Mouthpiece pressure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by snazzypadgett, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. snazzypadgett

    snazzypadgett New Friend

    Oct 13, 2009
    I've heard from almost everyone that ideally you should play with no mouthpiece pressure

    ...Um, isn't this physically impossible? The vaccuum created by the pressure makes the buzz possible in the first place, right? Do they mean, "not excessive mouthpiece pressure?" Because my trumpet teacher (has a PhD) says that it's all bologna, and mouthpiece pressure is totally normal and necessary. And even that the longer you play at once, the more you will use, and it should be so.

  2. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    I wouldn't argue with a trumpet teacher of those credentials (presumably in education). I'm sure he means that playing trumpet requires some pressure, but not to excess.

    If you got a good teacher, listen to him, and remember that all the advice you get on internet forums is worth exactly what you pay for it. (listen to your teacher)

    And yes, playing with absolutely no pressure is impossible IMHO.
  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I think Bud Herseth said, "there's no such thing as non-pressure." It takes some pressure to physically seal the mouthpiece to the chops. EXCESSIVE pressure is harmful and causes pain, swelling and trouble with endurance and upper register.

    How much pressure is too much is a balance you have to find, although in my opinion, it's best to find that balance without thinking too much about pressure and instead focus on breathing releasing tension in the body.

    I think that often, pressure is a symptom of poor breathing and tension in the body, especially in the arms, chest and neck. Treating the symptom (pressure) without addressing the cause (tension) isn't usually very effective.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Your professor is right and almost everyone else that YOU talk to is pretty "ignorant" about trumpet playing.

    The irregular shaped lips cannot seal against the (generally flat) mouthpiece rim. There would be no definition for the length of lip that vibrates and no compensation for deteriorating muscle strength in the embouchure.

    For the record, there is no vaccuum that assists the embouchure (although there are players that try to "suck up" to the professors or conductors). The seal between mouthpiece and lips is arm pressure and maybe a bit of breath support blowing the lips onto the mouthpiece.

    Even excessive pressure is a only stage of trumpet maturity. I do not damn it. It works - for a while anyway. It is most often solved by evolution not revolution. Better breathing habits, better body use, more intelligent practicing all can solve such problems without the dangers of starting over.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    IMO everyone agrees that you must "press" the lips to the mpc and many don't have any problems with adding more pressure at times ... but some do. Those that have the problem, need to back off the pressure. If your facial muscles are well developed and reasonably exercised ... "toned" the atheletic term ... no harm should occur, but being out of shape or overdoing it has detrimental effect. There is no instant fix ... it takes time to develop a great embouchure, but interacting are other factors such as proper breathing and posture.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  6. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    As I have said before, "too much pressure" almost always tends to be a "problem of a problem," meaning that there is some problem in the player that needs to be fixed, and the pressure thing will sort itself out after that. Typically, it is a problem with the use of air.
  7. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    I agree with Rowuk, as he is spot on. We need enough pressure for the lips to seal excessive pressure only helps to stop the lips from being free to vibrate. Therefore, excessive pressure means you are only defeating your purpose.
  8. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    I was always told that playing with pressure is likely to happen, but only use as much pressure as needed to get the job done. Don't use excessiive pressure that will cause damage.

    I may be wrong, but I don't use lots of pressure when I play as that was how I was taught when I was young. I probably don't play as well as others who use more pressure, but I don't recall ever having lip problems either.

    Best wishes,

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  9. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    Rowuk is spot on. Caruso would say that, as you attain "balance" ( the optimum, most efficient combination of air, lip compression, pivot and pressure ) pressure will minimize itself ( not disappear). The key is proper practice and good teaching. Consciously reducing pressure is not that productive.
  10. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Because my trumpet teacher (has a PhD) says that it's all bologna, and mouthpiece pressure is totally normal and necessary.
    While its true that excessive pressure is a detriment, your teacher is spot on about pressure.

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