relaxing the embouchure?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by kctrumpeteer, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    I have seen some other recent posts on the embouchure and more in regards to the debate of if it is a regular muscle and how it should be worked... This is a different question hence the new thread...

    That is how do others go about 'relaxing' the embouchure while playing? I haven't had this problem until recently I have a couple of pieces that have been more taxing on my playing and as I try to play faster and higher notes my embouchure gets tighter and tighter. Of course another trumpet guy says hey you need to do more compression work with the diaphram / breathing where the embouchure stays relaxed and I'm using my stomach muscles to push the air through, but that advise doesn't always work... unless of course I am trying to over do it, but I have played for longer periods of time without issues, unless the harder technical stuff was just stressing me out and making me tighten up.

    Wondering if others have experienced this? Or what you have done to help alleviate this issue. Someone started to mention the mouthpiece I was using, but hey that is a whole different conversation/thread...
  2. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    oh and the reason the 'advice' doesn't always work on relaxing the embouchure (From a jazz player that I am taking lessons with) is that I can tell my body or attempt to make my body do certain things, but doesn't mean that my body will always listen to me. :-P I have started to think about it more now and maybe over time I will get better at keeping the embouchure relaxed, but between a normal practice and then working on a couple of solos its wiping out my embouchure.
  3. JakeD

    JakeD New Friend

    Jun 25, 2011
    I would say to just keep playing harder, more technically challenging music and play it a lot. Over time, you should build up endurance. From what I have been taught, you have 2 levels of trumpet abilities, there are the things that are "easy" for you and things that are more difficult. As you practice, the things that were once challenging become a normal part of your playing. Always play as relaxed as possible and be patient.
  4. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    this vid should take you to a link from a guy who has some really good "teaching youtube stuff" on the net.

    I think there is a lot going on -- but building the embouchure in the upper register is keeping the middle relaxed and focused aperture so the lips can vibrate. YET keeping the face muscles solid --- it takes time, you got to rest a day or two in between the workouts so your muscles rest and recooperate also.

    ‪Trumpet High Notes By Former Maynard Ferguson Player‬‏ - YouTube
  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    The key is to train your body to do the right things so you don't have to think or tell your body to do it while you are playing. this is what I teach and it always works.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that the major confusion is that less mature players think that the difference between good and bad is the condition of the chops. They believe that the chops are key to endurance and range.

    This is a myth. There are so many practice room monsters that fall apart on stage for exactly that reason.

    A mature embouchure is moving in sync with your body and soul. Your training also teaches your ears what to expect. Even more important is the ATTITUDE with which you play.

    I will let those that are obcessed with the "HOW" argue about what they think is best. My take is generally a low impact approach to train the fine motor activity instead of weight lifting or a 4 minute mile. This requires more patience and discipline (like saying NO to high notes if you aren't ready and making deals with stubborn band directors). A local teacher has the advantage of being able to "get into your life" and help with opportunities.

    Relaxing CAN be advantageous IF the rest of the body has been trained at the same time to pick up the slack. If the big picture doesn't fit, the results don't either.
  7. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    Well, Carmine Caruso recommended we read a book called Zen in the art of archery. In this book a westerner, in an attempt to learn more about Japanese culture while in Japan,decides to study with a Zen archery master. The master can apparently draw the bow ( apparently a major task in itself) and hold it. All his muscles appear relaxed, no tension in his arms, shoulders etc. A moments reflection tells us that force MUST be exerted. Zen is not magic. What must be happening is that, through years of constant practice and devotion the master has developed himself so that he draws the bow with minimal but sufficient muscle involvement and only those muscles necessary are involved. He seems relaxed because he is efficent. That's what I think playing with a relaxed embouchure is. The player has developed himself such that he achieves the results he desires with only enough muscle needed and no more.
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Chances are it's a lot more than just you embouchure that's tensing up. If your body's relaxed,your embouchure is probably relaxed, and the opposite also holds.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA

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