Embochure help

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Mister 4x4, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    I don't know where else to post this, but I have what might be a somewhat unique situation - I'm afflicted with a rather interesting layout regarding my front teeth, and I'm wondering how others who might have similar issues get around it.

    I've got a fairly prominent over-bite (nothing like what Freddy Mercury had or anything - rest his soul), which isn't much of a problem. The problem lies with the lineup of my upper front four. The middle incisors are OK, but the outer incisors are pushed forward around 3-4mm, which tends to turn my upper lip into hamburger after too much time with the mouthpiece applied. Oddly enough, the leading edge of the outer incisors fall right in line with the inner rim of most Euph & Baritone mouthpieces. I think this outlines it fairly enough: -__- (lip towards the top, no gaps in the middle, in fact, the outer incisors tend to overlap towards the middle 1mm or so). It's not grotesque to look at or anything... just not very mouthpiece friendly.

    My question is: how does everybody deal with similar issues? Do you have appliances made specifically to combat the issue? Are there any special techniques you use besides the usual to help alleviate the problem?

    I've so far tried using some dental wax to fill the gap, which seems to help for the short term (30 minutes or so) until it gets smooshed and I have to reform it to continue playing. The drawbacks so far are that the wax tends to lose its shape as I play... and oddly enough having the gap 'filled' stretches out my upper register a bit, but makes it harder to transition back down towards the bottom of the staff (Bass clef). Upper 'F' was my limit in school, but recently with the wax, I've discovered 'G' and 'Ab' on occasion as well as a greater control over 'D' thru 'F'. But again, getting back down in the weeds is tougher as a result.

    I'm a little too old to consider orthodontic work at this point... plus, that might make things even worse having the appliances installed all the time.

    Anybody have any advice or similar experiences? Thanks in advance.
  2. persins

    persins Member

    get into a fight and get them knocked back in?
    Seriously, I had a problem when I was younger but was young enough to have a brace which sorted it out for me!
    The only thing I can really suggest is to try and find a mouthpiece that allows you to play without issue ie. Cornet one!!
    A couple of people I know have ended up playing almost out of the side of their mouths but I really wouldn't recommend that.
  3. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    No thanks - I'm a Euph player... who's not cool enough to be a cornet player ;) :D

    I actually have access to a cornet (my wife's) and I don't have the chops to hang anywhere above the middle octave. If anything - switch to a tuba would make more sense - the rim of the mouthpiece would be far enough out for this problem to go away.

    Besides, being 6'5" and built like a linebacker... nobody has the stones to pick a fight with me anyway.
  4. Richard_Brigg

    Richard_Brigg Member

    There are specially gum shileds available that may help you with your problem.
    Also - try putting as little pressure as possible on your lip. ie. focus on breathing and breathing exercises may well help.
  5. sniperjp

    sniperjp Member

    (Quote) I actually have access to a cornet (my wife's) and I don't have the chops to hang anywhere above the middle octave. If anything - switch to a tuba would make more sense - the rim of the mouthpiece would be far enough out for this problem to go away.

    Try to get a top C on a sop
  6. HSB

    HSB Member

    I once read a very interesting article by Denis Wick himself (of mouthpiece fame). I had troubles myself at an earlier stage and was advised by a teacher to get back to what was considered 'the norm' by changing my embrouchure.

    Reading the article he put forward how everyone has differently shaped teeth, a different jawline, different lips and even a differently shaped face. What he proposed was to find what was best for you, not necessarily to accept the normal line.
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - this is absolutely correct and such considerations much be looked at very seriously. Everybody is unique in the way they play a brass/wind instrument because of individual physical differences. I have found an introductory article that may help just a little ...

  8. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'm not a "clinician" or anything :rolleyes: but it sounds to me like the problem is not so much with your embouchure as with the amount of pressure you are using. I have a similar problem which was exacerbated many years ago by a dodgy crown on one of my top front teeth, and I still struggle above the stave (on cornet). It's not something I've ever totally resolved beacause I'm basically too lazy, but if I were ever to try and sort it out properly I would first try to increase my range with lip flexibility exercises so that I don't have to screw my cornet into my face to get a top C.
  9. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Denis is not just famed for mouthpieces (and mutes) he was also principal trombone in the LSO for some considerable time (35 years, I think) and professor of trombone at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

    If you are uncertain as to how to find out whether a mouthpiece choice is suitable for you, I would strongly suggest having a lesson with a good local teacher. It is often easier for someone else to help diagnose, from the business end of the instrument, than it is for one to diagnose oneself.

    I had a student who had a minor dental problem, we changed to a slightly different embouchure seup and changed mouthpiece size and they have been fine since.
  10. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    Good advice from all. I appreciate the help, and now at least I have some options to consider.

    I can totally relate, and you're dead on about how I used to approach it. Since I'm pretty much just getting back into it for my own pleasure (only been at it about 6 months so far), I'm trying to re-engage without developing as many bad-habits I fell into as a student.
  11. Di

    Di Active Member

    You could also try PM'ing tMP's resident dentist: Cornetgirl She might be able to offer some more advice too. :)
  12. Heppy

    Heppy Member

    Well said Wambander. I thought you were joking when you said that you and Denis Wick were 'tight homies'. Chamone Denis Wick!

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