Pencil Technique

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetaddict, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. NeonMarmot

    NeonMarmot New Friend

    Sep 25, 2010
    I believe it helps with endurance (and possibly range?) but like others have said, that alone will not improve your playing.
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  2. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    This thread gives me the opportunity to talk about one of the hard things I have learned on my comeback trail. Early on, I tried the pencil exercise. I also tried the mouthpiece holding exercise reportedly used by Bud Brisbois. These exercises did strengthen my embouchure muscles but gave me no real gains on the trumpet. It proved the specificity of training principle. Doing pencil exercises will only make you better at pencil exercises. If you want to get better at the trumpet, you need to do more trumpet. That may sound facetious but it is true.

    Neither the pencil exercise nor any other isometric-type exercise can teach you how to coordinate your embouchure muscles during dynamic contractions, as occurs during playing, with your use of air and tongue. Only correctly chosen exercises based on your needs can do this. I have an excellent teacher who has given me a great routine to guide me through this process. The better I get at coordinating all these elements, the better I get at the trumpet.

  3. Gabriel Michael

    Gabriel Michael New Friend

    Apr 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Thought's about Warburton's P.E.T.E.?
  4. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    My teacher likes the P.E.T.E. for when he is unable to play. Aside from what l said in my previous post, these exercises probably have their greatest value in maintaining some embrochure strength when you are unable to get to the horn for some reason.

  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    IF, and I am saying IF, you rely one any one non-trumpet playing exercise to put you over the top, you are wasting your time. I have tried the PE and it does what most who teach it claim it will do. It helps with endurance. I found no great increase in range unless I worked on range. It, as well as any other ancillary exercise, is not a substitute for time on the horn. The only way to improve on the horn is to play on the horn. As far as feeling anything like a "burn", you may feel a little. If you are feeling nothing after 3 minutes, you aren't doing it right (low angle) or it's between your teeth. OR, you got some monster chops!
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is ALWAYS a matter of perspective.

    A player that is practicing enough, may get some added benefit sometimes. One who is not practicing enough can perhaps get a bit of additional chop strength for a short while.

    Placing big hopes in it is as wrong as placing big hopes in page 7 of the Arban book. It is too small of a factor to decisively change anything. As an addition fine. When you are sick, fine, when you have to drive thousands of miles, fine.

    Instead of arguing about its effectiveness, I wish most would view it as what it really is: maximum 3 minutes a day of practice WITHOUT the horn.

    Find time for the trumpet and you will be able to get away with a whole lot. Look for substitutes and land where EVERYBODY else without enough practice ends up - outside in the rain.
  7. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Exactly, Rowuk! If I practise my Tai Chi for 6 hours a day and have no time left for running I will probably not do well in the 400 metre sprints even though my legs may be "stronger".

  8. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    my take is it works synergically with the rest of the practice routine. Like I said in one of my threads I have had a air leak ... and to try to correct it while I am let's say practicing slurs or tonguing is really not effective... then all I do is both poorly... now if I do a little Cat Anderson.. a little pencil exercise well the brain has all that subconsciously in there when I work on something else ... seems to be helping me.
    I do know that there are alot of ways to do the pencil exercise poorly.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Getting back to the original post, 3 minutes before feeling anything means that you are using the teeth for added support - not good! The pencil must be supported by the lips alone and as horizontal as possible. The a minute should be REAL noticable.
  10. Joe44

    Joe44 Pianissimo User

    Apr 21, 2011
    Upstate Ny
    I started doing this tequnique and I found that it felt like it didn't help. I found that I was using my teeth to support the pencil instead of my lips. I started using more of my lips and now I feel it after about 30 seconds.

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