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Chop troubles?

08 Sep 2008 06:46 #166 by Robert Ward
Chop troubles? was created by Robert Ward

Have you ever been at a point in your development/career where you faced chop troubles? What steps did you take to overcome adversity and attain/maintain such an impacting position in the horn profession?

Joshua Johnson
Urbandale, IA

Robert Ward answers:

Hi Joshua,

My only bout with chop problems came as a result of some TMJ issues about 20 years ago - the story is told on my web page here:

That being said, I think that there are some good, common-sense things to keep in mind. First, make sure that your chop mechanics are in good shape. The strength of your embouchure comes from the corners, so if you are getting tired and smushed in the center where the mouthpiece is, you are using too much pressure. Try to practice every day to tire out your corners. Then, they will build up over time. And the best way to do that it to practice in the middle register for enough time to make those corners tired. Use your air well.

Here's a strange mental exercise where you can try and compare two things that are not comparable. Play any note you want, and imagine that the speed of your air is balancing the mouthpiece pressure that you are using.

The best source for dealing with chop problems I mentioned before:

Cindy Lewis has made a lifetime study of these issues and her expertise is second to none. If you are having issues, I encourage you to contact her. You will thank both of us.

Good luck,


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