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Lip problems

22 Feb 2013 21:03 #691 by Evan Brown
Lip problems was created by Evan Brown
I'm a high school horn player and have never had any problems with my embochure before, but lately I've been noticing that impressions have developed on the inside of my lip, mirroring where I place my mouthpiece on the outside of my lip. They don't break the skin and are not painful, but are definitely noticeable and are worrying. I'm afraid that these impressions might be hurting my lip and my playing, or that I might be using too much mouthpiece pressure and this is what is causing them - my teeth pushing into the inside of my lip.

I recently started doing some range extenders, but not so often that they would be damaging (side question: How often should I play these?). I usually practice for a couple of hours a day, but generally not all at once.

I've also noticed that my high range has taken a downturn lately, which could be related to this. The notes do not have as good a tone or substance and are harder to play.

Does anyone know what could be causing this and what I could do to prevent it from happening, and whether or not it might be harmful?

Thank you.

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24 Feb 2013 15:46 #692 by Rhodri Spearing
Replied by Rhodri Spearing on topic Lip problems
Hi Evan. As far as I know lip abrasions are pretty common, and most of the time are nothing to worry about. I often have bumps and marks where the teeth rub against the lip, which sometimes hurt a little, but they soon pass and I tend to ignore them. Ones which are not painful I usually attribute to a callousing (or toughening) of the skin as it adapts to the playing. As for the range, it's a widely accepted part of brass playing that lip response can be inconsistent from day to day. Experienced players always tell me that the best way to maintain a consistent high range is to practice it consistently. This doesn't mean banging away at it for hours on end with the aim of strengthening the lip, but just doing some every day, even if it's just a little. Improvement in ease of higher note production can be achieved by 'feel', or trial and error. Experiment with aperture shape and air speed to find the most efficient balance.

But most importantly just relax and don't worry too much about it. Time spent banging away at high notes and getting worked up can be better spent just enjoying and developing the music you're comfortable playing. Always put the music first!

Just some amateur speculation, hope it helps!

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