Pinhole apperture

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JackTheMusician, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. JackTheMusician

    JackTheMusician Pianissimo User

    Aug 14, 2013
    From what I've heard about in regards to playing high (in terms of aperture) is to make the hole smaller like a pinhole or like a camera lens, but how?

    Like without having the typical Pucker up embouchure, but more like a "Say Mmmmm" type of embouchure. How does one make the aperture smaller when the aperture looks more like a slit...

    Also, as I play higher my jaw comes in, making all air go downwards. Does anyone have any advice on preventing that? I've heard its quite a common problem, funnily enough I thought that'd never happen to me when I was younger...

  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Jack, no, this is NOT how it works. Yes, the aperature changes size. There is a BIG but however. The aperature is not a fixed size. It also is a balance between muscle finesse and our breathing. That means clamping down the aperature destroys airflow. It is not a pinhole aperature that we need. The small aperature is the product of superior breathing and body use.

    We build embouchure not by working on the aperature, rather by synchronizing air and muscle. Longtones, lipslurs. Context, not internet blindness. We need to get body, mind and air together.
  3. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    I'd say that a small aperture is the right idea, but that attempting to purposefully do it is the wrong way to get there. When you do things right, the way Rowuk described, you will get the sensation of a small aperture as sensory feedback and visualization of what your embouchure is doing. If you try to get there by forcing your aperture to get smaller you'll impede your progress. From my limited experience, it has come out that sound and breathing must always be the priorities. The rest builds around it and it takes time. Our impatience and expectations are the worst obstacles that we ever have to overcome.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    A bit about aperature:
    when we play more softly, it gets smaller, more loudly, it gets bigger
    when we play higher, it gets smaller, lower, it gets bigger
    when we play with pressure, it changes very little. Pressure compresses the lips tighter together, we have to blow harder for air to get through
    when we play with minimal tension, our muscles only squeeze enough to balance the airflow
    we can build range and ignore sound by simply blowing harder and clamping the chops down. That makes endurance almost impossible, but we can squeal

    We start to improve when we get used to taking big breaths without tensing up, when we exhale without holding our breath in, when we have a prepared body and mind before even trying to play a note.

    Soft longtones and lipslurs are key to developing a lower tension embouchure.
  5. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    Stop worrying about how high and worry about how solid the sound that you can make. High is nice and fun to try but good sound on an in the stave A is way better than a squeezed out anything in the upper.

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