Proper placement of mouthpiece on lips

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by eviln3d, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. rohanwallis

    rohanwallis New Friend

    Aug 17, 2013
    Every one is different. If you sound good and don't hurt yourself with it stuck off to the side then who cares? Be yourself. We can't all look like Chet Baker! I think it's more important to think about what you are playing and how you sound. Thoughts?
  2. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    "Intuition"? Is that an alternate spelling these days for "speculation" ? :D

    My point still is, for many, "the band director's a moron" is the default opinion, guilty until proven otherwise. I think that sucks.

    OP - Regarding the band director's talk with the parents, I'm curious about one thing. Are the kids using a certain number of school horns? I ask that because obviously if there are a limited number of provided horns available, then some sort of process is necessary to decide who gets to play what.

    And if the kids are allowed to pick what they want if the parents provide the horns, I know of many programs that use this selection process, anyway, in order for the school band to have a balanced instrumentation. There's something to be said for that. Individually, a kid might want to play trumpet, but ask most kids who have actually experienced this, "would you rather play in a room full of drummers and trumpeters, or as part of a well-balanced band?", and I'll bet most would prefer the latter. From a band-balance POV, I understand this, having had to deal with "bands" that were totally out of balance, in and of themselves.

    Nevertheless, I've never been comfortable with telling a kid what they may or may not play. I never have and likely never will. But I'm pointing out the above just to express that the process this band director is using is neither illogical nor unusual.
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Actually, it is default of the band director.

    And if you read this thread and the OP's valildation... he was guilty; proving of course, my intuition is accurate once again.

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    I was incorrect here, I looked it up last night and it's George Rawlin not Pops.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is a VERY common excuse. It is also applied to the trumpet only half the story. When we talk about trumpet players, more often then not, we are NOT talking about developed anything. How can you "be yourself" when that very "yourself" is not even minimally tapped? The differences for such players are minimal and certainly nothing that a couple tenths of an inch would greatly destroy. Even worse is the uninformed making a big deal about underdeveloped chops. It is NOT the key during the developmental stage and changing it is only a problem if the REAL important stuff is ignored. The laws of gravity work for dedicated players - that also applies to the chops!
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi kehaulani, You stated:
    "And I'm getting tired of the default position of internet forum members towards band directors as their being morons.?
    Very good point. Using anything as a default is wrong. Each situation should be looked at and evaluated on its own merits
    Maybe I missed it - if I did, mea culpa - but so far, the OP has not spoken to the band teacher and we have no idea what that band director's intentions were.
    Another very good point. First things first.. Talk with the band director.
    Also, the OP is likewise quick to diss the band director. We all (hopefully) love our children, but they do not always come home from school with the same understanding of some things that their teachers left them with. Who knows exactly what the band director said?
    Yes, this is true also.
    If he did give the kids the direction to play 50/50 this is not bad advice for them in their first few weeks of learning.
    Probably not the best place (I'd suggest a little more lower lip than upper) but still not a bad place to start. It's in the middle just like a 7C mouthpiece.
    Having had a private teaching studio, I've had some kids come to me with some pretty crazy embouchures and breath usages that they picked up by themselves. Which is better in the beginning of a group instruction; to send them home with - "put the mouthpiece at a 50/50 position", (which can be used later as a point of reference) or, "hey, there are a ton of different embouchures, so go home and just come up with something you think will work and come back next week"?
    I think the answer is obvious here.
    Maybe the band teacher really is a moron. Shouldn't we give him/her a chance to prove it himself, before falling guilty to the default position that, although we have only half the story - if that much - that the teacher is an idiot?
    And there's the rub. I can personally attest that I've met more band directors that come across like prima donnas than I have band directors that are down to earth good band directors. I had a band director that had an attitude, played favorites, wouldn't leave the majorettes alone, gave no instruction on how to play other than "play higher, Maynard can do it!" he even kept me in the band eventhough I was flunking just about everything but band!
    However, even with my predisposition, I still agree that the band director should be heard. If the kid had an instructor, then the band director should back off. Since the kid doesn't, then what's the harm in 50/50?
    Heck, for all we know, the band director may have cut off the Dad in a WalMart parking lot and that has boiled over to this. I don't say this to be disrespectful and if it seems that I am, please forgive me, it was not my intent. We've all been victims of this phenomenon and it's even eaiser to fall into a mind set like this when a person's kid is involved.
    I hope that the Dad is concerned over the issue at hand and not feuling that issue with something else totally unrelated.
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    IMO there are NOT that many competent trumpeters that are band directors. That's not saying that I'm either, but I have often had a trumpet or other brass instrument to my lips and now have two batons that have at times been used by me. Too, that's not saying a specific instrument teacher/tutor would also be able to direct a band, or vice versa, a band director being good trumpet or other brass instructor. The high school band director here is an excellent keyboardist on piano, organ, and synthesizer IMO, but I'd let you decide how well she directs the band. All I can say is that those who hired her don't know even know what a quarter note is. Too she is here only on a three year status in the Teachers for America federal program which does in a way force the local school board to take whoever is available without judgment on their performance quality. Am I biased, yes. Really, I feel I'm the luckiest to have had a great trumpet/cornet playing teacher/instructor who was also my private tutor and high school band director. Too, he passed his baton to many students to direct varied ensembles that provided music for the lower elementary needs. When I was a high school senior, I directed the high school band's spring concert opening song, The Star Spangled Banner. That was the first baton given me to keep that I now still have. Point, I believe band directors, instructors/tutors/teachers should pass all their musical skills to students. It was a story opposite this when I was taking instrumental music in college to only minor in my B Ed. The good part, is after a overly long hiatus I again play to my enjoyment and that of friends,
  8. eviln3d

    eviln3d Pianissimo User

    Jun 5, 2013
    No, the school provide no instruments. Whatever your kid plays you pay for.

    For me the most ludicrous part of the ordeal is that this is 6th grade band. The probability that even 50% of the kids that are in it will be there by the time they get to high school is remote at best.

    Frankly I can't buy into the balanced instrumentation argument at all. It would assume that kids will practice as much on an instrument that they don't want to play as one they want to play, and practice is pretty much the biggest key to success... I suspect if you had a room full of kids playing instruments they wanted to play and were therefore more likely to practice that they would sound better than a room full of kids playing something because someone forced them to. Ask yourself how much time you think you would have put in if you were told from day one you have the lips of flutist, here play a flute.
  9. eviln3d

    eviln3d Pianissimo User

    Jun 5, 2013
    If he had cut me off in a parking lot we wouldn't have a problem with him, the school would be looking for another director.:-)
  10. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Now that's funny.

    I would think that too, eviln3d, but what's surprised me, is that I've seen it not really matter that much. Perhaps it's because many of the kids don't really know much about the instruments - any instruments - and are somewhat neutral about it. Also, for many of them, maybe even most, band is as much a social group as it is a musical one.

    I have directed a community band who's instrumentation, as well as the level of musicianship from the individuals, was really "unbalanced". That's the way it was, we made the most of it, and had a lot of fun and played some nice concerts/gigs in spite of that. That's the positive side. On the other side of it, though, was that was a real challenge, sometimes a downright headache, for me and required a heck of a lot of extra work on my part. One can't expect a band director who is working with large groups, to spend a lot of time editing scores, re-arranging the music and copying the music because of a self-inflicted imbalanced band. And it's possible that the director has more than one band to handle.

    I don't suppose there is great solution to this and part of the problem is built into the whole system of school bands, in the first place.
    Basta! Gotta go call Germany.

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