WindWorks Trumpet Academy › Forums › WindWorks › Mouthpiece size and mmmahhhwhoo!
Since I use the right contraction of my aperture corners to play the différents notes, it is more simple and easy for me to play safely on the trumpet, cornet or flugelhorn.
But I had to change the size of my mouthpieces with this new technique for all the instruments. The mouthpieces rims that I use now are larger. For example, before I played on my flugelhorn with a denis wick 5, after a few months a size 4, and now I feel better more resonant with size 3! It is the same for cornet and trumpet.
Could you explain me why? Is it a good thing to change the size or do I have to try to keep the smaller mouthpieces?
Thanks for your reply.
Merry Christmas for you and all your family.
Hey Francis, Merry Xmas!
There are no rules! It does not surprise given the extra lip “cushion” you might have would affect what rim works best.
If it feels good and sounds good, it’s good. To quote Bobby Shew “not everyone wears the same size pair of shoes”.
Thanks for sharing and I welcome other peoples thoughts and experiences.
All the best to you and your family for the festive season.
Hi there, to continue on this thread. I do the mmmahhooo with the visualiser and I am completely relaxed. I then proceed with the mouthpiece and am totally relaxed but the mouthpiece (mp) completely sits on the red of the lips. I have fuller lips, and even more now since I do the mmmaaahooo. I even bought a Denis Wick 1X (18mm) so that I could fit more of my lips inside the mp. I have seen many good trumpet players and I don’t think I have ever seen anyone play the trumpet on the red of the lips (not even Greg). Sooo I decided to move up the mp so that at least the upper lip sits inside the mp. This seems logical since I technically do not block the upper lip anymore and is now “free” to vibrate. Unfortunately this means that what I do with the visualiser and the mp are very different things, unless I move the visualiser up so that my top lip is “inside”. My frustration is that I am not advancing. But to be honest, I moved the mp up because I was definitely not advancing when I was playing on the red of the lips.
I intended posting a very long list of issues on Thursday but when I pressed submit lost the lot because of an internet problem. This was one of my issues. I am also finding I am playing on the red of the lips and working toward a bigger mouthpiece. I sometimes do the early exercises on trombone. This way I really feel the lips vibrate. I find when doing the MtoM exercises on trumpet I finish off a note by pulling down the lower lip to make the aperture more open to maintain the sound. This happens in normal playing and sometimes in process. When I have this lower lip position early in my normal practise high notes are much easier but it tires rapidly. Having discovered the Ultimate level I have gone back to square one(again) to try to solve this problem before moving on. I have made hand written notes on every video ensuring I am not missing anything. Having watched the videos to the point of quoting verbatim I still missed things. I am being absolutely thorough as I still feel I am not eradicating tension above the stave. Using the visualiser I know I am getting a good aperture corner setting. Years of tucking on the lower lip is hard to eradicate. I am playing better than ever and beyond up to G, and now Ab has the same freedom (but not daily in the Singing C exercise), but after that the tension suddenly kicks in and either I clamp or the chops go to this weird open position and playing high and very high is easy for a short time. The problem then becomes one of manipulation to get the open position and pivoting and pushing the jaw forward to produce false positions and it collapses. Staying calm and backing off is helping but the instinct is to go for it. I still use a lot of pressure. A more consistent normal high note position is developing. However, this is when I find the crescendo exercise in the singing C sometimes causes the sound to collapse. Is that a common problem?
These issues have led to a fresh mouthpiece safari. Bigger gets the right chop position and the best sound but other problems come into play. I have a friend who has always played on, or the equivalent of, a Schilke 24. His range is beyond triple c. He annoyingly proves each time we meet to play duets. Other friends are going smaller. Greater choice is greater confusion but as I have a scar on the playing spot comfort is important and I have one mouthpiece which is not the best but is the most comfortable. My favourite mouthpiece irritates the scar area sometimes and that undermines confidence. Pressure on the lower lip, as in the position with the red of the lower lip pulled down, seems to take some pressure off the top lip, which helps.
I feel the whole thing is an embouchure change. Is that the target?
There are moments when amazing things happen proving something different is happening and it is good. Really enjoying the challenge.
FWIW, I kind of went through this months ago–it felt like I needed to move to a bigger mouthpiece. I’m an amateur comeback player and all I had was a 7C and a 3C which I had played through high school and a little college (mainly the 3C later). I started back on the 7C but then went to the 3C when I was doing the WindWorks course. Went well for a while, but then I felt like I lost my way a bit. Ran across some other videos out there that seemed to suggest, consistent with Greg, that you should play the smallest gear when you can and the biggest gear when you can, etc. I decided to keep things simple and remove variables and went back to the 7C. That has been feeling and sounding good so I’ve stayed with it. But I’d like to go try out some different mouthpieces to see what may feel / work even better. Tried a 3E but I bottom out, touch the inside of the cup.
I had some great success with playing (increasing my range / improving my sound) but then struggled a bit and lost the sensation of what I was supposed to be doing; I’ve been building things back up and had a great day today after a pretty steady few weeks building back up. Great day today, played some things better than ever in my life.
I think I understand what you’re talking about playing on the red–I think I was doing that as well and then reverted to rolling my bottom lip under which is what I think I did when I was in high school.
I wound up going back to a Charlie Porter video on setting up an embouchre–he says “hide the red” and create a gap between the lips–which is consistent with what Greg says. That seems to have helped me set things up better and ensure I’m not buzzing my lips in the mouthpiece while playing. It feels better and I seem to have a flatter but still forward embouchre–in fact that was what was so amazing today–as I ascended up to A and high C I didn’t move much I kept my lips “forward”, I didn’t pinch or try to do any big movements just a subtle tightening of the corners (ooohh) and in fact I felt like I was widening the aperture and arching my tongue and I got the most resonant and loud A and high C, even a loud and resonant high D and E, as well as touched an F and double G but didn’t focus on range today–I was trying for the best sensation, most resonant sound and consistency and I got it. Felt like a “coffee moment” today.
I do the Windworks setup (aahhh oohh, focus on the air column / position and check to make sure I’m not buzzing) but the “hide the red” thing seemed to help me as well–seems like I’m getting the right part of my lips into the mouthpiece where they need to vibrate freely in the air to make sound, whereas before I was moving them too much to try to pinch the air to make it go faster but instead was overblowing and cutting off the air.
I still catch myself kicking with air and pinching a bit to see if I can squeak something out higher, but I’m catching myself and stopping myself. Today was good–I felt like I really owned high C, D, E (ppp to FFF) and could really feel what everything was doing (lips, tongue, air on my tongue, aperture corners, jaw) and it all felt good and in synergy and the sound was like never before–I felt like it couldn’t have sounded or felt better; I have no doubt I was playing as I should be. And as I ascended above high C and was doing some harmonic slurs with different fingerings, I am sure I hit some notes that I never have before but am not sure what notes they were as I didn’t have my tuner on and wasn’t really focused on that today.
Really looking forward to digging into the Ultimate Level and seeing if I can work up to “owning” a double G, and hopefully above that someday.
BUt I am so grateful to be able to be able to play the whole range of the trumpet from double pedal C up through E above high C. I had given up in college as all I could really ever muster was an A above the staff and only really owned the G. Never even touched a high C until 2018–40 years after starting trumpet…
Thanks for the message folks! Johnelwood! Turns out that your message really saved me. Believe it or not, yesterday I was really thinking about quitting. I was tired of fighting the trumpet. I was gonna send an email directly to Greg to see if I should quit or not. However, I had to go to work (dishwasher) and was in a panic trying (as a last result) to see if I could find some hope before quitting… I barely spoke to anyone… and fell back upon this thread… I thought no one had responded to my post. Anyways, Johnelwood your story and mentioning charlie porter was my answer!! Red inside the lips!!! That was my question! So, after work, at around midnight I basically rushed home to try it out and BOOM, I started to play! I played “bare necessities” a song I was before goofing around on… of course I couldn’t play it but at midnight I was able to play! So the first thing I did this morning, with my new found hope, I started to practice several exercises (wind-works/ clarke) and FINALLY felt the aperture corners working! I am almost in disbelief! At my darkest hour I saw hope and now feel better than before! I have yet to increase my range (nowhere near high C) but at least I have something to work with… and also know what I need to focus on! Its such a relief! I was gonna quit but now it’s all coming together. Thanks to everyone on wind-works!
Wow, Luis, I am so glad my post helped you!! I have been there, I know how you were feeling. I believe you will experience what I did if you stay at it and don’t give up–it will eventually click. When I played the other day, I didn’t even have to focus on not tensing up my throat, etc. as I ascended up to high C and beyond–I knew the notes would “speak” and they did. Keep the faith and best of luck to you. I’m happier that my post helped you than if I had a good day playing myself.
Update: I’ve been feeling / sounding good on my 7C and am feeling more and more like playing correctly is becoming second nature now–the more time that passes without me backsliding, the more confident I become in that. I started thinking again about mouthpieces, not because my 7C wasn’t providing good sound or I wasn’t happy with my range, but it’s a 7C and I figured I should try to find something with a brighter sound with a shallower cup and/or a smaller diameter rim.
I tried a 3E but it feels too wide, I bottom out / it feels too shallow and I just can’t play on it. I realize in time I might learn how to play on it, but decided to try something else.
Got a 10 1/2C tonight. I had one years ago (30 years ago in high school / college) but don’t know what I did with it.
The 10 1/2C felt good and sounded good right off the bat. I warmed up on the 7C so I could tell how I was feeling / sounding. Then, I started trying out the 10 1/2C and it felt and sounded better than the 7C.
My plan was sort of to start with the 10 1/2C to narrow down the diameter first, then to continue to experiment with similar diameter mouthpieces with perhaps shallower or v-cup shapes to them.
I’m really feeling like I finally get how to play–I focus on the aperture corners as I ascend (oooh). High C for me comes very easy now mostly, especially when I ascend chromatically (i.e. Clarke 1) and stay relaxed and open and try to use minimal movement, etc.
I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I was slotting the double G when doing harmonic slurs without any valves down tonight a couple / few times. I’ve always stopped at the E before, but it seemed like I was able to make it up another slot tonight and even the lower notes (i.e. G above the staff, etc.) seemed to slot easier.
I don’t feel as much like I need to worry about the setup, I just put it on in the middle and blow lightly to see if I can just blow air without a buzz (or note) and with a note (with a little more air, etc.) when I first set it.
The narrower mouthpiece felt a little different after a while, like perhaps I was actively buzzing in the mouthpiece when playing but I pulled the mouthpiece out of the horn and realized I wasn’t.
I think I overdid it a bit screwing around tonight–I’ll probably feel / sound / play poorly tomorrow and will need to take it easy / take a break, but I’m encouraged that I’m narrowing in on a better equipment setup and solidfying this new way of playing.
One thing I’ve come to realize is that I’m not having to move a lot as I ascend or descend into different registers–I remember that I used to push my bell down as I ascended and pull my lower lip in and I think my top lip was kind of coming up / out or away from the mouthpiece (slightly) as I ascended–now I realize how bad that is, as it’s the top lip that (I think) is most important.
Now I think of “going straight through the front door” as I play and ascend and don’t worry about moving, I just focus on the (“oooh”) slightly tightening the aperture corners and making sure my sound is good / resonant (slightly adjusting the angle, but minimal–not anywhere near like before); I pretty much keep the bell in the same spot. I don’t have to push hard either.
One thing I did notice a few weeks ago / month ago that seemed to really help was my tongue–I can’t quite explain it and will probably just confuse things if I try too hard (best just to listen to what Greg explains), but basically to me I feel like as I get up to about high C I start kind of pushing the front of my tongue down behind my lower teeth or something as I arch the back of my tongue and lower my jaw / flatten out my embouchre to prevent the aperture from closing due to my tightening the corners, etc.
This has gotten to the point where I feel much more open and relaxed when I’m playing high C and even D and E at times and am able to open the aperture a bit to get better sound and more volume, etc.
My experience is the opposite. I play a wedge 64 (640) extra shallow and I’m considering going to the 620. My lower register has suffered in no way and the upper is so much easier, I also have more endurance. I think this is due to becoming aware of shape and focus with the program. I work on a lot of different things but this has allowed me to play better with a good sound.
Thanks Rod. I’m not familiar with the wedge 64; is the 620 more or less shallow?
Didn’t have a lot of time to practice this morning / tonight. Seemed like a mixed bag–I knew I would pay for the irrational exuberance last night, etc. and I did… But there were glimpses of brilliance on the 10 1/2C (didn’t play the 7C at all today), but my range actually felt kind of capped out at about high C today, although I did actually get the E a couple/few times. Tried to take it a bit easy and didn’t focus on range, more on musicality–played some music and it felt easy and sounded good.
I think I might need to back off a bit on the air, I think I’m overblowing–I almost got myself feeling like I was going backwards again but caught myself and backed off the air, focused on process and the notes came easier again. Funny how our minds work / get in the way.
Was originally thinking I might try some V-shaped / shallower mouthpieces as early as this weekend, but I’m realizing I need to probably give it a bit more time before I move to the next thing, etc.
I’m loving this journey I’m on…played this morning before work. Lips felt supple / good, sounded good / felt good. Getting a better feel for the new mouthpiece, realizing I need to relax a little more, back off the air more, which makes sense on a smaller mp…
Made me think of mountain biking or anything involving tire traction, when you start skidding you let go of the brakes–you don’t clamp harder / panic…
Not sure yet if the 10 1/2C will be my long term mp but that doesn’t matter…for now, it feels and sounds good and I feel like I’m learning something by playing it, whereas the 3E seemed like a block wall I couldn’t get around. Maybe in time the 3E or something else will prove better than the 10 1/2… who knows, but I’m having fun.
I don’t mean to hijack this thread (anymore than I already have) but had an interesting experience today… I think it may have been one of those”coffee moments”…
Things were going well on the 10 1/2C but it did feel small at times, almost restricting.
And I noticed that Greg and other world class players can play just about any mp, from 1 1/2C to shallow lead MP’s.
So I started experimenting with my 3C and 3E, which I mentioned above was a paperweight for me.
I decided yesterday to be patient with the 3E and just give it at least a couple days (not a scientific approach).
Today, I focused on a resonant sound and was able to actually play it pretty well, all the way through my functional range (high E or F…okay, E is highest functional).
The sensations were strange and counterintuitive to me–at one point, my high C or E was cutting out and I opened my lips (aperture) wider and sort of pushed my lips to the outside of the mp, which felt odd, but the sound came on louder the wider I opened up and it didn’t drop lower; it felt like I was cheating.
The 3 might still be too wide of a diameter for me, perhaps I’ll wind up somewhere between 10 and 3. But I feel like I’m learning more about playing by trying the different MP’s.