Mouthpiece placement

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, May 16, 2010.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I just had the worst performance at a brass band concert and when reviewing some recording I noticed how extremely high the mouthpiece is placed on my lips. I do not know if it was because of the placement but my lips just seemed more crappy, inacurate, and harder to play with than usual. I haven't payed attention to it at all recently but upon watching it with a slightly blurry recording I couln't even tell I had any bottom lip in the mp at all really. It looked unnatural to me and from memory I don't think I ever play with the mp that high unless it has been changing over time without me knowing.

    Now I still have range and endurance issues to sort out and havent gotten much better, but I have gotten professional advice for practicing regarding my range that I still need to try.

    Now where this is all leading to is would moving the mp to the center of my mouth help with range, accuracy, and endurance? I also know that the goal is to get the most pressure off the top lip as possible when playing high notes. When placing the mothpiece that high it would be making that lip do all the work and would result in problems right? *From messing with this idea a little bit I can still play with the good sound I do have already once I move the mp to the center of my lips. I loose maybe 1/2-1 note from my range and I'm not sure about endurance because I haven't played extensively at all with it there.

    If it is something that would make me better in the long run but take some time to adjust to I'd like to know if it is something to consider before summer comes along when I will have lots of time to practice and work things out.
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    It sounds as though you are saying you have embouchure problems. If you suspect that is your problem, then I urge you to get to a good private teacher who knows about embouchure and can help you. No one on the internet can give you accurate advice when they don't see or hear you play. Many may try, but they are only guessing. Get with someone and get some help with your problem.
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I agree with s.coomer.

    Also, FWIW, I don't think your mouthpiece needs to be dead center to be in the correct position.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    The best placement for a mouthpiece is where it works best for you,up,down,left,right, they all work for some one, we all have different teeth,lip shapes, jaw formations,etc., so get a teacher who knows about embouchure's ,and not just what works for "him".
  5. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I wish i could move to some place like NY that actually has people who could help in person.

    Going with what works best is what also can cause bad habits down the road such as excessive pressure. How do I know it really is best right now?
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Moving a mouthpiece only results in the mouthpiece being somewhere else. I know players with mostly up, mostly down and everything in between. An embouchure change with help can take a year or more, DIY can solve problems in 5 minutes if you get lucky. I do not believe in remote analysis of embouchure. I also believe that internet attempts to solve things like this are not prone to be successful.

    There are enough players that claim ANYTHING is better than their present situation. Many times they discover new lows in the process.

    The american dream is that you CAN climb every mountain, conquer any handicap. In the case of trumpet players, accomplishing that is more often due to overcoming the circumstances keeping you and a professional player/teacher apart. Reinventing the wheel often results in triangle shaped ones. Not a smooth ride...........
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi John,
    I've seen players place the mouthpiece at different postions and sound great. However, moving the mouthpiece around without the body getting use to the move is basically a waste of time. It takes a long time for the body to adjust to a change such as this.
    I don't know your level so here's what I'd do:
    1)If you can afford a couple hours with a college trumpet teacher to help you out definately do it.
    2)If you can't afford the teacher, check out the net and see what the majority of professional trumpet players use. Generally its 1/3 upper lip, 2/3 lower lip.
    Here's something to "visualize" when you play:
    When you play, imagine your lips like a meat pillow. Yep that's right, a meat pillow. Your goal is to make sure you don't smash or flatten the pillow. When you are using a safe amount of pressure your lips should feel fat like a pillow and you are very aware HOW the sound coming is out of the aperture.
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  8. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Los Gatos, CA
    Hi, John!

    As a fellow brass bander, I feel your pain. I have to agree with the others about seeking "professional help" but there are a couple of things you could try on your own.

    Do you feel like your lips might be touching when you are playing? I had problems years ago that sounded a bit like yours, and I cured them by training myself to pull my lips apart just a bit after seating the mouthpiece. I think that the 'piece remains in place on the upper lip, but I pull the lower lip down just a bit. Then when the lips vibrate, they don't interfere with one another. Having your lips touching is a good way to get a consistently fuzzy/buzzy (sounds like my cat!) tone, with little flexibility or range.

    One other thing to try is to put a ring on your lips and look at yourself in the mirror. My wedding ring is roughly the same diameter as the rim of my mouthpiece (ok, it's a bit larger, but it's good enough for this test) and I'll take it off and place it on my lips and buzz in the mirror. Can you see anything that looks wrong? Is your aperture position seriously off to one side or another? If so, try to move the ring so that you see it near the center of the ring, and note what that feels like. See if you can transfer this new position to your mouthpiece and try playing.

    Still, your best bet is to see a pro, but really, try the first tip. I hear a lot of people with the fuzzy/buzzies, and I wish I could get them to try this trick!

    Hope this helps!!

    Guy Clark
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Try sitting and playing some tunes from memory. Then focus all of your attention on your lip/mouthpiece placement. Play a few bars one way. Then change and try them a different way. Focus on the sound, the air flow, and how easy it is to play. If necessary, make a chart (% top vs % bottom, Left/right, etc) and record a score for each position. Repeat this for several days (new chart each day - don't refer to the previous ones). At the end of the test, put all of the charts next to each other and compare the 'scores' for each position. Take the one with the most consistent scores and start practicing that one to see how it does for comfort, range and endurance.

    I did this and found some interesting trends. But, even if you find one that really seems better, you need to faithfully practice it to build a habit to prevent falling back into the old habit - which you may not even realize you are doing.

    I hope this helps.
  10. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    American is ALWAYS capitalized, thank you.

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