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  #1  
Old 07-23-2009, 09:38 AM
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k3ng k3ng is offline
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Default Clenching problem

Hey Ho drummerworld forum-ers!!!

It's been a while! Greeting from Hollywood! Haven't been around here in ages due to school in MI (having loads of fun and learning tons)

I've been noticing a problem with my jaw recently.. I seem to have developed a problem with clenching my teeth when I'm playing now. It never used to happen to me.. usually my mouth is wide open when I'm playing.. now it's shut tight with my 'constipation face' and my jaw is starting to ache after I play for long periods of time.

Anyone else has/had a clenching problem? How did you get over it? I've tried chewing gum, but my jaw just shuts down even with gum in it... Soooo... what to do?
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2009, 04:04 PM
armilos armilos is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

when I started playing I had a similar problem.
I was so consetrated in the drumming and the movment I used to get out of setions all flexed clinched.
then I realized that the relly big drummers play very looslly, with all thier body, and I've started practicing it.
just relaxed all my body and drumed simple things wile making sure i'm loose.
I found that that flex happend mostlly when I was playing hard things, so I started with the easy ones.
just try practicing loose playing and grip, and keep an eye on your jaw too..:]
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2009, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Clenching problem

There is a relaxation technique that has been very popular. Try to clench your jaw on purpose. This will allow you to control something that has been pretty much involuntary. After you have control over clenching, let go of the "clench" allowing your jaw to totally relax. Your body will prefer the relaxed jaw over the tense jaw.
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2009, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Clenching problem

i've had a problem with jaw clenching too, as well as tension in my shoulders, wrists, and arms. i've learned that any kind of tension is bad, even if it's in your jaw or some other place that doesn't seem affect your playing. to get rid of tension (with my teacher's help) i had to learn to become aware of it and work to relax every time i felt it. to sum it up:

tense playing or other body tension is always bad.

relaxed and loose playing is always good.
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2009, 04:09 AM
brownie1969 brownie1969 is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

I had a conversation with my drum instructor on the importance of not only training your body...muscles, but equally important to train your brain to coordinate these muscles.... I'd consider, making a solid effort, to, "think" about relaxing your muscles while playing some easy grooves, and let your body and mind adjust, to the feeling...over time, I think, like any technique we are working on, your body and mind will absorb it, and it will become another hurdle you naturally progress over.

Last edited by brownie1969; 07-24-2009 at 04:11 AM. Reason: typo
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2009, 09:06 AM
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k3ng k3ng is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

It's weird though because I'm playing looser than ever.. I'm totally relaxed in my arms and legs and it's just my jaw that's clenching. Not sure why.

Will see if 'active' clenching works out.
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2009, 08:36 PM
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thelimpingtoad thelimpingtoad is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

If you can't force yourself to stop, there's always the option of using some type of "pacifier" in between your teeth... ( some drug addicts do it to prevent grinding their teeth)
Try cutting down a piece of rubber tubing or something like that and place it between your teeth towards the back of your mouth on the side between your top and bottom molars so your jaw actually can't close the whole way... just be careful not to choke on it.

I don't know if that will work since your jaw may still lock even with something in your mouth. But it might be tougher to do with something more solid in there besides gum.

Another idea to train yourself is to count outloud or at least mouth the count so you keep your mouth open and moving. You could also try singing either your own beat or the melody or something while you play.
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2009, 11:18 PM
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maddrummr maddrummr is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

Play with a pad in front of a mirror. Analyze and fix the problem.
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2009, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Clenching problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by dairyairman View Post
tense playing or other body tension is always bad.

relaxed and loose playing is always good.
Not necessarily, a tense body and grip can produce a different sound than a loose one. Its a matter of understanding how to use both.
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2009, 12:33 AM
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tomgrosset tomgrosset is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

Britt is exactly right. It's understanding how to use it. Look up Ari Hoenig and you'll be surprised at how tense he looks when really he's in total control and completely relaxed. He plays like that so you he can get that unique sound. It all depends on what you want to create.
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  #11  
Old 07-26-2009, 12:47 AM
Stoney Stoney is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

Knowing you have it is half the battle. I used to have a similar problem with humming. I was never aware of it until people would say."what's that noise"? or I'd hear myself back through the overhead mic in the studio or something. I learnt how to control it after that. I could sense myself doing it and I simply stopped myself from then on.
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  #12  
Old 07-26-2009, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: Clenching problem

You're at one of the best music schools in the world.

Maybe ask one of your instructors.

Just a thought. 8>)
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  #13  
Old 07-26-2009, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Clenching problem

When this happens to me I try counting out loud as I'm playing. I can't clench when Im moving my mouth to count. It's just nerves. Perhaps school has made you a bit tense. Some people do this when they sleep due to stress.
This also used to happen to me at work when I worked on cars under the stress of flat rate time. When you work against time you are under the gun to beat the time for the operation that you are performing and the stress makes your brain clench your jaw. I began to sing to the radio under my breath so that my mouth had something to do. I still can't sing for crap, but my jaw doesn't hurt anymore!
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Last edited by bobdadruma; 07-26-2009 at 05:11 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-26-2009, 08:32 AM
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k3ng k3ng is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Freddy View Post
You're at one of the best music schools in the world.

Maybe ask one of your instructors.

Just a thought. 8>)
Am going to. Just thought I'd nip in here for some opinions too.
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  #15  
Old 07-28-2009, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Clenching problem

There is a great one page article in this months issue, July/August 2009, of DRUMHEAD Magazine, on TMJD. TemporoMandibular Joint Disorder that you and others with this problem need to read.
To quote the first paragraph, "Are you an open-mouthed slack-jawed drummer or one who clenches your teeth as you beat out a tune? The drummer with the tightly clinched jaw might be in for a rude awakening when they cannot close their mouth without pain on one or both sides of their jaw. They might have TMJD. Most people refer to this as TMJ or TMJ syndrome." I hope Mr. Mover won't mind me quoting his magazine. I would check this out before it becomes a major issue. The article is written by Dr. Greg Werner. Check it out.
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  #16  
Old 08-27-2009, 08:49 PM
tama_drummer tama_drummer is offline
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Default Re: Clenching problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by k3ng View Post
Hey Ho drummerworld forum-ers!!!

It's been a while! Greeting from Hollywood! Haven't been around here in ages due to school in MI (having loads of fun and learning tons)

I've been noticing a problem with my jaw recently.. I seem to have developed a problem with clenching my teeth when I'm playing now. It never used to happen to me.. usually my mouth is wide open when I'm playing.. now it's shut tight with my 'constipation face' and my jaw is starting to ache after I play for long periods of time.

Anyone else has/had a clenching problem? How did you get over it? I've tried chewing gum, but my jaw just shuts down even with gum in it... Soooo... what to do?

Hey Man,

What is up? First off .. I am a drummer in a rock band called Silent Season. I play a Tama Star Classic .. I love it. I work for a company call TotalGard Corp. We focus on providing mouth guards for people who grind or clench their teeth due to stress/anxiety/force. They are affordable and I would recommend checking them out, if you are clenching hardcore. http://www.totalgard.com

Keep me posted on your drumming..

Thanks,
Dave
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