mouthpiece position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by songbook, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. songbook

    songbook Piano User

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    Apr 25, 2010
    I've tried raising the mouthpiece higher on my lips so the ring is not in the pink of my upper lip. It just does'nt feel comfortable. Feels like my upper lip is filling up the mouthpiece to much. I know I use too much pressure when playing. How can I fix this problem? Everyone says your endurance will improve if I even out the mouthpiece mark.
     
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Use LESS pressure! Using less pressure always solved the pressure problem for me. Stop listening to "everyone". Think about the word you're using, endurance. Endurance is ONLY gained through practice, not through mpc position. Too much pressure will cut down endurance through cutting off blood flow to the lips. Too much pressure with too little proper practice leads to endurance problems. If your positioning is not comfy, change to what is without using too much pressure. Keep practicing and your endurance will increase.
     
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    I went through the same change ,from a low setting to a higher setting,but not by choice.I sustained a very bad injury to my top lip and had to make the change in order to keep playing. This was about 45 years ago and I'm still performing today.

    What helped me was first setting the mouthpiece very high,right under my nose,then let it slide down to a spot that felt comfortable.Like tobylou8 said, use as little pressure as possible. When you feel the mouthpiece starting to slip, stop and reset it,rest often,don't push till you get tired. This took me a long time to get used to, about 6 months before I didn't have think where the mouthpiece was going.
     
  4. songbook

    songbook Piano User

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    Apr 25, 2010
    thats me. I try starting out with the mouthpiece placed higher, but it always slides back down, and here I am with the mouthpiece ring in the middle of my upper lip again.
     
  5. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    More important than "not playing in the red" is "do not play on your teeth". Probably most every advanced trumpet player with range and or endurance problems is playing on his teeth.

    Hint: You can't play on your teeth.

    What does this mean?

    It means that his upper lip does not descend low enough over the upper teeth to allow free vibrations in the upper register. The main reason you see so many trumpet players who can not play above a High c to save their life.

    So you could say that the position of the mouthpiece on the lips is largely irrelevant. While some players have made dramatic improvements in their endurance, tone and range by raising the mouthpiece this effort only worked because it unintentionally put more upper lip mass BELOW the upper teeth. They could have accomplished the whole change far better by merely pushing their upper lip lower before setting the embouchure and mouthpiece.

    In fact once one learns this easy to remedy fix he ought to be able to play with LESS upper lip in the mouthpiece. I'm an upper lip dominant player but after having mastered the lowering of the upper lip i was able to return to a 1/2 upper and 1/2 lower setting. this was (for me) more efficient because too much upper lip can limit air flow and produce a lot of air in the tone. the middle register weakens as well.

    This advice to play half and half won't necessarily work for everyone but can be a very powerful remedy.
     
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    I don't understand how you can move your upper lip down by it's self. If you place the mouthpiece on your face with your lips touching each other,how do you move your upper lip lower than that?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  7. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

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    Some players play with open sets. The lips do not necessarily touch at first in this case, I've seen some players whose lips are set VERY wide apart. Whether this is good or bad is not my judgement (some play well), but that would be a case when the upper lip is not touching the lower lip initially. I believe the lips then stretch slightly to reach each other, but don't quote me on that.
     
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Levittown , NY
    I understand what you're saying, but local357 is talking about pushing the upper lip down. How can you push your lip down and still have a relaxed embouchure.Where you place the mouthpiece has nothing to do with your lips covering your teeth. Mouthpiece placement is not embouchure. Embouchure is how you use your lips, mouthpiece placement is where it's done. If you're stretching your lips to form an embouchure you will have even more problems than playing low on the top lip.

    When I made my switch ,my embouchure stayed the same,only where I put the mouthpiece changed.
     
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    Al,

    You yourself may not need to lower your upper lip. It might still be a good idea for you to do this as some other element of your playing may become easier in the process. But the cats who simply MUST lower their upper lip a tad are all those who can not play a musical tone above a High C/D or so. They simply MUST do this or they will never blow high notes. Pure cause and effect physics.

    Just walk over to a mirror and observe your mouth. Open your jaw slightly til the teeth are a quarter inch apart while leaving the lips totally relaxed. OK now observe where your upper lip rests. Nine times out of ten it will be either even or slightly above the upper teeth. In this natural position only a minority of trumpet players can set an embouchure and expect to blow a High F.

    To lower it? Walk over to a mirror and try this:

    1. First just push the upper lip down below the upper teeth with the index fingers of both hands. Placing your fingers just left and right of the nostrils. Don't have to push it down much. Just an eighth to a quarter inch.

    2. Now use the facial muscles both left and right of your nose to push the upper lip DOWN without assistance from the hands. You may observe the tip of your nose pointing downward a bit. That's how you'll know you're getting it. Kinda like Samantha from "Bewitched".

    3. Once you can lower your upper lip at will set the mouthpiece on your face in your regular setting but with the upper lip SLIGHTLY lowered. This is NOT an embouchure change. More like a mild adjustment.

    4. Blow and observe if the upper register sounds clearer and louder. We generally see better volume and endurance before the range increase. However the range increase (where applicable) generally follows within a few days to two weeks.


    I don't want to appear too cocky here but learn how to apply this concept in your teachings to others and ALL your students range problems will be fixed as well as mechanical issues can allow. They'll still need to exercise discipline and perseverance but the High F or G will at least be available fairly soon. By itself this may appear nothing less than a miracle. try it however and your students will excel. It's like water seeking it's own level.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Songbook,
    we are creatures of habit. That means when we want to "Unlearn" something, we have to invest a lot of time - hundreds to thousands of repetitions. Most of my students with a similar situation got help by better posture, better breathing, listening and a lot of lip slurs. The slurs help us to learn contract our lips, and if done correctly, we can find our sweet spot without mirrors.
     

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