How do I know if I may be using too little pressure? Too much pressure has been a fear of mine since 1980. That’s a long time to be messed up! I’m a professional French horn player, but I’ve lived my life hiding in the fourth horn chair where my lack of high range isn’t as noticable. I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for Time and Age catching up to me.
Hey there wellsweb62, thanks for your message and I’ll be gentle I promise 🤞
Too little “pressure” will result in a weak, unsupported sound.
Too much and the feeling of freedom required i.e. humming/singing will be compromised and the BCH (Body’s Concert Hall) will close it’s doors and you will experience back pressure and strain in the throat and chest.
There are French Horn leadpipe packs you can get where you can work on your “sympathetic oscillation”.
Hi Mike ! I too have used excessive mouthpiece pressure in my youth. I play trumpet, btw. (I did not play from 1985-2012) I’ve been dabbling with Greg’s method for a (long) while but I’m really digging in now and seeing benefits. I have found two things that have helped with excessive mp pressure.
1) playing the leadpipe. Sometimes when I have a spare ten minutes I will do the warm-up through lead pipe work. What i mean is Body’s Concert Hall breaths, ahh-ooh, add air, use tissue, add vizualizer, blow air through mp, then some time on the leadpipe. Getting a sound on the pipe is So Easy ! I keep reminding myself that I can play with ease.
Greg says you can get a horn leadpipe…do it. 🙂
1a) My brain really fights doing that list above…Body’s Concert Hall etc. Over time, i have many times, slowly gotten away from doing those all-important things–in order to get to what my brain thinks is Real Practicing. I have finally caught on to this. Now I do BCH breaths and humming whenever i can. It Is Working!
2) bringing the magnifying glass to the mouthpiece pressure. When I paid attention to it, I noticed that my left arm was the one doing the pulling of the horn towards my face. The first thing i did was to push it away with my right! (eye roll). Now I am consciously working on just Not pulling in with my left arm. I have eliminated some pressure already…the tendency is to pull in more as I go higher so I just experiment with Not Doing That. I have to really Pay Attention.
My question is more about using too little pressure. I’ve avoided pressure most of my adult life, and I’ve been able to do that quite successfully since I spend most of my time in the lower register. I’m curious to know if there are signs of using TOO LITTLE pressure. The signs of too much pressure are painfully obvious. Literally!
I’m wondering if a little more pressure might help me get a better seal without having to minipulate the chops. Any thoughts?
I’m not a FH player, but I think too little pressure mouthpiece to lip would result in a weak, airy sound with air leakage around the lips. If you do not have this sound and have a strong, resonant sound, enjoy the feeling of freedom I am working toward.
I see I should have read your original post more closely…”How do I know if I may be using too little pressure?” haha.
This is something I have no experience with so i really cannot comment.
All I can offer is that i once asked Greg about mp pressure in a Skype lesson and he said I only need enough to get a seal–again, my problem is too much pressure. Hopefully, Greg will chime in here.
Hi guys, I totally agree with Eric (that’s two days in a row haha, love ya work Eric). Too little pressure will not enable the oscillator to respond to the change in air pressure and therefore have a weak, airy sounds and more than likely air escaping at the aperture corners.
With lots of humming and a good idea of sound, you will be able to tell if “the lips are interacting with the air as if they are the vocal cords.”
Usually the issues is too much pressure and that can be alleviated by doing the #wihsc. Soft harmonic slurs for a long time are impossible with too much pressure.
Hi. Greetings from Scotland. Greg- great course.
I have always used lots of mpc to lip pressure to get higher notes. My endurnance was not so good. Not so much now I am following the course. Years ago I bought a device to go into the lead pipe between the mpc that collapses when you use “too much pressure” (subjective!). I made a mark on the setting so as I “progress” I can see which note it starts to collapse at. Since starting this course I have gone from mid stave B to G above. Sound is better too.
Any thoughts on using this device?