Puffing your cheeks out...

MandyH

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I watched "The Swing Thing" yesterday - I had recorded it a few days ago, I think it was a BBC4 programme.

Anyway, there was some footage of Dizzie Gillespie playing one of those crurious shaped trumpets that have been discussed here before (where the bell is perpendicular to the tubing)

His cheeks are amazing. It put paid to my teachers advice that you should never puff your cheeks out. :w00t:
He looked like a bull-frog or something. :)))
 
Didn't see the prog and rather wished I had, but was the bell at 90deg to the rest of the instrument? If so it was not the one he usually used, which had the bell at around 45 deg and was designed by him so he could (in his words) hear himself better.

Agree about the cheeks. My trumpet teacher at school told me the same.
 
When I first started learning the sax (was it only a couple of years ago???), I had to keep my cheeks in, otherwise I couldn't get a sound out of it. Habit's stuck...
 
there are many reasons not to puff the cheeks out when playing the trumpet, try this, go into the bathroom, lock the door, stand in from of the mirror, puff the cheeks out to the max, decision made for you!
 
Didn't see the prog and rather wished I had, but was the bell at 90deg to the rest of the instrument? If so it was not the one he usually used, which had the bell at around 45 deg and was designed by him so he could (in his words) hear himself better.

Agree about the cheeks. My trumpet teacher at school told me the same.

You are correct, it wasn't 90 deg, so probably his own 45 deg trumpet. I was most struck by his cheeks, and then aware that his trumpet wasn't "straight"
 
there are many reasons not to puff the cheeks out when playing the trumpet, try this, go into the bathroom, lock the door, stand in from of the mirror, puff the cheeks out to the max, decision made for you!


amazingly he seemed not only to puff out his cheeks, but all down the side of his neck too. He had an open-collared shirt on and the whole thing opened up when he filled his cheeks. He could never have worn a tie (straight or bow) and played.
 
amazingly he seemed not only to puff out his cheeks, but all down the side of his neck too. He had an open-collared shirt on and the whole thing opened up when he filled his cheeks. He could never have worn a tie (straight or bow) and played.

The neck bulge happens to a certain extent with all of us playing any wind instrument with some resistance (I notice it on reeds, not on flute). I've always bought shirts with the neck a little too big to compensate for it.
 
I taught my students that the reason not to puff the cheeks was that the corners of the mouth should remain firm for a good sound. There are some exceptions like playing subtone, but that was beyond their level of playing. Try puffing your cheeks out without relaxing the corners. It is next to impossible for most of us. Somehow Diz managed to separate the two and keep his corners tight while expanding the cheeks at the same time.
 
Wasn't the bell angled because Dizzy used such a large air pocket behind his top lip, that a straight trumpet aimed the sound at the ground rather than the audience?
 
This reminds me so much about all those arguments students have with their teachers about how one should play an instrument, bad habits and so forth. Yet some of the greatest musicians broke those rules!
 
I always gave a fair bit of credit to the view that to break a rule, you have to know how to follow it first .... :)
 
I always gave a fair bit of credit to the view that to break a rule, you have to know how to follow it first .... :)

Naturally ... :thumb: and of course no point in breaking them simply for the sake of it either. Do it because it makes something better or different. Not just to wind up forum members or teachers >:)
 
I didn't realize you were a composer Paul, maybe you could upload some of your stuff for us lesser mortals to start working on, be good to get a different angle...
 
I didn't realize you were a composer Paul, maybe you could upload some of your stuff for us lesser mortals to start working on, be good to get a different angle...


During my lull with tinnitus I spent many hours improving my music theory and writing. I out grew my teacher in the composing side quite quickly but fortunately for me he was able to introduce me to an accomplished mentor who is encouraging my writing. It’s a great experience. I’m by no means good.

However, I am in the process of setting up a small recording studio with the help of a forum member and once finished I’ll record some arrangements that I’ll upload to Soundcloud. I will say that nothing has been written for the saxophone; so far all my arrangements are for the piano.

It’s been a great way to get through my severe tinnitus. Fortunately I’m back playing the sax again. Abeit a little rusty with weak chops!
 
Dizzy was a real comedian and showman who would get up to all sorts of things. His first "bent" trumpet was because a dancer had sat on it, and he thought that the result looked funny, but sounded good. Similarly his unorthodox playing technique was a "laugh" at the establishment. His name "Dizzy" was because of his childlike exuberance/zaniness on stage "..man, that is a Dizzy cat....".

You can still buy his Silver Flair trumpet - produced by King http://www.trevorjonesltd.co.uk/King_Trumpets.htm

Fun chap!

Anyway - just off to practise "A Night in Tunisia" on my ordinary trumpet. I tried playing with puffed out cheeks. The main effect was 1. to badly affect my embouchure seal, and 2. to make some high notes a little easier. Couldn't keep it going for very long!
 
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