Keeping lips in best condition?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by shun, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    My playing suffered my senior year in high school as well. Maturity brought a change in my face. Like many people, my lips lost some of their fullness. I should have permanently downsized at that point, but I had no teacher nor anyone else to ask.

    I don't think enough credence is given to a person's body changing during these years. Pull back, play softly, see if a different mouthpiece is warranted. Get used to your new face instead of trying to push it. Forcing things never ends well.

  2. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Glad someone started this thread. Interestingly enough, I've been having a few issues the last week or two. Two things that have changed for me in recent history are an uptick in practice time, and a switch to a smaller mouthpiece.

    I would have thought the uptick in practice time was fairly minimal, but I may have fallen into the trap of trying to do too much every day, all the time. The last week, I've been dealing with a stiffness or thickness to my lips, off and on. This morning I practiced for about 20 minutes, concentrating on soft long tones and slurs. At the end of it, my upper lip in the center of my embouchure felt like a thick ball, and I had that cute little red rim mark around my lips. To save frustration, I just put the trumpet up and called it quits.

    I'm thinking I might not practice at all tomorrow.
  3. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Back off before you create an injury that may not be overcome. My two cents worth.
  4. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd piggy-back off this one.

    I'm dealing with a similar issue, but it's annoying because I don't practice more than 45 minutes to an hour a day. I posted the above two days ago, then took a day off. I picked up the horn again this morning, started off with soft long tones and slurs, and before long the center of my upper lip was thick, tingly, and unresponsive. Range and articulation were non-existent.

    Again, two things that have changed for me in recent weeks are that:
    1. I dropped down in mouthpiece sizes 5 weeks ago, going smaller in both diameter and depth. I had been using a Stork Vacchiano 2B because it was comfortable and I liked the sound, but over time had concluded that it was likely just too big for me. I dropped to a Monette Silver 6, which is roughly a 3C. It certainly feels smaller, with a distinctly different feel to the rim.
    2. In the last 3-4 weeks, I've managed to start practicing 6 days a week, also adding about 15 minutes to 2 practice sessions, so gaining 60-90 minutes of practice time overall on a weekly basis.

    I can't pinpoint exactly when this issue cropped up, but I'd hazard about 10-14 days ago. In the last week, I've had 2 days off, and 2 of the days I practiced were pretty light sessions.

    I wonder if my embouchure is adapting to the new mouthpiece, and do I need to take a break? If so, how long? Or, is my embouchure at odds with the Monette rim, and if so, do I need to try a similar sized MP with a different rim? Or do I just need to take a break, chill the heck out, and give it more time?

    This morning I went back to the Stork for a few minutes, and immediately regained some tone and range, I assume because my fat lip suddenly had more room to vibrate.

    I dunno. I'd welcome feedback on any or all of the above.

    Frustrated in Ft. Worth.
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    My experience is that the larger cups have some advantage here. But maybe it's still important to restrict your practice to low intensity stuff when your lips a bit under the weather, and work tongue and fingers more on quiet in stave articulation exercises.
  6. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    I think there's something to that, sir. For clarification, my lips are actually on the average/thin side, but the top one has been a bit fat of late.
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    While personally I am an advocate of lanolin, I must warn others that if they are allergic to wool, DO NOT USE Burt's Bees or any other brand of lip balm that contains lanolin

  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    In general, it has been my experience that any change in a mouthpiece requires extensive practice time to attain productive playing. The lip ring marking is indicative of excessive left elbow pressure. Swollen lips are indicative of HARM having been a consequence of bad playing mode.
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Yes. This is my assessment and diagnosis as well (and Rowuk was eluding to this as well). You are describing an overuse injury, and you need to back off considerably.

    [h=3]How to Prevent an Overuse Injury[/h]We can prevent overuse syndromes. Some of the ways to prevent this injury include:

    • Warm-up before and after all exercise.
    • Use proper equipment that is mouthpieces with comfort that don't bite
    • Back down to a half hour a day then increase at a practice and performance rate no faster than 10% increase per week.
    • Practice and concentrate on correct technique. Comfortable embouchure. Soft playing. And definitely do not over-blow.
    • Listen to your body - pain is a warning that something is wrong. Early identification and treatment will allow you to continue your activity.
    • Identify and correct the cause of pain or discomfort.
    • Ensure full injury rehabilitation, e.g. a sore upper lip can cause an overuse injury in the lower lip through compensation.
  10. larry newman

    larry newman Piano User

    Dec 22, 2005
    North Tonawanda, NY, USA
    That's good advice, Tom, and something I need to do at tomorrow's 3 hour flugel gig. I've gotten to taking off a couple days a week with the excessive Oktoberfest schedule...last weekend: Fri. 3 hrs., Sat. 3 hrs, Sun. 2 hrs....that needs rest after that!!


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