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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Left muscles working harder in the General forums; Hi everyone, So this is my question: I have been playing quite a lot lately and I feel that, when ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User just's Avatar
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    Dec 2013

    Left muscles working harder

    Hi everyone,

    So this is my question: I have been playing quite a lot lately and I feel that, when playing long tones, scales and lip slurs, the muscles of my left side of the face have to work very hard to avoid doing to much mouthpiece pressure while the right muscles remain relaxed. I believe is because I play slightly to the right (due to my teeth). What should I do? After every practising session, the left part of my face feels very tired.

    Thank you,


  2. #2
    Utimate User gmonady's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    Re: Left muscles working harder

    Wow, this is one of those Rowuk moments where he says it is hard to make a recommendation based on not being able to observe. It could be anywhere on the spectrum of mental concerns leading to a behavioral pattern of holding the trumpet to your face to a very mild case of Bell's Palsy. So I am not sure I know how to recommend help at this point. Perhaps if you add a bit more detail as to time line this developed over, or if you notice your smile and forehead wrinkles have changed a bit. But still this will be a tough problem to tackle without actually seeing you in action. Perhaps posting a video?
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  3. #3
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
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    Re: Left muscles working harder

    I would think this would be more common than most would imagine. Faces are rarely completely symmetrical and most of us can think of individuals who seem to have a "stronger" side- almost like left and right handedness. In that respect, I assume we all work one side more than the other. It sounds as if you are running into the extreme stage of this. Maybe a slow conditioning to get to where you need. If you are a regular player, why has this just become a problem? Is it just from the increased playing? If so, then your routine needs to use the problem side as the limit for your work. as Doc said, maybe Rowuk will have some ideas (no pressure Rowuk).
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  4. #4
    Pianissimo User Hornlife98's Avatar
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    Re: Left muscles working harder

    Further playing should rule out whether it is an anomaly.

    I'm guessing it is not an anomaly, however, and that is okay. You are avoiding excessive mouthpiece pressure, and your facial muscles are compensating for it. If you intelligently try to increase your endurance (I'll let someone more qualified answer advise you on that) , your facial muscles should not grow tired or overcompensate.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Left muscles working harder

    I can be wrong, but I perceive the left side of the face stretching/tensing to allow the right side favored embouchure. Too, as not many do to their detriment, this player may not have established adequate rest periods in their practice regimen.
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  6. #6
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Left muscles working harder

    I simply wouldn't worry about it. If we are doing the stuff that we should be, the trumpet migrates to an efficient position. If we are wasting our face, then all bets are off.

    Long tones, lipslurs, easy tunes.

    To be honest, I don't believe most of the descriptions provided. The connection of a symptom to a root is based on many things that require a lot of fundemental knowledge about how things work.

    Common issues are practicing in a bedroom with no musicstand, bad body use causing us to twist the torso to play, sucky body use, bad breathing. All are covered in detail here. Our sound should float on air. If it doesn't, we are wasting energy!
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  7. #7
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    Mar 2008

    Re: Left muscles working harder

    I attended a master class of a world class trumpet player (I won't mention names, but he is currently with the LA Philharmonic) who made it a point that many of use have too much tension when we play; throughout the body and especially in the face. He demonstrated a 2 octave C scale playing it with the cheeks puffed out (totally relaxed). I believe the adage is "Tension kills good sound". I'm not a teacher or a professional, but I might consider the Schlossberg long tone studies with a focus on relaxing the face. Good luck and happy trumpet playing in the New Year.
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