Is There a Universal Mouthpiece Placement

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dr.Mark, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    3,459
    2,719
    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    IMO there is only one universal position for the mouthpiece - on the lips and not in a drawer someplace. :D

    I've been around professional-level brass players going on half a century and I've seen so many different positions that I can't get very excited at trying to come up with ONE best position since it flies in the face of my experiences. (If I understand the initial post, that is. Doesn't mean the subject isn't worthy of speculation, either. Just . . . not for me.) ;-)

    Oh yeah - Mary Ann or Ginger? Are you kidding me? I still can't decide on Veronica or Betty.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,613
    7,957
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Hi Mark,

    no, the red is somewhere inside of the rim with plenty of white meat too.

    Breathing is not an interface to something external, that is why it is MUCH different than lefthand/righthand or natural/forced mouthpiece placement. If we would force our exhale, then we would have a comparison.
    Mark, how do you evaluate a picture that was not designed to show what you are looking for? Without knowing what register is being played in?

    The mistake in Universal or General remains the same: The embouchure is not static and therefore mouthpiece position cannot be either. If we start kids with the correct procedures (BREATHING, body use, listening, long tones/lip slurs/relaxed body) everything gravitates to an efficient position. If they are doing the wrong things, the position will not even be reliable.

    I am not trying to convert you or change your opinion. It is good that these questions get asked and debated in depth. I don't spend any time with it because my teaching works by example: my students learn to observe, listen and react to my playing, their own bodies/playing and those of my other students (we do get all together to grill, bake cookies, record CDs for christmas presents). Mouthpiece placement is something that I have never directly addressed because for those students with bad habits, simply moving the mouthpiece changes nothing except making the playing even worse. The correct routine and listening habits can give the "damaged" player a chance to gravitate to something better fitting.

    For players freshly starting, the same applies: without the feedback loop being in place, NO POSITION is more correct or wrong. I will be watching this thread, but really have nothing additional. My doubts and conviction remain.
     
  3. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    920
    704
    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi kehaulani,
    You stated(in bold):
    IMO there is only one universal position for the mouthpiece - on the lips and not in a drawer someplace.
    ---
    Ain't that the truth. As soon as I get home from a performance, the first thing I do (and teaching my daughter to do also) is unpack the horn(s) and put it in their designated place so I can pick it up at any time and play. If it's in the case I can't see it. Out of sight, out of mind or at least, my limited mind.

    I've been around professional-level brass players going on half a century and I've seen so many different positions that I can't get very excited at trying to come up with ONE best position since it flies in the face of my experiences. (If I understand the initial post, that is. Doesn't mean the subject isn't worthy of speculation, either. Just . . . not for me.)
    ---
    Yes, it is absolutely worth debate, speculation and a good piece of pondering. Something to think about. All kinds of variations and personal preferences can and are utilized when it comes to how the mouthpiece is used. However, my hypothesis is "Is it a universal that the placement of the mouthpiece touch (even if it's a little) the area just above Cupid's Bow and the area just below the middle of the lower lip. I'm leaning towards yes. Otherwise, the person would probably be playing on the red. Now can this be screwed up? Sure? If the person (for example) decides to curl in the lip excessively.
    But the act of simply placing the mouthpiece on the lips for the beginnier should start with showing them that the mouthpiece needs to touch the two areas mentioned above and to not curl in the lips excessively to do so.
    Just think if kids were taught the simple act of how to put the mouthpiece against the lips starts with making sure the mouthpiece is "covering" the lips (north and south).
    ----
    Oh yeah - Mary Ann or Ginger? Are you kidding me? I still can't decide on Veronica or Betty.
    ----
    Remember, Veronica and Betty aren't bad, they're just drawn that way.
    Dr.Mark
     
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    920
    704
    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi rowuk,
    You stated (in bold)
    no, the red is somewhere inside of the rim with plenty of white meat too.
    ---
    BINGO!! I think we have a winner!! The mouthpiece covers the lips (north and south) which are where the divots would be.
    ----
    Breathing is not an interface to something external, that is why it is MUCH different than lefthand/righthand or natural/forced mouthpiece placement. If we would force our exhale, then we would have a comparison.
    ---
    Many(most) trumpet players do force the air all the time and that's a problem.
    ---
    Mark, how do you evaluate a picture that was not designed to show what you are looking for? Without knowing what register is being played in?
    ---
    If you're playing a stratosphereic double high Q or a super low X, I'll bet your lips (north and south) are still covered with the mouthpiece. No red shows.

    The mistake in Universal or General remains the same: The embouchure is not static and therefore mouthpiece position cannot be either.
    ---
    Covering North and south still allows for more variation that we could shake a stick at. I'm just talking about the placement north and south(touching the divots). There's still room for variation and a host of flaws to arise.
    ---
    If we start kids with the correct procedures (BREATHING, body use, listening, long tones/lip slurs/relaxed body) everything gravitates to an efficient position. If they are doing the wrong things, the position will not even be reliable.
    ---
    There's the term. "correct". The hypothesis suggests that placing the mouthpiece so no red shows (north and south) which if correct, would place the mouthpiece on the divots.
    ---
    I am not trying to convert you or change your opinion. It is good that these questions get asked and debated in depth.
    ----
    Thank you very much!
    ---
    I don't spend any time with it because my teaching works by example: my students learn to observe, listen and react to my playing, their own bodies/playing and those of my other students (we do get all together to grill, bake cookies, record CDs for christmas presents). Mouthpiece placement is something that I have never directly addressed because for those students with bad habits, simply moving the mouthpiece changes nothing except making the playing even worse. The correct routine and listening habits can give the "damaged" player a chance to gravitate to something better fitting.
    ----
    There's a chance that you take in kids that "want" to learn and you are a skilled craftsman when it comes to teaching. If you're like me, you don't put up with very much nonsense when it's time to work.
    Now, let's compare the top shelf teacher you are and the selective kids you teach with with many of the band directors in our American school systems. This wee bit if info if found to be correct, could be of use to those band directors who know very little about trumpet.
    ---
    For players freshly starting, the same applies: without the feedback loop being in place, NO POSITION is more correct or wrong. I will be watching this thread, but really have nothing additional. My doubts and conviction remain.
    ---
    Again, I agree that the feedback loop needs to be there and possibly part of that loop includes the proper 'universal" placement of the mouthpiece against the lips and that appears to be making sure the lips are covered with the mouthpiece (north and south).
    Dr.Mark
     
  5. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Age:
    67
    1,538
    1,273
    Dec 7, 2003
    Bud Herseth and Rafael Mendez both remarked they would move their mouthpieces around when they started getting fatigued.
    It seems to me most players (not pros) have a tendency to fix what ain't broke and doing so without qualified help leads to absolutely nothing except more confusion.
    Speaking of mouthpiece size, Herseth was once asked why he played the size of mouthpiece he did and responded it reminded him of the rim on a beer bottle. Darned if he wasn't right!
     
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    8,612
    2,128
    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    sometimes when I get tired --- I call it "choking up" on the mpc -- similar to in little league baseball years ago, I would choke up on the bat (use a higher grip) to make my swing faster, or to swing the bat at the same rate when I was tired ------------------ so, YES, especially with the trombone in a long parade, I "choke up" on the mpc, or more like putting LESS top lip in the cup, which enables me to play the higher notes to finish a parade (the notes are definitely THINNER sounding -- but the show must go on) --

    (((I had to do this with the trumpet on a long concert series on Memorial Day -- )))
     
  7. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    920
    704
    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Richtom,
    You stated:
    "Bud Herseth and Rafael Mendez both remarked they would move their mouthpieces around when they started getting fatigued."
    ---
    Yes!! Here's what seems to happen when people get tired while playing. The bottom lip seems to slip out of it's setting and the mouthpiece begins to touch the red. By moving the mouthpiece to where it suppose to be, the lips are covered once again "north and south" which means there is no red showing and the mouthpiece touches the divots.
    Something neat to investigate!
    When you're practicing(or on a long performance) when you get tired, notice how your bottom lip is behaving. Is it still in it's proper position (for you) or did it slip a little south which means the bottom portion of the mouthpiece is now on the red? If it did, lift the jaw a little if necessary and tuk the bottom lip back where it needs to be which (it appears) is on the divot just below the center of the lower lip. Notice if the ridge (vermilion border) almost seems to be the hook or hinge that holds a tired bottom lip in place.
    Out of a hundred people, maybe, MAYBE, one will remember to monitor their lip when they get tired. However, when they do, I'll bet they'll notice what I'm talking about.
    Dr.Mark
     
  8. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    920
    704
    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi KT,
    Something neat to try:
    When you start getting tired, see if the bottom lip is slipping out of place (You're playing in the red). Between fatigue and gravity, somethings gotta give for example, the jaw and the bottom lip.
    If the bottom lip (or jaw) is sagging, just tuk (or lift and tuk) it back to where it needs to be. Basically the lip has around three layers of skin whereas, the face has around sixteen. Resting the mouthpiece north and south of the vermilion border on the face( on the divots) creates more of a cushion.
    Hope this helps
    Dr.Mark
     
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    8,612
    2,128
    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    Dr. Mark -- you are exactly correct --- when I get tired that is the neatest thing about the wide flat rim on the bottom of the Asymmetric -- you can press that into the bottom of the lip (holding that in place) and push on it with the upper lip (and I do this by using your technique of slightly tipping the bell forward) ------ although, I have not YET perfected this to work with "excellent" sound quality as I can start to hear the "pinching" thinner sound in the upper register.
    BUT --- each day, my lips, brain, hands, breath are working together to make the upper register - "easier", and my endurance "much longer" ----------------- I think in the last 2 months, I have been at a breakthrough moment --- such that as I mentioned in a PM ( the double G, and A) are reasonably dependable with decent sound almost everyday ---- which means everything below those notes sound awesome, and are PLAYABLE in songs -- everyday, anytime, anywhere ------------ so having (EVERDAY and AT ANYTIME, AND ANYWHERE ) that F an octave higher than the one on top line of the staff ---- AWESOME

    ((*** note to the kids, and older people who think they know everything ----- this did not happen overnight --- but it did happen over the course of 5 1/2 year comeback --- and approximately 4,000+ hours of actually practice time ****))
     

Share This Page