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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lower lip pain is an old issue whose causes and solutions are partly clear. However, have you ever felt that the pain of the pinhead sized glands (under the oral mucosa) makes the game uncomfortable? In these cases, I often feel them nodular, but still small. It usually occurs, when I play on the alto (unlike soprano or bariton), which suggests that the injury is specific to a particular location. In addition, pain also results increased saliva production, which also leads to discomfort.

What do you think about this?
 

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I think a lot of the confusion about "rolling lip in" vs. "rolling lip out" comes from the fact that we all have different facial structures.

To me, the ideal lower embouchure has the main muscles of the lower lip and supporting bits pushing straight up against the reed. On the inside of that, then, you have your lower teeth and jaw, which are NOT clamping up and pinching the lip between the cutting surfaces of the teeth and the reed. No no no! Instead, the lower teeth are basically just there to keep everything from collapsing, and the lower jaw is there in a (somewhat) fixed position (I use the term "fixed" simply to mean that the lower jaw is NOT clamping up and pinching the lip) because the muscles are anchored to it.

So, to reiterate, you're applying upward pressure to the reed with the muscles of the lower lip area, those muscles basically being aligned vertically under the reed, and those muscles being supported by the lower jaw, to which they're attached. (And of course there's a lot of stuff happening all around the embouchure, not just from the bottom, remembering the "drawstring" analogy, but I'm just talking about the lower lip at the moment.)

Now if you're doing this, you have however much lower lip meat you have. You may have thin lips and a lean facial configuration, or full lips and a soft flexible face. If you've got full lips, some of that meat is going to end up being rolled outward, but the muscles are still standing directly under the reed pushing up. Also, if you've got full lips, some of that meat is going to end up squishing inward over the top of your teeth too. But you are NOT biting into it with the powerful muscles of the lower jaw! That way lies only injury!

The very worst thing people can do is to intentionally roll the lower lip over the teeth inward and then bite up on the reed with the lower jaw. You can bite off a piece of raw steak with your jaw muscles, no sweat. That's what's happening to your tender lower lip. NO, No, No. You have to build up the muscles of the lower lip so they can apply the correct amount of pressure to that part of the embouchure. Note that while you're doing that you'll also be building up the muscles of the corners of your mouth to apply pressure inward from the sides; and the muscles of the upper lip to apply pressure down from the top; and the muscles of the cheeks to supply backup to the corners of your mouth. So it's not just the lower lip, although that's what I've mostly written about in this post.

If you use the muscles of your embouchure to apply pressure to the reed and the lower teeth are only there as a lateral support (not a support from underneath) then even if there is some irritation to the inside of the mouth from some cause, playing might be a bit uncomfortable but it shouldn't be seriously hindered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your answers!
To get a fuller picture, some more information.

I'm a professional classical player; 4-5 hours of daily practice causes damage, but with rolling paper on teeth, the pain can be suppressed. It worked for years. I know the pain from the lower lip injury, but now I fell something different, and it's not only the bite mark, there is a certain point, what I "have to avoid".

It is important to note that the angle of the blowing may have an effect on this whole. (Alto vs. other instruments)
 

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but with rolling paper on teeth, the pain can be suppressed. It worked for years.
Try using a small strip of EZO denture cushion (instead of the paper) cut to form over your front couple of teeth. You might also try adjusting your neck strap up a bit so that the weight of the horn isn't pulling down onto your lower teeth.
 
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