Puffing Cheeks out!!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Seedhouse, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Yes this thread has the potential to be taken the wrong way... I think! :confused:
    But I was at a concert last night watching a top band, and many players were puffing their cheeks out frequently whilst playing (not in loud sections mainly either!?), and I just wanted to check views on the matter.
    I think it is necessary in circumstances when your dropping down a huge interval to a low note, or playing pedal notes and need more air, but is it good for playing etc? Should it be done?
  2. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    I do if I'm playing low as it helps to get enough air through the instrument to support the note.
  3. becks164

    becks164 Member

    well when i first started playing the trombone my instrument teacher allways told me never to blow my cheeks out because it could damage my cheeks! but if i want to get to a pedal c then yes i puff the cheeks out because its much easier that way!
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    This is a difficult one to argue. Blowing out your cheeks to support a note tended to be frowned upon for years. However, it does have the advantage of lowering lip pressure and fatigue! Creating an air-pocket behind the lips does the same thing. It is not standard technique, but hey ... if it works and avoids stuctural damage, why not?
  5. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    I was always taught to never puff my cheeks out, and to this day i never have! (even with the pedal notes!)

    i frequently see players, (noticably cornets) doing it, and to be honest, i don't know if you should do it or not, but it looks ugly, more than anythnig! lol

    i'm sticking with the nice looking nostril flare, that i start doin when i get to a hard bit!

    kel x
  6. 7ri5h_7rombon3

    7ri5h_7rombon3 New Member

    I was always taught not to puff my cheeks out, or to breath through my nose when the im strugling to get to the end of a really long phrase, but i tend to do both when im getting tired, it seems to easy the pressure a bit, i think anyway.
  7. Well my Dad is a pro Musician and as a rule he has never taught people to puff their cheeks out. People do puff their cheeks out a little to support notes etc.. as said ,but if a player is doing a lot of puffing cheeks out I reckon they've had bad teaching from somewhere like ***** (Edit: inappropriate reference, PB, Mod) when young; who are a disgrace to the music proffesion in their rip off teaching quality and value.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2005
  8. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Always been told not to puff my cheeks out and i dont think that i do...
  9. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I have always been taught not to puff my cheeks out. Apart from anything else, like uncontrolled vibrato, it's a bad habit to get into. There are circumstances when you can do it and get away with it, but you shouldn't be doing it as a constant thing.

    I think the reason it's a bad thing is that young cornet players (in particular) tend to put too much pressure in their heads because they haven't learned proper breathing and by puffing their cheeks out they are compensating for a lack of proper pressure from the chest.
  10. Jimmy_2121

    Jimmy_2121 Member

    What advantage does puffing your cheeks out bring?

    I've never done it, you should be able to produce sufficient air pressure from breathing in the correct manner.

    Puffing your cheeks can only decrease a player's control of the air flow and therefore their control of dynamics, articlulation and pitch.
  11. euphfanhan

    euphfanhan Member

    When I'm at contests I tend to watch the euph players in the top section, and at the last contest I went to, I noticed that in places where they were playing fortissimo, at least half of the bands I saw had euphonium players who did that. Oddly enough, when I watched the cornet players, I didnt notice any of them puffing their cheeks out. Maybe it has something to do with the size of the intrument?
  12. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member



    .... Dizzy Gillespie :eek:
  13. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Yes, but as you can see he's blowing so hard his instrument's being straightened!:eek:
  14. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    In the earlier part of his career, although, Dizzy still puffed out his cheeks, they didn't look as grotesque as in his later career. Basically the more he played and the more he puffed, the more his cheeks stretched - not a good thing.

    By puffing, the ability to control your embouchure muscles is also made more difficult as the puffing tries to stretch the muscles, yet when set for playing the embouchure muscles should be set more inwards and tense.

    Try set your embouchure as you would for playing with and feel the muscles in the corners of the mouth. They should be nice and tense as these are the support. Now, while in this setup trying puffing your cheeks, and you'll see what I mean.

    The only time you should need to puff out your cheeks is if you are circular breathing, which in most cases is something you probably won't need to do anyway.
  15. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    It's not always the teachers fault if someone puffs their cheeks out. Right from my first lesson I puffed my cheeks out. I tried constantly not to do it but it was something I just couldn't help. Every teacher I had (including the late Stan MacDonald) tried right from day one, using several different methods to stop me doing it but no one succeded then once I was about 18 I just seemed to grow out of the habit without conciously trying how and why this occured I don't know
  16. Just Crazy

    Just Crazy Member

    I was always taught to play without puffed out cheeks.

    But saying that i only had 5 lessons [​IMG]
  17. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    no, it isn't

    Every time the "puffing cheeks" issue comes up, someone can always be relied upon to bring up Dizzy Gillespie. Surprise, surprise, someone already has.
    Out of the millions of trumpeters out there, he is the only one that people can think of that used a "puffing out" approach and succeed at the very highest international soloist level.
    If you take a look at the very highest level of international brass virtuosos, you won't find players who use that style of embouchure, for a very good reason. It is much more difficult to control. It is also a less efficient way of playing.

    I don't puff my cheeks out. I don't allow my students to puff their cheeks out. None of my colleagues puff their cheeks out. None of the friends I have got in the brass world (that include some world class soloists) puff their cheeks out.
    Make of that what you will.

    EDIT - to change the mistake pointed out to me!
  18. Jimmy_2121

    Jimmy_2121 Member

    good post Mike I totally agree, but you surely didn't mean;

  19. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    That's what I like about this forum. You can always rely on someone to lower the tone ;)
  20. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Hey.. it wasn't me for once! :) :metal:

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