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Trumpet Discussion Discuss "Lip shape" effecting trumpet playing? in the General forums; Hello everyone, I've got a question surrounding something I read recently. At the moment I can't locate the source that ...
  1. #1
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    May 2009

    "Lip shape" effecting trumpet playing?

    Hello everyone, I've got a question surrounding something I read recently.
    At the moment I can't locate the source that I read this from, but essentially, the article claimed that a "Cupid's Bow" lip shape, where the upper lip points down in the center, is bad for trumpet playing, and the embouchure must be modified in order to effectively play the trumpet. My lips do have that shape, and I'm wondering if there's any legitimacy to what I read. Natural instinct leads me to believe that this isn't entirely true, but the logic presented in the article was that the shape of the upper lip causes the aperture of the lips to close more tightly when the lips are compressed, causing problems with the trumpet playing. As I said before, I don't know if this is completely true, so I'm asking for your help, because knowing this might be a step in fixing some of the problems I have with trumpet playing, such as pressure and endurance and such.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: "Lip shape" effecting trumpet playing?

    throw whatever publication that was in in the trash. The aperature is formed by "blowing open" the lips that are pressed together. If your breath support is adequate, lip shape, thickness are of no consequence. Articles like this are written by people that only ANALyse part of the big picture and really do not know what all is involved. There is often a little truth in any myth, unfortunately, the BS is what preserveres.

    I have been teaching for over 30 years and lip shape/thickness has NEVER been an issue or prerequisite for specific mouthpieces or horns. Why the brainless try to handicap the unknowing, I will never know.

    Just keep practicing. THAT is the #1 requirement to get good and better.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  3. #3
    Forte User jbkirby's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Dothan, Alabama

    Re: "Lip shape" effecting trumpet playing?

    Rowuk is correct, trash the article. Look around and observe that many people have the "cupid's bow" upper lip. Eight years ago, I had a hemangioma (tumor consisting of a bundle of arteries) removed from my "cupid's bow" and that has not affected my playing one bit. Keep practicing and enjoy it!

    1913 Conn Circus Bore Cornet
    Early 1970s Getzen Eterna Flugelhorn
    1972 Olds Pinto Bb Trumpet (Weird Horn!)
    1969 Conn 38B Connstellation Bb Trumpet

    I was playing once and afterwards, a little boy approached me and stated that he played the trumpet. I asked, "Do you play like I do?" and he replied, "I used to."

  4. #4
    Forte User stchasking's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: "Lip shape" effecting trumpet playing?

    I have the cupids bow and was told to play clarinet.
    In high school I played trumpet to the side, well off center. Ten years after high school I picked up the trumpet to see if I could get it right. I joined the International Trumpet Guild and absorbed the terminology and teaching to figure out what I needed to do. What I found is that there are several methods to look at which I consider to be the same
    The basis is the Maggio Method that has its foundation in Rafael Mendez teaching. Claude Gordon learned from Rafael and wrote it down. So did Carlton McBeth with the Louis Maggio Method. All of them lived in California and studied with Mendez. Mendez credits his father. The Cat Anderson method is the same. Cat was east coast. The Focused Ambochure method is the same and finally the out roll is the same. So is the soda straw method.

    The cupids bow is less of a problem if you try the above methods. You will need a teacher to get you started but I would recommend getting the Cat Anderson method and read, read, read and practice the 20 minute G. You have to understand why you are doing the 20 minute G. The 20 minute g helps roll out the lips and lock the corners. What goes on inside the mouthpiece does make a difference. You have to concentrate on the muscle formation around the lips while you play the g for 20 minutes.
    Playing pedal tones correctly cements the out roll method while still locking in the corners.

    The in roll method does not work with the cupids bow. I tried it and it doesn't work for me. The bow gets bunched up in the airstream and won't vibrate. The out roll/Maggio gets the cupids bow into the mouthpiece and the lip vibrates behind the cupids bow.

    Tell me what town you live in and I'll recommend a University or college teacher to see. Most International Trumpet Guild members are familiar with Maggio and its many forms and we'll see if we can find you a teacher.

    Don't look for a plastic surgeon in the United States to fix it. They won't do it. You have to go to Spain or Canada.

    The hardest part about teaching/learning trumpet is figuring out how to describe what goes on inside the mouth piece. That is why there are so many method books.
    "I was performing professionally at age 17 and have never had a real job." Allen Vizzutti

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