Stiff Upper Lip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sethoflagos, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    I think I get this a bit most of the time, but it has become particularly noticeable with the British cold, damp, gloom to which I've been subjected this last week.

    When I start my practice session, for a good half hour (even more today), my lips feel too stiff to vibrate properly unless I give the note loads of oomph. It's sort of great for the high notes because they're all there, but low on the stave I'm just airballing like crazy.

    I live on ciggies and strong, black tea so let's get over that one.

    Anybody have any hints on increasing lip suppleness in a reasonable timeframe, preferably without doing extended Champion the Wonderhorse impressions in public?
     
  2. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    massage your lips lightly with your fingers for several minutes, before undertaking your practice session - this gets the blood flowing a little better ----- sure go ahead and laugh like lots of others do to ole KT ---- but I highly suggest you try this before you start to automatically discount it
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Black tea does make my lips "tough" so I don't drink it on concert days.

    Without seeing you play, I can't tell if the stiff upper lip is a product of holding the trumpet at an angle that puts more pressure on it........

    If you play a 30 minute session of exhaled long tones all in the easy register (no tonguing), do you have the same issue? If we jump start the lips with a massive attack, we learn to compensate with more chop tension - that changes after a LONG warmup when we find equilibrium.
     
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Probably not far off the angle in my avatar, Robin. I'm playing with much less pressure these days, and if anything, rest more on my lower lip than the top.

    Almost everything I do is easy register, particularly first thing: long tones, hymns and simple lip slurs. When I get it, it generally clears gradually after 15-20 minutes and then very often I have a really good day. Seems to be a feature of morning starts mainly. I'm suspecting bedroom temperature may have something to do with it. Or hydration or something. A dab of vaseline seemed to help a bit this morning.

    Generally, I need to jump start the lips more than I feel I should. When I get onto double-tonguing practice the -ku's are often a bit hit and miss if I don't sharpen the attack a bit.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The working dab of vaseline would indicate that the lips "stick" to one another or to the mouthpiece. That could be hydration, too much embouchure muscle applied (mousetrap effect) or applying the mouthpiece to the lips before the embouchure is formed. This can force the aperture to stay open and reduces efficiency dramatically. If this is the case, form the M-Bouchure first and then apply the mouthpiece lightly.

     
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    And then there's days like today, where I just pick up the instrument and everything's fine from the first blow.

    Was it having a plate of bacon and eggs first?

    :dontknow:
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It was saying MMMMH when you saw the bacon and eggs - perfect embouchure training!

     
  8. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    A Brit asking how to avoid stiff upper lip?
    Jeeeeez..... you are born with it for Christ sake!
     
  9. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    Stiff upper lip, swallow the little blue pill, don't chew it
     
  10. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    uhm -- getting OLDER might also have something to do with this ----- I have "good" days, and "bad" days of playing trumpet ------ they seem to occur in accordance with my arthritis --------------------(meaning when my body is feeling the pain from atmospheric pressure, food, or whatever in my joints), it seems to be a "bad" day, and likewise my lips take more time to loosen up, so my playing is OK ------------------------ normally I can pick the horn up and play, on bad days ---- it seems like I need 15 or 20 minutes of soft easy playing before the lips work properly
     

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