The other day I had a great phone conversation with David Shulman. Shulman is a physical therapist who specializes working with musicians who have repetitive motion injuries related to playing. He had contacted me to ask for some ideas working with brass players who have injured lip muscles. We talked for a while about some of the things brass musicians can do away from the instrument to help build (or rebuild) muscles around the lips without actually playing, which can lead to re-injuring a damaged muscle. I talked to him a little bit about free buzzing, the pencil trick, and the P.E.T.E.
Here’s a short video he has put together where he describes his practice and the workshops he presents to music students and teachers.
One of the things I asked David about was about which lip was more prone to being injured. Donald Reinhardt felt the upper lip was more likely to be injured due to excessive mouthpiece pressure. David also noticed that the majority of lip injuries happen on the upper lip. Reinhardt’s advice to keep more mouthpiece “weight” on the lower lip should help brass players avoid injuries like this.