Mouthpiece pressure?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by stecer, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Interesting thread. A lot of good posts. A lot absolute baloney too.

    Playing trumpet is a balancing act between a lot of different factors, and mouthpiece pressure is one of those factors. Often times it's more a difference in perception of how much pressure is used rather than how much actual pressure is used. I read an article that I believe was published in the ITG Journal that talked about mouthpiece pressure and they figured out a way to measure it. They did a survey to find the players who admitted to using a lot of pressure and those who didn't think they did. Ultimately, everyone seemed to be using about the same amount of pressure, and it increased as range became a factor.

    But again, it's a balancing act - too much pressure is definitely bad, and it's something that creeps into my playing when I'm doing a lot of gigging with the party band, although it hasn't really happened since I became aware of it. These days I take steps to prevent the use of excessive pressure in my playing during my normal practice routine.

    I think that Rowuk has a good point though - most players will go through the pressure thing when they start to move forward as trumpet players and more demands are placed on them in terms of volume and range. The trick is to keep it from becoming a detriment and to keep it in balance so that it doesn't become excessive.
  2. stecer

    stecer New Friend

    Jul 3, 2009
    Birmingham, England
    Thanks for some excellent thoughts - firstly in relation to the increased muscle development of pro trumpeters which I had not thought about in connection with Barbenel's sample and something that might usefully have been factored into their work, and secondly to the analogy with sports. I have been considering the degree of similarity between the developments of muscles in Sports Science and trumpet teaching. Some see no connection while others clearly do and sell products aimed at developing specific muscles of the embouchure. (See the discussion at Does training embouchure muscles for trumpet have any analogy in training other muscles of the body? - Yahoo! Answers) I guess this is outside the scope of this thread on pressure as a specific focus, but I can see that these subjects interact. I will search the forum threads on this aspect but want to end with my thanks for the answers and thoughtful posts from fellow trumpeters.
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    When you hit your tonsils, that's enough! ROFLROFL
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    In all seriousness, once when I was in HS playing in pep band, I went to do a rip up to a high C. My hands were sweaty and my little finger slipped out of the pinky hook. I hit myself in the forehead with my hand surprisingly hard. Needless to say, I was using too much pressure. :)
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    That's too funny. Did you give yourself a goose egg?
  6. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas
    Hehe.... I've been there, but my pinky ring snapped completely off. Sad part was, I was only warming up.... Ahh, those were the days.

  7. wolfmann

    wolfmann Pianissimo User

    Aug 19, 2010
    You know when your using too much pressure when you pull the horn away and the mouthpiece pulls out and is sticking to your lips ;-)
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    You know that you are playing with too much pressure when you have to massage the mouthpiece ring from the back of your neck after playing.

    I do not damn pressure as it is surely the best solution for many of the inexperienced or DIYourselfers that post here. All of this low pressure stuff destroys their range and sound with NOTHING to offer until they give up frustrated.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  9. Graham

    Graham Pianissimo User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Melbourne, Australia
    I currently have a student that I started off this semester, and she's using too much pressure. I've started her on a regime of simple lip flexibilities and talk a lot about "air rather than effort" and stuff, but I'd like to know what kind of specific exercises or techniques you guys would suggest?
  10. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA

    of course many here will disagree with my method to help "reduce" pressure. Here it goes anyhow -- if you can put the trumpet on a table (in its case or whatever way you can prop it up) -- at the right height for your student. Then have her play whatever notes she can (ie. low C to third space C). Make sure she DOES NOT hold on the trumpet, but only uses her fingers for the valves.
    She can play this way (might be frustrating the first attempt or two)-- and after doing this for a little while - I am certain she will see the value in using "NO" pressure -- only what little pressure that she can place on the trumpet with her lips without the trumpet moving.
    Once your student sees (and feels) this interaction with her lips -- then I am certain that will help her consciously reduce the extra pressure that she DOES NOT really need.

    anyways - that method helped me - hope it helps your student
    (that and soft playing seemed to help me "feel" the lip vibration and the need for "less" pressure)

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