lower lip curling under.....thoughts from teachers!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by paulyb123, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. paulyb123

    paulyb123 New Friend

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    Sep 25, 2008
    I have been teaching for many years and I am wondering what other teachers do with a student who curls the bottom lip underneath!? It seems to become more of a problem as you know when they reach that "wall" of about E top space to about an A a fourth above. I always take extra care when setting students embouchures but come across students from other teachers and sometimes some of my own (perish the thought!) Particularly the enthusiastic ones who are desperate to play a lot and the ones who try to go too high too soon!

    I try to get them to practice lip buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing (including glissandos) and focusing on projecting the jaw forward whilst using a mirror but many students find the dedication required to do this quite difficult. Particularly when having to play in school band!

    I would like to hear what other teachers do to help their students?

    Thanks
     
  2. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

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    I generally don't mess around with a student's embouchure unless it is totally off the wall crazy or obviously impeding their playing. I truely do not believe there is only one right way to play, so I give them as much freedom as possible to find their own way. However, if you believe the lip curling is truely the reason they have hit a wall, it sounds like you are on the right path. You can only lead the way, it is up to the students to fix the problem.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I have not changed too many embouchures in my career. I find that the proper care and feeding of the students (proper daily routine) solves most all of the problems that come up without creating a new one with an embouchure switch.

    I get the kids playing long tones and the same lip slurs that I play within the first couple of months. The beginners usually have a C above the staff within a year - without twisting their faces out of shape.

    I don't understand what pushing the jaw forward is supposed to accomplish. It may be natural for an upstream player (without having to make an effort), but it really messes up my playing. Nothing I will be doing anytime soon! A "WALL" only occurs when too much pressure is applied to the upper lip. Your forward jaw approach could cause exactly that, depending on how the kids hold the trumpet.
     
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    I play with my lower lip rolled over my bottom teeth and push my jaw forward. I am a downstream player with a double C range and no endurance problems. There are many embouchures that work you have to find a way help each student.
     
  5. KJaeger

    KJaeger Pianissimo User

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    I'm not a teacher, but this is something that has worked for me (and my teacher has used)...

    Do you emphasize syllables or vowels, a la singing? For example, emphasis for me on pronouncing the syllable "tOOh" corrects a lot of bad habits I once had in my embouchure. It is an indirect way to encourage the lips (especially bottom) to be "forward" rather than rolled back. I used to be a "smile and press" player who struggled above high C, but this emphasis moved me to a much more vibrant sound and my range increased dramatically. I don't think there is any way to pronounce "tOOh" correctly without the lower lip being forward (I'm trying it now and I can't do it...) - at least not easily...

    The great thing is that use of syllables or vowels is an "indirect" way to gently transform the embouchure without having the player consciously worry about specific muscle mechanics. For me that always ended up getting in the way of making music.

    My $0.02...
     
  6. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

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    As Donald Reinhardt discovered, most players are downstream players who curl the lower lip under the upper lip.
    Maynard Ferguson, Bill Chase, Lin Biviano are just a few of the great high-register trumpet players who were *born* with that embouchure.
    I'm glad that no teacher tried to get *them* to stop using the great downstream embouchures that they were born with.

    Go to
    An Introduction to Donald S. Reinhardt's Pivot System
    then scroll down to the middle of that long Web page,
    to the heading "Reinhardt's Embouchure Types"
    and then farther down to the sub-headings about Type 3 and Type 3A and Type 3B.

    And the only players who should significantly thrust the lower jaw forward is those of us who were born with upstream Type 4 embouchures, such as Doc Severinsen, and we are in the minority.

    - Morris
     
  7. paulyb123

    paulyb123 New Friend

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    Sep 25, 2008
    Thanks guys for your responses....First of all I only get the pupils to project the jaw forward so that the upper and lower teeth are level. Not so that it creates an upstream embouchure....! Most folk as we all know have a natural "over bite" when they close their back teeth together so that is why I get them to project the jaw a bit then the mouthpiece has something level to sit on. I am sensitive to students whose facial structures are somewhat different to this but I like to start at the point described above and take it from there.

    I am not much of a fan of changing embouchures and lets face it most of the pupils we teach are not going to become pro players and if they continue after school playing music as a hobby I feel I have achieved something.

    The lower lip question in my original post refered to pupils who started in the lower register with both parts of the lip showing and as they ascend the lower lip gradually starts going under as they get to the "wall" as I called it and the sound closes up. Not downstream emboucuire players. I always try to encourage students to keep the lips and embouchure as still as possible and not change things as they go higher. I focus on teaching vowel sounds and airstream.

    In all the Videos I have seen of Maynard etc..I have not seen his lower lip change as he ascends from a 2nd line G to the one an octave higher!

    I remember a few guys at college who had lower lips that curled under who were having upper register problems (they were straight players).....the teacher who other teachers sent these students to was very good and exceptionally patient and he eventually sorted most people out but it took ages and they were not allowed to play in ensembes/orchestras until things were fixed! I dont have the time in my job to be seeing a pupil 2 or three times a week.

    KJaeger.....I liked your thoughts on the subject....will have a think about your suggestion. Screamingmorris I will have a read at Donald Reinhardt's thoughts on the subject
     
  8. KJaeger

    KJaeger Pianissimo User

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    paulyb123: My teacher was an Arnold Jacobs student and working with vowels to get the sound from the horn to match the sound concept in my head is what we focus on - a very "vocal" approach. What you describe from your students (the lower lip curling up ascending) sounds a little like what used to happen to me as my chops got tired.

    I was helped quite a bit when I switched to thinking about saying "tOOh" or "tOH" or "whistling" all the time regardless of register. I think it helps me to keep the corners in and the lips "forward", although I don't consciously think of the mechanics while I'm playing, just the syllable. The "wall" I used to hit around high D where everything would shut down completely disappeared - from there on up now sounds much more "free", relaxed and open. I added at least a solid fifth to my performance range (what I would be comfortable playing in performance and not be embarrassed by the result :oops:), and I no longer feel that I have hit a limit created by my embouchure but that as I build strength and coordination I can keep progressing.

    You might also do a search for Manny Laureano's posts on using the "tOOh" syllable throughout one's range - that was really the "aha" concept that started the transformation for me. I don't think he ever mentioned anything specific to embouchure, but like I said there seems to be an "indirect" physical effect.

    Also, I'll mention that I agree there is no one "correct" embouchure. If it ain't broke (using sound always as the ultimate judge/jury), don't fix it!! But the symptoms described seemed really familiar to me. YMMV...
     
  9. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

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    But the lower lip curling under the upper lip more and more as the player ascends is the very definition of a downstream embouchure.

    An upper lip that curls under the lower lip as the player ascends is the very definition of upstream embouchure.

    When playing low notes, the amount of curl-under is minute, negligible, for both down-stream and up-stream players.
    The amount of curl-under only becomes noticeable when the player ascends to high notes.

    If you look at the back cover photo of "MF Horn 3", when MF is obviously playing in the range of High C to Double C, most of the red is showing on MF's upper lip, but none of the red of the lower lip is showing, because his lower lip was curling under his upper lip.
    Plus, MF would lean back and the trumpet tilt would become more downward as he ascended.

    - Morris
     
  10. paulyb123

    paulyb123 New Friend

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    Sep 25, 2008
    I thought down stream meant the player always held that position......you learn something new every day!

    I will have a look again at Maynard in action....cheers Morris
     

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