DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure)



  • For years and years, I have struggled with my embouchure, played with a "smile" which is actually wrong. It causes way too much pressure, and, at age 58, has contributed to my weakened bottom teeth, upper denture plate, etc...

    So... I decided to read some articles on proper playing technique, embouchure, and basically said to myself, "what the heck... lets see..." and believe it or not, it worked! 😁

    Check out my excited video that I just shot....



  • @ButchA
    You have good reason to be excited! Keep up the great work. Always inhale like a yawn and exhale normally. We never force the wind. Also, I like that you didn't blast. Playing soft and relaxed is another way you are reducing mouthpiece pressure. Very smart!



  • ButchA; Very nice comments.

    First let me say, I agree with your comment on the inefficiency of the "smile".

    It makes good sense how your "frown" is more efficient. There is more muscle insertion on the lower mandible in the "frown" than the "smile (traditional buzz)"

    Let me also recommend the concept of the "vertical smile". That works exceptionally well for my as just as your frown uses more muscle insertions, so does the "vertical smile" that uses the zygimatic arch (bones just below the eyes). I posted on another site me playing with a vertical smile where you can see my face expand under both eyes when I play. That embouchure not only allows me to play longer, but also higher, making the Double High C that was impossible for me to achieve only a decade ago, to a note that has a high degree of accuracy and volume for the last 5 years after I discovered the "vertical smile".



  • @Dr-Mark said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    @ButchA
    You have good reason to be excited! Keep up the great work. Always inhale like a yawn and exhale normally. We never force the wind. Also, I like that you didn't blast. Playing soft and relaxed is another way you are reducing mouthpiece pressure. Very smart!

    Oh, but Dr. Mark, you can play loud and clean (NOT BLAST) with the vertical smile as well as control with amazing accuracy a high soft tone lead range with the "vertical smile". Give it a try. Let me know what you find.



  • Wouldn't a "vertical smile" put a toothy crease right in the middle of your face?
    😁



  • Thank you, guys! 😁

    Another embouchure/pressure thing I was also playing around with, is mentally thinking that someone has their hand on the bell of my trumpet and they are trying to pull it away from me while I am playing.

    There should NEVER be a need to jam the trumpet MP into your lips with crushing pressure!



  • Wait until you're on the fifth set in a three-horn section playing Earth, Wind and Fire tunes. 😎



  • @Dr-GO said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    Oh, but Dr. Mark, you can play loud and clean (NOT BLAST) with the vertical smile as well as control with amazing accuracy a high soft tone lead range with the "vertical smile". Give it a try. Let me know what you find.


    I'll give it a try, thanks.
    The reason I mentioned playing soft is because that's what he appears to be doing. Playing at a reasonable volume and soft can go a long way to reduce mouthpiece pressure. I wish I had a nickel for every time I said to a student "QUIT SHOUTING ON THE TRUMPET!", I'd have.....well... a heck of a lot of nickels.
    Volume for Mr. ButchA will come in time regardless of embouchure style.
    He may have already worked his way up to playing in the upper register and playing loud with minimal mouthpiece pressure.
    The important thing is that Butch isn't eating mouthpieces anymore.
    As for what kind of embouchure do I use? I form my lips by saying the letter "M". This helps curl the lips in a little and pulls back the edges just a little and keeps me off the red but I will try your suggestion. Thanks



  • @Kehaulani said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    Wait until you're on the fifth set in a three-horn section playing Earth, Wind and Fire tunes. 😎

    Been there. Done that. Wish I had the vertical smile in those days!



  • @Kehaulani said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    Wouldn't a "vertical smile" put a toothy crease right in the middle of your face?
    😁

    No. Actually the stress is projected laterally (at the coroner of the smile) not over the middle, which would more like put a crease in the nose if that happened.



  • Please refer to post 11 under: Problems with Air and Nose https://www.trumpetboards.com/topic/398/problems-with-air-and-nose/17 to find my description, diagrams and video of me playing with the vertical smile. Make sure you focus on my cheeks to see the effect of the muscles I use.



  • I played a gig tonight (6:00 - 8:00) at a local pub here in town, as a prelude to the annual Oktoberfest. It was sort of a "warm-up" type of gig for us. The best part is I had NO PROBLEM with playing! No sensitivity, no pressure, no straining, etc.. I worked out fantastic, and all it was, was, a simple adjustment to my embouchure!

    Teeny tiny little place, as seen in the photo. We were scrunched up in the corner on a tiny raised up stage. My buddy Steve and I were the only ones on trumpet & cornet (in the front on the right side of the photo).

    Edit: We are called "The Sauerkrauts" from the ACCA Shriners Band here in Richmond, Virginia.

    71495415_2175908359177648_4979188210824380416_o.jpg



  • @ButchA said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    I played a gig tonight (6:00 - 8:00) at a local pub here in town, as a prelude to the annual Oktoberfest... a simple adjustment to my embouchure!

    71495415_2175908359177648_4979188210824380416_o.jpg

    I can see the frown!



  • Did you get paid in beer? Was it German beer?



  • @Niner said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    Did you get paid in beer? Was it German beer?

    No. We raised $400 bucks for The Shriners Hospital, and that was all. Tiny little place, and it was also Sunday evening too. We had to pay for our beer on top of that. You can see my glass of Yuengling in front of me on that table.



  • @Dr-GO said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    @ButchA said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    I played a gig tonight (6:00 - 8:00) at a local pub here in town, as a prelude to the annual Oktoberfest... a simple adjustment to my embouchure!

    71495415_2175908359177648_4979188210824380416_o.jpg

    I can see the frown!

    Me, too, Butch ! Good for you in finding the frown.
    Now I usually get that look when I see a bunch of As and Bs ahead of me...☺



  • @ButchA said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    "The Sauerkrauts"


    Long live the Sauerkrauts. Keep up the great work Butch.



  • @Dr-Mark said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    @ButchA said in DUH!! I finally figured it out, after all these years! (playing with minimal pressure):

    "The Sauerkrauts"


    Long live the Sauerkrauts. Keep up the great work Butch.

    Thank you... I have been so busy this whole month, playing Oktoberfest gigs all over the Richmond, Virginia area. You wouldn't believe it! Constantly dressing up like an overgrown "Keebler Elf" in Lederhosen, etc... 😁

    This afternoon was the last of the gigs, as we wrapped up the Oktoberfest season by playing at a huge pub here in town. I took a photo right as we were taking a 15 minute break. As seen on my music stand, we finished with "Beer Barrel Polka" and after we return, we'll play "Lili Marleen", and continue through the setlist in the books.

    75339497_10157795970587072_7061341764119953408_o.jpg



  • Watched your video Butch. Congrats! As for the room, it COULD work! get rid of all tose pictures on the fireplace mantle though. Trumpets go there. The fireplace will keep you warm as you play naked. Kind of like Scrooge McDuck and his money baths;)



  • Great you have figured it out while you are still young, it took me until my early 70s, third trumpet in an amateur big band playing 3 and 4 hour dinner dances and being toast by the 3rd set.

    Recalling what the old Soprano cornet player told me when I joined the Brass band in 1946 as an eight year old but did not understand at the time was "Hold her lightly and kiss her gently".

    Watching Tine Helseth and other players seemingly effortless and learning to emulate them, now at approaching 82 I am playing a mix of 1st and 2nd parts in Big band playing longer, higher and with a much better sound, able to play 4, 45 minute sets without much fatigue.

    I have stopped Free and Mouthpiece buzzing, I used to do a lot of each and have come to the conclusion they introduce unnecessary tension in the lips.

    It is difficult to get the concept across in my experience, a lady that used to help us out at times in orchestra has given up playing because of chop problems playing with a lot of tension and pressure, when trying to explain to her what I am doing now she thought I had stumbled upon something but did not think it would help her.

    Another friend, an average player buzzing his lips and mouthpiece before a rehearsal when asked why he was doing this as I felt it is counter productive I was firmly put in my place with "Better players than you buzz their lips and mouthpiece".

    I see far too many players fighting themselves and the instrument and being content to remain so.

    Regards, Stuart.


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