Reset My Chops?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by K.Buck, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. K.Buck

    K.Buck New Friend

    Sep 25, 2005
    I’ve been contemplating resetting my embouchure for a while now, and I had a few questions regarding it. Since I got my braces off in high school several years ago I have started playing with the mouthpiece slightly to the right and off of my top lip. I believe if I correct this poor form it will add to my playing, range, and endurance in the long run. However I have a few questions:

    1.Is it possible to build up my new embouchure in my spare time and still use my old one for my serious playing? (Just for Now)

    2.How long should this take? (I know it’s different for everyone)

    3.Does anyone know any asymmetric exercises? (I already do the one w/ the golf pencil)

    4.While I’m trying to cure bad habits, I also engage my throat when I play, which I believe reduces air flow. Does anyone else do this? How can I stop this bad habit?

    If anyone has any other advice, personal experiences, or tips they would be greatly appreciated.

    -Thanks :?:
  2. ptynan

    ptynan Pianissimo User

    Sep 13, 2005
    Antigonish, NS
    This is a major decision for any brass player and definitely not one to be taken lightly. Do not attempt this on your own. You need a trumpet teacher for this. Make sure the teacher who coaches you through this embouchure change has guided others through it successfully. I would suggest calling the trumpet Prof. from your local university music department. Remember you may not need an embouchure change. Your problems could be related to other issues. This is a last resort.

    In regards to your other questions:

    A: Yes, but this can be very confusing in regards to the muscle memory of the embouchure. There are players that use(d) two embouchures (Lester Bowie for one), but to the best of my knowledge they did not due this as a result of an embouchure change. I would set some time aside (at least a month for starters and it may take much longer) to become comfortable with your new embouchure. Basically if you are going to change there is no easy road and you must commit. I would not recommend using your old embouchure during this process. Five steps back can lead to ten steps forward.

    A: You have answered this yourself. The quickest I have personally seen players adapt fully to the new embouchure is six months. In other words they no longer have to think about it. I am sure it has been faster for others though. Do not rush the process.

    I hope this is helpful.


    Paul Tynan
  3. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    I am always VERY hesitant about embouchure changes, because this directs a players concentration on a very small part of the playing system and encourages the "Analysis causes Paralysis" syndrome.

    A great number of wonderfull trumpet players have less than perfect embouchures-playing down, playing up, playing to the side.

    I would ask: What playing problems are you concerned with?

    I have found that the catch in one's throat is often due to not having enough resistance for your playing style in your equipment. It is like pushing against someones hand with your hand and then their removing their hand (if that makes sense). When you have nothing to push against, you pull back your hand. This is what often happens with air/tight throat/feeling out of breath at the end of a phrase but exhaling the stale air that was inaccessible. If this rings a bell for you, I would suggest finding an equipment change to give you more resistance. Try "blowing the spitball" as described in Notes Chapter one on my website

    This may give you an easier way of blowing.

    Try a friend's horn and or mouthpiece with more resistance. What are you playing on now?
  4. K.Buck

    K.Buck New Friend

    Sep 25, 2005
    I believe that the problems I have must be fixed. I have talked to several trumpet professors who said they have all gone through similar changes. The real problem is that when I play, I position the mouthpiece so far down on my bottom lip that part of it is actually slipping into the cup. I’m thinking I can try resetting everything this summer after auditions.

    Right now I play and olds trumpet with a monette B6 mouthpiece.

    -Thanks Again :D
  5. Castle Bravo

    Castle Bravo Piano User

    Nov 6, 2003
    Scheßlitz, Germany
    Listen to Paul Tynan. He's what I would call a 'super-freak', the real deal.

    Anyway, I feel your pain, and I am in similar shoes. I would love to tweak my face seriously someday but right now I need whatever chops I have to eat...

    I will say this - the longer you wait the more muscle memory you are working against.... pick your moment, get a good teacher and go for it, don't look back. It may be as simple as slightly tweaking what you already have....
  6. K.Buck

    K.Buck New Friend

    Sep 25, 2005
    Thanks for all the help guys. I will have to wait until my auditions are over before I can start this switch. (I’m playing J.B. Arban’s variations on Norma) I’ll use this page to tell you how the switch is going and maybe give some advice to anyone else if they need it; when I was researching I couldn’t find much. I would still like to know if anyone knows any good asymmetric exercises, and I could always use more information about these types of embouchure switches.

    -You Guys Are Lifesavers

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