• FAQ  • Search  • Memberlist  • Usergroups   • Register   • Profile  • Log in to check your private messages  • Log in 

relaxing the corners



 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    trumpetherald.com Forum Index -> Fundamentals
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
LyonLover
Regular Member


Joined: 21 Aug 2018
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:55 pm    Post subject: relaxing the corners Reply with quote

As i've worked through my short term endurance issues, I've found my issues are stemming from much tension and contraction of muscles rather than mashing the horn into my face or playing very loudly. Specifically, the muscles just under the corner of the bottom lip, going in a downward motion. I can feel that I tighten and roll in my bottom lip to a point where in a long passage my endurance gives out unless i can take the horn off my face. I've improved endurance slightly by becoming aware of this and trying to relax the bottom lip. I don't have much at all tension up in the smile muscles, most of the tension is the muscles below the bottom lip corners that control the bottom lip.

I've ordered Jeanne Pocius book "trumpeting by nature" and i've explored the 19/30 exercise from rusty russel, I just can't seem to relax my face 100% when I start playing. How do you go about getting to a relaxed/efficient setting?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Robert P
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2013
Posts: 2546

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: relaxing the corners Reply with quote

LyonLover wrote:
As i've worked through my short term endurance issues, I've found my issues are stemming from much tension and contraction of muscles rather than mashing the horn into my face or playing very loudly. Specifically, the muscles just under the corner of the bottom lip, going in a downward motion. I can feel that I tighten and roll in my bottom lip to a point where in a long passage my endurance gives out unless i can take the horn off my face. I've improved endurance slightly by becoming aware of this and trying to relax the bottom lip. I don't have much at all tension up in the smile muscles, most of the tension is the muscles below the bottom lip corners that control the bottom lip.

I've ordered Jeanne Pocius book "trumpeting by nature" and i've explored the 19/30 exercise from rusty russel, I just can't seem to relax my face 100% when I start playing. How do you go about getting to a relaxed/efficient setting?

Nobody relaxes their face 100% when playing trumpet - whoever put this notion in your head is wrong. If you keep trying to achieve that you're going to continue to be frustrated. The tension has to be in the right places.

Watch any closeup video of Doc playing, particularly going high - does it look to you like his face is "100% relaxed"?

There isn't a one-issue solution to your troubles. There are and always will be multiple parts of the whole and what they have to be doing changes with pitch and volume.

Apparently whatever input/lessons you've gotten hasn't fixed things.

This...

I don't have much at all tension up in the smile muscles, most of the tension is the muscles below the bottom lip corners that control the bottom lip

...is word salad. What are "the bottom lip corners" presumably -vs- the top lip corners..?
_________________
Getzen Eterna Severinsen
King Silver Flair
Besson 1000
Bundy
Chinese C

Getzen Eterna Bb/A piccolo
Chinese Rotary Bb/A piccolo

Chinese Flugel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
LyonLover
Regular Member


Joined: 21 Aug 2018
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: relaxing the corners Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
LyonLover wrote:
As i've worked through my short term endurance issues, I've found my issues are stemming from much tension and contraction of muscles rather than mashing the horn into my face or playing very loudly. Specifically, the muscles just under the corner of the bottom lip, going in a downward motion. I can feel that I tighten and roll in my bottom lip to a point where in a long passage my endurance gives out unless i can take the horn off my face. I've improved endurance slightly by becoming aware of this and trying to relax the bottom lip. I don't have much at all tension up in the smile muscles, most of the tension is the muscles below the bottom lip corners that control the bottom lip.

I've ordered Jeanne Pocius book "trumpeting by nature" and i've explored the 19/30 exercise from rusty russel, I just can't seem to relax my face 100% when I start playing. How do you go about getting to a relaxed/efficient setting?

Nobody relaxes their face 100% when playing trumpet. If you keep trying to achieve that you're going to continue to be frustrated. The tension has to be in the right places.

There isn't a one-issue solution to your troubles. There are and always will be multiple parts of the whole and what they have to be doing changes with pitch and volume.

Apparently whatever input you've gotten hasn't fixed things.

This...

I don't have much at all tension up in the smile muscles, most of the tension is the muscles below the bottom lip corners that control the bottom lip

...is word salad. What are "the bottom lip corners" presumably -vs- the top lip corners..?


The muscles below the mouthcorners, near the sides of the chin. I'm not tense in the buccinators.

Quote:
Apparently whatever input you've gotten hasn't fixed things.

Well do you need to be able to play double high C for hours straight and have absolutely perfect playing for input to "have fixed things"? The input that i've received has improved things, and there's still room to grow. As there is for any student.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Doug Elliott
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 1145
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Below the corners is exactly where some tension should be.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Robert P
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2013
Posts: 2546

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LyonLover wrote:

Well do you need to be able to play double high C for hours straight and have absolutely perfect playing for input to "have fixed things"? The input that i've received has improved things, and there's still room to grow. As there is for any student.

What would you say has improved?

It's good that you're conscious of the topic of muscular tension - as a topic it *is* pertinent. As I stated in a revision of my previous comment that wasn't there when you replied, I'd say you've gotten some bad advice as far as the notion that your face/embouchure should be "totally relaxed". Either whoever put this idea in your head is wrong or your understanding of what they said is way off. Watch any closeup video of Doc - does his face look "totally relaxed"? If they actually say something like "As I play this high C notice my embouchure is totally relaxed" I don't care who it is that said it, they're straight-up full of crap and don't actually understand what's going on when they play. You can't play any note from the pedals to as high as you're ever going to play without tension of some sort.

I don't think you should make it a goal to be as relaxed as possible you should use whatever tension is needed. If you're playing a given pitch at a given volume level and the sound is full and resonant, you're using the least pressure you can get away with, the mouthpiece feels okay - *that's* where you need to be set to play that note at that volume.

If for example you want to go to a higher note, your setup - and by setup I mean everything that's involved - lips/embouchure, tongue, teeth spacing/alignment, mouthpiece pressure and distribution of pressure, needs to move to where it needs to be. As you go higher, at the point where your sound fails, you need to learn what you have to do next. The change might be very subtle.

One of the things I recommend doing and do myself is when playing a pitch deliberately alter various aspects of your setup - again: tongue level, teeth, pressure, muscuar tension, horn angle etc. and observe what happens and where you need to move back to to make the sound the way you want it to be.

Besides the above some things you might try being conscious of:

- Not letting your teeth close up. If they do your sound will cut off.

- Have a bias of pushing muscular tension toward the mouthpiece rather than drawing away from it.
_________________
Getzen Eterna Severinsen
King Silver Flair
Besson 1000
Bundy
Chinese C

Getzen Eterna Bb/A piccolo
Chinese Rotary Bb/A piccolo

Chinese Flugel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
abontrumpet
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 1645

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:07 am    Post subject: Re: relaxing the corners Reply with quote

LyonLover wrote:
How do you go about getting to a relaxed/efficient setting?


This is a tough one to answer without seeing you play. But I will speak in some general things I keep in mind:

Balance:
As you describe, you don't want to be doing unnecessary work to make a sound. Like when you lift a weight, you want to do what it takes to get it in the air. You could tense and flex muscles unnecessarily, but that isn't efficient. In trumpet playing, balance is about the entire system, not just the chops, but since you asked about the chops, I will focus my thoughts there:

1. Trust. In order to find our "happy place" with our chops, we need to trust them to make the sound that we intend to make. Lack of trust comes from many places, but I think the most common ones are, (a) the fear of producing fuzzy/diffuse/unfocused sound and, (b) the fear of missing an initial attack.

1a. How do we get to the point where we can trust ourselves not to fear producing a suboptimal/inefficient sound? The answer, is we must make sure that our "buzz" or the "viability of vibration" is readily available and resilient to a variety of situations.

Experiment 1: many players can circular breathe without a great impact to their sound. Which means, I should be able to produce a sound with a nearly 100% relaxed embouchure -- puffed out cheeks, the whole 9-yards (I run this experiment around low C). This is one of my tests that I use to ensure trust in oneself: if you can produce a good sound with terrible form, then we should be able to produce a good sound with good form.

Experiment 2: after feeling comfortable with experiment 1 you can try this; it is more lip centric where the other one was more structure centric (so for this you're using your regular set up, not the relaxed one). Attempt to make a diffuse sound via the lips, add more air flow when the sound gets to diffuse for your liking (this generally results in a louder sound). You should find that you can employ a variety of lip shape postures and still get a good sound. You might also find it affects the corner tension a bit. You might also find that you cannot produce a diffuse sound (which should go a long way in achieving trust).

1b: attacks. Just see how easy your lips can start vibrating. I could go in detail, but I think that's enough. Just don't worry so much about missing the initial attack. Go for it and give yourself permission to miss. When you miss, but you felt good about your approach, don't change things. It will settle down.

Hopefully those two experiments and other ideas can help guide you in trust in your embouchure. Those are the chop-centric experiments we can employ for exploration, but there is obviously more to the system. I believe that viability of of buzz is essential to making sure the system can balance itself.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mike ansberry
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 1597
Location: Clarksville, Tn

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My journey to good endurance began with 19/30s and then to Balanced Embouchure. This combination got me to where I needed to be.
_________________
Music is a fire in your belly, fighting to get out. You'd better put a horn in the way before someone gets hurt.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Robert P
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2013
Posts: 2546

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2024 12:58 pm    Post subject: Re: relaxing the corners Reply with quote

abontrumpet wrote:

Experiment 1: many players can circular breathe without a great impact to their sound. Which means, I should be able to produce a sound with a nearly 100% relaxed embouchure -- puffed out cheeks, the whole 9-yards (I run this experiment around low C). This is one of my tests that I use to ensure trust in oneself: if you can produce a good sound with terrible form, then we should be able to produce a good sound with good form.

I submit it means that the muscles relaxed that allow puffing out one's cheeks aren't as crucial to playing - it doesn't mean a nearly 100% relaxed embouchure - there are still a lot of muscles being engaged.
_________________
Getzen Eterna Severinsen
King Silver Flair
Besson 1000
Bundy
Chinese C

Getzen Eterna Bb/A piccolo
Chinese Rotary Bb/A piccolo

Chinese Flugel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Billy B
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2004
Posts: 6119
Location: Des Moines

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2024 1:31 pm    Post subject: Re: relaxing the corners Reply with quote

How do you go about getting to a relaxed/efficient setting?[/quote]

I get instruction from a qualified teacher.
_________________
Bill Bergren
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
LyonLover
Regular Member


Joined: 21 Aug 2018
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mike ansberry wrote:
My journey to good endurance began with 19/30s and then to Balanced Embouchure. This combination got me to where I needed to be.


19/30s require you to play completely relaxed if i'm not mistaken, is that right?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Robert P
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2013
Posts: 2546

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LyonLover wrote:
mike ansberry wrote:
My journey to good endurance began with 19/30s and then to Balanced Embouchure. This combination got me to where I needed to be.


19/30s require you to play completely relaxed if i'm not mistaken, is that right?

It can't require what isn't possible.
_________________
Getzen Eterna Severinsen
King Silver Flair
Besson 1000
Bundy
Chinese C

Getzen Eterna Bb/A piccolo
Chinese Rotary Bb/A piccolo

Chinese Flugel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mike ansberry
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 1597
Location: Clarksville, Tn

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote=19/30s require you to play completely relaxed if i'm not mistaken, is that right?[/quote]


Nope. You use just enough muscle to make it work.
_________________
Music is a fire in your belly, fighting to get out. You'd better put a horn in the way before someone gets hurt.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    trumpetherald.com Forum Index -> Fundamentals All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group