Pencil Excercise/Mouthpiece Exercise

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BigSwingFace, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. BigSwingFace

    BigSwingFace Pianissimo User

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    I watched Kurt Thompson's video on Bud Brisbois' mouthpiece exercise. It consists of gripping the shank end of your mouthpiece and letting it hang like a pendulum. In the video he warns to not do the exercise too often and to never do it if you have a gig coming up (for obvious reasons). My question is this; does Roy Stevens' pencil exercise have those same dangers? I understand you shouldn't work your muscles to exhaustion with any exercise, but it seems like after doing either exercise my playing suffers instead of getting better. Am I just being too anxious and not giving my muscles enough time to recover?
     
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    IMO - those exercises are both pointless.
     
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Whereas do I find very few well used mouthpieces that do not have the silver plate worn through to the brass, my first concern is a brass allergy infecting the lips. Second, albeit nearly combined with the first, is how gross and unsanitary can a mouthpiece be?

    Lastly, what the foregoing describes is NOT A PROPER "PENCIL" EXERCISE and I wouldn't be sticking pencils in my mouth now either for the same sanitation reason. I've already been diagnosed with more than my share of maladies and illness.

    Whenever you proceed with any exercise, you should have a competent trainer one on one. Exercises are not a DIY either.
     
  4. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    I think there can be a place for ancillary exercises, like the pencil exercise, leadpipe buzzing, etc. (Although I have to admit that I'm not sure if there is any value in lifting a tuba mouthpiece with your chops.) But as rowuk recently said on a related thread, they need to be done in the proper context.

    In the end, I think you answered your own question. If your playing is suffering, they're probably not helping.

    Mike
     
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    And this is how we normally use a mouthpiece? Why on earth an individual would want to sell you a technique that uses lip muscle in a different way than they are actually used in a real performance is well beyond my level of comprehension.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    A most excellent excercise for the lips is:

    1. Placing the lips on a comfortable mouthpiece
    2. Taking hands, and opening up Arbans
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    If you want to build you lips in a sound physiological way, do what John Coletrane did, stick the mouthpiece in a rag, and then blow through your traditional work out for about 20-30 minutes. This does wonders for building the lip muscle as it is intended to being used during a performance.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey dude, all of the ladies really like trumpet players with a sixpack below the nose. If it isn't working, you need to quadruple the time invested.........

    My personal opinion is to ignore teachers that trash their students. Advanced playing is fine motor activity and just the opposite of what Kurt recommends. That does not mean that certain strong players can't get away with this, even their time would be better spent on integration of the brain, ears, body and chops. It is a delicate balance - even for the pro.
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Really? Totally beyond your comprehension? Do you ever do exercises out of a book where all you are doing are lip slurs, or articulation, or long tones? Why would you want to do that - it's different than what you'd use in an actual performance!

    There is a time and place for exercises that are designed to build up muscles that might otherwise take years through conventional practice. Sports athletes do this all the time, so why not musicians? I realize that the goals are somewhat different - we make music and art, and they perform athletically, but there is always going to be a physical aspect of playing music that takes musculature. Build the muscles with the pencil exercises, fine tune them in the practice room with real playing. Pops McLaughlin has a whole methodology behind the pencil exercise and he has a long proven track record of correcting some serious embouchure issues with the pencil exercise, so there is definitely some benefit to be had from it if it is employed judiciously.
     
  10. BigSwingFace

    BigSwingFace Pianissimo User

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    Are you saying he might as well be selling snake oil?
     

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