First, let me say that I do have a teacher. She is a local band director and qualified to teach brass up to a certain level but she specializes in reed instruments. I tried to discuss this problem with her but did not get any clarity other than its normal so “suck it up butter cup.”
A while back I went to a trumpet professor and was taught to play with both lips curled slightly and to use my air properly; it all sounds good. I have been playing my Rubank exercises and Sigmund Herring Etudes very dutifully. And, to my great joy my teacher says that it is time to learn double tonguing. At first, I practiced off horn in the recommended way (Too Koo). Then on horn, I practiced while performing the same note, also as recommended in the usual way, and all is good so far. The teacher then decided to convert a Sigmund Herring exercise (Etude #10) into a double tonguing etude. I loved it. But, I developed severe pain in the jaw joint similar to what is described for TMJ syndrome and get really scared. It has never really happened before. I started to analyze very deeply what I may be doing wrong. My teacher said that there is nothing wrong and it was just my chops getting stronger; it is normal. But, I am not too sure.
Here is where is where I am asking for your input. I have discovered that through “evolution” (sound familiar) of the exercises I have been given, I have very subtly and gradually moved away from a both lips slightly curled to a lower lip curled and under the upper lip. I think that the upper lip may be curled to some degree but I am not sure. I have found it very easy to play this way and it happened by accident. For example, the harmonic slurs recommended by Markie are so comfortable and easy to do this way. Slurring from low F# to G on top of the stave is so very comfortable and easy. I am still having to use the corners of my mouth and vary the lip curl, which is why I did not notice I was doing anything different from what I was showed (curling both lips and relying on both equally). I also have to use lip compression to some degree between the upper and lower lips, so it is still easy to not notice that I was moving away from what I was showed.
However, concentrating on what I may be doing wrong to cause so much pain in the jaw joint when double tonguing, I believe that to make the quick changes in notes I was using greater jaw movements rather than relying on muscles of my embouchure. Is double-tonguing more difficult for people who curl the bottom lip under the top? Is this ultimately a dead-end embouchure for good articulations?
I have tried “re-focusing” in balancing the lip curl between both lips and using more lip compression between the two towards the corners and the there is zero jaw pain and the articulation is much cleaner, at least to my ear. It just does not feel natural at all.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.