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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceMusical Miscellany(Moderators: JP, BGuttman) Is it okay to puff your cheeks when you play?
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Georgilocks
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« on: Jun 29, 2017, 03:25PM »

I feel like when I puff my cheeks I can get a darker and more rounder sound as opposed to when I don't. Not saying my sound is bad when I don't puff my cheeks. It just isn't as round as I prefer it to be. Though, when I puff my cheeks, my double tonguing is not as crisp and harder to execute. Or would it be in my best interests to get a new mouthpiece? I currently use a Shilke 51D, and I'm considering the Bach 4gs and the megatones.
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 29, 2017, 05:07PM »

Georgi,

I still think you need a knowledgeable trombone teacher who could easily assist you an answering your questions and addressing your problems.  You're in high school and apparently just groping around blindly on your own.  (Or perhaps with bad advice from your friends.) 

To address your immediate concern, most of us would consider the Schilke 51D too large a mouthpiece for a tenor trombonist - especially a young one.  The 51D was supposedly designed for euphonium, not trombone.  That's where I believe it is best suited. 

If you ask on the Trombone Forum for advice on mouthpieces, you will get a flood of responses - most of them relatively useless, since we've never seen/heard you play. 

Please - find a good trombone teacher.  Then, after a year of learning and practicing hard, let us know how you're doing. 
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 29, 2017, 06:04PM »

Well, I have received a lot of valuable information from many instructors over the course of my trombone playing and I am an all state trombonist. I'm mainly asking on this forum to receive some more thoughts and opinions. I can be very technical and detailed at times, so I have very unique questions which may not make the most sense at times. Thank you for your input though.
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 29, 2017, 06:17PM »

What is all state? I hear that term mentioned a lot on the forum. Is it like a festival?


I think the question you are asking is probably not appropriate for this kind of setting.... wether or not you should puff your cheeks (whatever that term means for YOU) Is not something that anyone here who hasn't seen and heard you play in person is qualified to advise you on. Personally, I think a bit of experimentation in the practice room is a good thing, I mean if you find something that makes you sound great, thats a win.

I would encourage you to ignore all advice you receive on here about your question, except the advice that says take it to a professional teacher IN PERSON for their opinion.

As a side track also, regarding your mouthpiece, chances are there is nothing wrong with it. A gear change will not fix any core technical issues you are currently experiencing.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 29, 2017, 06:34PM »

@bigbass:

All-State is a competition American High School students participate in.  You start out in District, then County, and finally State.  There are All State Ensembles comprised of the best musicians of the state.  Here in New Hampshire there is a lot less competition since we are a small State, but if you make All State in California or Texas, that's quite an achievement.
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 29, 2017, 06:45PM »

@bigbass:

All-State is a competition American High School students participate in.  You start out in District, then County, and finally State.  There are All State Ensembles comprised of the best musicians of the state.  Here in New Hampshire there is a lot less competition since we are a small State, but if you make All State in California or Texas, that's quite an achievement.


Ah i see. Thanks!
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 29, 2017, 06:55PM »

Back to the OP:

We consider puffing the cheeks to be bad form.  Having said that, watch Dizzy Gillespie.  Not THERE's puffing cheeks! :-0

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« Reply #7 on: Jun 29, 2017, 07:20PM »

Puffing the cheeks is something typically associated with tuba players in cartoons and Hollywood movies that portray tuba players as objects of ridicule.

When I've has occasions to video myself, I don't like the look of my puffy cheeks. I need to work on getting them back in.

As a beginner trombonist I was often told that puffing the cheeks was bad, supposedly you had less control that way. I don't know if that notion is anatomically sound.
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 29, 2017, 07:23PM »

Gorgilocks : I love your TTF "Handle" !  Now: to the subject at hand.  Your inquiry about "Puffing My Cheeks" is a valid question, but you must consider one factor that will help you answer the question by yourself.  The consideration ?   Do you ALWAYS puff out your cheeks ?  Is this something you will ALWAYS do ?  Will you do it HALF of the time ?  Will you do it THREE QUARTERS of the time ?  Will you do it ARBITRARILY ?  Your answers to these questions really matter because every one of them involves a "variable".  Things that "vary" matter very much, because you have to make so many calculations as to IF you use them, HOW you use them and WHEN you use them.  Just consider how much more consistency you will have in your playing if you play the same instrument with the same mouthpiece with a consistent approach.  It is almost a certainty that you will be able to ascertain deficiencies in every aspect of your equipment AND your control over them if you conscientiously work at removing variables from your practice routine.  If this sounds a bit too "Tight-Assed". it is not meant to be, but it is the first step towards transcending the obstacles to becoming a musician.  There is an amazing book I read many years ago titled "One-Two-Three -Infinity". It shows, among other things, that when two variables are involved, #1 can interact with #2, and #2 can interact with #1.   But when you have THREE variables, all Hell breaks loose because ---- well, think about it ! Not only do they interact with each other, but they interact in different sequences.  When you consider 4 variables, it is mind boggling !  A former student of mine once referred to it as the "Law of Combinations and Permutations". {There was a remarkable individual : A brilliant mind who was fascinated at the prospect of becoming a professional trombonist !]  In the book, a very savvy consultant to the King [?] of Egypt was asked to name his reward for a service to his Master and he chose it to be that a grain of wheat be placed on a square of a chessboard, two grains be placed on the second, four on the third, etc. etc.  The end result was that he enjoyed the proceeds of the entire wheat production of Egypt for many years.  In other words, variables are your friend if you're looking to screw the King of Egypt, but NOT if you're trying to become proficient on the trombone !   
   I'm looking for Bruce Guttman to blow holes in my theories about whether chessboards even existed in Egypt at the time and what the wheat production in Egypt could have amounted to in those days.  I'm just sayin' --- be consistent in your approach and all will be revealed to you.  Mileage will vary !    Cheers !!    Bob
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 29, 2017, 07:30PM »

Every teacher that I have ever had said not to puff the cheeks. I guess it leads to the dreaded "smile" embouchure, with it's thin tone and weak high range. Also too much pressure.
And then there is Dizzy!?*# Ha Ha.
Work with your teacher on tone quality, long tones, and round firm chops.

If nothing else, you get "style points" at State for keeping your cheeks in. (Joke)
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 29, 2017, 07:33PM »

Every teacher that I have ever had said not to puff the cheeks. I guess it leads to the dreaded "smile" embouchure...


Hmmm... I thought the smile embouchure was the opposite of a puffy cheek embouchure.
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 29, 2017, 07:59PM »

Gorgilocks : I love your TTF "Handle" !  Now: to the subject at hand.  Your inquiry about "Puffing My Cheeks" is a valid question, but you must consider one factor that will help you answer the question by yourself.  The consideration ?   Do you ALWAYS puff out your cheeks ?  Is this something you will ALWAYS do ?  Will you do it HALF of the time ?  Will you do it THREE QUARTERS of the time ?  Will you do it ARBITRARILY ?  Your answers to these questions really matter because every one of them involves a "variable".  Things that "vary" matter very much, because you have to make so many calculations as to IF you use them, HOW you use them and WHEN you use them.  Just consider how much more consistency you will have in your playing if you play the same instrument with the same mouthpiece with a consistent approach.  It is almost a certainty that you will be able to ascertain deficiencies in every aspect of your equipment AND your control over them if you conscientiously work at removing variables from your practice routine.  If this sounds a bit too "Tight-Assed". it is not meant to be, but it is the first step towards transcending the obstacles to becoming a musician.  There is an amazing book I read many years ago titled "One-Two-Three -Infinity". It shows, among other things, that when two variables are involved, #1 can interact with #2, and #2 can interact with #1.   But when you have THREE variables, all Hell breaks loose because ---- well, think about it ! Not only do they interact with each other, but they interact in different sequences.  When you consider 4 variables, it is mind boggling !  A former student of mine once referred to it as the "Law of Combinations and Permutations". {There was a remarkable individual : A brilliant mind who was fascinated at the prospect of becoming a professional trombonist !]  In the book, a very savvy consultant to the King [?] of Egypt was asked to name his reward for a service to his Master and he chose it to be that a grain of wheat be placed on a square of a chessboard, two grains be placed on the second, four on the third, etc. etc.  The end result was that he enjoyed the proceeds of the entire wheat production of Egypt for many years.  In other words, variables are your friend if you're looking to screw the King of Egypt, but NOT if you're trying to become proficient on the trombone !   
   I'm looking for Bruce Guttman to blow holes in my theories about whether chessboards even existed in Egypt at the time and what the wheat production in Egypt could have amounted to in those days.  I'm just sayin' --- be consistent in your approach and all will be revealed to you.  Mileage will vary !    Cheers !!    Bob

Thank you for your very analytical approach. Much appreciated.
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 29, 2017, 08:53PM »

On that "Epic Low Brass Game of Thrones" video, some of the bass bone/contra players are puffing their cheeks.  Tried it myself after seeing it, but it felt like learning to play all over again! 
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 30, 2017, 03:31AM »

I have always advocated not blowing your cheeks out.

If you do, you are turning yourself into a set of bagpipes! with your mouth being the bag. You are then not controlling the expulsion of the air correctly but relying on the elasticity of your cheeks which I don't think is good practice. The only time I have ever asked students to blow their cheeks out is when the come to me with a very thin sound caused by narrowing the gap between the cheeks inside the mouth. This happens when you make too much effort to not blow your cheeks out. Blowing you cheeks out and playing until you run out of air will help to relax the embouchure and produce a fuller sound.

Besides, you look like a hamster just after its lunch. :(

Cheers

Stewbones
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 30, 2017, 07:11AM »

I have always advocated not blowing your cheeks out.

If you do, you are turning yourself into a set of bagpipes! with your mouth being the bag. You are then not controlling the expulsion of the air correctly but relying on the elasticity of your cheeks which I don't think is good practice. The only time I have ever asked students to blow their cheeks out is when the come to me with a very thin sound caused by narrowing the gap between the cheeks inside the mouth. This happens when you make too much effort to not blow your cheeks out. Blowing you cheeks out and playing until you run out of air will help to relax the embouchure and produce a fuller sound.

Besides, you look like a hamster just after its lunch. :(

Cheers

Stewbones

Yeah it all makes sense. For some reason though, I can get a very round sound by doing so. I'm going to try and avoid doing it now because it inhibits me from double tonguing and note consistency.
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 30, 2017, 07:14AM »

Go get some lessons.

The first thing your teacher will tell you if you puff your cheeks is not to puff your cheeks. I'd put this in the same catagory as pressing the mouthpiece to play higher. 99% of the time these things are not actually helping you even if you perceive some benefit.

What I tell my students when they are puffing their cheeks is that there is either too much air being supplied by the body, or not enough air getting through the aperture. It shouldn't take a huge amount of effort to keep the cheeks in.

My teacher at Peabody was Jim Olin, one of the great principal trombonists of the 80s and 90s. I asked him about a video I saw where a famous orchestral trombonist was puffing out his cheeks and he said "All sorts of things happen in the heat of battle."
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 30, 2017, 11:15AM »

I have always advocated not blowing your cheeks out.

If you do, you are turning yourself into a set of bagpipes! with your mouth being the bag. You are then not controlling the expulsion of the air correctly but relying on the elasticity of your cheeks which I don't think is good practice. . . . 

. . . . . .

Cheers

Stewbones

It can come in handy while circular breathing, which the bagpipes analogy reminds me of. That, however, is a whole 'nother subject.  ;-)
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« Reply #17 on: Jun 30, 2017, 11:41AM »

It can come in handy while circular breathing, which the bagpipes analogy reminds me of. That, however, is a whole 'nother subject.  ;-)

Absolutely, but I have discovered that the sound I get with the puffed cheeks during circular breathing is difficult to control.  Maybe because I don't do it that much. :/
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« Reply #18 on: Jun 30, 2017, 11:49AM »

Yeah it all makes sense. For some reason though, I can get a very round sound by doing so. I'm going to try and avoid doing it now because it inhibits me from double tonguing and note consistency.

There's a big difference in your perception of your sound and how it sounds to someone listening in front of the bell.
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« Reply #19 on: Jun 30, 2017, 04:59PM »

I feel like when I puff my cheeks I can get a darker and more rounder sound as opposed to when I don't. ...

That's very interesting.

When I do my long tones I often alter things and listen to the result.  All kinds of things.  Whatever I can think of.  I haven't tried a BIG puffing of the cheeks (tomorrow morning I will) but I have tried creating little pockets around the mouth including between teeth and cheeks.  I get different sounds for every one of these pockets.  The cheek pocket seems to augment overtones somehow for me.  I call it colorful.  The cheek pocket works maybe up to G 7th partial at which point everything seems to want to snug up.  But maybe it would have effect higher.  I'll try that too. 
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« Reply #20 on: Jun 30, 2017, 06:24PM »

   I'd almost forgotten my earliest encounter with the "Puffed Cheeks Syndrome" when, as a young student at The Eastman School of Music, I was sent to the far reaches of Rochester, NY to accumulate "practice teaching" hours by teaching private lessons to school children who had the misfortune to be on the outskirts of the system, so that music instruction was not a regular part of their school day.  To this day, I remember the names of two young boys who desperately wanted to learn how to play the trumpet, and I was the guy who was assigned to make it happen.  Things went along fairly well except that one of the boys had a hard time being able to play even two notes in a row without difficulty.  He was diligent and followed every instruction to a "T", but simply couldn't repeat any successful attempt a second time.  I always noticed that he would puff out his cheeks, which would distort his embouchure terribly, but his enthusiasm was boundless, and I was patient beyond measure, so we struggled along for weeks with almost no improvement to his progress.
    One day, after another fruitless session with my little charge, I went to the school office to file my paperwork when one of the school secretaries asked, "How are things going with little "Joey" ?"   I related how frustrating it had become and wondered if he'd ever be able to achieve his desire to be a trumpet player.  He once told me that his Father promised to buy him his own trumpet if he could become proficient enough.  His diction was always unusual, but I didn't particularly pay attention to it.  The secretary then stated, "Yes --- I just wondered if Joey could play trumpet seeing as how he has a "lateral lisp".  Says I, "Lateral Lisp" !!!   What in the Hell is a lateral lisp ?   Well, it turns out that little Joey had an affliction that whenever he attempted to speak or move air through his mouth, the back of his tongue would rise and force the air to puff his cheeks outwards causing a problem that a freshman teacher like myself had never encountered, let alone knew what to do about it.
   Obviously, Joey's problem was unsolvable and he might have become a great drummer, but that story is one reason that I always discouraged students from puffing out their cheeks !  If it works for you ---- go for it !    Cheers !!   Bob
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« Reply #21 on: Jul 01, 2017, 05:49AM »

I have always advocated not blowing your cheeks out.

If you do, you are turning yourself into a set of bagpipes! with your mouth being the bag. You are then not controlling the expulsion of the air correctly but relying on the elasticity of your cheeks which I don't think is good practice. The only time I have ever asked students to blow their cheeks out is when the come to me with a very thin sound caused by narrowing the gap between the cheeks inside the mouth. This happens when you make too much effort to not blow your cheeks out. Blowing you cheeks out and playing until you run out of air will help to relax the embouchure and produce a fuller sound.

Besides, you look like a hamster just after its lunch. :(

Cheers

Stewbones

You gave me this advice last time I met you, and I owe you thanks because it did help.  I was trying so hard not to let my cheeks move at all, that I was keeping them in a concrete-like state!  It has helped to relax those muscles, although to me it feels as though they're puffing out, it's not noticeable when I play in front of the mirror.
All the best,

Sam
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« Reply #22 on: Jul 01, 2017, 06:05AM »

A little cheek puff helps the multiphonics resonate better. The OP is delving into advanced and extended techniques, is all.
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« Reply #23 on: Jul 02, 2017, 08:45AM »

There's a big difference in your perception of your sound and how it sounds to someone listening in front of the bell.

None of my band directors have said my sound was bad. They've all said it was very good but I should work to keep the cheeks in.
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« Reply #24 on: Jul 02, 2017, 09:30AM »

It's almost impossible to puff your cheeks if you play with firm corners, so it's likely that your embouchure isn't working as well as it could (without puffed cheeks). No matter how good you think you sound, you could surely improve if you worked on it.
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« Reply #25 on: Jul 02, 2017, 11:28AM »





Guy needs a lesson. 

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« Reply #26 on: Jul 02, 2017, 07:41PM »

Good one baileyman! :)
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« Reply #27 on: Jul 02, 2017, 10:38PM »

There are quite a few remarks here about how puffy cheeks can affect embouchure, and I'm sure it does.  But something else occurs to me as well. Puffy cheeks may also affect the Eustachian tubes to such an extent that we are hearing what we play with a different set of ears.  I would suggest recording some passages both with puffy cheeks and without.  Then listen carefully to the recording to see if you can hear the difference you believe you had been hearing.  I confess that this is sheer hypothesis, but probably more than a few of us are curious about the results of such an experiment.
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« Reply #28 on: Jul 03, 2017, 02:35AM »





Guy needs a lesson. 


Good one baileyman! :)

He might have sounded even better if he hadn't puffed his cheeks out.

Cheers

Stewbones
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« Reply #29 on: Jul 03, 2017, 05:10AM »

It's almost impossible to puff your cheeks if you play with firm corners, so it's likely that your embouchure isn't working as well as it could (without puffed cheeks). No matter how good you think you sound, you could surely improve if you worked on it.

Well............. okay, but not everybody agrees on where the corners are.

If you are keeping the corners firm, and that really means the corners and below, then the cheeks can puff out like Dizzy without affecting them. 

But if you have too much tension in the face above the corners, they won't puff. 

One way to reduce tension above, and get a better feel for where the firmness should be, is to deliberately puff.  When you do that on purpose and pay attention, you will probably notice that you do it by relaxing. 
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« Reply #30 on: Jul 04, 2017, 09:55AM »

"Arranger-Transcriber" made a very interesting point about the effect on the Eustachian tubes when you puff out your cheeks.  I've always thought that our trumpet-playing bretheren, if anything, will tend to play sharp.  I always attributed it to the fact that they have a far greater pressure in their oral cavity which, when pressing against the Eustachian tubes, dulls the presence of higher overtones in their sound.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE trumpet players [especially Ruby Braff], but the tendency to overcome that phenomenon is still there.  It could also be the reason that several others have mentioned that they seem to get a "darker" sound when puffing their cheeks --- the dulling of the higher overtones.  If you listen to a fixed pitch while blowing air pressure into your mouth with your mouth closed, you will hear what seems to be a "flattening" of the pitch which is in reality the pressure on your hearing apparatus giving you incorrect feedback.  It would be interesting to hear comments from Dr. Dave of "Wedge" mouthpiece fame since he's both an MD and a trumpeter.  Dave --- You out there ??
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« Reply #31 on: Jul 04, 2017, 11:17AM »

I hate to come in with what might be considered one of those useless responses - but I know that for me, I get MORE control and volume in the tone with VERY CONTROLLED puffed cheeks.
Particularly when moving into the lower register, it's like air flows into my cheeks - VERY lightly, with the absolute minimum amount of pressure required to make them move / push the outwards, NOT to where I'd actually need to consciously fill them with air e.g., use WAY too much air pressure to make a nice sound on the instrument)
 with air and they support the note
It's something that sort of developed itself once I started with high brass instruments...

Not sure if it's worth anything to you, hopefully I'm not throwing a wrench into anything (and I'm expecting to receive some backlash for this response, as I usually do - but this is just something that's worked *well* for me and my playing!)  Good!
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« Reply #32 on: Jul 04, 2017, 04:54PM »

Wow. I just watched Rosolino play "Yesterdays" on YouTube. Apparently it is OK to puff your cheeks out....

In another life, I would have said no way. Puffin is for fools. But my life is different now.

All I can say about Frank is "deayumm". They don't make people like that any more.... the good parts of Frank, anyways..
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« Reply #33 on: Jul 04, 2017, 05:49PM »

Wow. I just watched Rosolino play "Yesterdays" on YouTube. ...

Man, there's a whole lotta movement going' on in there, too. 

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« Reply #34 on: Jul 04, 2017, 06:09PM »

Man, there's a whole lotta movement going' on in there, too. 


Frank Rosolino - Yesterdays

This vid?   Don't know

I see rock-solid trombone; angle to face never changing.

...Geezer

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Georgilocks
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« Reply #35 on: Jul 04, 2017, 06:10PM »

There are quite a few remarks here about how puffy cheeks can affect embouchure, and I'm sure it does.  But something else occurs to me as well. Puffy cheeks may also affect the Eustachian tubes to such an extent that we are hearing what we play with a different set of ears.  I would suggest recording some passages both with puffy cheeks and without.  Then listen carefully to the recording to see if you can hear the difference you believe you had been hearing.  I confess that this is sheer hypothesis, but probably more than a few of us are curious about the results of such an experiment.

I might post some.
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« Reply #36 on: Jul 04, 2017, 08:15PM »

Well............. okay, but not everybody agrees on where the corners are.

If you are keeping the corners firm, and that really means the corners and below, then the cheeks can puff out like Dizzy without affecting them. 

But if you have too much tension in the face above the corners, they won't puff. 

One way to reduce tension above, and get a better feel for where the firmness should be, is to deliberately puff.  When you do that on purpose and pay attention, you will probably notice that you do it by relaxing. 

I just tried this, and found that I can keep firm corners (where I consider the corners to be) and puff my cheeks, but at the expense of relaxation. Everything tenses up, and I can't see how it could be beneficial in any way. Of course, if someone plays with too much tension to begin with, that might be a different story.
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« Reply #37 on: Jul 05, 2017, 02:46AM »


If Georgilocks can play like Rosolino and puff his cheeks no more than Frank did - I'd say he's just fine!  Yes, Georgi - it's "okay" with me. 

Another, lengthier example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT5FrYz7RtI

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« Reply #38 on: Jul 05, 2017, 04:50AM »

Frank Rosolino - Yesterdays

This vid?   Don't know

I see rock-solid trombone; angle to face never changing.

...Geezer



Really?  Hmmm.  People see things differently. 

Try at 30 sec and watch the muscles.  They're dancing all over the place. 

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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #39 on: Jul 05, 2017, 05:18AM »

Really?  Hmmm.  People see things differently. 

Try at 30 sec and watch the muscles.  They're dancing all over the place. 


Well of course they are. What I see is muscular contraction and relaxation for the chops to vibrate at different frequencies for the different pitches. But I do not see him shifting or pivoting or whatever else that may be called when the angle of the horn changes relative to the chops, or the angle of the chops changes relative to the horn, however one wants to perceive it.

...Geezer
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« Reply #40 on: Jul 05, 2017, 06:05AM »

Here's a little more discussion for Dave's page:

http://www.wilktone.com/?p=4183

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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #41 on: Jul 05, 2017, 06:11AM »

Here's a little more discussion for Dave's page:

http://www.wilktone.com/?p=4183


"It’s hard to argue that Rosolino is playing “wrong” based on how good it sounds." - Wilktone

It doesn't necessarily follow that his method is right for everyone, though.

...Geezer
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« Reply #42 on: Jul 05, 2017, 07:17AM »

He was a trumpet player, correct, but if HE did it there must be something to it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRcVBsEAnbk
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #43 on: Jul 07, 2017, 03:46PM »

Really?  Hmmm.  People see things differently. 

Try at 30 sec and watch the muscles.  They're dancing all over the place. 


I know what you mean though. It does seem excessive, doesn't it. That's probably the danger for us amateurs - to watch someone play in the way they play on such a high level and then try to imitate it. There was a golfer many years ago named Miller Barber who had a very peculiar "flying elbow" swing and yet there he was raking in a ton of PGA money. I have to wonder how many amateur golfers tried to imitate his swing the following Monday during league play.

How much better off would be all be if we adhered strictly to what our instructor showed us how to do.

...Geezer
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growlerbox
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« Reply #44 on: Jul 07, 2017, 11:08PM »

Another data point: Alistair White playing with James Morrison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfr29jkDoXU.

Seems to keep the puff well away from the corners.  Sounds all right to me!
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« Reply #45 on: Jul 08, 2017, 02:46AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYrZ9YvVooM
If it sounds good it is ok to puff your cheeks when playing any brass intruments.
 
Actually sometimes the puffing can be a good way to find your corners.
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« Reply #46 on: Jul 08, 2017, 04:53PM »

Fooling around a bit with Frank style puffing, it seems there is a possibility that what he was doing was reducing his muscular effort to only those muscles that mattered.  I suspect if I allowed the relaxation required to have those little puffs form, then I would be using less effort and might last longer before fatigue.  If that's the case I can speculate the puffs could be the result of hours long gigs with lots of solo and backup.  Shutting down unnecessary muscles seems like a good thing to try. 

I'm just speculating, but interesting results happen in the practice room. 

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BillO
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« Reply #47 on: Jul 10, 2017, 09:51PM »

I puff a little for some of the lower notes.  It seem to improve the tone.  The higher I go the less I need to puff to get that 'fat' sound I like.

Whatever works for you, but be critical.   Recording yourself helps.
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« Reply #48 on: Jul 11, 2017, 03:56AM »

Fooling around a bit with Frank style puffing, it seems there is a possibility that what he was doing was reducing his muscular effort to only those muscles that mattered.  I suspect if I allowed the relaxation required to have those little puffs form, then I would be using less effort and might last longer before fatigue.  If that's the case I can speculate the puffs could be the result of hours long gigs with lots of solo and backup.  Shutting down unnecessary muscles seems like a good thing to try. 

I'm just speculating, but interesting results happen in the practice room. 


It's an interesting concept. I thought some veteran drum & bugle corp guys would weigh in on this. I imagine they - at the time - knew every possible way to cheat fatigue!

...Geezer
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« Reply #49 on: Jul 25, 2017, 05:12PM »

I puff a little for some of the lower notes.  It seem to improve the tone.  The higher I go the less I need to puff to get that 'fat' sound I like.

Whatever works for you, but be critical.   Recording yourself helps.

same for me too, BIll... on ALL points  Idea!
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« Reply #50 on: Aug 31, 2017, 01:21PM »

I have a tendency to puff my cheeks on Tuba, but don't seem to do it on other instruments.  I'm working on getting it out of my Tuba playing also.  It's not the most efficient use of your air.  There are always exceptions to every rule, and Dizzy and other puffers have used the puffed cheeks and it works for them, but I think if you look at the majority of professional players they don't puff out there cheeks.  By the way I am working with a brass instructor to help me break bad habits like my puffing, I highly recommend finding a good teacher.  I play my warm-up with a small mirror on my stand, and play particular attention to whether or not I'm puffing and it is working.
 
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