Stiff upper lip . . . well, upper AND lower actually

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ellestad, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. ellestad

    ellestad New Friend

    May 18, 2006
    Madison, WI
    When practicing fairly high passages (high for me), andante above the staff on C or Bb trumpet, it isn't long before my lip gets stiff and quits responding on the high notes. I otherwise don't feel fatigued. I use a Schilke 17D4D mouthpiece on either instrument and it doesn't feel too big. I play a Schilke 19 for really big low parts. I can practice effectively for several hours if there isn't a disproportionate amount of above-the-staff playing. This is usually orchestral music that I am talking about. Etudes and exercises get the same effect.

    This happens more quickly with the pic - about twenty minutes of easy playing. I start well warmed up with a nice supple embouschure and try to play with light pressure, concentrating on small aperture and jet speed. Still I go stiff in a short amount of time. On pic I play a Schilke 11AX. Going to a bigger mouthpiece extends my playing time at the expense of the f and g - this seems like it isn't really a fix.

    I am a sixty-two year old comback player who has been playing for about seven years again (didn't play for 35 years). I played pretty well in my youth and I remember where I came from. I get some good instruction. I am able to practice about an hour a day, on average. I have a once-weekly orchestra rehearsal of 2 hours.

    I'm doing something wrong. Mouthpiece changes, so far, have only been worse.

    Any help will be appreciated.

  2. thomashooten

    thomashooten Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2005

    It is difficult to give good specific advice to your trumpet issues that you explained without seeing you in person. I would first try to find someone in your area that can give you one on one help.
    Second I would concentraite on making sure that your lips vibrate easily at a soft dynamic.
    When you say that playing a big mouthpiece on pic helps you play longer, that tells me that the center and efficiency of your setup is not ideal, meaning that playing on bigger equipment helps you muscle it a little longer.

    Work on playing a smaller mouthpiece from time to time to help find a nice small setup with the embouchure.

    Good luck,

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