The angle of the air stream.

We have covered the lip, mouthpiece placement, lip tension, aperture size and control, and now it is time to talk about the direction of the air stream. The air begins in the lungs and is forced between the lips which creates vibrations and in turn produces the sound which emanates from the trumpets bell. The direction of the air on this path will affect the tone as well as the decibel and timbre which we are concerned with today. The most efficient path for your air stream would be in a straight line but because of the way we are…

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The Correct Lip Alignment And Aperture Size?

First we must explain to our younger players just what an aperture is and how it affects our trumpet playing. When we speak of an aperture size, we are speaking of the size and shape of the opening between your lips as you produce a note. Some players prefer a small opening while other fine players prefer a large opening. What we will accomplish in this post is explain the difference and the advantages and disadvantages of both. One thing you must understand is that the air must flow between your lips in order for the air to start a…

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A Loose or Firm Embouchure?

Now that we have covered the advantages and disadvantages of a mouthpiece placed vertically and horizontally on the embouchure, the next element to deal with is the firmness or looseness of the embouchure itself. Many players place the mouthpiece on their lips and begin blowing, never thinking of the firmness or softness of their lip muscles. And one might ask, “What difference does it make”? The difference can easily be understood by comparing the two different sine curves illustrated below. The top line represents a relaxed embouchure and the lower line is an example of a firm embouchure. Both notes…

Placement of Mouthpiece- Up Or Down?

The question of mouthpiece placement is an issue of air efficiency. When everything is working efficiently ie. mouthpiece placement, angle of horn, mouthpiece pressure, etc. the sound will indicate this balance. When I say efficient conditions, this is indicated as a big sound. Experienced trumpet players recognize this tone and describe it as “fat”, “well rounded”, “on fire”. To the uninitiated it might be described as a room filling sound. This was illustrated to me at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago when Mr. Bud Herseth illustrated a musical passage to his room full of excited listeners. When “Bud” blew an…

A great musician and a wonderful person to know.. we’ll miss you Steve

Steven L Black (May 4, 1958 – December 16, 2013) Not often do we get to know such a wonderful person as Steve Black. In a business which is well known for petty jealousies and back stabbing, it is refreshing to come across one who is kind, patient and a true gentleman. Steve was such a person and to have lost him so soon in his life is difficult to understand. Our prayers and thoughts are with his widow and family members in this difficult time. The world would be a better place if we all were like Steve. We…

Mouthpiece placement change

From time to time, students ask the question “Is my mouthpiece in the correct position”? To their teacher, this is the question most instructors try to avoid. The reason for their reluctance is that to change a student’s mouthpiece position means many unpleasant lessons both for the student as well as their instructor. I will list some of the reasons brass teachers are reluctant to start on this sometimes unpleasant journey. 1. Changing a mouthpiece placement more often than not will entail a sudden loss of what the student is capable of at the time of change. The comfort zone…

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