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Pencil Exercise Question



 
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fitzy64
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Joined: 12 Sep 2018
Posts: 21
Location: College

PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:58 pm    Post subject: Pencil Exercise Question Reply with quote

Hey everyone,

I have a question. I am getting back into the pencil exercise in an effort to use my facial muscles correctly when playing, and I noticed that I cannot make the pencil level without jutting my lower jaw out a degree. Is this normal, or should I stop this habit? Thanks!
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the true answer is maybe, maybe not, it all depends.

No one knows to what degree this is happening, or how you are actually doing these exercises, the size and weight of your pencil, etc etc etc. All this, and a lot more, would change a good teacher's response.

If you are college and taking lessons, why not ask there? It's their job.If not, then you need to either go see someone or organise to pay for an online lesson or two.

FWIW, I have used a pencil to reinforce my lip setting at times, also as an isometric exercise every now and then and as a teaching tool at different times.

cheers

Andy
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fitzy64
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Posts: 21
Location: College

PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!
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JVL
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Location: Nissa, France

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello
one thing will answer you : if there's no positive transfer from this exercise to your playing, stop doing it, or try to understand if you're not doing it uncorrectly, or for too long time or too many times etc.

Why not having a lesson with Bobby Shew?
best
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fitzy64
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Joined: 12 Sep 2018
Posts: 21
Location: College

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll keep that in mind. Thank you!
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Jaw04
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Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't believe the pencil exercise is valuable. It might strengthen something on some players but I think is just as likely to confuse you into doing something wrong.
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Jerry Freedman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like a lot od topics eternally recurring for a few pages of sometimes nasty discussion, the pencil exercise can work great for some players, neutral for others and a disaster for others. This is right up there with pedals, tongue manipulation, K tonguing, mouthpiece buzzing... the list goes on. I have been on Trumpet Herald for a longtime and this is but another rise of a hot topic.

The bottom line is that embouchures vary, sometimes strongly, from person to person and generalizing recommendations is probably a mistake. Personally the pencil exercise worked great for a while and then it didn't. Same with free buzzing.

Claude Gordon makes pedals the core of his teaching, Reinhardt avoids pedals like the plague. Each system produces wonderful players and each fails others. Pragmatism is the key. If it works, do it, if it doesn't don't do it
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Shaft
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Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 766

PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The jaw

For me the jaw comes out and the teeth are straight
when my embouchure grips around the pencil.

I also play on a modified stevens/ lip buzz embouchure.

For a time the pencil was a part of the routine.
Then it wasn’t.

I was able to transfer some information from the exercise
for the way things felt and it probably increased some of
my lip to lip compression strength while learning about how
the muscles in my face react.

Is this how it feels in my lips when they
touch for certain volumes, pitches?

Is this where my lips make contact
with each other and is it relevant?

Was I maintaining a forward setting
allowing muscles to stay extended?

Was I pulling back in a smile to grip
the pencil and fatiguing my muscles?

Was I allowing the pencil to dig into
my lips uncomfortably or was the back
of the pencil touching my teeth and
being aided as a leverage crutch.

(There is a balance in between)

It goes back to what we are
attempting to glean sometimes.


Pops showed me 2 exercises and wrote a pencil book.

1st exercise

Length of time holding it never went more than 4 minutes
and for your own caution do not start at that amount.

Start with 30 seconds to a minute once or twice a day
if you are messing with it so you don’t fatigue or bruise.

(Some start with a golf pencil [1/2 size length])

2nd exercise - repetitions

Raising and lowering the pencil from
horizontal to up 45 degrees then down.



That’s just me. Like I said, there was a time that I did it.
Then I stopped. Could I gain strength to do it again? Maybe

Some say Bill Chase used to put the
mouthpiece shank between his lips
leaning over and balancing it vertical
perpendicular to the floor. I don’t know.

Good luck
Happy playing
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Jaw04
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Joined: 31 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry Freedman wrote:
Like a lot od topics eternally recurring for a few pages of sometimes nasty discussion, the pencil exercise can work great for some players, neutral for others and a disaster for others. This is right up there with pedals, tongue manipulation, K tonguing, mouthpiece buzzing... the list goes on. I have been on Trumpet Herald for a longtime and this is but another rise of a hot topic.

The bottom line is that embouchures vary, sometimes strongly, from person to person and generalizing recommendations is probably a mistake. Personally the pencil exercise worked great for a while and then it didn't. Same with free buzzing.

Claude Gordon makes pedals the core of his teaching, Reinhardt avoids pedals like the plague. Each system produces wonderful players and each fails others. Pragmatism is the key. If it works, do it, if it doesn't don't do it
Absolutely. Pencil exercise did nothing for me, probably did some harm. But if it had worked for me I'd probably be singing it's praises. Definitely falls into the "different strokes for different folks" category, and should be attempted with caution.
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time spent on the pencil exercise is time not spent practicing.

My 10 minutes every day spent on this for a year is 60 hours I wont get back.

I am great at holding a pencil between my lips now in a jovial manner, and that is useful in "I am better than you are" pissing competitions so it is not a complete loss.

I would like to lie down now and try to forget those past wasted moments spent in a fruitless search for greatness.

Anyone want a pencil with a soggy end?
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shermantrumpet
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Joined: 09 Apr 2014
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the pencil exercise to be very different than playing the trumpet. So, experiment and see what happens. If if doesn't help or seems detrimental, stop. If it helps, great.

The effort and set-up to hold the pencil is so different to playing that I wouldn't use it to help form the embouchure. Obviously others here have used it for that and think differently.

Since I think it seems to be mostly a muscular exercise, do I think it helps the trumpet? Well, I've used it extensively, and for me I don't see any help with range, endurance, etc. I don't see any benefits to my actual playing. YMMV

Where I personally see a great benefit, is that when I regularly do the pencil exercise, I seem to recover more quickly from hard playing days. Makes sense if the muscles are generally in better shape from that exercise.

For me it's not time that I'm not practicing, because I usually do it reading in bed before sleep, or watching TV with the family. I wouldn't be practicing then anyway!
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