Re: Embouchure vs. mouthpiece

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Posted by Harry Critchley on January 20, 1999 at 13:40:04:

In Reply to: Embouchure vs. mouthpiece posted by Josh Whitlow on January 19, 1999 at 21:53:23:

Dear Josh: I am going to take a stab at this without knowing you or seeing your technique. The first problem is not common, that is playing to one side of your mouth. I believe that it is because you have not developed the muscles in the corners of your mouth equally, and are favoring one corner to obtain the proper tension. I would suggest taking two sharpened lead pencils of equal length. Place the tips of each into the corners of your mouth and attempt to hold them in place for as long as you can. Your goal should approach a half hour. Pain will result, especially on the side that is not presently favored. Start your sessions with a mirror in front of you. Keep your mouth in line with the center. Your second problem is related to the first but also involves the development of your lower lip to produce highs, and possibly also related to not openeing your jaws wid enough for the low notes. If you close your jaws and allow your lips to purse inside the mouthpiece and very unpleasant sound emerges from the horn. Place two small pieces of cork between your teeth to keep the jaws open, and attempt playing from middle C to CC. If it sounds promising, use the corks to begin each session until you can hold the position with your own muscles. With the corks out, attempt a very high note with your lower lip extended into the mouthpiece. Allow your muscles to feel the proper position for this high note, and gradually lower your pitch to middle C. Assign a new significance to the lower lip for the upper register. Work toward a centered position for your lips within the mouth piece, and a gradual tightening the the corners of your mouth together with a "softening" of your lower lip as you ascend into the higher registers. Remember the mirror next to your music stand. By the way, this technique was practised by the late and great William Bell. Good luck, Harry Critchley

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