My embouchure problem

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by lawrebea000, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Rowuk I agree with all of the above with one reservation if the brass is showing and uncomfortable, and the teacher agrees then a mouthpiece change is not a bad thing. I also think that the the OP is not one of the typical SAKs we get on here every year and can be treated a little differently. Much as I respect you, that embouchure needs looking at very carefully and maybe, maybe with the right input, adjustments need making and without being in the same room as the OP neither you nor I nor any one of the best teachers around could make the moves without risking harm.

    Strad I can see where you are coming from but I have two comments to make your ideal of a totally centred placement can't work in all cases because we are not symetrical creatures. When I start a new pupil off (if they haven't been screwed up by very poor peripatetic teaching in this country) I get them to blow out the candle and in most cases allow them to centre the mouthpiece over that area and form the embouchure centred on that spot. Then take into account breathing and relaxation and everthing that Rowuk discusses. I also think that what you see as people answering each other comes form concern for a players well being rather than as you seem to suggest some testosterone fuelled contest over who is right. Your comments are obviously aimed at myself and Trickg but I assure you we both have the OP's best interests at heart even if we disagree over the path there.
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I wasn't offended - tone is one of those things that is sometimes hard to convey with the written word, so my apologies if it seemed that way.

    I like Rowuk's approach on this - some people think that raw brass can be harmful, and some people do have allergies to it, so getting a new mouthpiece isn't a terrible idea IMO. Storks aren't terribly expensive comparatively - they can be had for about $63 on Musician's Friend, which is interesting because Bach mouthpieces are a bit more expensive.

    No matter - I'm simply trying to keep a kid from spending money when they don't have to. I know that when I was in high school money was something I never seemed to have enough of when it came to hanging out with friends, getting new cloths, etc.

    Regarding tonguing, I find it interesting that you think that there needs to a be a major difference of approach between a 5B and 5C mouthpiece. In my experience as a trumpet player, I've never had to change my approach to tonguing on anything I've played, and although I do tend to be one who doesn't change mouthpieces often, in my experience as a player in the last couple of decades, I've fiddled with more than a few.

    The solution here though remains pretty simple:

    Step 1: work systematically in the practice room to move the mouthpiece to a better position
    Step 2: (optional) replace the worn mouthpiece with one that has all its plating
  3. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

    May 27, 2014
    my only goal was to respond to the original poster. i'm sure all the advice here is good advice and well intentioned, even if it is not exactly all the same, which is only what a reasonable person would expect. i only added my two cents because it didn't see it said elsewhere. i suppose one of the dangers of getting advice on the internet is that there's too much of it, and its varied. its up to the individual seeking advice to choose what may or may not resonate with them. obviously i'm passing something along that worked for me. i don't mean to necessarily disagree with any other poster's reply, only add to the information in the discussion. none of us know the original player. what i see in the picture is something that i doubt will hold up, and has, according to the original poster, already collapsed. i also doubt that adding a new mouthpiece to the situation will provide a long term answer, but once a person decides to buy a new mouthpiece....well, we all know how that goes. rehabilitating the faulty embouchure may provide temporary relief, but not solve the problem. in other words, attempts to move forward will result in the same collapse reoccuring. if/when this person gets a new teacher, whether its now or later (freshman year in college?) that embouchure is probably going to get changed to something a little more centered. as a sophmore in high school, now might be a good time to think about something that provides a better foundation to build upon. it goes without saying that moving an embouchure and neglecting all the rest of the mechanism will not a trumpet player make, and an organic whole body approach would undoubtedly benefit. going on what we have, which is a picture of something that looks none too good to me, i'd guess that this person has a change of some sort in their future if they continue their study of the trumpet. its only my opinion, and it doesn't take anything away from anything else anybody said. i happen to believe that as human beings, we are probably more alike than we are different. said another way, if you google something like "facial musculature", you're going to find that you have more in common with the representation in the diagram than you have in common with, say, maynard ferguson, and since we've already established that what we're seeing is not working, perhaps something a little less unique might provide a place to start.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Hi Andy,

    it is not a prerequisite to being a TrumpetMaster member to agree with me ;-). Many times it is advantageous NOT to openly do so.

    I do present one final tidbit however:

    If this young adult has a teacher, then he/she should run the other way before continuing lessons that lead to something this far off. That is, UNLESS the student is resistant to help, in which case the teacher has my condolences. If no teacher is currently active, any new mouthpiece is a crapshoot and research in my view of things looks a bit different. There is no valid "research" that leads to the size of a Bach 5 anything. Not because this mouthpiece size is no good, rather because it is more of a specialty size that does not fit the masses. Wandering outside of "standard" solutions when for sure there will be great changes in how the face works, is just plain dumb.

    That all being said, we start to build a house AFTER the foundation is laid. For wind instruments, the foundation is body use, breathing and a relaxed approach to the instrument.

    With the correct lesson material, properly monitored, the mouthpiece will migrate all by itself to the position of greatest efficiency.

  5. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    It is difficult I agree to convey tone of vioce in written word Trickg and I think that can be at the heart of many disagreements on here. I have always found that I (now automatically) have a change in aproach between my B in C cup mouthpiece, if that adjustment in where I tongue from and in how I use my airstream isn't made (and I can't easily describe it) the C cup can end up sounding very rough and raw. It may be because as I have mentioned until my comback I had played a cornet with something very small, aproaching a V cup and a huge backbore (great sound but very limiting in many ways but it was what my bandmaster had given me so I used it) for what ever reason I notice changes in cup shape more than size or rim shape with any mouth piece.

    I think both you and Rowuk have perhaps misunderstood what I am trying to say I'm not saying get the Stork but trying to say if the money is there and if the OP feels that they need a new mouthpiece (obviously raw brass isn't a poison issue as some people think it is although if memory serves there could be some allergy issues in a very few cases) then a middle of the line 5C or 3C (or equivalent) is as good a bet as any in what Rowuk rightly calls a crap shoot. (whether that comes from Stork, Wick, Bach Shilke) have I missed something though, over here there is only a matter of a few quid either way between all of these mouthpieces, are Storks an considerably moere expensive bet over there?

    I love your two step aproach Trickg and wonder if in all of our discussion here we are overcomplicating.


  6. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003 we go...I admit I haven't read all the replies and the entire thread...just skimmed through...bit I did read the original post and look at the picture. I am also NOT in any way offering myself as the person you should be consulting with on this issue...I do not profess qualifications as an experienced, qualified trumpet teacher...rather, only as a player with about 50 years experience who has had private lessons in my younger years.

    1. You have a number of questions. The replies which state that you need to be taking lessons and consulting a qualified and experienced trumpet teacher will need to be heeded and followed if you want to get those questions answered and the problem resolved. Otherwise, I am not confident that you will find a satisfactory resolution to your problem (s).

    2. It is my considered opinion that your mouthpiece placement is much too low. I agree with those who are telling you that. I am fully aware of the huge variety of mouthpiece positions that are used by thousands of different players for a variety of reasons. Given that as it is and regardless...I still think your mouthpiece placement is too low.

    I don't think at this point any particular mouthpiece is the issue, nor will different mouthpieces help you.

    You need to get face to face with someone who is qualified to look directly at you, and work with you in person on the mouthpiece placement issue. Then, the rest can be addressed by that person.

    This is all simply my personal opinion, and I am sure that all kinds of disagreement may result, but so be it.
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I genuinely believe that many trumpet players tend to over-complicate a lot of things when it comes to the horn, but that's just kind of a general observation that came out of a change in my own approach to playing and practicing in recent years. In short, I'm a busy guy with a lot on my plate - a full time job, a marriage, two kids, (current ages 19 and 17) a home, two cars, etc. Then there are my many endeavors and hobbies that I nurture to certain degrees - certainly playing trumpet and gigging in the wedding band is a top priority, but I also play drums, brew get the picture. Out of this busy lifestyle came a streamlining of my approach to chops maintenance and practice, and I developed a philosophy that all trumpet playing, at least from a chops perspective, is made up of fairly basic elements -

    • Tone production/intonation
    • articulation
    • Fingering, which goes along with coordination of the articulation
    • Flexibilities

    Once a player has fairly decent command of the basics, it can all be tied together in a musical way, but the mechanical aspect of playing are not complicated, nor are there any kinds of tricks or sage words of wisdom that going to help to develop them. There are other aspects that come into play - proper breathing and usage of air is a big one, and some really work to incorporate body mechanics, but overall main way to become a better player is to spend time in the practice room, working in a diligent, disciplined and focused way toward improving those basics. I'm not a virtuoso player by any means - I work to maintain my chops at a level that allows me to play the music I gig, so in some ways I take a minimalist approach to it.

    In any case, I don't have the time to overcomplicate things - I get in the practice room, do the maintenance work, bring certain elements back up to speed that might be lagging a bit, and then I also work the music that needs to be worked - certain tunes have licks that are always problematic unless I keep them brushed up, and there always seems to be something else that I need to learn or maintain - the product of a horns book that literally has 534 charts in it at last count, any of which can be called at any time.

    To bring this back to our new young friend with the chops issue, it's going to be a matter of them getting in the practice room and working to put together the basic elements, starting with tone production - if the chops and air aren't working right, nothing else will come into focus either.
    rowuk likes this.
  8. Harky

    Harky Pianissimo User

    Feb 22, 2013
    Lancaster, PA
    Good replies here. Check your TM in-box for a private message.

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