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Embouchure change: how long did it take?


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trumpetcadet
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 4:49 am    Post subject: Embouchure change: how long did it take? Reply with quote

Hi everybody!
As per the title, I wanted to ask how long did it take for you to be back on your feet after an embouchure change, and what your milestones were during the process. Yes, I am going through an embouchure change myself and I have a great teacher whom I trust, no matter how long it will take me to be back at full speed. I am not looking for embouchure tips, just your experience.

I think we often overlook the time factor in such a delicate process such as changing a trumpet embouchure, and it would be great to know in which timeframe things happen on average.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should ask your teacher.
Specifically about how long for you and the teacher to have good evidence that the change is having the desired effects.
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trumpetcadet
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
You should ask your teacher.
Specifically about how long for you and the teacher to have good evidence that the change is having the desired effects.


I have already asked, and the evidence is already there. I am not writing this post to look for tips, I just want to have an idea of how different the timetable for everyone is. Would never be second guessing my teacher, not with (all due respect) opinions found on an internet board
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How old are you?
How long have you been playing?
What was wrong with your old embouchure?
How long has it been since the change?
What was the change?
How long have you been with your teacher?
What are the qualifications of your teacher?
What kind of embouchure are you switching to?
What style of music do you play?
What style of music does your teacher play?
What brand and model trumpet do you play?
What mouthpiece do you use?
Who is your ultimate trumpet player?

There's probably more but all of those come up when you ask how long?
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The time period will depend on how skilled and lucky you and your teacher are at finding the 'best personalized' embouchure.

Your teacher probably has ideas and knowledge about the 'basics' of what is needed in a 'good functioning embouchure' - but the teacher doesn't know everything about your teeth, lips, fine muscle coordination, etc.
So the 'change process' is likely to be an on-going process of 'step wise refinement'
- take one by one steps in the 'right direction' - your teacher has probably made a list of the biggest faults that need to be corrected immediately.
- depending on results of each step decide whether to continue straight forward, or make 'in flight' corrections.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta has a thoughtful response. Just an addition:

Three parts to an embouchure change: physical, mental, and trumpet playing.

If you are already playing in a way that is very repeatable, mentally trust yourself, and physically place the mouthpiece in essentially same "good" place every time: very quickly, within 6 months.

Realistically, roughly 2 years to achieve the previous level of comfort, 1 year for a really solid player. That does NOT mean it will take 2 years to play well again. I managed to get scholarships to several masters programs while undergoing an embouchure change.
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royjohn
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking just for myself, when I changed embouchures, the effect was immediately better playing. I had been trying to get my entire lower lip into the mpc for years, but the chop doc said it was OK to play on the red of my lower lip. This allowed me to shift towards a higher placement on my upper lip, which worked much better for me. He (a Reinhardt devotee) also found my preferred embochure track (pivot), which was up and to the left (slightly) to ascend and down and to the right (slightly) to descend. This made playing higher so much easier, a natural position. Since the change I've had some layoffs for medical reasons and I find when I return to playing that if I forget to track to the left going up, I lose the high range and when I prompt myself to do it, it comes right back. I was playing tuba again recently and I was surprised with how far to the left I have to go to ascend to the highest notes...I guess everything is bigger on tuba.

So I wouldn't say that it is the same for everyone, but I just found that I was discovering my natural best way to play and played better immediately. From there it was just programming in the adjustments and remembering to use them and not lose the right placement when taking a breath...just breathing thru the corners rather than moving off the whole placement with every breath. Using a set that is for higher notes also seemed to help, as it's easier to go down from a high set than up from a low one. Obviously YMMV, but that was my experience.
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect the original question - how long - as well as - milestones - means exactly that.

As to how long, it depends on one’s ability to focus on creating a new habit. That’s what your embouchure is, a habitual setting of lips, air etc etc used y a trumpet. It should take at least 4 weeks, but be prepared for much much longer, as you need to build this ne habit across a multitude of playing scenarios.

Milestones is far more nebulous. It will depend on what you are changing. In short, if you find you are playing the way you want, or getting the results you want without deliberate, focussed thought, then THAT’S a milestone!

Hope that helps.

For me, the changes I did took years to completely take hold... my fault not the change or teacher! 😉😉😉😉

Cheers

Andy
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2021 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember in college thinking an embouchure change was like a life-altering experience akin to getting a prosthetic leg and needing to learn how to use it properly. That was my experience when my teacher had me lower my mouthpiece placement. As an older and hopefully wiser musician, I have found that I am constantly changing my embouchure in order to play at my very best. I rediscover my embouchure every day and make it work to the best of my ability.
I recommend not thinking about it as a monumental shift and instead try to figure out how to play with a great sound and ease of access to upper register, no matter where the mouthpiece is placed on your lips or what you do with the muscles and lips of your face each day. Don't just do what a teacher tells you to do and "trust the process." It might feel a bit weird but you should be able to play. I really don't think you should be doing an embouchure change to a spot where you sound terrible and have no access throughout your entire range. You need to make playing work for YOU. Find the spot where your playing is optimized.
There is no timetable for return. You did not tear your ACL. You are trying to play trumpet to the best of your abilities. I wouldn't solely trust any teacher with that process to be honest, you need to trust yourself in cooperation with your teacher. You have to make your playing better each day not just follow a physical therapy routine.
Spend more time studying and adjusting what you "do" with your face than how you set up or where you place the mouthpiece. I think placement figures itself out, but mechanics take careful practice.

I honestly don't know if this advice will be helpful to you, but I know it would have been helpful to me when I was in my second year of college. I am talking to my past self.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaw04 wrote:
I remember in college thinking an embouchure change was like a life-altering experience akin to getting a prosthetic leg and needing to learn how to use it properly. That was my experience when my teacher had me lower my mouthpiece placement. As an older and hopefully wiser musician, I have found that I am constantly changing my embouchure in order to play at my very best. I rediscover my embouchure every day and make it work to the best of my ability.
I recommend not thinking about it as a monumental shift and instead try to figure out how to play with a great sound and ease of access to upper register, no matter where the mouthpiece is placed on your lips or what you do with the muscles and lips of your face each day. Don't just do what a teacher tells you to do and "trust the process." It might feel a bit weird but you should be able to play. I really don't think you should be doing an embouchure change to a spot where you sound terrible and have no access throughout your entire range. You need to make playing work for YOU. Find the spot where your playing is optimized.
There is no timetable for return. You did not tear your ACL. You are trying to play trumpet to the best of your abilities. I wouldn't solely trust any teacher with that process to be honest, you need to trust yourself in cooperation with your teacher. You have to make your playing better each day not just follow a physical therapy routine.
Spend more time studying and adjusting what you "do" with your face than how you set up or where you place the mouthpiece. I think placement figures itself out, but mechanics take careful practice.

I honestly don't know if this advice will be helpful to you, but I know it would have been helpful to me when I was in my second year of college. I am talking to my past self.

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delano
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

?????

Last edited by delano on Wed May 12, 2021 9:13 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I did change my embouchure 5-6 years ago after having played roughly 55 years I was older...than most(?) when changing. But I was able to observe, during a period of 4-6 months, how my embouchure really developed to a new level. In Januar I began with the BE method - was comfortable with a Schilke 14 (=C). After 3 months I was able to use a Schilke 14 3D3 (custom made -deeper) and after 4-6 months I was comfortable using a Wick Ultra 1 1/2 (even deeper). By comfortable I mean becoming able to last a full heavy brass band rehearsal, front row. With a much nicer full sound than ever before.

As others write, i.e. Andy - small up-dates can (should?) be made throughout one´s playing life. So the embouchure is for ever in a state of becoming.
Just recently I discovered a tendency to revert to a somewhat smiling attitude (when playing) - putting my tongue in kind of a whistling position has helped!

But I think this is so personal that no definite answer can be given....only tales of various experiences. Personally I would say everything from 5-6 months to a year. If no change - try something else!
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sdr93trp
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good rule of thumb is to give any change you make at least a month and ideally 90 days to see if it's working or not. This is going to be different for everyone though. Some people can tell in two weeks if it was a good change. For others, it can be 6 months to a year. You just have to know your own body and how fast it responds to new stimulus and habits.

I can't say I've ever done a true embouchure change but I have made many small adjustments (inspired by the Maggio system) since I picked the horn back up recently. At least for me, I can tell pretty quickly if the change is a good one. Usually days. But I'm only in my late 20s and I used to workout a lot before 2020 happened so my body still responds pretty quickly.

As for metrics- Tone production, pitch center, flexibility, and articulation. If I can tell that my sound is better and I can go from note to note easier, in tune, and with any articulation then I keep the change. If any of these aspects get worse. I go back. It's hard to give concrete metrics and equipment also plays a part but that's what I listen for.
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a reason I ask questions of an OP.

What if you find out that this is a middle school student who's been playing for two years. Same response?

My next question was to ask them to post a video.

Reality is tough but really, how can you give any advice if you don't know what you are dealing with?
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trumpetcadet
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard III wrote:
There's a reason I ask questions of an OP.

What if you find out that this is a middle school student who's been playing for two years. Same response?

My next question was to ask them to post a video.

Reality is tough but really, how can you give any advice if you don't know what you are dealing with?


Hi Richard, my intention with this post was to come up with statistics regarding people undergoing an embouchure change and hear the different stories related to it, didn't mean to ask for counsel (respectfully!) regarding my own embouchure change. I think there is a lot of value in collecting multiple stories on such a controversial topic.
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kgsmith1
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Months" seems about right to me too. A lot depends on what and how much changes.

Even more, how mature you are about where you're at in the change. Between high school and college I practiced music harder when I got frustrated with a change and I didn't get as much benefit from the change as I should have. Unlearning reflexes and instincts may be as important as learning anything new.

Also, I agree the answer is probably a year plus to get back to a high level of accuracy and efficiency. Trust that practicing fundamentals with a teacher to guide you will pay off. Sooner or later you'll be in a section where everyone can play whatever "difficult" stuff is on the page, and the ease and well-craftedness of execution is what stands out. That should be the goal of a change: execute more easily and with the freedom to make the exact sound you want for the music.
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mike ansberry
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started working on the Balanced Embouchure exercises 2.5 years ago. I was able to keep using my old embouchure for gigs. The changes the exercises were making in my embouchure gradually crept into my gig embouchure. I made gradual improvements in my range and endurance.

Now my gig embouchure has gradually morphed into a radically different embouchure than I started with. We had a 4 hour rehearsal in a 70's style horn band (EWF, Chicago, BS&T, BBVD, Motown, etc.) with no breaks. I still could nail E above the staff on the last song. That is a solid improvement over the player I used to be.

So how long does it take to complete an embouchure change? I am still finding out. Still making small gains. But it was not a drastic thing so I could just keep on playing.

I may be wrong (just ask my wife), but I think Balanced Embouchure method is not a way to try to force your embouchure into a certain form. It is more of a group of exercises that, if practiced diligently, will allow you to find what embouchure works best for you.
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a pretty radical change after my freshman year of college. There was constant pain and other issues. The gradual approach was not workable. A radical departure was needed.

I knew it was "better" from day one, but playing was pretty limited and terrible for months. I spent the next school year on the clear bottom of my college studio. It took a bit over a year to return to my previous level of control (with the new better aspects). After about 2 years, the change was a distant memory.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
You should ask your teacher.
Specifically about how long for you and the teacher to have good evidence that the change is having the desired effects.

It depends on whether a given teacher is able to deal with such a change - my suspicion is the majority aren't. A classical, concertizing pro I've known for a long time and have taken occasional lessons from is firmly against ever changing an embouchure from whatever you happen to fall into when you first develop an embouchure.

They personally never felt a need to change and have never experienced either the problems that can arise from a dysfunctional embouchure nor the improvement that can happen. They basically feel like nature gives you one option.

In my case it just wasn't happening, and I never would have made any headway without making a change. No teacher I've ever had could have directed me through the changes I made. Certainly the player/teacher mentioned above even though they themselves are a fine player and have a roster of students wouldn't have the first clue where to begin - they *wouldn't* have begun because they don't believe in it. They view me as something of an anomaly in that a change helped.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
JayKosta wrote:
You should ask your teacher.
Specifically about how long for you and the teacher to have good evidence that the change is having the desired effects.

It depends on whether a given teacher is able to deal with such a change - my suspicion is the majority aren't. ...

--------------------
I understand your concerns, my reply to the OP was framed around the OP's trust and faith in the OP's teacher. With those constraints, I thought it was reasonable for the OP to seek the desired answers directly from the teacher.

If the OP had asked how to determine whether a particular teacher would be good to help with a 'problem embouchure', my response would have been different.
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