Trumpet angle/position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by samuel, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. samuel

    samuel New Friend

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    Oct 15, 2009
    Borås, Sweden
    Hi, I am teaching trumpet and I can use some advice regarding a student.
    He had played for one year when he came to me and has now been my student for 6 months. He holds the trumpet very much down, he has like an overbite and blow downwards. I have been working with him to try to stand up properly with straight back but he is stuck in his old position and when he has the trumpet almost straight out he cant see the score because his head is then tilted back so his eyes are looking in the ceiling...
    I am trying different methods to reverse this position but if anyone of you know some good method or exercise to get out of this habit I would be happy to try them.

    Kind regards
    Samuel
     
  2. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 5, 2011
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    Hi Sam,
    The jaw is a fairly movable part. Have the student to position the jaw so that his bottom front teeth and his upper front teeth are aligned and about the width of a button separating the teeth. A way to get them to understand is to have them to hold out their finger in front of their face and tell them to imagine their finger is a candle and you want them to blow out the candle with a steady soft blow for about 10 seconds. Your job is to watch the student's chin. What you will see is the chin go out. Tell the student that's what you want as far as what we need to do to get the horn up. Have them to feel their chin as they do this a second time and to notice how it goes out. Repeat as necessary until they get it. The upper and lower teeth act as a wall and if they are way off in alignment, this can be troublesome. Things like the lip pushing back over the teeth, the inside of the lip getting abraded, and not being able to play notes are just a few of the things that can happen when the teeth are not aligned and the gap between the teeth is too wide. Pointing the horn down a little is a good thing. Playing to the ants on the floor isn't. As far as posture goes, you know and I know and most on this site know that poor posture does have a detrimental effect on our playing. Some people take well to instruction and others you have to get course with. If you must get course, have the student to stand during lessons and have the stand elevated. Keep a watchful eye on the chin and don't let the chin go back into a normal resting position.
    If it does, remind them what the chin did when blowing out the candle.
    Hope this helps and good luck
    Dr.Mark
     
  3. samuel

    samuel New Friend

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    Oct 15, 2009
    Borås, Sweden
    Thanks Dr Mark,
    I had figured out it had to do with the jaw but since I never had a problem with this myself I was not sure how to reverse this. Also, he is stubborn so I will have to be stubborn back. I will definitely try what you suggest here. Thanks again.
    Samuel
     
  4. deecee

    deecee New Friend

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    Sep 20, 2014
    It might also be helpful if you look into Roy Stevens' pencil exercise to help with receded jaw problems
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Jackson NC
    IMO I don't believe the pencil exercise will do anything to improve the downhill positioning from an overbite ... and just as likely will do the exercise wrong. The only consequence of the pencil exercise is to strengthen the lip muscles. Too, it is an exercise to do when there is no opportunity to practice. Definitely not used in lesson presentation except to demonstrate it being used properly.
     
  6. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    This gentlemen is Paul Merkelo. He is the principal trumpet in the Montreal Symphony.
    http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.607995721236614625&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0
    Having this rather severe downward angle doesn't seem to effect him.
    Sergei Nakariakov, another extreme downward angle.
    http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/NO4phqQKfPA/hqdefault.jpg
    If it is not effecting his playing, leave it alone. There could be a physiological reason that a "pencil exercise" will do nothing to help.

    Dizzy Gillespie played "wrong", too.

    Rich T.
     
  7. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

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    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Because of my overbite I play with the horn downwards at an angle of 30-40 degrees. I have had 2 band directors (clarinet players) tell me to lift the horn horizontal, I told them I will when they play their clarinet likewise.

    Bringing the jaw forward to lift the horn may introduce more problems than it solves. Did anyone tell Miles he was playing incorrectly

    Regards, Stuart.
     
  8. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

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    Melbourne Australia
    Agree with the sensible opinions. The over-bite/under-bite will determine where the horn sits comfortably for the player.

    Concentrate on getting a clear musical sound from his horn, and the body will adjust to get there once that sound is realised. Forcing an angle of the dangle into the equation may interfere with getting a good sound, and really create more issues.

    Placement of the mouthpiece, centre/left/right is another that just needs to be comfortable for the player. Don't change unless the sound is bad. It is the musical sound that will guide placement.

    My horn moves down slightly when I play low to bottom C, then begins to pivot back up slightly for pedals (Law in the Jaw for pedals to C), and moves up slightly when I climb up (EE to High C, and Hiss for high Register). That won't ever change, unless I eventually need dentures, then I can see adjustments will be needed. I think it will be different for a lot of people. Nothing is bad - except a bad sound.

    I would not worry if he has a good sound for his level. Aim for the best sound he can make.
     
  9. deecee

    deecee New Friend

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    Sep 20, 2014
    I had a similar problem and that's what Roy Stevens had me do when I studied with him. It helped me as well as others with receded jaw/overbite issues. The idea is to use the upward pencil motion to help with teeth alignment and direct upward motion of air
     
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    The concept of the "pencil exercise" is to apply lip muscle force on it as if to squeeze it. Such exercise is only one half of what can be done with a Warburton P.E.T.E. My very first thought is please don't stick a non-sanitary pencil in your mouth. Re-considering and being familiar with another device as is/was on the market is a stainless steel rod upon which weights could be applied. Holding such horizontal only with your lips with weights on the other end may enhance this, but please notice the habit as develops that the lower jaw moves forward in doing so ... the objective then being to achieve a horizontal positioning of the instrument as in time a mouthpiece will push back the upper teeth to the extent possible. Otherwise, I might suggest a consult with an orthodontist if the problem is severe or persists.

    Now at my age I don't worry much about it as I now have a full upper denture, but more times than I liked, I lay in a hospital bed passing time using my P.E.T.E. and got some weird interest from the nursing staff and some of my Doctors.
     

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