Pencil exercise

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Warren, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Warren

    Warren Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2007
    South Africa
    I'm sure many of us have heard or use the pencil exercise. (Holding the pencil between your lips)

    Does anyone make use of this exercise? Is it any good?

  2. Eeviac

    Eeviac Piano User

    I tried it - it kicks my butt. Er, lips.
  3. bigdog

    bigdog Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2005
    i have no idea what that is ??
    i just play my horns,............
  4. uapiper

    uapiper Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2007
    Hamilton, Canada
    I suppose you have been reading "pops" website. Using a pencil or any type of lip manipulated weight is supposed to strengthen your chops or maintain your embouchure if you can't play for a while.

    I use a piece of 1/8 tungsten cut in half, it would be about four inches long.
    I use tungsten for tig welding. It's free to me, a chopsticks kit will run about thirtyish bucks.

    The thing I don't like about the pencil is the length and the thickness. It doesn't feel very comfortable, and I think the aprture of your lips is too open with the pencil.

    Somebody will undoubtedly correct me on this subject as a lot of what I've said is just logical to me. I think you could benefit from this method, I can feel it in my cheeks when I do this. There are actual exercises you can do with this but I have never gotten that into it.

    I hope I have given you some kind of idea as to what this is used for, but I haven't really spent any time with it. I look forward to someone who does helping me out with this as well.

    Later Warren
  5. CRoberts8

    CRoberts8 Piano User

    Feb 7, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    You essentially hold the pencil up in the air using your "aperture"

    I do this while driving or while I can not play the horn to give my lips a bit of a workout

    They sell a set that is devoted to this that has "Chop Sticks" of varying weights

    Liemar Technologies, Chop-Sticks™ Embouchure Strengthening for Brass, Woodwind, Trumpet, Tuba, Euphonium, French Horn, Oboe Bassoon, Clarinet - Main Page

    Definitely not a substitute for practice, just a supplement that works for some people at times.
  6. Warren

    Warren Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2007
    South Africa
    I used to do a lot of it, but I'd rather spend my time behind the horn instead of behind a pencil. The view is just a lot nicer.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Eric Bolvin describes this in excellent deatil (for free) here:

    I have used it successfully for years. You do not develop a pencil sized aperature with this technique. You just strengthen the muscles needed to keep the aperature tight.
    I do this in the car when I can't have the horn on my face!
    Warren likes this.
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    It may be a personal warning, but a warning nonetheless--check out your chin often in a mirror until you get the feel for the exercise. The easiest way to hold the pencil in place is by bunching the chin, and not all players/teachers advocate that approach to playing trumpet.

    If you choose to do the exercise in your car, I hope the airbag doesn't go off--it could make the headline in some sleazy tabloid: "Lead footed trumpeter gets lead in throat!"
    Warren likes this.
  9. Warren

    Warren Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2007
    South Africa
    I don't know how long it took you to figure that one out, but hahaha. Good one.

    I personally don't like the pencil test, I found that I started doing funny things with my bottom jaw in order to keep the pencil up. Which is probably what you are referring to Vulgano.
  10. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

    Sep 30, 2006
    White Marsh, VA which case you could "erase" all the hard work you've done :laughwave:

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