blowing out of cheeks

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BeatTheSheep, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    Just wondered how other teachers cure this perennial problem? have tried nose clips, and buzzing etc. depends on the child if it works obviously, but how have you sorted this problem? I teach kids from 7-17 for my band, and its the youngest end I refer to here!
  2. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    p.s. if you think noseclips are cruel, clothes pegs are worse!
  3. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I just keep repeating like a mantra...
    "Don't puff your cheeks out, don't puff your cheeks out, don't puff your cheeks out..."

    If the message doesn't get through I try changing my volume. I don't think I've ever got to the stage of blowing their hair back, but I have got pretty loud.

    If I ever get to the stage of "What don't you understand about...." I know I'm probably dealing with a lost cause. This does take a while.

    These days you can't grab their cheeks because some stupid do-gooder would probably accuse you of child abuse. I never had the problem when I was learning, but I know several people who have found it very hard to break the habit once they started doing it. I think persistence is just the best thing and encouraging good breathing habits generally.
  4. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    true enough. But what about the average 7 year old that doesn't know that they're doing it?
  5. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    My father was a professional musician (23 years in a major US military band) and a virtuoso euph player, and he always puffed his left cheek slightly (and also played with a slightly off-center embouchure).

    When he was at university (Eastman School of Music) his private instructor used to sit on the left side and jab him with a sharpened pencil each time he puffed. Didn't break him of the habit, though. And would probably get you brought up on charges if you did it to someone these days.

    I'm not sure I would worry about it all that much with 7-year old players. Just let them know they're doing it and try to demonstrate (if you can) why they shouldn't.
  6. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    You could try getting them to practice in front of a mirror so they can see themselves doing it. I am a firm believer that establishing a good quality buzz and understanding the reason for buziing as I find that most of my kids can't buzz properly whilst puffing their cheeks out.

    Stick with it but don't worry if you can't fix it as there really are lots of good quality players who don't have the text book embouchure or technique but still sound damn good! At 7 it's great they want to play an instrument rather than the playstation -too much nagging about puffin out cheeks and they kight just find the new FIFA football game more appealing!

  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    or .....


    TIMBONE Active Member

    Puffing cheeks is like a side embouchure, discourage it. Having said that, occasionally, a persons physiology can determine something different.

    HANNAH Member

    I think telling them to pull the corners of their lips down helps. Pulling the corners together flattens the chin and helps I reckon. Also as they're small kids they're probbaly just trying to blow way too hard and think the nature of a trumpet/ cornet/ any brass instrument is to blow as hard as they can, resulting in them blowing their cheeks out. You need to explain to them this isn't how it works. Now I've got thinking about it, explain to them about the aperture, (in simple terms!) I think half the problem of their cheeks being puffed out could be due to their aperture being way too wide, explain the air should only come through a small hole in the lips, show them pictures of the correct shape, which should be an oval, which 'should' occur naturally with the proper firmness in the corners of the lips. Really puffed out cheeks is a problem from weak embouchure muscles, the player should be taught to direct the airstream straight down the mouthpiece, through an oval shape as I just said.
  10. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    The mirror idea is a good one. I'd have mentioned it myself if my memory wasn't so poor these days. You could also paste the hamster picture over the mirror and tell them that's what they look like when they blow their cheeks out. But then I'm evil!

    I don't have the patience for such young children. In my book you are a saint. I'd just shout at them and have then in tears all the time.

    I think Hannah's suggestions are good ones too. Just keep chipping away.
  11. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    Doesn't bother me if they cry - at least that means they care. Little ones get over it very quick, and they've usually just had a bad day anyway.

    tried the mirror, but not the hamster picture. It probably boils down to if the individual kid is diligent enough to do what you tell them to, or whether you might as well leave it and sort them out when they're older.
  12. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    It's worth remembering, of course, that putting a clothes peg on a child's nose or stabbing them with sharpened pencils might upset the school's Child Protection Officer! I have often been tempted to throttle the little darlings, but excercise a little self control. The trick is, make sure there are no witnesses :biggrin: !!!!!!

    Seriously, I think a child's perception of how to play and reality are two different things. How often do we see actors on television (adverts, music programs, etc) puffing their cheeks out whilst miming to a soundtrack? Very frequently, in my opinion, as the director tell them to. I am often surprised by the number of kids who, in their first lesson, think they have to sing down the instrument!
  13. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Have you tried "free buzzing" (buzzing just on the lips, in the correct playing embouchure position - no mouthpiece) or mouthpiece buzzing with them?
    I find that very few students puff out their cheeks when using just the mouthpiece, none of them do when just free buzzing.
    I am not a great advocate of free buzzing as a general teaching aid, but I have found it very useful in correcting this problem.

    I would never use anything like clothes pegs, pencils or similar to try and physically prevent them - you are just asking for trouble.
  14. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    It's the wee stains on the carpet and the snot trails on the door handles that I really can't stand. :eek:
    [shudders]:oops: [/shudders]
  15. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Tell them they look ugly
  16. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Just cos that worked for you :p
  17. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    nope, im still ugly :(
  18. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    no, the threat of clothes pegs was enough! I have used nose clips with success though, except they keep falling off little noses. even then I always get parents permission for this.

    other useful threats: "If you don't put the second finger on the second valve I'll nail it there next week!"

    They do know I'm joking. probably
  19. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    Sorry to bring an old thread up but I have been looking through some old ones and this reminded me of last week's TV, Have I Got News For You when Jeremy Clarkson nearly put a pen through Ian Hislop's left cheek!
  20. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Ian Hislop? Who does he play and what instrument?

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