tongue and jaw position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hornguy, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. hornguy

    hornguy New Friend

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    Dec 30, 2006
    When I play in the lower to middle register, I drop my lower jaw and move it forward so that my upper and lower teeth are directly opposite each other and about ¼ to ½ inch apart. I am comfortable with this and believe it to be a good way of playing.

    However, as I go into the higher register, my tongue rises (“Eeeeâ€) and I tighten my corners. As I do this, my lower jaw pulls back to a more normal position, with my lower teeth behind my upper teeth. Because of this, the bell drops about an inch in order to maintain even mouthpiece pressure on my lips.

    The gap between my teeth appears to stay the same but my lower lip rolls in and nearly touches my top teeth.

    Is this wrong? Should I continue to move my jaw forward in the upper register and try to keep my upper and lower teeth directly opposite each other?



    Thanks
    Matt
     
  2. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

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    I've got similar issues. If you listen to guys like Carl Saunders who posts his opinions on the subject on his website, you'll be doing yourself a favor down the road. If you listen to a Bobby Findley, as long as you can develop compression in your oral cavity and there's room for the air to get out, it matters little where your jaw is; his brother plays with an overbite and has unbelievable range. Phil Smith of the NY Phil seems to play with his horn at a 45 degree downward angle and he sounds unbelievable. Then there's the Freddie Hubbards with the horn up in the air, the Chris Bottis with the mpc up near his nose.

    At the end of the day, you've got to go with a combination of gut and good sense. I went through a more radical emb change than I needed and it set me back. I'm back, but it was unwarranted. As they said on Hill Street Blues, "Be careful out there."

    Ed Mann
    MySpace.com - Ed - 51 - Male - LA, California - www.myspace.com/jazzlips
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    These are some issues that are extrmemly difficult to diagnose over the internet. Having the horn point down as one ascends is perfectly normal. My one concern might be your lower lip "curling in"--if caused by a colapse of the embouchure it might cause some sound/accuracy problems down the road to our goal of higher, louder, faster. Five minutes spent with a good teacher could answer that question.

    Have fun!
     
  4. westhorn

    westhorn New Friend

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    About a year ago (year2/3 of playing) or so, I noticed that I had a markedly different position of embouchure when playing high to when playing low which obviously can slow you down.

    I decided to try and play all notes with pretty much the same embouchure, just tighter or looser. This seems to have worked OK. I cannot remember the change being a particular problem, though it was not quick.
     
  5. westhorn

    westhorn New Friend

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    Watching Youtube clips of Rafael Mendez playing I noticed he plays a lot of high notes with the trumpet almost vertical. I wondered

    a - Was it showmanship, well maybe a bit

    b - I do not think my back would like it

    c - was it something to to do with gettting a wedge on his diaphragm to increase pressure and air velocity?

    Its the last point that I would like experienced advice on.
    Thanks
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I personally do not think that moving the jaw around is a good thing. There is a lot of music with relatively large jumps and that is essentially impossible to negotiate.

    The most critical thing is to not add pressure to the upper lip, that means point the trumpet down. If you were my student, I would probably try and pick one of the states and make everything work with it. This should have been caught earlier in your career!

    I believe YOU should do nothing without advice from someone that understands embouchure.
     
  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    The best advice I received was to keep the lower lip under the upper lip.

    For me, that means tilting the trumpet down and keeping my lower jaw forward.

    If you have the money, buy David Hickman's book on Pedagogy. It has a lot of this information. I am not comfortable quoting from it since a teacher is needed for this type of question.
     
  8. hornguy

    hornguy New Friend

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    Dec 30, 2006
    Thanks for the replies.

    I have been taking some lessons from a good teacher, Jay Daly in Boston. I have emailed him about this and will post his response.

    This isn't a huge movement. The bell is only dropping about an inch. I'm just disecting everything and wanted to get other people's opinions.

    The Carl Saunders info is great! Thanks, EdMann.

    In terms of the Rafael Mendez vertical position, there are several factors I see. First, his head is back. That really helps open the windpipe. I recently made that adjustment. If you move your head forward, like you are pointing forward with your chin it really hinders airflow. Try taking a big breath with your head forward and then back (don't tilt your head, just point with your chin).

    Second, one way of generating additional compression is by using your lats (latissimus) which will arch your back. I learned this from Bob McCoy (another great teacher in Boston). I often think that there is a bit of showmanship involved, but there is also some technical reason for arching your back.

    I feel like I have some of those pieces figured out (although Claude Gordon's "Chest High" stuff still fights with my attempt to keep my throat open.)

    My gut feeling is that it would be better to not change jaw position. Some of the real technical monsters I worship don't move anything (Mendez, Vissutti, Doc, Andre')
     
  9. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

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    Well, they may already have their jaws in place, as it were, and they don't NEED to move anything. Doc, particularly, looks like he's not moving a thing to go where he wants to go: same embouchure from low F# to double C. It's remarkable, really, but they figured it out. Me, I'm a chin pincher, but if I keep my lips in place, I pinch less and concentrate on keeping the blow even, and always keeping the sound concept in my head. That's what helps me.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Why on earth would you need additional compression? There may be some players that "arch their backs", but think about it, increasing the tension of your body NEVER makes your playing better. Arching your back reduces your air capacity (as does hunching over forward) as well as the resonant cavity and is therefore not good! This is some pretty destructive advice!

    Certain lead players use a technique called the wedge to increase leverage on the breathing apparatus. That is a more "forceful" method of playing though.

    There is no such thing as a closed throat. There is tension of the shoulder and neck muscles that is counter productive though. If your chest is up, the shoulders and neck relaxed, chin tucked in slightly, knees not locked, the body can reach a state where minimum energy is required to maintain balance. That is also the state where we can in the most relaxed fashion play trumpet.

    You should not need to change jaw position to play trumpet.
     

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