful players have success with a number of different embouchures, nearly all of which may not work for somebody else. Also, remember a guy like Rafael Mendez (although there may never be anybody "like" Rafael Mendez) who played and could play, uh, well on a number of different sets.
    This is why most (good) teachers let beginning students choose for themselves where to place the mouthpiece by sounding "mmmmm" and letting them put the mouthpiece where they want. In the majority of cases, the student will find the most comfortable place and then develop the musculature to support it. This is healthy. We all have different teeth, lips and muscles, so we will have different embouchures.
    However, occasionally one runs into a student whose mouthpiece placement is so bizarre or inappropriate that it inhibits their development. I have a young student who insists on playing with more than 2/3 on the bottom lip and off to the left. She has no range and the sound is thin and airy. I have told her many times that this will not do, and that all she has to do to see why is to listen, but she refuses to change. She may make a fine soccer player.
    One hopes that any teacher that has discovered a flaw in your mouthpiece placement is trying to help you get over a stumbling-block by having you change, rather than just advancing a theory to which he or she violently clings. There are a significant number of teachers who do not believe that a low placement will ever be successful and when confronted with Wynton and Tom Harrell, they say, "Yeah, but just think how good they'd sound if they had a good placement." Right. I'd play out my left nostril if I could play like Tom Harrell.
    Any embouchure change of that magnitude is almost like starting over, where one has to teach the muscles how to "do it" all over again. It takes a while, at least several months.
    For the record, I play at about 50/50, for what it is worth. But I still don't play like Tom Harrell.

    © 2000 by James F. Donaldson
    All rights reserved
     
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    2,156
    15
    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    generally, any time a change of such a magnitude is done, it takes a long time for "better than before" to appear. Hopefully you are not experiencing a "honeymoon period" which is sometimes experienced when a significant change is performed. However, there are exceptions to the rule and this might be one of them. Good Luck
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  3. Gordonz

    Gordonz New Friend

    2
    0
    Nov 4, 2009
    Over the past year and a half I've focused more time and effort on the horn. My practice time has increased from, oh, 1.25 hours a day to about 3 now. During that time I've had to make adjustments since I could, I suppose, no longer get away with using bad technique.

    I've played plausibily well enough before, but now trying to attain a better, more consistant level. Certain adjustments HAD to be made since my lower lip was taking a beating. I suppose I was using the pressure from hand to trumpet to lip to attain whatever competance in range, tone and stamina I previously had. With the practice level more than doubling that HAD to change.

    With it came the change of embouchure of course. It was like taking a huge step backwards. And, for me anyway, it took time to work through. It came in two stages for me: with increased practice duration it changed, and then changed again after my bottom, inner lip couldn't take bad practice anymore. ha ha
     
  4. equivariant

    equivariant New Friend

    32
    0
    May 25, 2009
    I am astonished that anyone can read the extract above and then summarize by saying "according to this guy, EVERYTHING is good...". I forsee an asswhupping from Rowuk :-?
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,954
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Well, at least the temptation is there! :evil:

    I have also had students with "miracles" that could not be explained. After a month or two, their basic playing was almost back to normal - except for what was achieved with the additional motivation during the miracle. I will give FM the benefit of the doubt and hope that he runs with it. I am expecting future posts to be considerably different however...............

    I am skeptical because I think that I have a pretty good picture of what the human body is capable of and over time, things seem to average out. A teacher of mine explained it like this: trumpet playing is like climbing a hill made of gravel, if you get a running start, you can move up a ways fairly quickly. After that it is 2 steps forward and you slide back down 1 to 1 1/2 steps - sometimes even more.

    6 months is a very short time. Let's just wait and see.

    The birthday of the last guy that walked on water is coming up. That keeps me in a pretty good mood.
     
  6. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    875
    202
    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Is there one place on the mouthpiece that is best for each player? Or can this change with practice/muscular development in regards to a new area? Basically, as players, can we train ourselves to play just as well in one spot as another, or is one spot simply more efficient/resonant?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    8,612
    2,128
    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    oh gee whiz -- kingtrumpet always has to add something -- I made an embouchure change in high school -- it was dreadfully difficult and I sat out my senior year. I changed from the side of the mouth to the mpc in the center . Initially the sound was actually much better (but for only like the C scale in the staff -- perhaps because the mpc was now in the middle of the vibrating mass of the lip and NOT tensed up on the side of my lips. HOWEVER, the rest of the range (higher and lower) dynamics and such took time. I think the OP (if he hasn't been playing for like 10 years, might actually HEAR improvement in his sound, and maybe actually FEEL better in the mpc position, especially if he was using pressure, or pinching his lip in the previous position ---- but that is just my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,954
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    No there is not one "best" place as everyones lip, jaw and teeth shape, density and proportions are different. There are some teachers that claim to be able to help the players find a sweetspot. I am one of them. During the closely monitored lessons that I give, I help the student through long tones and lipslurs gravitate to the optimal spot. It does NOT involve placing the mouthpiece somewhere else. It involves good body use, proper breathing and a relaxed approach to playing. We turn the ears on and within a month or two, we are VERY close to VERY good.

    Perhaps it is possible to optimize more than one position. I know some players that play rennaissance instruments at the gorners of the lips, but regular trumpet in the middle. I also know french horn/trumpet players that also switch techniques. What I also know is that they have to invest at least twice the practice time to maintain this spread.
     
  9. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    875
    202
    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Ok, thank you Rowuk. I was not sure, I have encountered various opinions on the subject. Your answer makes the most sense to me

    Switching seems like much work, why would players want to do this?
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,954
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    The pros that switch do so out of historic priciple. They saw some pictures where the instruments were played to one side and use that as a guide. Whether it makes any playing sense is another subject entirely. With the french horn, there is in fact an accepted alternate embouchure called "einsetzen". The mouthpiece is set "into" the lower lip.

    With the appropriate amount of rehearsal time, the talented can get away with the extraordinary.
     

Share This Page