re-learning to play on a new embouchure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jurandr, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. Jurandr

    Jurandr Pianissimo User

    Feb 23, 2008
    did I spell embouchure right?

    One of my band directors pulled me out of band today and gave me a minilesson today on correct embouchere-ing my trumpet. For the past six years, I've been bringing my lower jaw foward to neutralize my natural overbite, and then opening my teeth really wide to let more air through. He said that yes, I should be opening my teeth, but I should be letting my natural overbite stay as it is, and just tilt my head back, while not moving my horn at all.

    I tried it out in his office, and I felt like a lot of pressure had left my lips (I already thought I was at the bare minimum!) and I could just barely play. The little bit I DID manage to play however, had this really sexy new tone attached to it that I didn't think was possible for someone with only 6-7 years of experience manage.

    He said that the old way I played could cause permanent damage to my mouth and I could potentially lose the ability to play on a trumpet. So here I am, trying to learn this new embouchure. Since I've changed, I can't get above a 3rd-line C (on a bflat trumpet), can only play 70% of the time, and I play first part with a couple of solos.

    What I need is a few hints and nudges to speed up the relearning process! Our main director is a real dictator when it comes to band-and he won't let me play a lower part until I get used to to the new feelings, so I'm just sitting there blurting a long. I managed a little bit, and it was some of the best tone I've ever heard myself play, but I couldn't keep it going. Band is obviously not helping me- I'm hoping you guys could help enhance my at-home studies, because I feel like band is ripping apart everything I'm learning on my own. My private lesson teacher is on vacation for now, so I don't have him to ask.
  2. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

    Mar 25, 2008
    An Introduction to Donald S. Reinhardt's Pivot System

    Go halfway down that Web page to "Reinhardt's Embouchure Types"

    A Type III (Roman numeral foer "3") is downstream, meaning that the lower lip curls under the upper lip so that the air is projected downward.
    The trumpet is often tilted downward as the player ascends to high notes.
    That player type often uses more upper lip than lower lip, so that he plays low on the mouthpiece.
    Maynard Ferguson is a famous Type III player.

    A Type IV (Roman nummeral for "4") is an upstream type, meaning that the upper lip curls under the lower lip so that the air is projected upward.
    That player usually has a receding lower jaw while not playing, then the just thrust foward during playing.
    The trumpet is often tilted up a little as the player ascends to high notes.
    That player type often uses more lower lip than upper lip, so that he plays high on the mouthpiece.
    Doc Severinsen is a famous Type IV player.

    A person is basically born with one embouchure or the other, so a person needs to find out which embouchure type he was born with and go with that.
    Any band director who teaches that all players should play with the same embouchure type is just plain ignorant.
    Perhaps you could print out the above Web page and give it to him?

    You absolutely should NOT "tilt" your head back while playing.
    The chin should be *slightly* lowered towards the chest but not touching the chest (3 inches above the chest?), with the head moved *slightly* back in order open the throat better.
    Moving the head slightly back while keeping the chin slightly down, which means that you shouldn't "tilt" your head back but rather "slide" your head back *slightly* (an inch?).

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2008
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Oh man, there is NO WAY that we can intelligently comment on your situation. IT IS BS that you will cause any permanent damage unless you are using GOBS of pressure.

    There must be a reason that your teacher is interested in a change, so I will not try to second guess. One thing is for sure: this is the most serious thing that you can do to a student and if you do not have the teachers 100% attention in the beginning, I would find another teacher. New embouchures (yes, you spelled it right) require close monitoring for the first couple of weeks in any case to prevent other bad habits from slipping in.

    In any case long tones very softly in front of the mirror are the ONLY things that you should be playing for the first couple of weeks. Then add slurs, then tunes, then technical studies. You may have a year of struggling before you see light at the end of the tunnel. If the teacher is competent and you work hard, some pretty amazing things can happen (if something is missing, some pretty ugly things can happen too!)!

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