Thermal imaging and spectrum analysis study of trumpet players

For about 100 years we have known that tension at the side of the face (cheek area) inhibits tone production, lessens endurance and impedes range. Using this part of the face creates a “Smile” but sadly most people still do this to some extent when they play. Most never even know it. Many famous teachers have written about it but people keep doing it.I myself have been trying to educate people about this for 40+ years. (I’ve been writing books about this for 20 years.) I decided that showing the muscles used by players that struggle and showing the muscles used by players with range to spare might help. I thought that the best way to show this was to do a Thermal Video Study of players while they were playing. This has never been done before. Nobody ever did thermal images while someone was playing and the video aspect […]

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Maggio Embouchure

The Maggio system was established because Louis Maggio had sustained an injury which prevented him from playing any other system. He tried a pucker instead of a buzz or a curl. This pucker allowed the bad tissue to vibrate in a different point and he could play. Maggio claimed that the pucker allowed him to not only play higher but also longer because the pucker made a cushion between the mouthpiece and the teeth. Carlton MacBeth was the main teacher of this method and he wrote a book which is sadly out of print. The last one I saw for sale was 895 dollars. This embouchure is elusive for some players. The pucker is so different from what they used before that they lose control and sound quality. Others do well. In this system you cushion the lips by extending them or puckering ( like a monkey ). In fact […]

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Lip Buzzing Embouchure and Mendez

Lip Buzzing This is the embouchure Mendez played. It is also what Clarke played. When Mendez taught a beginning student he made them lip buzz a month before he gave them a mouthpiece. He then made them mouthpiece buzz a month before he gave them the trumpet. By then they could change pitches and had decent tone. I use this embouchure on most of my students.He taught his own children this way and he toured with them playing trios for many years. He wrote about this in his book. The fastest way to successfully go to a closed embouchure is : Lip Buzz: (Like spitting seeds.) Do this 15 – 30 minutes a day. Buzz scales, songs, arpeggios, etudes…. Set your new embouchure: Buzz a note and while holding the buzz sneak the horn & mpc into playing position. Take ALL breaths through your nose (so you don’t disturb the […]

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3D look at the trumpet embouchure

First let’s see how some people think of embouchure. 1-D Some people think of a trumpet embouchure in 1 dimension. That is they think only about how long is the aperture or buzz. Yes this does affect what note is being playing but it is only a small part of the aperture. (1 front view of aperture length) (2 front view of aperture length) How long is the aperture? ie are you playing a low note or a high note. People who think this way tend to only rely on mouth-corner tension to play higher notes. Lip to lip compression has no place here. Every octave higher that we play; the size of the aperture is cut in half. Double Pedal C = 64 inches, Pedal C = 32 inches, Low C = 16 inches, Middle C = 8 inches, High C = 4 inches, Double High C = 2 […]

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The embouchure controls the pitch

  The embouchure controls the pitch and to some degree the quality of your sound Regardless of the embouchure you use these things MUST always happen. The lips must be moist. The surface tension of the water aids in setting up the vibrations. The lips must be touching. (If the air has nothing to fight there is NO buzz.) Use as Little pressure as possible. Pressure only separates the lips and stops the sound. Backing off the pressure will allow you to soar. Everyone says Tighten up to play high. Hold something between your finger and thumb. That squeeze is what they are talking about. Playing high involves slightly pushing your lips together as you ascend.   Farkas 75-80% of all players use this embouchure. This embouchure is described FULLY in “The Art of Brass Playing” by Phillip Farkas. He told people to blow as if they were trying to […]

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Why is there air in my sound?

This is THE easiest question to answer. No gray areas with this one. Sound IS vibrations. Air in the sound IS caused from too big an aperture for the note/volume we are playing. What happens is that some of the air gets through the hole without touching any lip tissue and doesn’t get put into vibration. So it sizzles right through the sound. Air in the tone goes hand in hand with every bad thing that can happen. Not being able to play soft cleanly or at all, poor range, poor endurance, excessive mouthpiece pressure……. All BECAUSE the aperture is too big. Soft playing makes the aperture smaller. Here are some causes of an airy sound: A shallow mouthpiece causes this because you bottom out and it spreads the center of the chops. Fatigue causes it because the chops don’t stay together and they spread. Moving the lower lip out […]

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