"Setting" your embouchure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Coehlers95, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. Coehlers95

    Coehlers95 New Friend

    Jul 12, 2012
    Minneapolis, MN
    He guys I have a question.... Wondering what you guys do or think about this. I've been watching a lot of my favorite players and just some that are very popular and know and have noticed something. it seems like they all "set" their mouthpiece on the lips very specifically before they even breathe or play. I guess the best example is Vizzutti. if you watch him he does this tougue thing where he shoots out his tougue into his mouthpiece then brings it to his bottom lip and then sticks in the top. and many other players do similar such as Adam Rapa, Louis Dowsdwell, maynard i'm pretty sure did. Anyway I am wondering if there is a benifit to developing a habit like that? or can it help preventing from bottoming out on a shallow mouthpiece? etc.

    I just know my early band directors always said don't do that and you should just be able to out of the blue bringing up the horn, breathe and blow. But I am curious what you guys think?

  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Recently, I went through a phase of fiddling about with mouthpiece placement before starting every practice exercise.

    What I found really helpful was downloading a laptop metronome, raising my instrument and breathing in during a standard four beat count-in, and just starting on the downbeat. If you give yourself time to think about BS problems, you'll develop BS problems.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    None of those guys made a point of working on that habit. Due to their "style" of playing, there just were some things happening. For those that play with a moist instead of dry embouchure, the tongue spreads moisture before playing. That is not worth wasting your time on. If you need it, your body will do what is right.

    You know what you should be working on - stop trying to distract yourself!
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I stated it elsewhere, but again I state the instant your mouthpiece touches your lips you have a good embouchure ... or you don't. Certainly I will not lick the crud out of my mouthpiece cup.
  5. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Cole,
    Generally when you see this behavior, it is to wet the lips. There are far better ways to wet the lips (for example, wetting them before the mouthpiece gets close to the lips) and I wouldn't advise sticking your tongue into the cup of the mouthpiece, yuk! Double yuk!
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    If you're Curly, it's yuk, yuk, yuk. O000hhhh... Wise Guy eh?!

    ...but a point well made. One of the more important physiological functions of the tongue is for wetting the lips.
  7. PhxHorn

    PhxHorn New Friend

    Apr 20, 2011

    It's important to get your mouthpiece in the right spot every time, but you can't take forever to do it. Place, inhale, play. When placing the mouthpiece, your lips should be firm enough to buzz. Also, keep the majority of the pressure on your bottom lip, since it doesn't swell the way the top lip does. Don't spread or distort your embouchure when breathing . . . you can accomplish this by inhaling with the center of your lips just touching.
  8. musicman1951

    musicman1951 New Friend

    Dec 9, 2014
    Albany, NY
    Of course everyone sets the mouthpiece on their lips before they play. People have different set points in terms of how closed their embouchure is when the mp hits. Beginners tend to set too open (somewhere around a low C). Of course you want the same set every time. Some people might look more deliberate, but we're all doing the same thing.

    I have to admit I'm slightly amused by imagining that sticking your tongue into the mouthpiece is revolting. What do you think is in there that wasn't already in your mouth a couple of seconds ago? Oh well, whatever makes you happy.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    This is kind of what I was thinking. People sometimes get so caught up in the minutiae of the mechanics behind how they play that it gets in the way, and it messes with things that would otherwise occur naturally if we were to focus on the music.

    For example, if you are a golfer and you want to mess with your buddy's game for the day, ask them this questions right before they get ready to tee off:

    "I was just curious, do you breathe in or out right before you swing the club?" They'll get caught up thinking about something that ultimately doesn't matter, and it will throw their game for the rest of the day.

    There is another joke about a centipede. It's chasing down another bug and has just about caught it so it can eat it, and the other bug says, "Before you eat me, there is something I've always been curious about - when you are getting ready to go somewhere, which leg do you move first?"

    The centipede never moved again.

    It's paralysis through over-analysis. If you let it happen naturally and without thinking about it, the mouthpiece knows where it needs to go and how it's going to be set. While it does wind up happening the same way every time, I seriously doubt if the average pro player gives it much thought - they are thinking more about the musical line.

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