Newer Students and Mouthpieces

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Michael T. Doublec, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Michael T. Doublec

    Michael T. Doublec Pianissimo User

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    After retiring from professional playing, I have started giving lessons to High School kids. I have one student who is 11, but most are form 13 to 16 years old. I am about to make a controversial statement and I would like anyone who genuinely disagrees with me to tell me why.
    1) First of all, most of these kids have their lips stretched to thinly on the mouthpiece and the stretch is from side to side. I believe this is absolutely wrong. Thicker lips vibrate much easier and take less air to get more sound.
    2) I think this general practice of just giving a kid a 3c or a 7c is just plain dumb. I personally play on a shallow cup Lynnflex (Stomvi) mouthpiece which I agree is too small to let starter students play. But when you think about it, kids have smaller lungs, smaller chops, smaller everything, so I think a smaller cup like a Schilke 12A4a or 10A4a is a better place to start. When I have done symphony work, I have always worked on a 1 or 2 C Bach and can switch with little problems. I think we start these kids on too deep a cup and to large of a diameter and they get frustrated. We all know what happens then. Does anyone out there have any comments. Thanks!

    When in doubt just blow harder.
     
  2. Michael T. Doublec

    Michael T. Doublec Pianissimo User

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    I'm not quite ready to call Lindemann the mouthpiece guru just yet...enough said.
     
  3. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

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    A pucker (saying "err") is the way to go. Going higher and sliding the bottom lip inward draws the corners back some but not much. A good embouchure is a tug of war between a pucker and a smile. In my experience this is a great starting point as endless mechanics can be talked about.
     
  4. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

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    I just got a Schilke 12B4 after using Bach 3C for a long time. I'm trying the 12B4 partly to try for a different tone and partly since I turned 60 and don't have anywhere near the strength I used to have. I think the 12B4 would be very good for beginners. The 12 diameter is a little larger than the traditional Bach 7, but not too much. The B cup is semi-small but not extremely shallow. And the 4 (semi-flat) rim is very comfortable.
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    The objective design of a mouthpiece is to create a controllable standing wave in the instrument. Most of us started with whatever mouthpiece came with the instrument and made it do to create that standing wave without regard to the physiology we initially had. Our lips are muscles and these can develop and increase in strength and shape with training as we grow to develop a viable embouchure. Miniaturization is not an answer as the stature of a student becomes larger. In my experience, few students from beginning through high school level persistently practice enough to achieve a solo performance level acceptable to go forward to major in music performance at a university level, and many other factors are at fault.
     
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    These are not 'scaled down' versions of 'adult' mouthpieces, they are extreme designs, built to a particular, specific purpose, and that purpose is not for assisting beginners in the establishment of good preliminary fundamentals.

    This observation does not automatically mean that they are bad mouthpieces to learn on, or that no-one could possibly succeed that way, but we are in the 'trimming fingernails with a razor' category here. Probably not going to turn out well in many instances.

    I agree whole-heartedly that it may also be unwise to start a child on too deep a cup as he/she may well struggle for a while developing any sort of control of it. But to use this argument to support the use of an extremely shallow cup seems to be a complete non sequitur.

    While you or I can probably blast out a reasonable bottom G on a 12a4a, isn't that because we've already developed some controlled strength in our chops? Strength that was first developed at least in my case if not yours on a VB 7c. A raw beginner does not come with that as a built-in feature. Will a shallow mouthpiece do that initial chops training job, or will it just trade that function in for some early wispy notes above the stave?

    The 7c has successfully started generations of youngsters off on the trumpet learning obstacle race. I think you're going to need some really powerful arguments to demonstrate that this was all a big mistake.

    .
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Michael,
    I wouldn't call standard mouthpieces "dumb" by any stretch of my imagination. The 7C/3C or 1.5C are not especially wide or deep.

    You are very right about stretched lips however and this comes normally by putting the mouthpiece on the face with no preparation and then pushing until you get results. If we pucker first, then apply the mouthpiece, life is far easier.

    The problem from my view with shallow mouthpieces is the tone and when you have weak chops that the lips cave when tired and no more sound comes out. The tone issue has mostly to do with the venues that the kids play in: wind band. There the shallow mouthpieces simply do not promote "section sound".

    I do not consider lungs or body to require scaling of brass hardware like with the Suzuki Violin Method. The differences in cup width between a 7C and a Schilke 12 are a couple of HUNDREDTHS. Depth is a tone thing in my book as I described above.

    That all being said, if my first "private" lessons were with a lead player, I too would have a different focus on what I wanted to do. You are for sure not hurting anyone with your style of teaching. I would only question the concert band thing and endurance for those players with a fair amount of cup penetration.

    Let's bounce this around a bit. I find the take perfectly sensible even if I do things differently!

    Maybe this would be a better way to get more lead players...........

    If your chops have caved, blowing harder simply makes you pass out. When in doubt, back off is my advice for all non lead players with something to prove.

     
  8. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

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    Here's something to think about in regard to the VB 7C. I started there, like many of us.

    My problem with the 7c was neither the diameter nor the cup depth/volume. It was the uncomfortable shape of the rim, which limited endurance. The VB literature describes it as....

    "7C. Medium wide, lowered toward the outside. Its brilliant tone is preferred by school musicians and by artists. Medium sharp inside. Well-rounded edge with a perfect grip. Probably the most widely used model in the world.....

    RIM
    Wide: Increases endurance.
    Narrow: Improves flexibility, range.
    Round: Improves comfort.
    Sharp: Increases brilliance, precision of attack."


    The rationale for this rim shape is that it facilitates flexibility and precision of attack, particularly for less experienced players. That may be true, but I found I could practice longer with a more comfortable, flatter rim, such as the 3C. The sharp inner edge and the weird radiused outer edge of the 7C just simply limited how long I could play. For complete beginners, the 7C might let them ramp up the learning curve more quickly, but maybe they should switch to something like the 11D4 or 3C when they want to start building strength and endurance? It's just a thought....
     
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    While I started on a Farkas French horn mpc playing a school French horn, a year later I bought a pre-owned "generic" trumpet that came with the proverbial 7C mpc. Can't say I have ever liked them with their bite, but I made do with it for several years and to this day if that is what a student of mine uses, that is what I demonstrate with. Back to my public school years with all the scrounging all of us did to get donations of anything musical, a 4.5 original Parduba fell into my hands and that rim was pure comfort and I made it work also ... well enough that by eighth grade, I was selected to play in the high school band. Well that Parduba mpc is gone and now replaced by an Akright copy 4.5 HJ (don't remember if the original was HJ or not, but do now know Harry James played a 5). Still, I now switch on a day to day basis among my collection, though mostly playing an Olds 3 and Bach 6 with my Ambassador and sometimes a Blessing 5C or a Comfort-rim 14 with other trumpets that come and go. I will say I like a rim that is somewhat crowned rather than flat. Too, I now play cornet and euphonium mpcs on a regular basis.
     

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