marine trumpeter

The Brass Players Lip Machinery – or Embouchure – Ombush-ure

How things have changed (or have they?)

I remember being given a position at a school that already had two other brass teachers. When the headmaster who introduced me to them had left the room one of the brass teachers whispered in my ear, “you will do well here as long as you don’t mention that – embouchure word”.
With the advent of the internet and with information being globally accessed with more ease than ever  brass players now have more  information than ever before, helping even more players reach their goal of achieving excellence.

As time goes on I realize that I’m surrounded by players where the effort being applied is only in many cases getting a 50% or less return on time and effort invested. More work is needed on the embouchure.

A very simple overview as to how the embouchure functions.

The lips when air is buzzed or passed between them help to vibrate the air when introduced in to a tube, this tube could be the mouthpiece of any brass instrument. The control needed to play a note is supported by the corners of the mouth which should be forward and down. Creating not a rigid lock, just firm support. These muscles at the corners of the mouth can be located by resting your fingers either side of your mouth and whistling (if you can’t whistle just imitate the shape) and you will feel the corners of your mouth move inwards towards what I call the “point of pitch”. Just under the nose there is a gulley that’s called the “filtrum”. Behind this gulley is a nerve ending when this area is  pressed heavily the blood and oxygen stop flowing and the sensation “my lip has gone ” is experienced. The lips when in a buzzing position form a double reed much the same as an Oboe. The more you can tune this aperture or double reed the better the sound will be. I encourage my students to buzz into a tuner. Should the “oral cavity” be interfered with by either interruption of the air flow or the slackening of the cheeks ( sometimes necessary when playing extreme low note pedals and the like) ,the result is you will hear notes that are not part of the same family (lacking resonance). If the tongue gets in the way of the air-flow it will split the power and reduce sonority much the same as changing the tension in the cheeks.

“Elixir” of Brass Playing Magic.

All the component parts that make up the ” Playing Machinery” the air the lips, the tongue, the corners of the mouth, the chin all go into this mixing bowl in different quantities creating a mystical “Elixir” of brass playing magic. This magic has been bringing audiences to their feet for years, let me help you become one of the future recipients of their applause.
I can’t bottle the “Magic Elixir” but what I am offering you is a free PDF of my 7 Golden Rules to becoming the great player you are striving to be.

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Best wishes