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 your lips (SOME) and simply LET THE AIR OUT. To work on the tone contract your lip muscles toward the aperture before you set your curl and concentrate on an oval lip aperture.>> I feel it helps to first set the corners inwards, then add lip curl, and finally place the mouthpiece.
3. I teach them to make a lip cushion moving the embouchure forward (some do this on their on). This gives the Ferguson type endurance.
4. I teach them to relax the corners over high c and release the mouthpiece grip above high g. This will tend to draw the corners in. The corners when they draw in will make the aperture even more of an oval improving the tone. It also adds to the lip cushion and endurance. Releasing the grip on the top lip allows faster vibrations and helps to increase the volume of notes above the f or g above high c. For some people this gets them to a good g over super c for others it goes to triple high c.
Lip compression alone will get most players to a good g over high c but around a – b the volume is lost because the compression is too great to allow air to escape. Pulling the corners in shorten the vibrating surface and means less compression is needed for each note. Think about piano strings. I pull my corners in to the point where super c needs less compression than my normal high f. It still needs air pressure there is no real way to cheat here.