Mouthpiece Pressure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Joe N., Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

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    Mar 22, 2007
    Does anyone have any exercises or tricks in practice that help to reduce pressure? I'm working on this right now and I'm wondering if anyone has anything other than "just do it."
     
  2. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

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    Jun 1, 2006
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    Hold the trumpet with a "low grip". You hold it at the very bottom of the valves basically with your thumb and first and second fingers wrapped around the bottom of the valve casing like you're holding a glass. This takes a lot of the pressure off your face. I like using this alot when practicing scales and exercises, it's like a "practice grip".

    I got this idea from the book "Mystery to Mastery" which I think everyone should check out...great book...

    Matt
     
  3. John P

    John P Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2006
    Camp Hill, PA
    Quit using the infamous "octave key." Just let your pinky rest on top of the hook. This will (hopefully) reduce pressure (either that or transfer more of it to your left hand) and free up your fingers. Keep in mind, however, that there IS going to be pressure, especially when you're really cranking on all four cylinders.
     
  4. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

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    Mar 22, 2007
    Yeah, my teacher ever since I started studying with him has had me do the pinky on top of the holder. I agree, that helps take some pressure off.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    No, No, No!
    I can't believe some of the stuff that I read here! We have been invaded!

    If you hold the valves on the bottom, you change the angle of the horn to your face - The angle places MORE pressure on the top lip (the problem in the first place)!
    The pinky being in the holder has NOTHING to do with the pressure that you play with. Period! Your left hand is guilty!
    Playing with pressure is a bad HABIT and breaking habits does not involve some quick cheat downloaded from the internet!
    You have to get back to the basics (assuming you had a good teacher at the beginning and learned "good basics") to correct problems.
    The Monette website has a couple of pages on "body use" that are excellent. They show you how you should be standing, sitting and playing. Read them.
    Once you have that relaxed, upright body position, inhale deeply and exhale - without holding the air in. The transition from breathe in to out should be smooth without any tension in the neck/shoulder. Do that a couple of times to get the feel of it, then replace exhale with play. NO TONGUE! Spend an hour on just inhaling/playing getting that transition smooth and tension free. You will notice that when you have enough air and are relaxed, you do not apply the vice grips to your lips. Once you have got this down, you can exhale into clarke studies or other slurred exercises. Optimally, you will have a good teacher working with you as there are so many body issues that need an objective outside opinion.
    My students start with a couple of weeks to a month of straightening the air out before we advance to tongued things.

    Playing with pressure is a habit like smoking. People do it because it works - in the beginning. Once you are hooked, you keep doing it until it kills you. Getting unhooked is different for each individual person and all of the "advice" from people that have not successfully beat the habit only leads to more FAILURE and FRUSTRATION.
    Get a good teacher and your basics back. When your breath support, body use and chops are together, the need for pressure drops dramatically.
     
  6. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    I agree 100% with you Robin we have been invaded.

    Excess pressure is a symptom. Concentrate on the basics.


    Regards,


    Trevor
     
  7. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

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    Jun 1, 2006
    Massachusetts
    Rowuk,

    I don't want to argue with you because I usually really agree with what you say, but I think you're just wrong on this... Holding that valves on the bottom does not put more pressure on the top lip, it does exactly the opposite... It reduces the pressure by taking away some of the leverage you have to put pressure up there.... Have you ever actually tried it? As for changing the horn angle I agree that in some cases it might be a slightly difference angle, and for me that helped me improve. It created better alignment, because I couldn't muscle the horn into a position that "I" wanted, it went into a much more natural position.

    And the pinky not having anything to do with pressure??? I mean maybe you work with great players all the time... but a ton of kids I see could practically break the pinky ring off with the force they use pulling it into their face...

    You're opening sentence is quite insulting to me and then to follow it up with those statements makes me wonder... Maybe I just have absolutely no clue what I am talking about... Sorry for invading your world.

    Matt
     
  8. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Bad form Rowuk.

    -cw-
     
  9. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    There are no trumpet tricks.
    Play with your senses on high alert. Are you pressing for high notes only? Are you pressing when playing at a high level of volume? How's your endurance, do you use pressure to get through the tune? What is your posture like? Are your shoulders tight?
    A teacher can quickly answer those question.
    As I stated, there are no tricks to playing.
    You have identified a problem. Tell us what you are working on to solve your problem.
    Wilmer
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I apologize for the bad form! No excuses my side. My choice of words was not appropriate!
    I have tried holding the trumpet from the bottom, myself and with students, otherwise I would not have commented on it. My take: when you hold the trumpet from the bottom, it is a couple of inches "higher". That means that you have to bring the mouthpiece down to the lips. That angle places more pressure on the top lip. Granted, it is possible to place your arm lower, practically, I have never seen it work. The HABIT of where you hold your arms when playing is also very strong!
    The pinky plot is something that comes up from time to time here. Some use the ring, some don't. Both have reasons why they do or don't. We just need to accept that. The pinky in the ring has nothing to do with the pressure applied. That comes from the arm. If a students finger technique is good, I do not touch the pinky, regardless of where it is. If they play with pressure, we need to solve the problem - which is pinky unrelated.
    It gets basically back to my original premise. Trumpet players use pressure because it works, it is a habit and not "curable" without looking at the big picture.
    Without a fresh start including body use, breathing and chop building execizes, you can hold the trumpet from the bottom, hang it from a string, place it on top of an upright piano or whatever (I've tried them all) and what do you prove? You only prove that the student does not have the range, sound or reliability that they had WITH pressure. Sure you tell them that it takes a while. What are they going to do when you are not with them? Probably what sounds best and we know what that is............... Without the rest, we have accomplished nothing.
    In this case, we have a poster with a problem and a couple at best, very incomplete "recommendations" that I personally disagree with: 1) because of the techniques and 2) because there is an implication that if I change this one thing, I am on my way. It just ain't true and is the basis for my "No, no, no"!
    I get fast, lasting results with just a couple of "basics" lessons. This gives the kids the right tools for the rest of their lives.
     

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