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"Lost" my embouchure


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trumpetplayer20
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 4:59 pm    Post subject: "Lost" my embouchure Reply with quote

Over the past month and a half, my embouchure has been feeling more and more different each passing day. I don't know how or why this happened, but I forgot how I used to play before. I looked at videos of me playing before to try and replicate my old embouchure, but my embouchure still feels different. Does anyone have any tips? I'm really at a loss here.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly a medical condition (or maybe just seasonal allergies).
Is there someone who is familiar with your 'before / after' general physical condition and functioning who can offer information about any changes they have seen?

Were you able to whistle before? How's your ability now?

Collect some info, and consult a Dr.

Jay
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krell1960
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 4:19 am    Post subject: Re: "Lost" my embouchure Reply with quote

trumpetplayer20 wrote:
Over the past month and a half, my embouchure has been feeling more and more different each passing day. I don't know how or why this happened, but I forgot how I used to play before. I looked at videos of me playing before to try and replicate my old embouchure, but my embouchure still feels different. Does anyone have any tips? I'm really at a loss here.


http://www.embouchures.com/embouchurerehabexcerpt.html

this is a good resource for similar issues, especially the part about blocked buzzing. Blocked buzzing helped me when i had similar issues as you.
But the site has a a lot of info. Hopefully it will be of some help.

good luck,

tom
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dfcoleman
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 6:06 am    Post subject: Teacher Reply with quote

Suggestion: Sit down with an experienced teacher for a lesson focused on the issues you are experiencing. Select a teacher with a history of success in dealing with physical issues associated with playing.

There’s no real substitute for a good teacher. Skype might be your only option right now, but face-to-face is better.
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soulfire
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really sorry to hear what you are going through. I was originally not going to respond on this thread, since I have never experienced this and don't have any advice. However, it did occur to me that I think the great Phil Smith had something similar to your issue. I know he teaches in the southern US now and is semi-retired. It might be worth reaching out to him and seeing if he has any thoughts or can recommend a teacher. I've found a lot of professional musicians more willing to respond these days since they aren't touring or teaching classes. Best of luck.
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: "Lost" my embouchure Reply with quote

trumpetplayer20 wrote:
Over the past month and a half, my embouchure has been feeling more and more different each passing day. I don't know how or why this happened, but I forgot how I used to play before. I looked at videos of me playing before to try and replicate my old embouchure, but my embouchure still feels different. Does anyone have any tips? I'm really at a loss here.


I'd be more concerned with how it works rather than how it feels. As muscles develop and grow stronger they take on a different feel both as the mouthpiece is put on the lips and then during the blow. I noticed this condition a lot during my mid teens. Or about during the time when I started taking the instrument more seriously and was playing a lot more.

So long as your performance is adequate then you shouldn't concern yourself. Just chalk this condition up to you going through another plateau. It's just a part of your advancement on the instrument.
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what level player you are (beginner? Pro?), but maybe this would be helpful for you:

I once lost my embouchure completely due to some dental work I had done.

The late Dave Belknap sent me a Schlossberg routine that I used to get my embouchure back together. I did it every day for years and it's the reason I can play the trumpet at all right now.

This thread contains the routine as well as some discussion of how to approach it: https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=145903&sid=896529625ca1f42d0cb26d67678c4df7

I hope this might be helpful for you. Losing the embouchure stinks, and sometimes you can't "go back" to what worked before - you may have to "go forward" to a new setup that allows you to play again. That's what I had to do.

Good luck!
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Trptca
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear that. That can be an absolutely maddening experience. First off, I won’t mess with watching videos. You won’t see anything new that you don’t already know.

A few questions:
1. experience/skill level?
2. Any recent equipment changes?
3. Recent practice/acoustic setup change?
4. Any recent life stressors?

I would be very very hesitant to go see a medical doctor at this stage. Unless you’ve got massive pain or other very obvious physical trauma they won’t help you. And the only answer they will give is “must be focal dystonia” because that’s the only answer they know of. And that’s usually not what’s going on, and it’s so poorly understood that it only makes things worse. (Mental trauma can mess you up way more than physical).

On that front. I would also be very hesitant to mess with Lucinda Lewis’s stuff. She feeds on the panic situation embouchure issues cause and the “I’ll do anything to fix it” mentally.

The three things I’d start with:
1. slow lip slurs, mid range, at a healthy volume. While your mind will want to fixate on “it doesn’t feel right” you have to fight to ignore it. Stay perfectly relaxed, and put out the best, most free and resonant sound you can. Don’t tongue a thing, air attack everything. Pro tip: you might have to much lip in the mouthpiece.
2. Look into mystery to mastery. Google will take you where you need to go.
3. A Skype lesson with someone how knows nuts and bolts. Bobby shew and Vince dimartino are good options.

You’ll be okay. Just don’t panic and always strive to stay relaxed.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming no medical condition is going on - and have you gone to a doctor to verify this? - when you would set the mouthpiece in place before this problem, how specific of an awareness did you have of *exactly* what the components of your embouchure and setup were doing? What the lips were doing in relation to the mouthpiece - how the mp anchors on both the top and bottom lip, how they line up with the teeth, how far the teeth open, angle of the horn, where the relaxation and tension was?

Or did you just kind of throw it up and got a general, indirect sense that it was "in place" with not much specific awareness?

At one point in my chops evolution when the security of how solid my chops felt frequently ebbed one day to the next, the latter was more descriptive of how I was doing things. Now the former is how I do things and how my chops feel from day to day is very consistent. I never have a lost embouchure experience.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: "Lost" my embouchure Reply with quote

Fantastic response by Trptca.

So, this happened to me in my undergrad.

1. Old photos and videos do not help. As we know from mouthpiece exploration, the smallest things make a difference and the outside doesn't really show us whats happening beneath the surface. Leave the photos/videos alone and get away from the mirror.

2. Reread trptca's post.

Things that helped me:
a) Keeping the lips relaxed on inhalation
b) keeping the chops as fresh as possible. Frequent breaks and cut way back on practice time (no more than 30 minutes a day and no more than 10 minutes at a time)
c) doing all things good like trptca says. Approach has to be healthy in order to bounce back
d) short spurts of mouthpiece buzzing/visualizer to make sure vibration is solid
e) staccatissimo full volume clark 2 in the low register.
f) bends, again to evaluate the quality of vibration
g) sharper rim. I was playing a really weak rim bite and now I play a really sharp one (GR e65 -> 1CH). But that's personal.

Hopefully that helps jumpstart it. Because I got so caught up in panic and visual and whatever, the issue lasted for probably 10 years. All the while I got into top choices for MM and DMA and advanced in auditions. But the fluctuation in quality from day to day always had me in a state of mental stress.

Feel free to DM me!
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trumpetplayer20
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your feedback & input! It's not a medical condition, and I'll be sure to use the exercises that were suggested.
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you should NOT be doing:

1. Lip slurs.

2. Lip buzzing.

These are high effort excercises. You need to let the sound return within low effort. Not try to "effort" it back.

Contact me for help.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kalijah wrote:
What you should NOT be doing:

1. Lip slurs.

2. Lip buzzing.

These are high effort excercises. You need to let the sound return within low effort. Not try to "effort" it back.

Contact me for help.


No no, contact ME for help. lol.

Jokes aside, I agree lip buzzing is too high effort. I mentioned short spurts of mouthpiece buzzing. I should have clarified that means less than 1 minute a day. It's just to make sure lips are vibrating with quality.

Lip slurs, I disagree they are high effort (with the method that Bill Vermeulen employs and which I have adopted).

I agree that you need to keep efforts low but a simple slur from second line G to below the staff C isn't going to murder you.

Again, I have actually gone through this problem.
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wohlrab
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

abontrumpet wrote:
kalijah wrote:
What you should NOT be doing:

1. Lip slurs.

2. Lip buzzing.

These are high effort excercises. You need to let the sound return within low effort. Not try to "effort" it back.

Contact me for help.


No no, contact ME for help. lol.

Jokes aside, I agree lip buzzing is too high effort. I mentioned short spurts of mouthpiece buzzing. I should have clarified that means less than 1 minute a day. It's just to make sure lips are vibrating with quality.

Lip slurs, I disagree they are high effort (with the method that Bill Vermeulen employs and which I have adopted).

I agree that you need to keep efforts low but a simple slur from second line G to below the staff C isn't going to murder you.

Again, I have actually gone through this problem.


This is the this is exactly why I absolutely hate this kind of question on TrumpetHerald. All of these people have different answers to maybe the most sensitive question à trumpet player can ask. This is why you need to get a reputable teacher, someone who is known for producing great students and known for being able to fix people struggling with embouchure. There are plenty of these people available and maybe some of us here are known for that in real life but there's nothing that anyone on a trumpet forum will tell you that will save you. All of these posts turn into arguments about lip buzzing, mouthpiece buzzing, long tones, etc, and everyone thinks they have the answer but the truth is you're different than every trumpet player on the planet. Some things will work for you, and some won't, but a truly practiced ear will be able to guide you down the right path. The people that come in here and without seeing you play start to recommend exercises have no respect for how sensitive the Embouchure is. Maybe you're tired, overworked, and lip buzzing is too high effort. But maybe your embouchure has become overly relaxed, flappy and a little lip buzzing can do wonders for you. That's what a true teacher realizes, that everyone is different and at a different place and needs different help. If you want to walk the path by yourself, then feel free, but there are people who have actually already walked it and helped many others and you should let them help you. Not the people here with dogmatic views and no idea what's going on with you. Don't get me wrong, I love trumpetherald. It's great for so many things trumpet related. But when someone is struggling, they need help, not arguments about lip buzzing which implies to me that they don't actually understand the usefulness and correct approach to it and that for some it is good, but not for others depending on where they are. Pm me. I'll give you a list of teachers that can help.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wohlrab wrote:

...quoted material...
This is the this is exactly why I absolutely hate this kind of question on TrumpetHerald. All of these people have different answers to maybe the most sensitive question à trumpet player can ask. This is why you need to get a reputable teacher, someone who is known for producing great students and known for being able to fix people struggling with embouchure. There are plenty of these people available and maybe some of us here are known for that in real life but there's nothing that anyone on a trumpet forum will tell you that will save you. All of these posts turn into arguments about lip buzzing, mouthpiece buzzing, long tones, etc, and everyone thinks they have the answer but the truth is you're different than every trumpet player on the planet. Some things will work for you, and some won't, but a truly practiced ear will be able to guide you down the right path. The people that come in here and without seeing you play start to recommend exercises have no respect for how sensitive the Embouchure is. Maybe you're tired, overworked, and lip buzzing is too high effort. But maybe your embouchure has become overly relaxed, flappy and a little lip buzzing can do wonders for you. That's what a true teacher realizes, that everyone is different and at a different place and needs different help. If you want to walk the path by yourself, then feel free, but there are people who have actually already walked it and helped many others and you should let them help you. Not the people here with dogmatic views and no idea what's going on with you. Don't get me wrong, I love trumpetherald. It's great for so many things trumpet related. But when someone is struggling, they need help, not arguments about lip buzzing which implies to me that they don't actually understand the usefulness and correct approach to it and that for some it is good, but not for others depending on where they are. Pm me. I'll give you a list of teachers that can help.


I totally agree that the arguments on trumpetherald totally derail useful information. Ultimately the large portion of questions asked in the fundamentals forum can be answered simply by: get a reputable private teacher.

I don't think I have all the answers and I just provided what worked for ME as stated in my post.

For this particular issue ("the lost embouchure") I have gone to some of the greatest players and teachers about the issue and they all look at me with some degree of incredulity. So, I do consider myself more of an expert than others because I have coached people through an embouchure placement changes successfully and I have gone through it myself. I believe my colleagues would agree that I have a pretty practiced ear. The most expert person (as far as I've seen) in this would be Bill Vermeulen. I've seen him, in the span of 10 minutes during a masterclass, change a students' placement and get them to play an excerpt with marked improvement. So I would go to him if you can.

My views are far from dogmatic and they are very specific to the individual when I am working with them. That's why I suggested that the OP dm me...to hopefully engage in online troubleshooting if he/she is not willing to see somebody in person about this. I think there are a few people that regularly post with quite dogmatic views that totally miss the "art" of teaching and think that it's pure science or pure "this way or no way." That is detrimental to many people seeking guidance.

To address your specific points:
The reason I reengaged in the argument is simply because I've gone through this and have coached people through similar things. I was hoping to give credibility to my opinion through reason but I guess that's the problem with anonymity.

Anyway, I'd be curious about your list of teachers, so feel free to DM them to me. I'm more than happy contact them on OP's behalf (and mine really, out of curiosity to see if any of them could have helped me in my journey) about this issue and report back how those opinions differ than mine with their permission or direct to whomever.

Thanks for voicing an opinion that I share as well and that we should all be reminded of when we are heading down the easy path of arguing about the little stuff.

Best.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When things go to hell...
- Check the horn and mouthpiece. Have someone else or a shop play it. It's not uncommon for a horn to develop a problem (solder, cork, grime,...) that destroys efficiency that you don't notice until your chops fail.
- Check your daily routine. Go back to basics for a while with a well-rounded set of exercises.
- Take a break and let the chops reset.
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dfcoleman
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 9:47 am    Post subject: Wohlrab Reply with quote

wohlrab is 100% correct.
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My post was not an argument. It was a response to the OPs original request.

If it differs from your advice or recommendations, so be it, and yes. the OP is welcome to contact me. For help. It is likely a fatigued embouchure condition. Rest and then low-effort approch is the key if that is the case.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kalijah wrote:
My post was not an argument. It was a response to the OPs original request.

If it differs from your advice or recommendations, so be it, and yes. the OP is welcome to contact me. For help. It is likely a fatigued embouchure condition. Rest and then low-effort approch is the key if that is the case.


Apologies to have taken it as so.

Looks like I am at fault the argument situation back and forth. Apologies. That being said, my response to Wohlrab still stands.
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kalijah wrote:
My post was not an argument. It was a response to the OPs original request.

If it differs from your advice or recommendations, so be it, and yes. the OP is welcome to contact me. For help. It is likely a fatigued embouchure condition. Rest and then low-effort approch is the key if that is the case.


Hear hear folks! Pay attention to this fellow. I've never found a post of his that I disagree with.

Overtraining is a serious concern. Perhaps most of the damage it does is mental. A subtle but creeping depression intrudes along with overtrained chops.

Back when I was doing a lot of lead playing and before each rehearsal or gig Id notice the 2nd, 3rd and 4th trumpet players warming up. Man ALL OF THEM doing those lip slurs in their warm up. I kept thinking "Why"? Perhaps they could get away with them because they didn't have the lead book. And yet whenever the leader sold a three set contract?

Most of the section had fallen apart. I was a little tired too but by not killing myself during the warm up with lip slurs nor using those "cookie cutter" mouthpieces like the other kids do I held my own.
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