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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Gogs, Oct 24, 2006.
What length size should the pencil be???
Interesting question; I've never seen it asked.
It seemed to me that the length of the pencil should be as long as you can tolerate as the longer it is the more it will work your muscles around your embouchre.
So I used a brand new, unsharpend #2 pencil right out of the package and have been using it solely for that purpose.
The answer is that it depends on your chops. If you've been playing a while, then you can probably use a full size pencil. If you've only been playing a matter of months, probably start with a small pencil. Experiment around and see which one works better. You'll know when you have the right length as your embochure muscles will start to 'burn' from holding the pencil up.
It's good to begin with a coffee straw. These are less abrasive to the lips and lighter to hold up. I recently switched coffee shops, and so I've been using a heavier wooden coffee-stirrer. I feel like I'm progressing as a player because of it. (just kidding). But no, it's a good way to justify caffeine use.
I always heard to use a golf pencil.
There are several different views about this type of muscle building.
I think it is important to have a mirror when you are using a pencil. There is a tendency just to clamp down vertically to hold the pencil up. Our chops work a little differently. We also need to bring the sides in somewhat.
I am not sure how much of this type of practice builds the strong but still flexible embouchure. How much is too much? Other muscles in the body build up mass when stressed to the extreme. Repetitions build up strength without limiting flexibilty. It is kind of like the weight lifter versus the long distance runner.
What is good for the trumpet player? Any clinical studies out there?
Any "bad" (but fair) experiences? I have never taught this because I have never seen conclusive evidence. I know some successful players that do this, but they also practice very resolutely.
Pops McLaughlin includes a standard #2 pencil and a shorter one with his Chop Builder book. Works for me.