Something new I've been trying....

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ichierzen, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Ichierzen

    Ichierzen Pianissimo User

    Sep 22, 2007
    Hey everyone,

    Recently, as I've stated in a new thread, I was sitting in a practice room, one without a window, ironically, and began looking back on some fun times I've had with my friends at college, and remembered a tale one told of a young student he knew who could play the trumpet without a mouthpiece in the pipe - not well, but the notes would speak.

    So, I figured since I needed to warm down and work on my breathing, why not?

    I took the mouthpiece out and put the tiny hole up to my lips, and nothing happened, couldn't get it to sound.

    Rather than forcing the hole against my lips, I slid the opening of my Strad's leadpipe in my mouth like a straw and kind of "puckered" the inside of my lips, blew more, and voila, it spoke. Meanwhile, I'm keeping an emphasis to put as little pressure as possible - I don't want a hole in my lip, or to see blood spurt out as Armstrong is told of having done (though I'm aware of his playing style embouchure wise).

    I managed to get a very flat C, or concert Bb if you wish to call it that. I experimented and could get low F#, and a D above that low C, but little more. My lips didn't hurt, so I threw the mouthpiece back on and man, full air/support/deep and dark sound all the way, and my multiple tonguing improved too.

    I warmed down by trying to work on intonation down low, playing a note on the piano and pressing the pedal, then tuning with my ear and checking the tuner. That ended that, and was about three days ago.

    Now, it's made my sound much nicer, probably by helping me learn how to use the air appropriately, and I can play from that low F# up to middle line C.

    However, I'd like to know if anyone else knows of the effects of this or has tried it or teaches it? I want to know if I'm hurting my lips/embouchure by doing this without knowing, though I think it's strengthening the back muscles of my lips and forcing my embouchure to get stronger since it'll have to hold a smaller hole than it's used to from a Bach 3C. I approached my teacher about it, but he'd never heard of it or thought of doing so, and ended with, "Well, let me know how it goes."

    So, any thoughts, comments, criticisms?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2007
  2. patdublc

    patdublc Pianissimo User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Salisbury, MD
    If it helps your sound, then why not keep working with it. I've done this before more or less to act like a smartie who could play without a mouthpiece. But, I've never done any real focus practicing in this manner. I'll give it a try.

  3. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Many years ago in my distant, misbegotten, unruly youth,( I was a rotten kid ), I had a private teacher who taught this method. I experienced the same results as you have. My next teacher was livid that his predecessor had instructed a relative novice to such a potentially hazardous method. My dad and grandfather, both accomplished cornetists and trumpeters, didn't like the idea either. I quit it and have never hazarded going back to it since. That was 60 years ago. Wow!!!!!!!

  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Personally I don't see how it could benefit you that quickly. I also don't see it being to good on the lips, with the very harsh rim the mouthpiece receiver usually has.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    if you take a look at what a mouthpiece does, you will see why "alternatives" are questionable.
    The mouthpiece rim is the interface between metal and muscle. It needs to "feel" comfortable, not immobilize the lips, but seal well to keep the part of the lips used for playing clearly defined. The cup actually creates a buffer of air that supports the lips on the outside. The throat and backbore are critical to make the mouthpiece interface properly with a trumpet. Playing on the mouthpipe, does clearly define the playing area - without and support or cushion from a rim, it also does NOT offer any support for the lips. If you think that you sound better afterwards, it was PURE CHANCE. Nothing that happened could have positively influenced the development of fine motor skills or strength.
  6. Ichierzen

    Ichierzen Pianissimo User

    Sep 22, 2007
    Thanks for the words of wisdom guys. I have actually stopped using that method, did so a few days ago, I still try it every once in a while, but I never started doing it as a real means to an end.

    Looking back on it, all it was forcing me to do was use more air, which, BINGO, is what all the professors tell you to do when something isn't going the way you like, well, sort of - I'm sure you get my point.

    I think the reason why I was so astounded was that I've finally begun breathing from low in my belly, rather than high in my chest, and I'm still getting used to it, but I think that's what really helping - I was just supporting the way my body naturally wants to.

    Thanks though, your insight is important to me, and I feel as though I have learned a few things from this topic.

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