I know, I know...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by butxifxnot, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. butxifxnot

    butxifxnot Pianissimo User

    Jul 10, 2004
    Eat the meat and spit out the bones. You pick what you need and leave what isn't desirable alone (while some people can digest what I see as bones, I can't). Everyone learns this somehow or another. I look at classmates of mine and their embouchure and can't imagine how they can get a sound out (and their sound proves my point, a vast majority of the time), and then I see professionals with the same embouchure kicking my imagination's butt. Somethings just work for different people differently. But then, there are some fundamental truths that more or less apply to all players (just in varying degrees). I fully acknowledge this, and still ask for y'all's varying opinions/advices (many of you being much more accomplished than I, I'm finding). :-)

    I know I'm not supposed to fret on mouth positioning, but it was brought up. I'm going to go around all over for as many opinions as I can on this subject, and so I start here. While I was talking to her, a director (acting as clinician) brought up some points about higher notes (personal conversation), and she said that the higher register indeed, feels quite different from buzzing the lower notes, and that it requires a much firmer embouchure. This woman plays with steel lips, as her corners are 100% firm at all hights and depths (except maybe the lowest of lows, but her middle register definately has the corners going).

    I used to use firm corners to play, as several directors pushed the method on me. And when I would get tired with this embouchure focused on the corners, the corners would go bleh. As a matter of fact, for several years, my endurance was consistantly nearly the worst of my sections (though I was one of the top players).

    (I believe it was the year before last) My PI and a judge talked to me about how the lips must have flesh between the teeth and MP in order to avoid damage and increase endurance (I'm learning, also, much air is even more key to this). I have focused on this, and the corners idea nearly left me.

    Now, when I get tired, my corners feel nothing: my lips toward the center tire (though not nearly as quickly as the corners did. I have just noticed this, BTW). When the clinician was talking about playing up in the higher register, a big part of it (as well as what I have been doing) was the corners of the mouth being firm as an anchor (another question regarding the concept of an "anchor" pending). I had not noticed this, nor do I think I am doing it (I might be, but I am not aware of it) because she told me that working out the higher notes should tire the corners.

    Question 1 What are thoughts on the positioning of the lips at the higher register? (Include a brief synopsis of how your embouchure currently works now normally).

    Question 2 What acts as the embouchuric "anchor"? The flesh in the middle of the lips (I doubt it)? The corners (told to me by several people, including the clinician)? The bottom lip (told to me by my awesome brass player of a director)?

    :-) Thank you for putting up with that essay. Y'all're great.
  2. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Well I am by no means a high note expert, but I'd like to think I can hold my own with my trumpet, and before my recent oral surgery, I had pretty good range with ease. I do play with firm corners and a very soft center of the lips, and my endurance has never really been an issue for me. I've been taught to anchor on the bottom lip, and play with a decent tone and ease in range and flexibility. I don't believe that you should have to change your embouchure for the higher notes though, I'm a strong believer that the emboucure should move as little as possible when playing. I know some really great players that look exactly the same playing a low C as a playing high C, that's what I try to go for, hope this helps!
  3. eisprl

    eisprl Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 26, 2004
    Halifax, NS CANADA

    I agree! I didn't know I was playing with two different embouchures until I had a lesson with a great Lead player, Rick Ragno from Ottawa. He presented me with the Bill Adams technique. Part of this technique is to pick a middle ground (say second line 'G') keeping this embouchure, play a descending arpeggio to the low 'G' without taking your lips off the mp or re-setting AT ALL!!! when you reach the low g. don't stop, continue the g major scale (or minor I guess) upwards as high as you can. We did a scale up to the high D above the staff. I can now play my middle note arpeggio down to low g and scale up two octaves without re-setting or taking my mouth off the mp. It may be hard to do by yourself because you may not realize you are doing it. Have a teacher (or someone you trust knows what the are talking about) observe this and tell you everytime they see a change in embouchure. Stop and try again. It worked really quickly for me.

    my range has never been better! I can easily play a scale now without any stops in the sound or changes in my embouchure.

    Good luck
    Eric Sproul

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