Recently, I have been suffering from my bad performance of playing the trumpet.
I think that the reason of this would be that I have practiced playing the trumpet with a practice mute at home for a long time.
The air resistance is stronger than usual when playing with a practice mute.
That’s why it may make the sense of lips when playing the trumpet worse to practice by using the mute.
I was troubled and nervous by this problem, so I consulted my teacher Mr. Tomonao Hara, who is one of the most prominent professional jazz trumpeter in Japan.
In this post, I want to share his advices and my discovery from them with you because my problem is now gradually solved.
You must not make your embouchure. It will be made automatically.
“Your must not make your embouchure.” It is all.
I have known for a long time that it is better not to give high tension to my lips, of course.
But, it seems that I did not understand the meaning of this idea correctly.
The teacher showed me a method to solve the problem of my embouchure.
It was that:
- At first, making G (in B♭) long tone (G below middle C) with “no” (really no) power to make an embouchure;
- And then, making the G tone vibrate widely (keeping no power);
- Finally, shaking the tone between G and middle C as quickly as possible in the manner of expanding the vibration.
I tried the method, but it did not work well.
The teacher said that:
“It is one of the good method to confirm whether your lips are kept free.”
“That’s because it will not work well if your lips have much tension.”
Honestly speaking, I slightly doubted the idea at that time.
That’s because I believed that my lips were kept free or had only the power enough to make the tone at least.
However, I tried again after he said “Try again without giving any power to your lips.”
At the second try, I really tried to keep my lips and embouchure have “no” power literally.
It means that I just made my lips contact to mouthpiece without making an embouchure and then just blew.
As a result, I felt a strange sense in my lips and was a little bit troubled when blowing due to the new way to blow, but he said “Good. Your tone became softer than ever.”
I have to say again that I felt a strange sense in my lips, frankly speaking. But his comments were also true, that is, my tone certainly changed in my feeling.
After that, he said “Try to go up to middle G keeping your lips free.”
I tried so. And then, I could make middle G softly and easily (although the tone volume was small) with my surprise.
Of course, I have ever tried to keep my lips free many times. But it can be said that I have never tried to give no power to my lips to keep the embouchure.
My surprise was caused by the fact that I can go to upper register without (as a literal meaning) any power to keep the embouchure.
At that time, I felt that I eventually understood the correct meaning of the phrase which I have ever heard many times:
“You must not make your embouchure. It will be made automatically.”
After the lesson, I decided to give no power to my lips to make my embouchure whenever playing the trumpet.
Almost one week passed from the lesson as of today.
I feel that the problem I was troubled is being solved.
I want to share with you again if I get a much better result from the method.