Knowledge on playing with braces?? anyone?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Pedagogy' started by mctrumpet, May 1, 2008.

  1. mctrumpet

    mctrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Apr 5, 2008
    FL
    Ive been playing with braces for 3 years and ive found out that with them everything sounds pinched slightly and no matter what i do with them on i cant make it sound any better than it is right now. Practice,embouchure changes,the whole nine yards and it seems that im not really getting anywhere. Anyone help?please?
     
  2. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Jun 11, 2006
    " Maggio embouchure
    A rare, puckered embouchure, sometimes used by jazz players for extremely high "screamer" notes. Maggio claimed that the pucker embouchure gives more endurance than some systems. Carlton MacBeth is the main proponent of the pucker embouchure. The Maggio system was established because Louis Maggio had sustained an injury which prevented him from playing. In this system you cushion the lips by extending them or puckering (like a monkey). This puckering enables the players to overcome physical malformations. It also lets the player play for an extended time in the upper register. The pucker can make it easy to use too open an aperture. Lots of very soft practice can help overcome this."

    Wikipedia

    Seek out a teacher who knows this embouchure. We have several threads on this so use the search option.

    Try this site: Bob Odneal Trumpet
     
  3. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    Whatever you do, try not to apply too much pressure onto your top lip. I did this for the entire 3 years I had mine on, and 3 years later, I still have brace impressions on my upper lip! I used this to compensate for the space created between my teeth and lips, and it killed me when I got them off. I thought I would be awesome, but it took months and months to get back. Anyway, just don't push back on your lips! Find another way!
     
  4. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 24, 2005
    When I had braces, I used white teflon plumbers tape from the hardware store. I took a few inches, slightly dampened it and folded it in half, and then in half again. At this point, it's maybe 3/4 of a inch long and as wide as the tape (1/2 inch, maybe, I don't remember). Then I cut it the long way to create two little rectangles just the right size to cover the front two (or four, if you prefer) brackets on the top and bottom, but small enough not to hang over the ends of the teeth. The tape is easy to get on and off and keeps the sharp edges from stabbing you. You still have some extra stuff between the teeth and lips, but this can ease the pain and discomfort enough that you won't have to try to do anything weird with the chops to keep from hurting yourself. I played this way for about two and a half years and by the end I had a solid G above high C and never had any significant pain from the braces. It sounds weird, but it'll only cost a couple buck to try! Good luck!

    Jason.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2008
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    MC,
    I have pulled several students through the brace time. As always, there is a big picture that goes far beyond the symptoms of your sound, range and pain.

    What changes when we get braces? More than most people realize!
    The first and most obvious thing is the brace itself which puts a wire spacer between the lips and the teeth. That completely changes the geometry of ones embouchure, so sound, range and flexibility immediately suffer! In addition, the roots of the teeth are loosened up so that they can be moved into a new place. This moves the stability of the teeth to the wire framework. Thirdly, the teeth change their position, necessitating retraining of tonguing habits.

    So, before any of you start looking for suicide tips on the internet, I can offer HOPE!

    The first requirement is to realize that your face will never be the same (that is why you are getting braces in the first place!). The second is that you change your expectations. This is an embouchure change, and in fact you will go through changes several times in the course of this treatment. There will be setbacks due to external forces that you cannot control (every time the wires are tightened up, there is pain - your desire to practice goes DOWN). Motivation comes from small improvements. If you are in tune with your face, they are immediately obvious!!

    What to do:
    Make sure that you get your braces applied when all of your playing commitments are over like at the beginning of summer vacation! There is nothing more frustrating than turning a solo trumpet player to a 3rd trumpet player in the middle of the school year!

    Like every trumpet player, we need a daily routine. The preparation to play may include that teflon tape. I have had all of my students use chewing gum or dental wax applied as thin as possible, but as thick as necessary to prevent pain. This is CRITICAL as PAIN is the #1 teacher for humans. We subconciously avoid pain and trumpet playing is a "concious effort". We do not want any body mechanisms fighting behind the scenes!
    Once we have a shield over the braces, long tones are called for. We need to adapt to the new geometry and too much activity (slurs and tonguing) are only in the way. This is a great opportunity to review ones breathing and my circle of breath recommendation holds especially true here! Once the long tones are clear and clean, we can move to some BASIC lip slurring. Pay attention to your breathing - excess use of the muscles applies more force to the embouchure, increasing pain and teaching the body to unproductively twist something to avoid that pain. Take note: getting a clean sound can take several weeks of long tones and slurs!
    After that is accomplished, start playing easy tunes like from the hymnbook. Do not try and build range in the beginning, get some solid endurance in the mid and low register. This will stabilize your embouchure and that will give you the base to build most quickly.
    So after 8 weeks or so, you have a decent sound and can practice 45 minutes with a range from low f# to g on top of the staff - without pain! Now you can start to work on building range. I use the lip flexibilities by Earl Irons. Those slurs work VERY well! If there has been no major blunders (where testosterone was stronger than the brain), after 6 months of 45 minutes per day or so, a solid high C should be playable.
    The tonguing part is hard to describe here because many of the students that I have seen with braces, didn't have great articulation before anyway. All I can offer without seeing and hearing first is to do the longtones and slurs WITHOUT tonguing and then carefully add a "tooh" to get started.
     
  6. mctrumpet

    mctrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Apr 5, 2008
    FL
    Wow Rowuk Thanks alot thats all i can say. You are the first person ive ever talked to that actually knew things about this subject. Thanks a ton

    mct
     
  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Jun 11, 2006

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