Pencil Excercise/Mouthpiece Exercise

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

  1. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    We have all kinds of ancillary exercises for trumpet--long tones, flexibility, range studies, tonguing exercises, exercises geared for endurance, pedal tones....

    I find these challenging enough.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Yes

    Because I used these skills during an actual performance. I use slur flex techniques a lot in jazz performances. AND I circular breathed a D above staff throughout a whole chorus just the other night. Just ask Dr.Mark, he was at this performance. Now that's what I call a long tone!
     
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi bigswingface,
    I wouldn't recommend these exercises. I'll send you a PM that will explain why and what can be done in place of it to exercise the muscles in a more useful manner
    Dr.Mark
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Wow - are you sure you should be doing that? You aren't practicing the exact way you perform, so you might damage your chops, or at the very least you won't be helping them. :roll:

    I have found that different things work for different people, and sometimes something that works for one might seem arcane and won't help someone else, which is why I never scoff when someone has a new idea about techniques or methods that might improve someone's chops situation. After all, isn't this how innovation occurs? Where would we be as musicians if we held true to only those methods that were being used say 50-75 years ago? We wouldn't be here, that's for sure.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    The only technique I poo pooed was in dangling a mouthpiece from the lips. It is a new idea that makes no physiological sense in developing muscle we need to use for playing, anymore then an athlete working arm muscles that hopes in so doing to be able to run faster. So do try to learn to scoff at a few new ideas.

    By the way, I am nearly 60 years old and playing on theory taught to me by my teachers 50 years ago (one of them being Eugene Blee, principle trumpet player for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) and am doing fairly well playing for the Eddie Brookshire Quintet, and being called up often by the Musician's Union to fill in for many venues from Big Bands to Orchestras, to Pit Bands, to Rock performances, to Classical Performances at Churches. So I'm still here, that's for sure!
     
  7. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    Chiming in - I did the pencil exercise for a few weeks in 2010, I felt it helped. I was also buzzing straight into the mouthpiece while driving back then too, and still do that from time to time. I treated both as exercises to improve my handling of tension. When I did Tai Chi regularly (should get back into that) there were some stances where I had to employ just enough strength/tension/force to balance against gravity or other forces (mainly gravity), and enter into a relaxed state while maintaining what might otherwise be a "stress position". e.g. the horse-riding stance, or "embracing the tree". The people who were good at this were very stable - you couldn't just push them over. I tried to apply the same thinking to my use of the pencil, and mouthpiece buzzing.

    --bumblebee
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Patrick, I play through the EBQ song book over and over again for the bulk of my rehearsal time getting through the entire book of songs (60 originals/60 standards) in about a week which is just about 17/day, which is the number of tunes we typically play in an evening. I know you aren't there to hear this, but trust me, yeah I do practice the exact way I perform, so as not to damage my chops. THEN after that workout, I play out of "The Art of Jazz" book that consists of exercises in tonguing, slurring and articulation that are mostly variations of Clark's studies. I can play back to back gigs, and lately often have, without so much as minimally fatiguing my chops, and certainly nowhere near the point of damaging them. So, yes, I am sure I should be "doing that".

    Can't speak for anyone else here on TM though, as they have not been asked yet to cover the trumpet book for the Eddie Brookshire Quintet. I imagine if anyone were asked to do so, I believe they may be changing their practice routine a bit. Your point, I am saying is well made, what works for one individual will at times not work for another. But I take exception when someone questions how I practice, after 50+ years of experience, and all the while when they haven't heard me play or seen the song book from which I am required to play.
     
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I can imagine the pencil technique would work well for people that buzz. But again, as an individual that does not buzz, working the most lateral dilating muscles of the orbicularius (from using the pencil technique) would not work the muscles groups I choose to use to get the orbicularius to vibrate. I choose to use the upper diagonal dilating muscles in the face (those that insert into the zygomatic arch) so for people that use the pwhooo technique I use, the pencil exercise would not add much to performance results.
     
  10. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi Gman,
    You stated:
    "AND I circular breathed a D above staff throughout a whole chorus just the other night. Just ask Dr.Mark, he was at this performance. Now that's what I call a long tone!
    ------
    That was not the only situation where Gman used circular breathing the night I saw him play. The wonderful thing is that it was not done as a way to say "Hey I can circle breathe". Nope, it was done in context and was not showy or pompus.
    As for circle breathing, allow me to share what I've discovered:
    I learned circle breathing back in the 1970's but improved upon it once I became familiar with the digerido. The trick is to realize that breathing for the body is done through the nose (inhale & exhale) at a normal unstressed manner and making the trumpet play is done by capturing some of that air in the cheeks and squeezing that air with the cheeks to make the lips vibrate. At least this is what works for me.
    Dr.Mark
     

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