Lip problems

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Mamboman, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    Am going to assume that you are young as (obviously) acne tends to hit people of that age more often.

    I had a whole ton of acne when i was a pup and many times it occurred in areas on or near where the mouthpiece touched my upper lip. It may have hit near my lower lip connection to m/piece too but the worst ones were always on my top lip. Am an upper lip dominant player.

    We've seen a fair amount of advice here all good and yet seemingly contradictory. The problem in addressing the situation is that none of us are MD's and/or none of us can see your problem. So all I can do is tell you what i did/do when these conditions would "pop" up.

    Cody is correct to mention to "not pop" it in as much as none of us are medically qualified to pull this off. Now having said that what i did differs with Cody's good caution. Because had i not done what I'm about to tell i did would have missed some very important gigs that people depended upon me to play.

    My problem with popping the zit is twofold.

    A. Sterility (Cody is wise to be concerned about this)

    B. Lancing the thing in such a way as to NOT cause more damage.

    SO: My dermatologist cautioned both myself and my sister that if we refused to take his advice and leave the thing alone we should at least:

    1. Find a sharp sewing needle.

    2. Apply warm, wet and clean face towels to the region for five to ten minutes. Hot as your face can take it.

    3. Over the kitchen gas stove or similar open flame heat the tip of a very sharp needle until it (the tip) glows red hot. You might want to wear clean cloth gloves to avoid singed fingers. When cool very lightly penetrate the yellow area. Just enough to allow it BARELY break the skin.

    4. Clean with antiseptic as you allow the wound to leak out the pus, apply wound cream and cover with band aid.

    You don't 'pop" the area so much as just barely create the smallest and shallowest penetrations through your skin. Why a sewing needle? A sewing needle is the sharpest instrument generally found around the home. Leaves the smallest hole. Other instruments like pins found in mom's pincushion are much too blunt. They leave too large of a hole. Requiring more healing time and leaving the area more open to additional infections.

    Again: Everything above probably wouldn't be recommended by the doctor. this is because MD's don't play the trumpet. they don't know the feeling of having twenty members of band class counting on you to play lead and an audience full of families lined up to hear the band play.

    "The show must go on".

    Having said that? Try not to play very soon after popping the thing. Allow it to heal without playing your horn for a couple days whenever possible. by returning to the horn too quick you may slow the healing process, achieve crappy results from your music and possibly open the god damned thing up again and return to square one with an even worse wound.

    Another idea is to prepare in advance for possible future wounds and learn to play with your mouthpiece a little left or right of a hypothetical injury. Then if or when something nasty like this happens you'll at least be able to cover some portion of your parts.

    Delegating hard charts to your trumpet playing peers is always wise. Though I'm almost always hired to play the lead book I try to delegate close to half the book to my buddies in the trumpet section. This aids a friendly working environment, creates a "we" mentality and boosts morale drastically.

    Just last summer I caught a godawful Kanker sore on my upper lip and couldn't get a note out of the horn for over a week. When the gig came I insisted the cat playing second blow almost the whole lead book. But had I been a pig in earlier rehearsals? He wouldn't have been as prepared to blow first.

    Teamwork is the greatest asset you can have within a trumpet section. Always compliment your fellow setion members. Not in a condescending way but with true appreciation.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  2. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I am 34 and I still have this problem if I shave the area around the lips. The cheeks give no trouble from shaving. I guess some of us never outgrow this issue.
  3. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US

    I am 100% sure that our own Dr. Gmonady warned to not do the above thing. I have done this exact thing, but it does hurt. I am glad you agree with me, but remember that you agreed that it was good to NOT POP IT?
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Are you sure it's a pimple?
  5. Pat S

    Pat S Piano User

    Jan 28, 2012
    San Antonio
    If it's a persistent problem and it's getting in the way of your playing, pay the money and see a dermatologist. That doc will prescribe effective therapy and you'll do much better. Please stay away from home lancing techniques. The chance of infection or complication is high and you could end up much worse off because of it.
  6. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    Not my area, really, but I have my son carefully clean his face skin and use doxycyline. Worked great. You might want to be sure that it's acne and not, say, the cold sore virus (herpes simplex) so I'd suggest seeing your doctor when this occurs.
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    The thing to remember is how I/we prefaced the idea. You mentioned "not to do this" and I said "no doctor will recommend this" or words to the effect loosely quoted.

    You see trumpet players ARE GOING TO DO THIS OR SOMETHING LIKE IT anyway regardless of what you say or anyone else. And if they are going to play doctor they ought at least do it in the safest, most sterile way. I'm not saying that my idea (described in my prior post) is the safest or most sterile way to take care of a zit but it is probably a lot better than how the totally unschooled cat would do it.

    Similar i suppose as those people who use hard drugs: We can advise them not to do it but they'll still do it anyway. So logic would say that they should at least get advice and not do REALLY stupid things like share needles etc.

    I sure as hell hope I never get another zit on my lip. You'd think that at 57 i'm at least less likely to get one. However if I do? I'd probably take my own advice and follow my lancing suggestions. Either that or set the mouthpiece farther away from the sore.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  8. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Wow, I have done this and it is horrible. I cant play with a side embouchure. It is just airy and my range stops at an E in the staff.
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    I can dig it and this is what my initial reaction was. Of course that was back in 1970 or so. Then in 1972 I met Bill Chase who had some godawful scars on his upper lip. Each was circular indicating a placement or former placement of the mouthpiece. Like a deer leaves tracks lol. The thing most astounding was that he had shifted his placement from about FOUR previous setting:

    One about 3/8ths and inch off center

    1/4 inch off center,

    1/8 th an inch off center

    Dead center and one more right of that. INCREDIBLE. It showed his dedication to have been able to develop and re-develop various settings in order to avoid damaged lip flesh (his face was a maze of scar tissue as dry lip embouchure players are well known for)

    I'm not saying that Cody should practice setting way off his normal setting. Not at all. Just that given enough time and perseverance he could. Hopefully we all eventually learn to monitor arm pressure and keep the damages below a certain threshold.

    Another cat who could play ALL THE WAY AROUND HIS MOUTH (from far left to far right) I'm told was Rafael Mendez. Just goes to show the amazing perseverance of the masters (like Mendez and Chase).

    A little practicing way left or right of your normal setting may actually help you build strong mouth corners. Why?

    Because in order to pull off such a feat of strength you need massively powerful mouth corner and facial muscles. And the dexterity to pull it off. Again, not recommending just sayin lol
  10. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    The first thing I would try is sterilizing the mouthpiece, even if you never lend it out to people. A trumpet is just a great environment for bacteria to grow in.

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