smile embouchure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by chet fan, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    Anyway, getting back to the original question, the smile stretches or thins the lips in the Z axis possibly providing an insufficient buffer to the mouthpiece pressure that is inherent in trumpet playing. Additionally, if you consider the analogy of a rubber band: if we stretch it and twang it, we get a pitch; stretch it further, we get a higher pitch. How far can you stretch it before it breaks? The lips aren't rubber bands but the smile causes them to work similarly to that analogy. Thus, there will be a finite range and a finite endurance for that player. Dangerous? Maybe, if you attempt to play beyond those factors. I can't say.

    I will state emphatically that a cushioned embouchure resists pressure and controls the buzzing tube, per my previous post. This approach works for me.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  2. ska

    ska Pianissimo User

    Sep 12, 2009
    Why won't you just use the smile embochure and decide for yourself if it's good or bad :D
  3. uvagrad90

    uvagrad90 New Friend

    Apr 16, 2009
    As a reformed smiler, I appreciate tbsieps description of what a pucker (non-smile?) embouchure does for the player.

    I smiled while learning trumpet in the 60s and, while getting quite technically accomplished, was frustrated by lack of range and endurance. I quit out of frustration in my early 20's.

    20 years later I picked the horn up again, and thanks to the internet (and more maturity on my part), learned a whole lot more about embouchures. And by slowly pushing myself to a pucker embouchure, range and endurance began building where it had never existed before.

    I'm still frustrated by all the things I still can't do well, but no longer am embarassed by my inability to play high or long when required. I know this is due to reading the many opinions expressed here and elsewhere and taking what sounds logical and applying it.

    So my reply to the OP question about smiling being "dangerous", yes it's dangerous to your mental health to purposely choose to pursue a smile embouchure, as it will likely limit two of the three things we trumpeters value most (the third being loudness, which doesn't seem to be affected by smiling). But if it works for you and you are satisfied with the results, there is nothing wrong with it.

    Another way of looking at it is this: There are many personal stories here and on TH about trumpeters switching from the smile to a pucker (bunched chin, padded, etc) embouchure and improving, but I can't think of one I've read about going the other way. What are the odds of that?

  4. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    chet fan since it was your original post what do you mean by a smile embouchure? Everyone seems to know what they mean by one but how about you?
  5. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    It is a process.
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    The extreme smile I used only to grab a quick breath from my lip corners. I note many describe a "smile" as deterrent to playing, but I'll question what one discerns of another in this regard. Admittedly, the space inside my upper lip seemed to inflate when I played and some have asked why I laughed when I played. I cannot remember one time where I was laughing as I played ... but what another discerned lays unchallenged as it wouldn't improve my playing.
  7. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    I have to agree with that. I have listened to Maurice Andre much more than I've watched him. From whatever is on youTube, it seems that putting him in the smile embouchure user category is a little abusive. Guess I shouldn't trust everything I read.
  8. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    For me when I pull the lips to the sides, it also seems to pull the top lip up, and I have real problems with the airstream between the teeth, I also seem to have to use the mouthpiece to keep the upper lip down. There maybe some fixes for this but I don't know what they are.

    The pucker(I think of it more like an inverted suck) seems to work much better for centering, no pressure much more control and flexibility.

    I took my first lesson the other day(it didn't even hurt), and he is a corner embouchure guy. Which I never quite understood what the corner was until he showed me what the actual muscles involved were, I like that method. He said I was a natural squealer and he made me play D above the staff!

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