Mini-bruises on the lower lip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DiaxII, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

    Oct 22, 2009
    I have two mini bruises on the lower lip on the outer surface of the lower lip that goes inside the MP rim.

    While I don't play trumpet they almost disappear but after a practice session they become prominent: two small prominent blue bruises less but close to 1 mm in diameter that are a little off the lip center.

    I didn't touch a trumpet MP for 1 month recently and they almost disappeared (in fact they disappear in 10 minutes after any practice session) but when I started to play trumpet again they poped up.

    Is this a common trumpet playing lip problem or am I lucky :-) ?

    I n fact I don't know when they first appeared, it could be a leftover from my clarinet or saxophone playing.
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Are they veins or actual bruises?
    Do they hurt?
    What do you think is causing them if they hurt?
    What caused you to notice them?
    Read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    COULD be from excessive pressure and you've busted some very small veins. Not a doctor, but I would think a month would be time enough to heal. If they come and go, then it doesn't sound like a bruise to me. I know a player who's bottom lip turns purple when he blows hard and then it goes away similar to your situation. Try using less pressure and see how they respond. If they are less prominent then learn to use less pressure, not no pressure, but less. It is a fine line, but that is what practice time is about, finding the line.
  4. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    What convinced me that pressure is not the way to go is, there's an Allan Vizzutti (sp?) clinic online, it's 3, 10-minute sections on YouTube I think, where he shows, and urges you to, blow a narrow stream of air then bring the trumpet up, you will probably get a very HIGH note. I did! In fact by making a NARROW stream, like a needle of air feeling, with no more pressure than necessary to maintain the seal, I can make some crazy high notes. Gradually over time I'm sure that by learning the key combinations up there, I'll someday be playing MUSIC up there. I could NEVER do this if I were using pressure to "try" to go up high.

    Maybe this is why the Clarke books say to play all these exercises "100's of times" at a very low volume. Low volume means you learn to control a thread of air. Everyone thinks of Satchmo and thinks the trumpet has to be loud for hours, but he blew out his lip regularly. The other end of the scale is Chet Baker, who'd play for hours on end in clubs, and later in life played with NO TEETH. However horrible a human being he was, his playing is amazing, just dead on. That quiet moody playing is a great example of low pressure playing.

    MTROSTER Piano User

    Jan 25, 2007
    Unless you're on anti-platelet/anticoagulant medications, you should not be getting these bruises, so I woould favoura technique problem. Common things being common, you're traumatizing your tissues and the most likely culprit is excessive pressure. My advice is to ease up and possibly a different mouthpiece may be necessary.:play:

    Dr. Mike
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    When I was a Freshman in high school I LOVED playing in pep bands, and the idea there for me was to play really really loud, and to rip anything up an octave or rip up to a higher harmonic if I could. I used a ton of pressure to do this and for a time I had developed a really thin spot on the left side of my upper lip. That was the point I anchored things - totally incorrect from an embouchure perspective, but that's beside the point. Fortunately, it never caused a breakdown in my playing.

    My thought is that you probably need to go back to square 1 and start doing soft long tones with the idea of decreasing pressure because it sounds to me like you probably are using too much pressure, thus causing the bruising.

    Do you have a teacher? Might not hurt to take a lesson or two, if for no other reason to assess this issue and see if you can get some firsthand direction on how to fix it.
  7. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

    Oct 22, 2009
    Hello guys. Thanks for your replies. I feel I should clarify a little. No, I don't use excess pressure, I don't slam the MP into my mouth. Do you mean the MP pressure here, not the lip corners pressure? I use the lip corners pressure but those 'spots' are more like in the center of the lip.

    I called them mini-bruises because I couldn't think of a better definition.
    Yes, they are probably very small expanded veins that become prominent at two points 3 mm apart as I described. It seems to me they are permanent now. When I don't play until next time they are almost not visible and once I have a practice session they show up as two tiny papulas.
    As I described they went away when I didn't play for a month (actually just like they go away 20 minutes after the practice session) and once I returned to trumpet they returned also.

    Markie, if my answers will help you identify the nature of these things here are the details:
    - yes, as I already mentioned above you are right - they are most likely small veins becoming prominent at two points when I play
    - They don't hurt at all
    - I noticed them because they are there now

    Can it be some sort of varix? People (mostly women) have these nasty things on their legs and those are permanent.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  8. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Honestly I hope we're not all floudering the dark. This sounds as though you have a medical problem. We can all guess but only a doctor or a trumpet teacher who has either seen this before or can see something in your embouchure that is causing the "mini bruises" can really diagnose the problem. One thing occurs to me, its unusual but If your embouchure is a little bottom lip biased could your teeth be catching the top of your lip. Your not rolling it in a bit are you? But as I say its a stab in the dark without seeing it

    I sincerely hope its nothing serious and you can keep enjoying you horn playing

    All the best

  9. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    Any malocclusion or irregularity along the dental plane will create different stresses on the lip as it is essentially sandwiched between the teeth (irregular) and the mouthpiece (regular). REDUCE pressure by making the lips alone more responsible for the buzz (opening a can of worms here) by learning to free buzz. This can reduce your need to press and increase the reliability of your buzzing.
  10. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

    Oct 22, 2009
    I should add here that I haven't actually palyed the trumpet for the last 6 months. All I did was MP buzzing. Over the past 6 months I substantially increased my ability to control the pitch and the MP buzzing range has increased also. I'm only now planning to add the trumpet on the regular basis to my practice.
    You see, since I didn't use the horn I only applied as much MP pressure as I needed to seal the leaks.

    I of course can see a doctor but I wanted to know in advance if anyone encountered something similar in their career.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010

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