Leaking of air from side of embochure?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    This is a two part thread, to save space.

    I have been doing some experiments with my playing (with the help of my teacher of course) and he noticed I didn't really take a full breath, he told me to do that and it will over time reduce the amount of tension in my neck, because he used to play just like I do. He also noticed I play sort of planting my top lip on the mouthpiece first and sort of holding it there and putting my bottom lip underneath, I don't really know how to explain it any better. He told me to play a Low C, and pull the horn away from my face while sustaining the note and keeping my lips vibrating, and my lower lip will drop a bit and I should get the feel of where that is instead of 'cheating'. The thing is, with marching band this year, I've noticed on the move with fast drill with big steps I tend to use a lot of pressure, and that makes me extremely inconsistent. Last year during jazz band I was on third part for marching band, and played lead in Jazz band, being able to hit high C's consistently almost everyday with a decent sound. This year I got lead in marching band and can barely play A's above the staff with a good sound, but I can go higher sometimes. After marching band, I am really going to work everyday on using less pressure and less tension and force, but I've noticed that lately with this different approach when I am playing high and loud, air leaks out the side of my embochure, and I don't like 'tightening up' because that is the source of all my problems, so what should I visualize when I notice air leaking?

    Also, sometimes it takes me a long time to warmup, like when I first get my horn out I can barely support a middle C, and after a long warmup of lip slurs, I can play a high C (tone varies, like I said i've become inconsistent). The reason I am so serious about it now is because one of our players who is 2 years younger than me can pretty much do everything better than me, he sounds better, can play almost an octave higher, is very consistent, has better endurance. Also, for one of the trumpet features it is straight 8th notes in 6/8 at 152 BPM and as it got higher, it got up to high Bb's and that's when I would always slow down and sound airy, my teacher says to blow through, but it's easier said than down because it's not supposed to be very loud. I recently bought an Itouch and microphone, it's decent quality so if you need to hear what I sound like let me know and I can record and email you it, sometimes you can hear tension in my sound.

    Again, I know I said a lot, but i'm trying to be as detailed as possible with all the problems so that you guys can get a better idea of what's wrong, maybe you went through it and can tell me some stuff I can work on to help fix this? This is my top priority this year, so please tell me anything that will help!
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    No one here can tell you what to do without seeing and hearing you play. The best advice anyone can give you is to listen to your teacher and do what they tell you.
  3. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    Well is the air leaking out of the corners or just random spots. If its the corners if you focus on closing them while doing long tones( I know you dont want to hear it), and other excersies you will see improvement in no time. If it is from the corners the higher your register the more your corners will let out air.
  4. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    It's in corners, and they don't leak on anything like long tones, how would that help?
  5. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    long tones allow the player to focus on getting a beautiful tone and hearing tendicies and correcting and mainting them through practice. In other word you can focus on tone production and how the embrochue does it while playing complicated rythms and doing fancy techniques. Long tones will create habit if done correctly. Yes ,most wind players know that they are boring but it gets the job done 90% of the time. Thats my understanding from teacher I have had.
  6. lakerjazz

    lakerjazz Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 10, 2006
    Rest your trumpet on your index finger while playing. This will force you to develop corner support. In the past, the pressure that you'd been using had sealed the air. If you develop corner support, you will be able to keep the air in using your muscles.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Air leaks when the muscles are not trained or strong enough to seal. Pedal tones, the pencil trick and serious slurs can build that power. An hour a day of practice is probably not enough to accomplish this
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    When practicing at home play everything very soft with no pressure,yes even above the staff, this will force your embouchure muscles to keep your lips together, instead of mouthpiece pressure,long tones and slurring exercises are a good start. What's happening when air leaks out the sides is the mouthpiece is holding the lips together ,so the air is leaking out of the weakest point, your embouchure muscles. In marching band don't try to be the whole section,play out but don't blast, your sound will project better.
  9. LSN1052

    LSN1052 New Friend

    Sep 5, 2009
    Lee's Summit, Missouri
    I have recently been noticing embochure problems as well.

    I would have started a new thread but somebody would have yelled at me.

    My teacher has noticed that as i go higher, a pocket of air develops on one side of my embochure/lips. Like most people (i hope), my embochure is not centered perfectly and so my bottom lip kind of hangs out a little allowing the pocket of air to develps.

    So as i play higher, this pocket starts to leak air out. In my lesson today, we focused on tightening my corners. We're kind of stuck because it is nearing the end of marching season and school, district, and state auditions are coming up. So now is not the prime time to re-invent my embochure so it does not leak in the upper register, which severly limits my range

    Are there any minor adjustments i can make, that will help me through the year till summer where i can possibly--start over embochure wise?...
  10. sj3209

    sj3209 Piano User

    Nov 22, 2006
    Amador County, Calif.
    I've thought about saying this for a long time. And I mean it with the best of intentions because I've done this and found such amazing nuggets of wisdom and been helped tremendously. Do this:

    Search for all posts by Rowuk. Follow his advice. Repeat.

    I see this on all forums. Excellent advice. Obvious expert. People ignore it and go on asking the same question.

    Okay, I'm done. Check it out. Following the advice above will help you. Really. It has really helped me.

    Best wishes,


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