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 remove the mouthpiece.

When undergoing an embouchure change try to avoid concerts and gigs. These force you to try to push too fast or to try to relearn your old embouchure. A month off would be great if possible.

Another no-no is pedal tones. 90% of the players roll their lips out slightly to make them easier to play. Rolling your lips out is yet another embouchure to contend with. Remember you already have one and are switching to another. Two embouchures is bad enough so don’t throw in pedals and turn it into three.

Consistancy in your playing is extremely important. To hasten its development work on a sensation drill. I also have my students play the sensation drill an octave up as an ear training – embouchure training drill. A sensation drill is a long series of musically unconnected notes. It is intended to help you to be able to mentally feel how your chops should feel and to hear the note as soon as you see it on paper. I got one from Don Jacoby 30 years ago and I still use it.

Sensation Drill


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