The Trumpet Embouchure Controls The Pitch

The Trumpet embouchure controls the pitch and to some degree the quality of your sound

Relation between Trumpet embouchure and sound quality:

Regardless of which trumpet 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.



75-80% of all players use this embouchure for trumpet which 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. That is how he set the embouchure for the trumpet.

Say the letter “M”.

Your lips do not overlap nor do they roll in or out. The corners of the mouth are held firmly in place.

Now what they DIDN’T say. To play with an extended range you must.

Use a Pivot. Use a Tongue Arch. Remember to use compression for range, like a finger pushing against the finger.


Trumpet Embouchure – Maggio System

The Maggio system was established because Louis Maggio had sustained an injury that prevented him from playing any other system. In this system, you cushion the lips by extending them or puckering ( like a monkey ). Their T-shirts are a closeup of a monkey forming the embouchure. This puckering enables the players to overcome physical malformations.


Stevens Style:

This requires a special mouth formation to be 100% successful. It is very very hard to learn. Roy Stevens would refuse to accept new students if they had an overbite so big that they couldn’t move the lower teeth in front of the top teeth. He felt that trumpet embouchure was not right for a player with that type of jaw formation. This gives more validity to the thinking that certain embouchures work best for people with certain physical characteristics.

To set this Trumpet embouchure you must follow these:

Make sure that your teeth are 1/4 – 1/2 of an inch apart.
Make sure that your jaw is forward making a flat playing surface.
Make sure that your lips are touching and slightly push your lips together to make a cushion.
Then PLACE the mouthpiece ON your lips.
To ascend you will push the lips together.

The lips will have a natural tendency to curl in slightly. That’s OK.
Remember to use as little pressure as possible. The more that you can back off the pressure the more you have in reserve for later.
Use a PIVOT.



The chin muscles are used to push the lips together and resist the air.
The lip compression comes from pulling all of the muscles toward the center.
This system does not use a tongue arch. Instead, the tongue is placed very forward in your mouth to direct the airflow.
All tonguing is to be done through your teeth.


Lip Buzzing

This is the embouchure Mendez played. It is also what Clarke played. And it is what I mainly play. When Mendez taught he made his students lip buzz a month before he gave them a mouthpiece. He then made their mouthpiece buzz a month before he gave them the trumpet. By then they could change pitches and have a decent tone. I use this embouchure for trumpet on most of my students.

The fastest way to successfully go to a closed trumpet embouchure:

Lip Buzz: (Like spitting seeds.)
Do this 15 – 30 minutes a day. Buzz scales, songs, arpeggios, etudes….
Set your new embouchure:
Buzz a note and sneak the horn & mpc into playing position while holding the buzz.
Take ALL breaths through your nose (so you don’t disturb the embouchure). (Most open aperture players try to start closed and open up the chops as they breathe. They pin the lips in place while separated and can only make the lips touch by using mpc pressure.)
And play songs and etudes.

(After the new setting is secure go back to normal breathing.)

Stay in the staff until you have strengthened the new embouchure.

Do a lip-setting drill: Buzz and sneak the horn into place to play 1 note. Remove the horn and start over. It takes thousands of good reps to break a bad habit.

Do those things for 1 month. Then AFTER the new trumpet embouchure is set and the chops are stronger you can work on the Stevens palming exercise. I only do open arpeggios with this. Do it 15 minutes a day and after a month you should be able to play over High C with almost no pressure.

Then you must learn to relax the face and let the tone become full. Work on pulling the corners in to adjust the tone color and assist range. Relearn your pivot and tongue arch. Work on more efficient breathing….

Written by Pops

Subscription Form
Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00