upper lip problem

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dave Mickley, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

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    last spring the leader of a big band that I play told me I was the lead player. I've never had the range for playing lead so I started using the Thiecke Method exercises plus playing as much of page 121 of Vizutti's book as possible. I do this practice routine at least 5 days a week and my range has increased to a usable D above high C [F and F# in my practice room]. Sunday about half way through the hymns something strange happened to my upper lip. It feels like I lost the meaty filling on the left side of my emboucher. it is uncomfortable [not too painful] but really strange feeling. My right side of the upper lip feels the same it just feels like on the left side that the stuffing of a pillow has collapsed. I don't know if I should put the horn up for a week or so or to keep playing. My upper lip doesn't look any different but sure feels strange. anyone else experience this?
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I had that happen to me when I was a freshman in HS. I used A LOT of pressure when I played - particularly when doing Pep band, which I lived for at the time. Right where the rim contacted my upper lip, it was just really thin, and possibly even separated from the use of so much pressure.

    It isn't like that anymore - time and an effort to play with less pressure and play properly has helped over the years, and it's pretty much back to normal, so I'm not sure what to tell you about "fixing" it.
     
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Jan 4, 2009
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    Dave asks:
    I've never had the range for playing lead so I started using the Thiecke Method exercises plus playing as much of page 121 of Vizutti's book as possible. I do this practice routine at least 5 days a week and my range has increased to a usable D above high C [F and F# in my practice room].
    --
    Let's look at some of the variables you've added since you were given the lead gig:
    >The Thiecke Method
    >Vizzutti's Book
    > Frequency is 5 days a week
    Here's a possible problem. If you used a lot of pressure to achieve the notes, then you've learned to increase your range in a detrimental way.
    Try this:
    1)Put the mouthpiece in the horn but remove the tuning slide.
    2)Place the mouthpiece on the horn with just enough pressure to create a seal.
    3)Play a "soft" long tone. Not a high tone, just the soft long tone that naturally comes out of the horn's leadpipe.
    3)Begin to add a little pressure. What do you hear? The pitch going up when you apply mouthpiece pressure and the pitch going down as you decrease mouthpiece pressure,right? If you don't get this effect, you're already pressing too hard.
    The point is, it doesn't take much to smash the lips and cause the pitch to go up.
    4)Blow out the lips like a horse and place the mouthpiece on the lips again using just enough pressure to create a seal.
    5)This time, play a soft long tone but use the corners of the lips to cause the pitch to go up and down.
    These are the muscles you want to develop. Truth be known, we never escape mouthpiece pressure. We learn to control it so hopefully we don't damage ourselves.
    6)Watch Balsom, Mendez, and Helseth on Youtube and pay particular attention to their faces. Do you see a lot of straining? No. It's as if their faces are emotionless but at the same time beautiful music is coming out. You want your face to look like that. Not scrunched or strained but controlled.
    7) please read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment
    8)Read rowuk's circle of breath
    9) Watch urban Agnas videos on "Flow".
    Hope this helps
    Learn from watching these faces.
     
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Hi Dave,

    Try practicing very soft. Use as little pressure as possible.Rest often.I like using peddle tones. I warm up playing arpeggios very soft, starting on C in the staff down to low C,then chromatically down until I'm playing low C arpeggio to peddle C. Then I rest for 5 minutes. Then I sort of repeat the pattern in reverse,low C arpeggio to peddle C and then back up to low C,I play this until the F# arpeggio,I then start on the low F# and play a one octave arpeggio to first space F#,continue to third space C. Rest for 5 min.s.
    Now go up arpeggios chromatically from low C# to high C with a peddle C between each arpeggio.Rest 5min.s Then continue the same pattern as high as you can comfortably play with out pressure. Rest for 5 or 10 min.s .Then play what ever you normally would, only do it at pp.
     
  5. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

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    thanks for the input guys, also some useful tips on helping change my playing style. What was confusing to me is that I have doing these specific exercises for 6-7 months with no problem and Sunday just playing normally and probably at mf this thing showed up. I played for over 11 years in an outdoor entertainment group [Circle City Sidewalk Stompers Clown Band] where we played very loud and did up to 8 shows a day. There were days I split my lip and and had to rinse the blood out of my m.p. and lead pipe but never suffered anything like this. Maybe my age [61] is rearing its ugly head and my body is breaking down. The big band that I am playing lead in is trying to get get charts that go no higher than D so I have the range, just now trying to maintain.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  6. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

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    Nov 11, 2005
    Indianapolis
    played for about 5 minutes today after giving my chops a 3 day rest. the left side of my upper lip still feels like it lost all of its cushioning. I could still play no discomfort but put the horn up and decided to give my lip a couple of more days rest.
     

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