Hey Folks,

I have a student who puffs his left jaw. He is a freshman college student, and I do not think anyone has ever tried to help him correct the problem. He also plays slightly off center -- over to the left side of his mouth. His puffing gets really bad the higher he plays, the louder he plays, and the longer he plays. In my estimation, his puffing is seriously compromising his tone, his accuracy, his flexibility and his control. I have suggested buzzing without the mouthpiece but he experiences big problems trying to get a buzz without the mouthpiece, and with the mouthpiece the buzz does not flow evenly. What also perplexed me at our last lesson was that he seemed to suggest that puffing may not be a problem since he has seen other trumpet players (Dizzy of course) puff their jaws. (Blue Mitchell puffed his jaws also). Now my questions: what is the best way to help a student solve the puffing problem? Is puffing an issue anyway, since several "good" trumpet players puff at least one jaw? What do you do for a student who can't buzz without the mouthpiece? Is buzzing without the mouthpiece important? And finally, what do you say to a student who has seen good players puff, and who may not feel puffing is all that big an issue?

Let me know what you think.