Better your trumpet playing with Lip Flexibility Exercises


Lip Flexibility
By John Eth

In this article I’m going to talk about lip flexibility, and give you some simple exercises that help with this part of your trumpet playing.

Lip flexibility basically correlates to doing lip trills, lip slurs and all those kinds of things we do everyday when playing the trumpet. Now what control’s all of these factors is our corners and our airstream. So for doing lip flexibilities, I’m going to show you how I practice lip trills. I practice everything at a mezzo pianissimo to a pianissimo level. Why I do this is because it’s actually harder to play soft than it is to play loud. Anybody can play loud, but not everybody can play soft. We need to play loud and we need to play soft to create music. So for that purpose I practice everything pianissimo to mezzo pianissimo.

How do we do lip trills? The way that I’ve always been taught is by going, “tah-eee-ahhh-eee-ahhh-eeee-ahhh-eeee.” In other words, when you attack, start with the tah, then eee as you go to the higher note, and ahh as you come back down. In the video clip below I will demonstrate this. I’ll do it from 2nd line G to middle C in the Staff.

Short Video Clip – COMING SOON

You should always try and play it nice and clean as you just heard. Now again this is quarter note to quarter note. As we progress and our corners get tighter and stronger to where we can control them even better, we should then speed it up. So we can go into 8th notes, 16th notes, 32nd notes . Below is a clip where I demonstrate this.

Short Video Clip – COMING SOON

You can even go faster which can help in your upper register. So if you wanted do a lip trill from C to a D above the staff and do it fast, sort of like the old Maynard stuff, it would sound like this.

Short Video Clip – COMING SOON

Lip trills are something we use in our playing, especially if you’re a Maynard fan like myself and other high note players. It really works well in the upper register, but again you have to practice them in the lower register, pianissimo, so you can exercise your corner strength. I suggest using this exercise during your everyday practice routine. Do at least a half hour of nothing but lip trills and resting in between everyone. Don’t do these loud and you’ll find you’ll get a lot better results.