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Trying to make a decision whether to lower the mouthpiece on



 
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GTDon501
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Joined: 30 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:32 am    Post subject: Trying to make a decision whether to lower the mouthpiece on Reply with quote

Rich, I have been working hard on buzzing, pencil exercise, jaw retention, etc. Probably two months now. I am a trombone player, not a trumpet player, although I have played trumpet in the past and my set up (and problem) was the same. Here's the problem:

I have the so-called "cupid's bow" upper lip (aka "PTL" in some circles). I also have a minor overbite. So my natural embouchure is downstream. When I ascend, my mouthpiece slips ever higher on my top lip until the bottom lip is barely engaged. It seems to do this because my top lip seems to produce the vibrations necessary for higher notes and the lower lip doesn't. I've practice octaves to watch this, experimented many times with different placements, and this seems to be an immutable fact about my embouchure. The problem is the tone quality becomes airy and articulation is sloppy. Regarding articulation, I first pinpointed this deficiency when I practiced double or triple tonguing the higher notes. I concluded that the notes were being missed because (a) my upper and lower lips weren't in line vertically with other, and to a lesser degree (b) the ever-higher slippage of the mouthpiece to the upper lip isn't producing reliable and consistent vibration between both lips (i.e. the lower lip is getting excluded from the mouthpiece).

I can play in the middle register and lower register with a lower placement embouchure (50 - 50 or even 40-50). Articulation becomes a lot more reliable. And since I'm not playing high, I don't find the lower jaw receding (yes, this also happens, although not much). In sum, better tone and better articulation.

So I have a choice as I move forward with Reinhardt: Do I allow the mouthpiece to slip to where it wants to go or do I try to keep it fixed and continue with the drills? By the way, I play with a wet set up, so the slipping occurs without any conscious manipulation.

As additional information, I have experimented with the idea that higher notes are the product of a projected jaw and a lower lip curled inward. Yes, this seems to be true somewhat for me, but the inward lip curl is far more than
"slightly over the lower teeth"; in fact, it becomes so pronounced as to interfere with my normal tonguing. And I am equally comfortable with dorsal tonguing as well as regular tonguing.

I haven't been typed, but I believe I am a 3A. Maybe 3B.

The upper movement of my mouthpiece seems to be contradictory to the idea of the pivot, which to my understanding does not involve movement of the mouthpiece separate from the lips.

Readers; please, I'm only asking for Reinhardt advice in this forum. So if you have other advice, thanks but no.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Trying to make a decision whether to lower the mouthpiec Reply with quote

GTDon501 wrote:
Rich, I have been working hard on buzzing, pencil exercise, jaw retention, etc. Probably two months now. I am a trombone player, not a trumpet player, although I have played trumpet in the past and my set up (and problem) was the same. Here's the problem:

I have the so-called "cupid's bow" upper lip (aka "PTL" in some circles). I also have a minor overbite. So my natural embouchure is downstream. When I ascend, my mouthpiece slips ever higher on my top lip until the bottom lip is barely engaged. It seems to do this because my top lip seems to produce the vibrations necessary for higher notes and the lower lip doesn't. I've practice octaves to watch this, experimented many times with different placements, and this seems to be an immutable fact about my embouchure. The problem is the tone quality becomes airy and articulation is sloppy. Regarding articulation, I first pinpointed this deficiency when I practiced double or triple tonguing the higher notes. I concluded that the notes were being missed because (a) my upper and lower lips weren't in line vertically with other, and to a lesser degree (b) the ever-higher slippage of the mouthpiece to the upper lip isn't producing reliable and consistent vibration between both lips (i.e. the lower lip is getting excluded from the mouthpiece).

I can play in the middle register and lower register with a lower placement embouchure (50 - 50 or even 40-50). Articulation becomes a lot more reliable. And since I'm not playing high, I don't find the lower jaw receding (yes, this also happens, although not much). In sum, better tone and better articulation.

So I have a choice as I move forward with Reinhardt: Do I allow the mouthpiece to slip to where it wants to go or do I try to keep it fixed and continue with the drills? By the way, I play with a wet set up, so the slipping occurs without any conscious manipulation.

As additional information, I have experimented with the idea that higher notes are the product of a projected jaw and a lower lip curled inward. Yes, this seems to be true somewhat for me, but the inward lip curl is far more than
"slightly over the lower teeth"; in fact, it becomes so pronounced as to interfere with my normal tonguing. And I am equally comfortable with dorsal tonguing as well as regular tonguing.

I haven't been typed, but I believe I am a 3A. Maybe 3B.

The upper movement of my mouthpiece seems to be contradictory to the idea of the pivot, which to my understanding does not involve movement of the mouthpiece separate from the lips.

Readers; please, I'm only asking for Reinhardt advice in this forum. So if you have other advice, thanks but no.


Hey, Don (I'm guessing that's your name),

This is a lot of information, but no information helps like actually watching you play and letting a skilled eye see what you might be doing that is holding you back.

Chris LaBarbera does Skype lessons these days. He's Mr.Hollywood here at TH. You might want to see if he could take a look at your chops. He is rock-solid when it comes to troubleshooting à la Reinhardt. I would go to him before I would go to me, although chances are pretty good I could help you as well.

So with that, I will refrain from guessing what might be going on with your chops and encourage you to look up Chris and get his opinion. I'm pretty busy with a lot of projects these days and that's another reason I would direct you to Chris. I called him a few weeks ago with my own chops question and he nailed it right down, having known my playing and some of my history and difficulties.

There you go . . . keep us posted!
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