Excerpted from SAIl THE SEVEN C'S - An Easier Way To Play Trumpet!
Copyright B-FLAT MUSIC PRODUCTION
(Q) Not having any personalized instruction from my youth to rely upon, I began surfing the web to see what I could learn about embouchure development.I've been experimenting with 3 of the more popular approaches to see which one sounds best and feels most natural for me - at this point I'm leaning towards a Maggio, or at least some reasonable facsimile thereof. Before I invest untold hours in attempting to develop a particular embouchure, I would very much appreciate any experience/opinion you may have on embouchures for someone with my peculiar physical features - specifically a very narrow face combined with a mild underbite.
A very appropriate question. As you may, or may not, know I believe that all good players play in essentially the same way - EXCEPT for the extent to which individual physical chracteristics dictate certain modifications.
The differences which I glean from the many "methods or procedures" are LARGELY a difference in (1) NOMENCLATURE (not to mention perceived meanings of that nomenclature) and the difficulty and necessity of verbally describing an internal, unmeasurable, invisible process. (Whew!!) There are people with "websites" who would LIKE to have you believe that all is "cut and dried". Many people fail to see the forest - because they are focusing too extensively upon a single parameter of that complex structure known as the embouchure. I make it a policy neither to recommend nor belittle the publications/writings/beliefs of my colleagues. HOWEVER - beware of those who give "logical," "self-assured" descriptions - but, alas, are not particularly adept at "doing it"!!
The most important thing is to be "working" in a manner which appears to be bringing results. FOR YOU! As always, the real truth is best evaluated by reading everything you can get your hands-on. You will see certain "truths" begin to emerge.
Now, to your question re. some of the universally agreed -upon principles: (1) Get the pedals going - LOUD, firm, in-tune (Tone "quality" is secondary (for these purposes)
(2) Arpeggio's, scales which require you to move from the pedal register, ever higher into the normal register - WITHOUT stopping to "reset" or even, "breathe". AND VISE-VERSA. "Look to develop your foundation before attempting to erect a skyscraper" - Sail The Seven C's
(3) Read #2 again!
(4) Get things "flowing" in the low to pedal register, no tongue. As things improve, begin to add the "tongue". (another problem to be solved!)
(5) If you want ALL registers to "sound" equally well, you will HAVE to spend equal time on all!!! Excessive mouthpiece pressure is universally destructive - the nemesis of brass players!.
(Q)While I've developed the facial muscles to buzz reasonably well without the aid of a mouthpiece, when I attempt to capture the buzz by bringing my mouthpiece (Bach 7C) in contact with my lips, I have a ton of leakage around the sides (unless I apply undue pressure) .
(A)Makes sense - you are going to have to apply more pressure to stop the "peripheral buzzing".
(Q) I'm thinking some of this may be due to the relatively small radius presented by my front teeth, but I'm not ready to jump to any conclusions just yet. Have you ever seen a decent trumpet player who had an underbite?
(Q) Are there any special measures needed for this?
(A)If it is too severe, you can have your mouthpiece "bent" so you won't be inclined to "throw-back your head". Hoping that this all makes some sense, somehow. Keep 'Em Flying!
One of the big problems, is being constantly surrounded by the mediocre! So many potentially brilliant, young players are content to simply play well enough to get by!!!! That is, to be the equal of, or better than, those with whom they are surrounded. The above are, I believe, surmountable - If you truly understand that YOU are the answer.
"Think not, that you can become an uncommonly good player by practicing the commonplace"!! You must be head and shoulders above the pack!! But the REAL race is with yourself, not with others! - Clyde Hunt
Before anything else takes place, please examine the following fundamentals: (1) The fundamental "martele" attack - Arban 11 -11. So often I am amazed when people who are supposed to be "good" players, are unable to play this in an acceptable style.
(2) Breath Control - get out the Clarke Tech Studies. Follow his instructions precisely. Keep increasing your repetitions until you are able to do TWICE as many as you thought possible!!!
(3) Excessive mouthpiece pressure is the NEMESIS of brass players!!!!
(4) Accept the premise that there is an "EASIER" way, than the way you are now doing things.
(5) Be prepared for the possibility that some of what you were taught is either NONSENSE, or that you misunderstood what was being said.
Now, If I have not yet infuriated you, (Grin!), please tell me something specifically about that "wall" you have run into! Keep 'Em Flying!
In response to the ever-tightening aperture, which raises the pitch of the buzz, IT IS NECESSARY to increase the strength of the airstream in order to overcome the "tightening" of the lips-aperture. You can readily experience this feel by buzzing: C2, then E2, then G2, for example. This, of course, is the feel of the "NO (mouthpiece) PRESSURE" embouchure.
Now - put down all three valves, play very softly, and use so little mouthpiece pressure that you can hear the "buzz" from around the mouthpiece, as well as through the trumpet. THE ONLY MOUTHPIECE PRESSURE to be used is that which is necessary to stop the leaking from around the mouthpiece!!!! And the "bunched" chops and internal pressure will serve to FURTHER lessen the ill effects of the mouthpiece pressure. You can probably play a full octave, non-tempered scale (to E3) in this fashion. Press the lips together and squeeze the diaphragm muscles and sphincter as you ascend.Relax same as you descend The importance of the internal air pressure is OFTEN UNDERESTIMATED even among those who are otherwise good players. If you are using little enough pressure you can probably feel the partials "bumping" by.