Smiling while playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Roshoka, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Back in the '60s I was taught about the smile technique and I never really got the tone I wanted. More recently, during my comeback, my research has shown me to liken the embouchure to the neck of a ladies drawstring purse. Think of the mouth as two concentric rings with the muscles around the mouth as the drawstring and the mouth (lips) as the floppy bit beyond the drawstring. I find that to tension the corners of the drawstring - the edges of the mouth - and leave to lips relaxed, is a great place to start. This allows the lips to vibrate with or without pressure between them, as the player chooses while providing the muscular support necessary for proper embouchure control.

    Does that make any sense at all - for once I'm struggling to create a word picture for you. I keep thinking of a cat's arse and that is just distracting.
  2. keigoh

    keigoh Pianissimo User

    Oct 24, 2012
    my band director always told us to keep the corners forward in order to give move vibrating area for the lips and make the tone richer
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Say HOWA HOWA HOWA several times, close lips and place mouthpiece and trumpet to lips and play. It's not a wide lip stretching smile, but it is a pleasant expression on your face most of the time, unless you light the afterburner to go for a DHC and beyond. Every player I've seen go for the altissimo has a strained facial expression.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Right idea, though--we use our lips as sphincter muscles. Knew a fine tuba player who advocated using a hemorrhoid creme (Preparation H) for swollen lips. My improvement was to use a dedicated tube.
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I am not sure if it helps with the word picture ----but it would help me (and the rest of TM) if you could identify the cat in my Youtube vid ----- NOW, is this a Yorkshire cat, who has imbibed too many "adult beverages" --- or is this an Aussie cat, who has imbibed too many "adult beverages" -- I think the cat is smiling though ROFL ROFL ROFL

    Cat Hiccups and Farts at the Same Time - YouTube
  6. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Like others who replied, I was also taught the "smile" approach in my early days. I am on the no-smile side today.

    Adam Rapa appears to smile when he plays, which make one wonder if there's more to it. Smiling is what we see on the surface. Many aspects of playing the trumpet are "under the hood", hard to see, and even harder to understand (at least for me :-)).

  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    +1 for me also -- can't say it any better than Mike
  8. robrtx

    robrtx Mezzo Forte User

    May 26, 2012

    I was gonna say, I hope he at least rinsed off the applicator......:-?
  9. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Many thanks to all. This thread has been educational on so many levels....:think:

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