Monday, January 19, 2009

Smiling, Puffing, and Chewing

Trumpet-playing and smiling are not good bedfellows. They just don't get along. They get too tired of each other. Definitely, your playing can be light-hearted and jovial, and bring a smile to the audience, but not to your embouchure. Your corners can't be getting all happy. For the lips, playing is serious business. Firm corners, relaxed center. Don't be thinking about the Joker. Picture the Hulk!

As long as we're on the mushy embouchure, cheek-puffing is also a no-no. The air can't be shooting in several different directions inside your mouth. You'll lose endurance, flexibility, and control of intonation. Air must be aimed directly into the mouthpiece. Cheeks are just as important as the rest of the body, in fact more so as they are the last to focus the streaming air to its destination!

And then there is the chewer, nibbling and adjusting the embouchure with every rise and fall of the line. He looks like a squirrel with his nut. Save the chewing for meal times. How about freezing that embouchure into place. Set it, and keep it there. Remember: iron-clad firmness at the corners, but relaxed and flexible in the middle! Also, others must marvel at how calm and relaxed you appear as you play. But on the inside - fire and amazing efficiency!