Setting up drill

Getting used to a new chop setting For those of you undergoing an embouchure change there are a few tips that may help you along. The first thing that you should do is to know what the embouchure should look like. Then compare yours to the standard. A small mirror on your music stand will help. Look at your chops at the end of each phrase before you stop the last note. A large percentage of players start off right but they change slightly as they take a breath. Work on setting the chops. Set your embouchure and play a g on top of the staff. Then remove the mouthpiece from your lips. Do this hundreds of times. All that you are working on is setting the embouchure. As you become more accustomed to it then play a high c followed by a downward arpeggio to low c before you […]

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Stevens in parts

How do you teach the Stevens Embouchure? Stevens in parts I always do my embouchure changes in parts. The complete Stevens Embouchure given to a student all at once has frozen some players. They spent so much time worried about mechanics that they could not play. 1. I make them learn the forward jaw position and lip curl. 2. I make them learn to pull the corners in and make an oval lip aperture. Using an upper and a lower lip curl this enables the player to relax and LET the AIR provide the resistance. The airstream blows into the curled in lips and trys to push them out. This closes the lip aperture and gives you more resistance than you can use. So you get a squeek or no sound at all. The solution is to relax the chops some, open your mouth wider, pull the mouthpiece away from […]

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Air or embouchure problem

Are there really embouchure problems? Can’t air fix all of them? Proper breathing IS proper breathing. It does not matter if you learn from a sax player, tuba player, singer or even a trumpet player. I say proper because trumpet does have a few differences that are not related to the above mentioned musicians. For instance the sax does have a REAL octave key. The tuba in its upper register only needs 1/8 th the pressure that a trumpet player needs to play a high c. And our notes do go up from there. (Ever see a tuba player pass out while playing? NO a trumpet player should NOT pass out but it does happen.) In theory it does work in the same way so clearly a tuba player could teach air usage. However I think that a trumpet player would understand our needs and requirements more fully. As for […]

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Set point

When are people taught about a set point? ALL beginning students ARE taught the concept. As first year students the range falls between low g and 4th space e. They are taught to set for a second line g. This prevents the need for lots of shifting, curling…… The problem comes in year 2 when the range increases the center of range starts moving up. The set point should as well. Poorly trained teachers are the reason this and a hundred other things are not taught. If you use a pivot and open (lower) your jaw as you descend. The g on the staff setting should be easy to add to your full time playing. The concept is about setting closer to the needed top note than the needed bottom notes. In some groups setting on a middle c might be enough. In another ie playing Si Si MF (up […]

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Less lip movement means less work

We all know that the less lip movement we use the easier playing is. I don’t mean corner movement but the constant tensing / releasing compressing of the center. I have always taught this way in the past. I like to use page 125 line one of Arban. It is a c major scale up and down. But every other note is low G. It both starts and ends on the low g. 1. Play the low g then do the exercise. Most people have trouble on the top of the scale. 2. Play middle c then play the exercise. Here most people have trouble with the low g’s. 3. Play a second line g and then play the exercise. Most people can cover the range spread very cleanly this way. This shows the idea of a lip set in the middle of the range of the piece. If we […]

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Embouchures

The embouchure controls the pitch and to some degree the quality of your sound. Regardless of the embouchure you use these things MUST always happen. The lips must be moist. The surface tension of the water aids in setting up the vibrations. The lips must be touching. (If the air has nothing to fight there is NO buzz.) Use as Little pressure as possible. Pressure only separates the lips and stops the sound. Backing off the pressure will allow you to soar. Everyone says Tighten up to play high. Hold something between your finger and thumb. That squeeze is what they are talking about. Playing high involves slightly pushing your lips together as you ascend. Farkas 75-80% of all players use this embouchure. This embouchure is described FULLY in “The Art of Brass Playing” by Phillip Farkas. He told people to blow as if they were trying to cool soup. […]

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