Playing Advice?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by KernowSop, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. KernowSop

    KernowSop Member

    I was going to title the thread, 'Sweaty Lip', but thought that would cause it to be removed quite quickly by the moderators! ;)

    However, does anyone have any advice on how to overcome problems with the mouthpiece going flying, when on a really hot stage? We recently had a contest, where the contest stage was like playing in a sauna and I could hardly hit a thing, because the mouthpiece would move each time I put pressure on it.

    It's really difficult sometimes, I dont know if I need to change how I play, or try and master the problem as it is? We have been to the same contest now, 3 times, and usually everyone comes off stage looking though they have done a 10 mile run at a sprint. I know that it's the same for everyone on the stage, but sop mouthpieces are stupidly small and I get annoyed with myself for not playing the pieces, as I know I can play them. :frown:
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Well they've left the "One finger or more" thread running, although the content of that was, um, disappointing.

    Just to brush against the topic for a second, Bob Childs once suggested the way to prepare for playing in a really hot sweaty environment was to practice in one; so turn your heating up, go and practice in a small room (bathroom?) with a load of jumpers and coats on so you get a good sweat on. No idea if he was taking the p**s or not, but now's your chance to tell us if it works!
  3. I seem to remember Jim Davies saying he was practicing in those conditions (hot steamy bathroom) in the run up to the Granada TV Band of the Year contests in the 1970's. Good practice for playing a stand-up solo under the hot camera lights. Can't have done any harm as he won the Best Soloist prize at least twice that I can recall.

    Huw Watkins
    C'mon Lewis Merthyr for the National Finals 2nd Section at Cheltenham this week!
  4. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Kevin Crockford and Philip McCann both often take handkerchieves on stage with them, I think precisely for this purpose.
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Perhaps there's something to be said for learning to play with a wet embouchure ...
  6. KernowSop

    KernowSop Member

    One of the other members of our band said that David Childs recommends practicing with Vaseline around your mouth, so that you learn to center the mouthpiece without pressure.

    What with the Vaseline and the multiple layers of clothes being worn in a hot bathroom, I'd be terrified to answer the door mid-practice!:tongue:
  7. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I saw Kevin Crockford using a Hanky quite often during his performance with Grimethorpe here in Brisbane.
  8. I'm a dry embouchure player too, (mouthpiece wiper as opposed to mouthpiece licker) and found it very difficult playing when either very hot or very wet, (alla Whit Friday 3 years ago!). A pal of mine who was an Army musician for many years, recommended learning to play 'wet'. He said it was something he had to do to cope with marching for hours in tropical heat, thunderstorms, or sometimes both! He said that as a civvy muisician he always used to wipe his mouthpiece, but it obviously wasn't practical 'on parade', thereby necessitating the need to play in this way. It was very good advice, and whether you do it by Vaseline or any other method it will sort you out if you persist with it.

    Be prepared for it feeling very odd at first, but honestly the perseverance is worth it.

    Good luck with the problem.
  9. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Here in queensland I remember playing some carols on a realy hot day. I had never played in such heat. My mouthpeice was slipping all over my mouth and playing was very difficult. But that was an extreeme. even in Queensland Days like that are not the norm and I prefer to play indoors in air conditioned rooms. Much easier.
  10. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    In all honesty, in extreme heat I find the main problem is the valves.

    British high commission, singapore, april 2005, 97 fahrenheit in the shade. (Not that we were in the shade, being sat on the comission steps playing a concert.)

    Valves started sticking and seizing all over the place, because the water vapour the players put down the instrument simply wasn't condensing in the valve casings as one would normally expect - and what was left was evaporating, along with the residual valve oil.

    Embouchure was the least of our worries!

    Aussie, you must have far more experience of playing in high temperatures than I have. How do you get round that problem?
  11. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    It does depend on the type of heat. some days you get a dry heat and ina brisbane summer you get up to 85% humidity and that is what causes the sweat. you are hot, the instrument is hot and there is heat coming up from the ground. the and with such a lot of humidity it is just like you just steped out of a shower. In fact when you do step out of a shower it is almost impossible to get dry unless you walk into an airconditioned room to cool down some and that is after an almost cold shower.
  12. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    To be honest, I suspect the problem is more psychological than physical; the reality is that all embouchures become "wet" within a few seconds of commencing playing, so in effect we all play with wet embouchures. The trick is to realise that and resign yourself to the fact that starting "wet" isn't going to change anything.