Way too much Mouthpiece Pressure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Aroman, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Aroman

    Aroman New Friend

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    Hello everyone, I'm in need of some help.
    For the past few years of trumpet playing, I've been playing with too much pressure at the mouthpiece. More recently, it has gotten to the point where I can hardly buzz a distinguishable note on the mouthpiece without using a fair amount of pressure. I'll only be playing for around 5-10 minutes, and a very noticeable red impression will have already appeared on my lips where the mouthpiece was. naturally, as I play longer, the impression deepens and reddens further. I've been working on establishing a firmer embouchure, but I still can hardly play without a fairly large amount of mouthpiece pressure. This is killer on my endurance, and it always takes my chops a long time to recover. The lack of endurance brought on by the pressure is further becoming a problem, as this year I'm a section leader for the marching band, and this is my second year as a member of the advanced jazz band, not to mention the pressure is unhealthy for my lips. I don't really know exactly what to do about this problem, and any help would be much appreciated.
     
  2. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Hi Aroman. What I try to do when I'm practiciing, is to play soft (p to mf) with minimal pressure. I play about 30-60 minutes of long tones, lyrical studes, clarke exercises, and then about 30-60 minutes practicing other things. I also try to break up my practicing into 3 or 4 smaller segments, so that my lips always feel relatively fresh. Do you have a private teacher? If not, this might be the best way to get help on this issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    A device you might want to check out is a device I got from a guy in Israel. I wish I could give you a name of the device but the markings on the device give no name. Here's what it does. You put the adjustable metal spring type device in the reciever of your trumpet and then put your mouthpiece in the device. Its spring loaded so when you play and start using pressure, the device moves and caused your air to shoot out the side of the device. You learn to not use so much pressure since the device gets you in touch with what is too much pressure.
    Good Luck
    I own one and am convinced it is useful.
    here's the markings if you want to research it:
    1) made in Germany
    2)Joachim Dolling
    3)Ges. Gesch
    4)Markriekirchen (this was poorly pressed into the metal but it is pretty close to what it says).
    This is an addition:
    I got curious and looked up the device. Here's what i found:
    it can be seen on Ebay and the name is:
    Ubungs-Adapter Zum Erienen des Druckarmen
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  4. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Interesting device. Just out of curiosity, does anyone have any experience using this type of device?
     
  6. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    I tried it once. As soon as the spring moves the valves close the adapter and you cannot play. Never bought one though.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The answer is simple, you need to take a break from your performing/rehearsal schedule and stop doing bad things to your face. We use pressure because it works - for a while. It becomes a BAD habit and at one point your world falls apart. I won't comment on gizmos to help because I think it is solvable by slowing down and doing the right things.

    Long tones played VERY quietly, first on the mouthpiece, then later on the trumpet. Make sure that you get about 10 minutes of CONCENTRATED mouthpiece work like this, then the same thing with the horn. I say concentrated and mean no reading, watching TV or anything else. You need to get a cycle built that connects the lungs, tongue, lips, ears, brain and lungs again. That is achieved by LISTENING. Face time to me is a curse because it destroys the cycle.

    After that 20 minutes, play 10 minutes of easy slurs - pay attention that you are taking a deep breath and exhaling into the horn. Low impact, little pressure. After that, grab a hymnbook and play 20 minutes of easy tunes - the soprano or alto voices. Then pack the horn away for at least a couple of hours, if not a whole day. Do only this stuff for 2 weeks and you should have settled down a bit. Then the slurs can get more advanced and the tunes can get tougher. Still practice ONLY at pianissimo. After the 4 weeks are up, then add a rehearsal and PAY ATTENTION to what you have learned. No unnecessary high notes, minimal loud. Just be a solid player in the middle, not on top of the pack. If you notice the bad habits again, stop, take a sip of water and try again.

    Breaking any habit requires dedication, concentration and cooperation. The ball is in your court. Just DO IT!
     
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  8. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Rowuk, what is the advantage of doing long tones on the mouthpiece first? I think you posted some great advice for the OP. But I was wondering if you (or anyone else) could shed some light on the importance of long tones on the mouthpiece. Thanks.
     
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Yes I have experience with the pressure adapter and (for me) it absolutley works.
    Thanks Nick for finding the site!!
    I use to play with a lot of pressure and played mostly the lead parts (especially the strat notes) Now I play with a reasonable amount of pressure. I can still scream the MF notes but with more control. Its a training device that taught me what too much pressure and tension feels like. I know that last sentance seems a little dumb, but, if a person is adapted to using too much pressure and tension to accomplish musical goals, then the only gauge of a person's upper limit is their lip goes out or they pass out.
    Since it is a training device, there comes a time you will no longer need it. However, I do not think that my use of air and tension would be where it is today without this device.
    I recommend it without reservations.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It is very simple. When I play long tones on the trumpet, the resonant system does most of the work, we just need to keep the resonance alive. When I play on just the mouthpiece, I have no resonant node (the mouthpiece is too short) and it is purely the lip and breath control that produces the sound. It is much harder to play a long tone steadily without the horn. We are much more in touch with our breathing and suppleness of the lips.

    In all my years of teaching, this has been the initial visualization for all of my students. No steady sound with the mouthpiece, no clean trumpet playing. This is also why I do not teach buzzing with the leadpipe or a B.E.R.P. Not because they are no good, rather because the mouthpiece gives a direct representation of our bodies present condition. It keeps the student aware of how sensitive our bodies are and where they are at.

    The central point of my teaching I call the circle of breath. Essentially it means inhale and exhale with no break, tension or holding air in between these states. When we exhale through the horn (mouthpiece, etc.) we have a very high efficiency in the coupling of our bodies to the trumpet system. The harder we push, the more the horn fights back.
     
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