Trying to fix in the red embochure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TpetHunter, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. TpetHunter

    TpetHunter New Friend

    Nov 27, 2015
    Hello everyone. I have a problem with my embochure that I currently play "in the red", meaning you can see the red of my lip at the top of the mouthpiece, which is apparently a serious issue that no one has addressed with me until now. I am in my first year of college and am in marching band, pep band , and next semester i am in either university band or concert band. I tried to not necessarily fix it, but messed with it in a practice room by doing lip slurs and long tones. After I was well warmed up this weird thing happened where I would try to do slurs and lip bends and my mouthpiece would slip back into the old playing style. I've talked to many people about this and some say I have to change it, and others say if it isn't broken, don't fix it. So what do you all think? any specific exercises I should do to fix the problem or should I just leave it since my tone, range, and style are pretty on par with a collegiate band? any comments appreciated.
  2. Leslie Colonello

    Leslie Colonello Pianissimo User

    Dec 17, 2016
    Stay away from the mirror. Play with your ear not your eyes. If you are getting around the horn with no discernible problems you are doing it right. Don't be an analyst, be a musician. The folks who told you if it ain't broke don't fix it are correct. Take it from a guy who at one time or another has technically done everything wrong. After 50 years I'm still standing and still playing.
  3. bbonner50

    bbonner50 New Friend

    Jun 2, 2016
    I would tend to agree with Leslie on this. Now if you plan to be a professional trumpet player you may need to make the change. To be the best at something you need to do everything right to get there. If you plan on just playing some gigs for extra doe after you graduate I would not change a thing. If you can do everything you want from the horn now, stay the course.
  4. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

    Nov 27, 2008
    Manchester, England
    I would say this, do you want to change or do you want to do as they say because they say its better.

    There is a reason for asking this in this way.

    I made a similar change some time ago, I decided myself that my mouthpiece might be too low, so I experimented and tested, and I found a richer sound by raising the mouthpiece to the position I now use.

    The sound improvement justified the change, and I made the change and broke the habit because I saw the sense in it and wanted the change.

    If making that change leads to improved tonality and better playing for you then decide if you want it, nobody else. and if you do then go for it.

    It was for me a trivial change no big deal, sure I slipped back and still do occasionally as you have, but hey just reposition and then keep playing dont sweat it.

    Like the smoker who gives up, and is proud of it but absent mindedly accepts a cigarette, does he cave in and start smoking again, or just say hey I had a cigarette so what.

    You can play well with low mouthpiece, with high mouthpiece, with mouthpiece way over to one side, or with it central, but one position will yield a full and rich tone that you want, the task is to find it.

    It aint a big deal but you must choose what is right for you and for the right reasons.
  5. DaRealMikeJones

    DaRealMikeJones New Friend

    Jan 5, 2017
    I'm 55 years old and am finally tackling the same problem. After laying off for three years because of work commitments, I'm back to playing. After working on this for four months, it's more comfortable to play in a locked, upper position. At first, while making the change, my tone was terrible and I had no upper range. Before laying off, I had a solid G above high C, but the lower playing position really beat up my lips after playing a 2 to 3 hour gig. The same as you, as I ascended in range, my mouthpiece descended into my previous position. The main reason for making the change was that I was playing on two embouchures, one from G above the staff and below and one from G above the staff and higher. When descending from a high note to something in the staff, or the opposite, I needed to reset in order to continue playing which I felt was a serious limitation to doing any exposed classical, commercial or recording work.

    All that stated, I finally found a solution that is really working for me. I recently purchased a Delrin mouthpiece from Wedge. The Wedge shape grabs my obicularis oris and the texture adds friction that stops the mouthpiece from slipping down. I do my daily routine on the Wedge and then move over to a Stork VM 4 for my other practice. My daily routine is the Bill Adam routine and is at least 60 minutes of chop/sound building. The Delrin mouthpiece sounds a bit fuzzy, but that is the trade off I'm making to help build the muscles necessary to lock my mouthpiece into a single position. My range is back to an E above high C, but I feel with a few months of continued work, I'll be able to play much higher with more consistency. Most importantly, I've been focusing on creating the best tone that I can while practicing. I've discovered that playing with a full sound with more frequent and longer rests has given me more results than practicing softly, although I have continued with lots of PPP practice in later sessions. I try to end my playing day with Adam's endurance exercises.

    Several years ago, I took some lessons with Jeanne Pocius. What I discovered was a secondary underlying problem, my bottom lip was not developed enough to support playing higher on my lips. To ascend in range, I was substituting arm pressure for embouchure compression and that resulted in my mouthpiece descending on my chops to reduce the vibrating area and increase compression. Over the past four months, I've really focused on building my chop strength and consciously creating compression with my lower lip. I've also added daily pencil exercises where I can focus independently on building these muscles.

    Your mileage may vary,

    Mike Jones

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