Range and embouchures

1. There is NOT a perfect embouchure that fits everyone. There is 1 which fits you better than the others. However that is a person by person finding.

2. Why from scratch? If you already have good skills and tone why change embouchures?

3. I’ve seen people take YEARS to change an embouchure only to change back to the first one. You don’t change because you are bored or need an extra note of range. Starting from scratch did you get where you are today in 5 weeks?

4. You need a PLAN. Nobody would try to build a foundation for a bridge without a plan. Don’t try to build a foundation for your playing without a plan.

5. Nobody can (should) give advice without more facts. You need to be able to describe accurately your embouchure, playing abilities and problems before anyone can offer any viable solutions. What you are doing by asking for help (without giving any details) is like calling a mechanic for help without telling him if you are working on a lawnmower or a rocket engine. You are setting yourself up for a rather large explosion.

6. Lots of (embouchure) problems really are NOT embouchure related.

There are 4 things that can keep the notes from coming out

1. Not enough air compression. Or better yet using it where it is NOT needed. Low notes need NO compression most people use as much on low c as I use on g on top of the staff. These people will need stronger abs than me because they are wasting their strength.
Place your hand on your stomach and sing a second line g. There will be NO tension. Now play that note did you tense up? If so you need to learn to relax for the lower register.

2. Lip aperture Too open. Play a scale from high c up as high as you can. If you hear a hiss of air and no note then the aperture is not small enough for the top notes to come out. I almost NEVER see this problem.

Too much lip compression, tongue arch, mouthpiece pressure ….. You are simply closing off the aperture and sealing it so air can NOT escape. If the sound gets smaller and thinner and finally stops (not even air hissing) then you are TOO TIGHT and the air can’t get out. I see this 99% of the time.

4. I CAN’T. Trumpet playing is mental. How little difference is there in how you set for a third space c going from a second line g? Guess what; the difference from g on the staff to high c is half as much. And the difference from high g to super c is 1/4 as much. We think high is hard and over compensate with the chops. Think about a guitar to play an octave higher you place your finger in the center of the string That cut the length by say 12 inches (from 24 inches to 12. The next octave you move the finger 6 inches taking it from 12 – 6 in length. The next ovtave you move it 3 inches.

We mentally prevent the range from coming out. I’ve seen people add 2 octaves in 1 day. I’ve had students do that in person. I stole a technique from the Stevens clinic. I teach them to relax and when to add the air. I also hold the horn so I control the mouthpiece pressure.


Posted in Aperture, Embouchures, Range.