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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position. in the General forums; I had a lesson the other day with a local pro trumpet player and very quickly he noticed my mouthpiece ...
  1. #1
    Piano User
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    Dec 2009

    Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    I had a lesson the other day with a local pro trumpet player and very quickly he noticed my mouthpiece position and asked me about how close my teeth were together and the short of it was that he said I should drop the mouthpiece down lower on my lip and also work on lowering my jaw more which in turn would open up my teeth and allow better air flow. Sort of hard to explain... and a bit amazed at how fast he could pick up on such little things that most people may not pick up on.

    Of course now I may be over analyzing it or it may just be that changing what I am used to over to something that feels different or less comfortable is messing with my mind, but wondering what others would say about the positioning of the jaw/ mouthpiece, etc. ??

    A guy I work with on a weekly basis said that they heard that you should be able to take a finger or the end of the mouthpiece and hold it between your teeth and you should have that much space between your teeth when you play. He didn't realize it but he did prep his mouth position before he played but most things we do become habit and we don't realize what we are doing (My assessment.)

    I usually don't put that much thought into how I position the mouthpiece, my jaw placement, teeth.. etc. I just pick up the horn and play, but I also know that I guy I play with said I sounded better tonight than I have for some time, but adjusting everything seemed to make everything more difficult to do tonight.

    Of course I didn't even get into the whole concept of opening the throat more which seems easier said than done...
    Bach Stradivarius 180S37
    Conn Connstellation

  2. #2
    Forte User
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    Mar 2005
    Indianapolis, In

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    It takes time to break an old habit and form a new one. If you are being told how much better you sound with the new position, then you need to listen your teacher and follow their direction.

  3. #3
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    Just do it. Your teacher is the only one of us that has seen your face and heard you play. That is worth a lot.

    As far as opening the throat, I'll tell you a secret - the trachea is a pipe, you can't close it off. Other things are in the way if you think that you have a closed throat. Research it - when you know what mechanisms are really hurting your playing - it is easier to eliminate them.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  4. #4
    Forte User bagmangood's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Bostonish & San Francisco

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    I wouldn't second guess a teacher over the internet.
    There's a lot of stuff out there and if it helps, it helps
    Over-analyzing is very dangerous so I'd be careful not to think about it too much - just try to add the new habit.

    My trick for practicing it would be clarke studies (probably 1 & 2) at slow tempi, concentrating on your sound and the new space
    Bb: Courtois 305 "Elite", Holton Al Hirt Special (~1966), Benge 3x with Upturned bell (1973)
    C: Bach C180-239 (Akwright conversion),
    Cornet: Conn Wonder (1900)
    Picc: Selmer Paris, ~1971

  5. #5
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    Jul 2011
    Asheville, NC

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    Like some of the others have posted, I suggest that you follow your teacher's advice. He has had the advantage of watching you play in person and seeing the results.

    That said, everyone has a different face and you will see many variations of mouthpiece placement and jaw position working very well. Not many teachers are aware of these patterns and choose to teach all their students to play like they happen to. If you have similar enough anatomical features that make the same embouchure type work for you, then there's no problem. If not, sometimes the instructions you get can be the exact opposite of what you want to practice.

    Here is a video presentation I put together a while ago that briefly shows some of the different basic embouchure patterns you can find. It won't hurt to become familiar with them in case your teacher's advice turns out to be wrong for your face.

    Good luck!


  6. #6
    Piano User JNINWI's Avatar
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    Apr 2011

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    Even small changes take time to go into muscle memory, Rowuk is correct, just do it. The changes you make in practice vs. during a performance take a lot of concentration on maintaining the change during the performance. The more practice time you put on it the better it will get. Hang in there !

  7. #7
    Utimate User
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    Aug 2009
    Jackson NC

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    As some of us start a new school year and have beginning trumpet students, I provide each a very small coffee stirring straw as will pass through the usual 5C & 7C mouthpieces. This simply orients the mouthpiece in the center between the student's lips as a starting point. Once they get the feel of the mouthpiece placement on their lips, I have them remove the straw and mouthpiece, put the mouthpiece in their instrument, demonstrate the aperture and the buzz, and ask them to duplicate it. Well, I wish I could have cotton in my ears at this point. Then I ask any who can't, to lower their instrument and attempt short lip buzz while I move to one on one with the student with a hand mirror, demonstrating and have then duplicate watching in the mirror. I've yet to complete the first class, where I did not get a sound from a student's instrument, and with most it was a solid note.

  8. #8
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    Just do it. Your teacher is the only one of us that has seen your face and heard you play. That is worth a lot.
    Do as your teacher says, be patient and wait for the miracle.
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

  9. #9
    Fortissimo User trumpetnick's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Tekirova, Antalya, Turkey

    Re: Teeth, mouth, mouthpiece position.

    Sorry to challenge you, VB, but my experience tells me that no or little wonders happen in trumpet playing as in real live. Diligent practice and slow evolution would do better than any God-like miracle.

    I would suggest that any aspiring new trumpeter on this site have a very good look at the below interview collection with Will Smith (OK he is not a trumpet player, but still...)

    Amara Music Academy
    Go on vacation, learn to play an instrument
    The Official Group of Nick I
    Spada Bach B flat 72, leadpipe 2L/DWMM1.5C
    Spada Bach C 256, leadpipe 2LQ/DWMM1.5C
    A Besson Sovereign 928 modified by Spada to come...

    Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

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