Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

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Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:20 pm

I have just posted a new brass embouchure pedagogy resource on my web site. I try to explain some of the information I learned from Doug Elliott and some others about brass embouchure technique. I used photos and videos from a couple of different research projects I conducted as examples.

Those of you who have followed some embouchure topics here with Doug and some others participating will already be familiar with some of it.

http://www.wilktone.com/?page_id=5619

Any errors in there are my own, and not to be blamed on Doug or my references. If you have questions or corrections, please let me know.

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by aasavickas » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:38 am

Good stuff. I really appreciate all your work on this stuff.

Many teachers seem to think that embouchure is some mysterious thing and avoid giving much advice beyond what people said in the 1880's. Probably the worst thing I see teachers doing is basically saying, play exactly like I do and you will be doing it correctly. Which is fine if your anatomy is very similar to the teacher but a big problem if its not. I remember reading a story of a very solid player being told by a famous teacher that, despite the fact that he sounded good and his chops did what he wanted, that his embouchure was "wrong" and told him to go practice with this new embouchure and crippled the guys playing for more than a year.

This type of info goes a long way towards taking away the mystery of how chops actually work. Understanding how the pivots work and incorporating them into my warm up really helped lock in a few areas of my playing.

I think you are doing a great service to brass playing teaching.

IMHO, I think that most teacher focus too much on breathing bc it is easy to teach. However, this over emphasis on a relatively simple concept tends to lead to unintended negative consequences. More air will only help if your chops are already balanced, efficient, and coordinated.

Thanks again.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by timothy42b » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:57 am

Here is one tuba player's take on the pivot:

http://www.brasstutorials.com/tuba-tips.html

Hee, hee.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Savio » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:32 pm

What always surprise me is how little open minded pedagogs are. My method is right....

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:14 am

aasavickas wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:38 am
Good stuff. I really appreciate all your work on this stuff.

Many teachers seem to think that embouchure is some mysterious thing and avoid giving much advice beyond what people said in the 1880's.
Thank you. Yes, I wanted to post this resource because even though the information has been around for about 75 years now, it's largely been ignored or misunderstood.
timothy42b wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:57 am
Here is one tuba player's take on the pivot:

http://www.brasstutorials.com/tuba-tips.html

Hee, hee.
Yeah, that's pretty wrong. It's possible that he's actually doing what he describes, but playing sensations are notoriously difficult to describe accurately. I skimmed through some of the other instrument resources there and similarly found some stuff that is wrong or incomplete. Other stuff in there is good, but unless you have enough of a background to know what's what, you can't tell what to use and what to leave behind.
Savio wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:32 pm
What always surprise me is how little open minded pedagogs are. My method is right....
In the U.S., at least, we have a long tradition that teaches brass students to NOT analyze your embouchure, to not think about how you play, and to encourage the same with your students. It's a cycle of ignorance that continues. Hopefully a little empirical knowledge will eventually seep into mainstream brass pedagogy and we can put that attitude to rest soon.

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, everyone.

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by BurckhardtS » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:08 am

Dave,

I saw your resource about a week ago (I think) on the Pedagogy forum of Facebook. I'd love to send you a few clips of me playing too, if it helps add anything to your resource.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:39 am

BurckhardtS wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:08 am
I'd love to send you a few clips of me playing too, if it helps add anything to your resource.
I do anticipate adding examples to the resource over time. I still have a lot of footage that I haven't used from my 2nd study that used video recordings. All those players have signed a "Subject Consent Form" that gives me permission to publish the video footage.

For this informal resource on my web site it probably doesn't matter if I go through IRB protocols or not, but for now, m at least, I would like to keep the examples there legit. That said, if you post video of your embouchure I am always interested in looking and I'll offer you any feedback I might have.

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Savio » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:27 am

I have started to use this system a little in my teaching, not much so mostly trying to see the different types. Interesting, in the old days it wasn't much talk about this. Our mouths and anatomy is an important part of playing. It is the direct contact to the instrument. Of course also air, arm, tongue, coordination is a big part of it. In the old days, even today there is some teachers around that tell do as me. Can actually be a catastrophe for the student or child we teach.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:47 pm

The only thing I've learned about embouchure is that the need to pivot is directly correlated to how inappropriate your mouthpiece is for your anatomy. I used to pivot when I used a smaller rim, and my range was squashed in towards F3. With the correct rim size, I barely need to pivot even for pedals, and everything is better, with range expanded out away from F3. So I've been thinking less and less, about embouchure uniqueness and how hard that is to teach, and more and more about just using equipment that works and helps you to NOT think about what your dang face is doing!

THIS is where an embouchure pedagogue like DE can really help, because they already know what type of equipment will work best with whatever jankie dental disaster you've got going on in your head.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Doug Elliott » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:04 pm

That's sort of maybe almost a little bit true but not really.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:30 pm

Well, the part about no longer having to analyse what my own face is doing, and how that is kinda nice, is true! :-)
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by BurckhardtS » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:01 pm

I play on a mouthpiece that I would say is pretty good for my anatomy and if I didn't 'pivot' for my low Bb that would be a disaster...
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:58 pm

Of course you get to a point where you no longer have to analyze what your face is doing.
Does anybody really think that I, or anybody else, suggests it should be a constant thing?
Make whatever corrections you need, until they stick, and then forget about it and play.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am

No, no one suggested that at all. I'm really am sorry I brought you up, if it seemed like I was not describing what you're able to do or if I was putting words in your mouth, because I don't want that at all. I've gotta get better about name dropping!

I certainly was not saying that you suggest that people continually analyse their embouchure forever and ever amen. The number of posts about it here and at the old forum seems to tell us that people look to it far more than is necessary, however. The number of people worried about and constantly analysing embouchure because they are having problems far outweighs the number of people who just blow and go.

There is so much more to the embouchure, in my mind, than Reinhardt types, etc. We say teachers don't teach embouchure but focus on air, etc. However to me the air is a huge portion of what makes an embouchure function, and so is a part of the embouchure. Also, the tongue to me is more than 50% of the entire embouchure. How the tongue shapes the air and oral cavity, as described by *** ******, affects how the performer sounds and their technical ability far more than "tight corners, upstream, downstream" can. Many players think of the embouchure as this static thing that you put the mouthpiece down on top of, but that thinking creates so many problems! In fact, the air and correct tongue shape will all but decide the mouthpiece placement for you! In that sense, perhaps current pedagogy, eschewing "embouchure analysis", is more correct than we might care to admit.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:02 am

I'm glad that this topic is generating some discussion and hope that the embouchure pedagogy resource I linked to is helpful for folks. A few things...
harrisonreed wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:47 pm
I used to pivot...
BurckhardtS wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:01 pm
...and if I didn't 'pivot' for my low Bb...
I very intentionally never mentioned the word "pivot" in my resource. Brass players will usually think of that term as referring to one thing, although Donald Reinhardt (who coined the term) defined it as something else. I do address both the colloquial definition as well as Reinhardt's definition of "pivot" in my resource, but again, I don't call it that. It saves a lot of misunderstandings.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am
The number of people worried about and constantly analysing embouchure because they are having problems far outweighs the number of people who just blow and go.
I addressed this in my introduction of the embouchure pedagogy resource.

1. When PERFORMING the musician should leave all technique behind and focus on musical expression.

2. When PRACTICING the musician can spend some (not all) time working on playing in a mechanically efficient way and make corrections in how they are playing.

3. When TEACHING the music educator should approach instruction from a point of knowledge and understanding, never ignorance.

4. The people who are analyzing their embouchure and still having problems ARE DOING IT WRONG!
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am
However to me the air is a huge portion of what makes an embouchure function, and so is a part of the embouchure.
That is true, but also part of the excuse I hear from folks who continue to encourage willful ignorance. The fact that breathing (and tonguing, and slide technique, and expressive playing, and ear training, etc.) is part of the bigger picture of brass playing in no way refutes the fact that most brass teachers and players have no clue about how their embouchure actually functions or how to help their students play with more efficient embouchure technique.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am
Also, the tongue to me is more than 50% of the entire embouchure.
No, the embouchure is 100% the embouchure. Tonguing is 100% of the tonguing. Breathing is 100% of the breathing. They all need to work together, but if the tongue isn't working efficiently you fix that. When you understand embouchure technique well enough you should be able to both understand when the problem is actually related to the embouchure and what physical correction needs to be made to fix the issue.

Don't confuse symptoms with the source of the problem. It's my hope that after reading through the pedagogy resource and looking closely at the examples I provide that music teachers will have the understanding of what embouchure technique actually is and how to address the source of embouchure problems, rather than just the symptom.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am
How the tongue shapes the air and oral cavity, as described by *** ******, affects how the performer sounds and their technical ability far more than "tight corners, upstream, downstream" can.
I have no idea who ******* is, but I don't think your point here is true or even relevant. Did you read through my resource and watch the videos I provided?

The first example I provided (the tubist) would never make his corrections by working on shaping the air with the tongue. Throughout the resource I showed examples of brass musician's embouchures not working as efficiently as they could be. Fix your students' embouchure issues by fixing the embouchure, not their breathing or tonguing.

Of course breathing and tonguing (and everything else) is important. Please understand that I'm not suggesting that teachers ignore that, just that they should understand the reality of how embouchure technique actually works together with everything else.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am
In fact, the air and correct tongue shape will all but decide the mouthpiece placement for you!
No.

The most efficient mouthpiece placement is determined by the player's anatomy.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:17 am
In that sense, perhaps current pedagogy, eschewing "embouchure analysis", is more correct than we might care to admit.
The culture of ignorance that discourages embouchure analysis is, at its best, outdated and based on inaccurate information. At its worst, it's based on laziness on the part of the instructor.

Why should we have to defend empirical knowledge?


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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:31 am

I humbly disagree - the shape of the tongue shapes the oral cavity, changes overtones, and in many ways dictates your more limited absolute of the embouchure as external only.

I did watch/read your resources ... and didn't want to directly address them.

The system is bigger than the external embouchure. Even bigger than the internal anatomy. Leadpipes, for example, are such a big deal to people because of the input they put back into the system. Last time I talked about type 1 and type 2 players, people got all worked up....

PS.

Thank you for your empirical line by line analysis of my post. :-D
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:09 am

harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:31 am
I humbly disagree - the shape of the tongue shapes the oral cavity, changes overtones, and in many ways dictates your more limited absolute of the embouchure as external only.
Harrison, we agree. Tongue shape is part of the bigger picture.

But I empirically show embouchure problems that are directly related to embouchure technique that absolutely cannot be fixed by changing the student's tongue shape. That is a different scenario than what you're talking about.

Symptoms (chipped notes, limited range, whatever) can be caused by a number of different mechanical issues. Address it by fixing the source of the problem. If it's flipping the air stream direction, weak mouth corners, incorrect embouchure motion, etc., then the problem is the embouchure, not the tongue.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:31 am
The system is bigger than the external embouchure. Even bigger than the internal anatomy.
Yes, but my resource isn't about the whole "system," it's about one important part of that system. Here's the relevant quote from my introduction:
But some of you might phrase those questions into something more like, “You’re putting the cart before the horse. The key to excellent brass technique is through…”

It’s unfortunate that I should have to defend empirical knowledge. Personally, I feel that a brass teacher should learn about the embouchure because it’s an important part of a bigger picture. Sure, we want to see the whole “forest,” but understanding the forest ecosystem requires taking a close look at the individual “trees.”
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:31 am
I did watch/read your resources ... and didn't want to directly address them.
Your criticisms of my resource are directly addressed in it.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:58 am

I'm always amused when players think that a goal should be eliminating all motion.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by BurckhardtS » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:43 am

An analogy I thought up randomly a while ago was being like a professional race car driver.

Addressing only the air is like addressing only the gasoline. Only the tongue is like addressing only the oil. The embouchure is like the engine. If you're going to have any chance at having a successful race, everything has to be working properly. If the head gasket is trashed on it, then it doesn't matter what gasoline or oil you put into it, it's not going to race well and you could potentially throw a rod down the line. Same goes with gasoline, it's not going to run right without the right type of gasoline.

Now, is the driver analyzing what every valve or piston is doing or what gas he put in it when he's racing? I sure hope not. But he knows it works well and can trust it in the race (hopefully) and knows when something is wrong.

Is this a good analogy?
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Savio » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:40 pm

I only teach children so I never talk about embouchure. The first lesson I try to make a buzz like saying mmm. The less I tell a child the more they get what I actually say. If things doesn't work I try another ways. What I have learned from Dave and Doug is there is different types of embouchures so I just try to identify them. So for now I just try to observe and understand. The big fault some teachers do is maybe to correct different types into one type. So I think its interesting to see the different types and try to understand. I had a 9 years child this year and she was obvious upstream. Mouthpiece was very low on the lips. Before I would maybe tell her to put it more in the middle, but I dont tell her anything. It works very good for her and she play very nice for the age. And most important, she enjoy to play.

I believe air and embouchure is connected. If we use air in a wrong way it can disturb the embouchure. Im not a pro in anyway, either teaching or playing but one thing I use in teaching is to make them listen to good players. I dont think its waste of time and I have done it more and more. The reason is we need a goal. How to sound, where to aim. It helps to figure out how to play.

Anyway, its interesting to read the site of Dave, and I think its helpful for teachers like me. At least I think I now when to not say anything and when to carefully try things with the children.

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:13 pm

Re: Doug: I agree that trying to eliminate all motion while playing is a mistake, but my thought on the subject is that most of the motion is very subtle and mostly internal. The tongue position (low/open, higher position/faster air) and by extension the jaw position (not so much up/down but instead slightly forwards and backwards) are enough to move through all the partials as long as your mouthpiece allows you that freedom.

(Re: image of embouchure with diagonal arrow going across entire face:

This is much more efficient than (relatively) massive shifts of the mouthpiece on the face, if flexibility is your goal. It's good to have concepts about just one part on a system, but to me it's kind of a waste of time because changing other aspects in the system will make you have to unlearn what you thought was correct about the external embouchure.

I think I'm going to bow out here though, because I really think it's more complicated than any one idea can cover. Everyone, maybe not me 100%, it's speaking sense here, so I'm just glad I could write my own thoughts.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Savio » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:38 pm

harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:13 pm
Everyone, maybe not me 100%, it's speaking sense here, so I'm just glad I could write my own thoughts.
You are always 100% sense, and be proud you write your own thoughts! :good:

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by BurckhardtS » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:45 pm

Something that has always interested me in my studies is also just thinking about how different people interpret different concepts. Keeping things 'simple' is important, but what you say to one person could mean something wildly different to another person.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Basbasun » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:49 am

BurckhardtS wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:45 pm
Something that has always interested me in my studies is also just thinking about how different people interpret different concepts. Keeping things 'simple' is important, but what you say to one person could mean something wildly different to another person.
You are so right on the money.
And all instructions can be followed to the letter, but still in another way the was intended.
Lots of players that are very good, do things "wrong"
Man players (maybe not the best) are doing more embouchure movements then whats good for them.

About the toungue; in many years I have said that the toungue movements can chance the sound, sometimes to sound very funny. But the range does not change. I did have a very good range, not using the tongue movement.
(I thought)
In treatment of cancer in my neck I got some radiation trement. After that I could not play. After 9 month I can play as before on the low range, and the casch range. Still have problem in the very high range. I say it is becasue I have som prolem with my tongue control.

I the videos there was lots of splt-tones, with no comments. Why no comment?
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by afugate » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:15 am

Savio wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:40 pm
I only teach children so I never talk about embouchure. The first lesson I try to make a buzz like saying mmm. The less I tell a child the more they get what I actually say. If things doesn't work I try another ways. What I have learned from Dave and Doug is there is different types of embouchures so I just try to identify them. So for now I just try to observe and understand. The big fault some teachers do is maybe to correct different types into one type. So I think its interesting to see the different types and try to understand. I had a 9 years child this year and she was obvious upstream. Mouthpiece was very low on the lips. Before I would maybe tell her to put it more in the middle, but I dont tell her anything. It works very good for her and she play very nice for the age. And most important, she enjoy to play.

I believe air and embouchure is connected. If we use air in a wrong way it can disturb the embouchure. Im not a pro in anyway, either teaching or playing but one thing I use in teaching is to make them listen to good players. I dont think its waste of time and I have done it more and more. The reason is we need a goal. How to sound, where to aim. It helps to figure out how to play.
This is where I am, too. I mostly observe, and now I know better than to try and "correct" a student who plays with an upstream embouchure.

Thank you, Dave, for putting together all of the resources to help demonstrate and explain to those of us who teach and work with others.

--Andy in OKC
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:58 am

BurckhardtS wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:43 am
An analogy I thought up randomly a while ago was being like a professional race car driver.
That's a fine analogy. We don't fix the fuel injection system if the problem is in the breaks. At the same time, the mechanic understands that the whole car works as a system.
Savio wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:40 pm
I only teach children so I never talk about embouchure.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do for a young student's embouchure is help them learn good posture and how to hold the instrument correctly. On trombone, for example, the left hand holding the instrument is responsible for providing the mouthpiece contact on the lips. If a student isn't holding the instrument consistently or incorrect their embouchure is not going work as efficiently as it could.
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:13 pm
It's good to have concepts about just one part on a system, but to me it's kind of a waste of time because changing other aspects in the system will make you have to unlearn what you thought was correct about the external embouchure.
Personally, I'm trying to understand all the parts better so that I can best understand the whole system. I don't believe that you need to "unlearn" anything about embouchure when you adjust another part of the system. Unless what you learned was wrong to start with, in which case it should be corrected regardless.
Basbasun wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:49 am
I the videos there was lots of splt-tones, with no comments. Why no comment?
I think if you ask a large number of brass players (mostly students) to play octave slurs that span up to 4 octaves, stick a camera right up on their face, and then make them play it on an unfamiliar plastic mouthpiece you'll find a lot of fine players still chip notes.

But I did generally comment on the split-tones of some of the players, when there was a noticeable embouchure characteristic that I could point out (e.g. the tubist that is used as the very first example). But it's not my intention to pick apart every little detail on every example. Sometimes players crack notes because they just didn't hit the note right away. It happens.

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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Basbasun » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:32 am

I went back and listened/looked at that tuba player. Moving up the mouthpiece obviously did not help any. Maybe hes prablem was something else? An embouchure that looks good but does not work is no good.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:39 am

The tubist needed to move his mouthpiece placement *down*, not up.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Basbasun » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:22 pm

Mea culpa, yes down not up. But did it help any? Does really not sound like that.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:00 am

Sound like what? Of course if you change a student's embouchure they will chip notes at first while they get used to the new mouthpiece placement. Did you read the whole resource, including the case study that focused completely on this tubist? If so, then you will read his story and learn what happened to him.
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by imsevimse » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:42 am

The analogy with the racing car and the driver was really good. A lot of different systems collaborate and the driver focus on getting first to the finish line, not the details of driving because that takes care of itself in the race, and not the engine, fuel or tires that makes the car running but when we are teachers we are the co-driver or assistant to the driver, we are not the ones who fix the car because that's our techs. :-) What we do is to communicate with the driver to help him drive the car more effektively.
Savio wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:40 pm
I only teach children so I never talk about embouchure. The first lesson I try to make a buzz like saying mmm. The less I tell a child the more they get what I actually say. If things doesn't work I try another ways. What I have learned from Dave and Doug is there is different types of embouchures so I just try to identify them. So for now I just try to observe and understand. The big fault some teachers do is maybe to correct different types into one type. So I think its interesting to see the different types and try to understand. I had a 9 years child this year and she was obvious upstream. Mouthpiece was very low on the lips. Before I would maybe tell her to put it more in the middle, but I dont tell her anything. It works very good for her and she play very nice for the age. And most important, she enjoy to play.
This is to answer Leif :-)

I was a teacher for 13 years and avoided to speak about lips and emboushure with my students. Students did learn to play anyway without much corrections. Like Leif my instruction was to use a buzz and the syllable m. I let them place the mouthpiece on top of that m. Information was a problem and sometimes even that was too much information, but it was to prevent them to fail and feel misrable. I wanted to guarantee a sound the first lesson. If I tried to correct NO sound and said they should use more air I would risk some of the boys to immediately fill their cheeks and push a tremendous amount of air through the trumpet , but with still no sound or with a minimal sound. If they then got any sound it was even worse because it is hard to make them NOT do it again when that to them was a success. That's how you learn as a teacher. You can not tell them much in the beginning, you do best to just show them. I thought the ones who do it right, with not much force will be able to discover the details later. After a couple of weeks with a student that blows normal and gets a couple of notes out of the instrument you could move the mouthpiece slightly up, down or to the side and see what that does to the sound. You do not need to say the student does things wrong to do this you just ask him/her to experiment a little. I never did this experiments with my students because I did not think that to be important, but I would probably do that now if I ever to teach young students again. It could increase progress if you could open up the sound and come closer to the sweet spot on that very first notes at really early stage in their first months. It could also be the months of most importance to do that. I realize this now. The student is busy and occupied just with getting a sound and that's when they need to do it right and can be easily lead. Later when they have three or more notes they get too occupied with changing notes, reading notes and playing intervals and making progress (their way of looking at progress). The first weeks is therefore very important. The years to come you then put a lot of work to be an enthusiastic teacher to make music important (and fun) to make them practice. This was what my teaching was most about.
Wilktone wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:02 am
I'm glad that this topic is generating some discussion and hope that the embouchure pedagogy resource I linked to is...
...
The culture of ignorance that discourages embouchure analysis is, at its best, outdated and based on inaccurate information. At its worst, it's based on laziness on the part of the instructor.
Laziness, does not sound very good. I try to explain that from a teachers perspective. :-)

The things Dave talks about talks to intermediate and advanced students. They are already highly motivated and have played several years. They are also used to teachers giving them instructions. This is another kind of teaching that happens after my teaching. I have had a few students that are that advanced but then I have still not addressed issues in their emboushure, first because I thought they were doing great and second because I had not done it before. Yes, that sounds stupid but it becomes an issue if you have not addressed the matter early. Maybe I could have encouraged them to experiment more with their emboushure but I was then much too occupied with other aspects of their playing.

To work at a public music school is to adopt the teaching to the ambition of the school. In Sweden the ambition is not to produce musicians but to give children a possibility to play an instrument. The ambition is to give the student the tools needed to "have fun" with music and to develop creativity with music basically. They do not need to have to learn anything and they study as long as they please. You can not demand anything really. Everything is then built on trust. You can have a lot of opinions about this but this is basically what guides teachers. The first priority is then music lessons must be joyful. Then you take it from there. I know this is not the same everywhere. If it was a private school you could demand that the student also makes progress. You could introduce competition and auditions to have goals with your teaching. We have none of those tools in Sweden. The ambition of the school system is something we as teachers have to struggle with. If the goal was different my teaching would be different.

If a student has problems with his technique you could address that directly. You could tell the student that certain things in his playing needs to be better. I did that, in some cases but after this I don't know really what the responsibility is of the teacher with an eldery student. At some point the student needs to take full responsibility of learning and start to put questions. I think this is a very important step in being a successful student and later musician. The mechanics of playing can then be addressed and the student will be highly motivated. I only recall one student that had that motivation and he is now a trumpeter. He is the only student I've started who continued to higher education and after that now works as a musician. Most of the students drop out either the first year or around 13 years old or they continue until 18 when they finish school. A few continue until 21 at the point they are not allowed to attend the public music school. This was old rules so it can have changed. I know my most successful student had one slight issue with his emboushure when I handed him over to his next teacher. He had some air pockets I hadn't adressed. I did tell him about it but it was not until he declared he planned to make a career as a musician. He was a good player with those small air pockets too. He later overcame that problem.

As you see the problem with having troubles to address certain issues in the emboushure is far more complicated than the teacher simply is lazy.

I think the resource Dave put up is good because it makes us think and it might question what we are doing. This is nessecary if we ever will come closer to what works and what does not work and will give us some ideas. It starts discussions and that is independent of what belief anyone may or may not have. Discussions are important
This is my personal take on that, but I'm no longer a teacher so I can not try any of this stuff on anybody but myself.

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
My webbpage: https://sites.google.com/site/brazzmusic
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Wilktone
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Re: Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Post by Wilktone » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:38 am

I happened to come across this short video this morning. Since some folks seemed skeptical about Low Placement embouchure types on tuba, here is a video that shows an excellent example of a Low Placement embouchure type.

David Wilken
www.wilktone.com
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