Side of my mouth or center

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Scottyent, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Stefen

    Stefen Pianissimo User

    Apr 1, 2013
    Sutton Bridge, LINCS. UK
    I also recommend the P.E.T.E. and as Wynton says, be patient, don't rush to get results, going to fast (with the P.E.T.E. and trying to extend your range with your centred(ish) placement) will only damage your chops. If you go down to the gym for the first time you don't try and bench press 350lb, you will damage the muscles and in the end take you longer to lift the weight than if you worked through a well thought out and planned program. I also think your teacher is playing with fire. (play on the side until you want to go pro! then you will have to change and have a great set back just when you should be making strides forward). Build strength and consistency and range will come, most music for the trumpet is from low G to high C/D above that is in the realm of lead guys and piccolo tot players.
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I believe we are saying the same thing. Your teeth (not your lip) are defining the most comfortable positioning of the mouthpiece. This is YOUR special anatomical set up for your embouchure. I say work with this and do not try to change your embouchure unless you choose to change your dental structure.
  3. Conntribution

    Conntribution Fortissimo User

    Dec 25, 2010
    Lloyd Harbor NY.
    As above.... Thus, my mouthpiece rests upon the right side of my mouth. About 1/4 from center.
  4. Jackson Arch

    Jackson Arch Piano User

    Mar 6, 2010
    Look, I am not an expert or pro here (another comeback player after 30 years off), but gmonady's comment is simple wisdom that I can identify with. The teeth define the embouchure more for me. I play a bit off to the side, not nearly as much as Chris Botti, but left of center. That is where my less than perfect teeth provide a nice foundation. At times I have worked to pull my placement more towards the center during practice; not really with the intention of staying there always, but more to develop additional confidence and flexibility towards the center...if that makes sense. If I am in the grove and not thinking, my placement goes back to my left of center set and I tend to play best there. However, if I am hard at it and my lips are beginning to fatigue, I will sometimes shift towards center where there is remaining strength and very little difference in performance. Does that mean a centered placement is superior or is that just a matter of developing and using a slightly different portion of the lip muscle at times - I'm thinking the latter.

    My uneducated and casual observation here is that perhaps there is too much focus upon going directly from your comfortable side placement all the way to the center. There are some great pros on this forum and if they think I am off base, take their guidance to heart; however, have you tried minor shifts of your placement during practice to see if you can develop comfortable strength slightly more towards center? If I missed that somewhere in this thead, I apologize. But, just as moving to center the first time felt awful, small changes will not feel quite right at first either. Yet, the lips will adjust/respond to small shifts a whole lot quicker than they will to a full shift to exact center. Sorta obvious, I know, but maybe something to consider. And, as far as I am concerned, exact center is not the answer for everyone.

    I just Youtubed two of my greatest trumpet playing inspirations. One plays nearly perfectly centered. The other plays to the side almost exactly where I play. I harbor tremendous admiration for the talent of both and would be delighted to play as either...but never will. So, the moral of the story? More beer!! :bravo:

    In all seriousness, best wishes in your challenge. Yours is a noble pursuit. Look around you in your workplace and think about how many of those there are completely lacking the passion/ability to make real music - a striking observation where I work...does not matter if you are a "Doc" or just an aspiring bum like me. One day my boss saw me holding two tickets for the philharmonic. He said, "I'd rather puke than listen to that crap". He will die a fool, but you will not.
  5. Scottyent

    Scottyent New Friend

    Feb 28, 2013
    Hey guys, thanks for all the great feedback! It's wonderful to have a community like this to discuss these types of things with :) with all your years combined, that's a lot of wisdom!

    After meeting with my old teacher today, we have made the decision to keep on playing in the middle and build it from there again. The reasons were this:

    1) he forgot just how far over it was! He didn't remember that it had moved farther and farther over, and now almost touched the corner of my mouth. This made the decision to change it a lot easier.

    2) we did sound tests with a variety of mouthpieces. Although the second I jumped on my side embouchure I could squeak out notes up to a high c, the sound is noticeably thinner and "tinny" ... I had not noticed it so much since I have been focusing 99% of my time on the center, but once he pointed out how choked and meek the side sounded, I heard it immediately. When I switched to center initially, my sound quality really fattened out and within my usable range, it's exactly where I want to be.

    3) after all this discussion about teeth placement, I took a deeper look at my teeth arrangement and what would affect my mouthpiece placement. On the side I play my teeth come out a bit on top as they turn very quickly back to the side... This basically creates a sort of sharp corner which is not efficient or comfortable for my mouthpiece. I don't know how I played that way for so long! When I mess around with it now, I immediately feel pain in my upper lip since its thin and the teeth are poking out. In the middle, my front two teeth are flat, but slightly slanted. Overall, should be no problem for the mouthpiece and nothing else sticks out too bad.

    My trumpet teacher is kind enough to keep meeting up with me for the next weeks and months to monitor the change and make sure my range and quality keeps growing. Now that I have this decision made, I am very optimistic and excited about the challenge! I will get the P.E.T.E. (especially for days at work where I can't buzz) and continue to build my strength!

    Thanks to everyone again for sharing their stories and their advice, it has been a great help to me, and will keep giving me motivation going forward. I'm sure this isn't my last post, but it is one of my most important ones, and I really appreciate the guidance I received!
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I know -- I've read your most recent comment about going for the center --- I just wanted to point out this 1 thing here ----- hard to say when exactly to QUIT?????? ---- uhm, be a trumpet player -- NEVER QUIT!!!! --- ((winners never quit and quitters never win)) ---- and yes, you still get to choose!!!!

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