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Trumpet Discussion Discuss The Pencil Exercise in the General forums; What length size should the pencil be???...
  1. #1
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    Oct 2006

    The Pencil Exercise

    What length size should the pencil be???

  2. #2
    Forte User Eclipsehornplayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Interesting question; I've never seen it asked.

    It seemed to me that the length of the pencil should be as long as you can tolerate as the longer it is the more it will work your muscles around your embouchre.

    So I used a brand new, unsharpend #2 pencil right out of the package and have been using it solely for that purpose.

    My .02
    2008 Eclipse MHY Bb Trumpet in Silver Plate with interchangable leadpipes
    Getzen Capri Bb Cornet
    Bach, GR & Monette mouthpieces

  3. #3
    Piano User
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    The answer is that it depends on your chops. If you've been playing a while, then you can probably use a full size pencil. If you've only been playing a matter of months, probably start with a small pencil. Experiment around and see which one works better. You'll know when you have the right length as your embochure muscles will start to 'burn' from holding the pencil up.
    Gabriel is NOT a woodwind player!

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Iowa City, Iowa
    It's good to begin with a coffee straw. These are less abrasive to the lips and lighter to hold up. I recently switched coffee shops, and so I've been using a heavier wooden coffee-stirrer. I feel like I'm progressing as a player because of it. (just kidding). But no, it's a good way to justify caffeine use.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2005
    I always heard to use a golf pencil.

  6. #6
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    There are several different views about this type of muscle building.
    I think it is important to have a mirror when you are using a pencil. There is a tendency just to clamp down vertically to hold the pencil up. Our chops work a little differently. We also need to bring the sides in somewhat.

    I am not sure how much of this type of practice builds the strong but still flexible embouchure. How much is too much? Other muscles in the body build up mass when stressed to the extreme. Repetitions build up strength without limiting flexibilty. It is kind of like the weight lifter versus the long distance runner.
    What is good for the trumpet player? Any clinical studies out there?
    Any "bad" (but fair) experiences? I have never taught this because I have never seen conclusive evidence. I know some successful players that do this, but they also practice very resolutely.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  7. #7
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Osaka, Japan
    Pops McLaughlin includes a standard #2 pencil and a shorter one with his Chop Builder book. Works for me.

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