Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by kctrumpeteer, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    I had a lesson the other day with a local pro trumpet player and very quickly he noticed my mouthpiece position and asked me about how close my teeth were together and the short of it was that he said I should drop the mouthpiece down lower on my lip and also work on lowering my jaw more which in turn would open up my teeth and allow better air flow. Sort of hard to explain... and a bit amazed at how fast he could pick up on such little things that most people may not pick up on.

    Of course now I may be over analyzing it or it may just be that changing what I am used to over to something that feels different or less comfortable is messing with my mind, but wondering what others would say about the positioning of the jaw/ mouthpiece, etc. ??

    A guy I work with on a weekly basis said that they heard that you should be able to take a finger or the end of the mouthpiece and hold it between your teeth and you should have that much space between your teeth when you play. He didn't realize it but he did prep his mouth position before he played but most things we do become habit and we don't realize what we are doing (My assessment.)

    I usually don't put that much thought into how I position the mouthpiece, my jaw placement, teeth.. etc. I just pick up the horn and play, but I also know that I guy I play with said I sounded better tonight than I have for some time, but adjusting everything seemed to make everything more difficult to do tonight.

    Of course I didn't even get into the whole concept of opening the throat more which seems easier said than done...
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    It takes time to break an old habit and form a new one. If you are being told how much better you sound with the new position, then you need to listen your teacher and follow their direction.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Just do it. Your teacher is the only one of us that has seen your face and heard you play. That is worth a lot.

    As far as opening the throat, I'll tell you a secret - the trachea is a pipe, you can't close it off. Other things are in the way if you think that you have a closed throat. Research it - when you know what mechanisms are really hurting your playing - it is easier to eliminate them.
  4. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I wouldn't second guess a teacher over the internet.
    There's a lot of stuff out there and if it helps, it helps :-)
    Over-analyzing is very dangerous so I'd be careful not to think about it too much - just try to add the new habit.

    My trick for practicing it would be clarke studies (probably 1 & 2) at slow tempi, concentrating on your sound and the new space
  5. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

    Jul 18, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Like some of the others have posted, I suggest that you follow your teacher's advice. He has had the advantage of watching you play in person and seeing the results.

    That said, everyone has a different face and you will see many variations of mouthpiece placement and jaw position working very well. Not many teachers are aware of these patterns and choose to teach all their students to play like they happen to. If you have similar enough anatomical features that make the same embouchure type work for you, then there's no problem. If not, sometimes the instructions you get can be the exact opposite of what you want to practice.

    Here is a video presentation I put together a while ago that briefly shows some of the different basic embouchure patterns you can find. It won't hurt to become familiar with them in case your teacher's advice turns out to be wrong for your face.

    Good luck!


    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    Even small changes take time to go into muscle memory, Rowuk is correct, just do it. The changes you make in practice vs. during a performance take a lot of concentration on maintaining the change during the performance. The more practice time you put on it the better it will get. Hang in there !
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    As some of us start a new school year and have beginning trumpet students, I provide each a very small coffee stirring straw as will pass through the usual 5C & 7C mouthpieces. This simply orients the mouthpiece in the center between the student's lips as a starting point. Once they get the feel of the mouthpiece placement on their lips, I have them remove the straw and mouthpiece, put the mouthpiece in their instrument, demonstrate the aperture and the buzz, and ask them to duplicate it. Well, I wish I could have cotton in my ears at this point. Then I ask any who can't, to lower their instrument and attempt short lip buzz while I move to one on one with the student with a hand mirror, demonstrating and have then duplicate watching in the mirror. I've yet to complete the first class, where I did not get a sound from a student's instrument, and with most it was a solid note.
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Do as your teacher says, be patient and wait for the miracle.
  9. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    Sorry to challenge you, VB, but my experience tells me that no or little wonders happen in trumpet playing as in real live. Diligent practice and slow evolution would do better than any God-like miracle.

    I would suggest that any aspiring new trumpeter on this site have a very good look at the below interview collection with Will Smith (OK he is not a trumpet player, but still...)


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