Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

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Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by bcschipper » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:21 am

Where can I find the film?

Sorry for asking such a simple question. I came a across references to this film but I never watched it. It doesn't seem to be on Youtube. There are other nice videos on embouchures by David Wilken on youtube though.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:48 am

I made that 33 minute film in 1988 with the help of a cameraman from National Geographic. It was done on film, not video, but I did get it transferred to digital. It features 21 different brass players playing on clear plastic mouthpieces that I made. I explained how all of them fit into Reinhardt's categories of embouchure types, and commented on some problems some of them had.
The only person I have shared it with is Dave Wilkin and he is not to share it.

At that time I showed it at the International Trombone Workshop in Nashville. I got a warm response from some, including Albert Mangelsdorf. Not such from others, including Van Haney and Bill Cramer.

Sorry but I will probably never put it on YouTube.

I did show it to Reinhardt and he liked it.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by timothy42b » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:14 am

Wow, 1988, that is 30 years ago.

I would guess some of your thinking has evolved and refined since then. (I think you mentioned once that's the reason you haven't written a book.)

Is it time to do another video? <smiley>
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:26 am

That one cost me a LOT of money.
I thought seriously about doing another with some of the same people to show how their chops have evolved, at the 20 year mark. I didn't even think about this being another decade. It's a very good idea.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by cozzagiorgi » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:11 am

Especially considering making a film isn't that expensive anymore. And distribution is easy and good for your reputation.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by timothy42b » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:16 am

And also, if you want to use any of the same people, some of them may no longer be playing; some may have passed away, or will if you wait too long.

If only we could have done MRIs back then and repeated them now!
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Redthunder » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:33 am

I remember Dave talking to me about this video when I got a lesson from him in Asheville last year.

If you want to see something similar - check out the Lloyd Leno film, Lip Vibrations of Trombone Embouchures, which Dave Wilken has shared on youtube. I think it was made sometime in the 1970's, and it includes players like George Roberts and Bill Watrous, and covers upstream and downstream types, as well as other particularly unique embouchures belonging to prominent players of the day. You can see them playing into clear mouthpieces in different ranges, and it clearly shows how each type functions.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I've sometimes been curious to see if I could replicate some of this on a smaller scale, using Kelly mouthpieces and filming local guys I work with a lot. I've gotten into the habit of trying to figure out the embouchure types of players around me, and I think I've gotten pretty good at it - but there are a few that I'm still unsure of and it would be awesome to get a deeper look into how these players chops actually function.

I know I've said it before here - but it still always amazes me how insanely accurate the information presented by Doug is. It's almost mystical on the surface, but once you dig in and try and learn what's really going on, it's nothing short of amazing. This information influences EVERYTHING about how we play music, and it's still largely unknown to a large chunk of brass players.
Last edited by Redthunder on Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Wilktone » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:40 am

remember Dave talking to me about this video when I got a lesson from him in Asheville last year.
Yeah, and I couldn't find where I had put it when I moved a couple of years earlier. I've finally found it. It was an invaluable resource for me when I was writing my dissertation. I'll need to brush the dust off of my VCR and watch it again. Thanks again for letting me have that copy, Doug!
If you want to see something similar - check out the Lloyd Leno film, Lip Vibrations of Trombone Embouchures, which Dave Wilken has shared on youtube.
Curiously, it seems that Leno wasn't familiar with Reinhardt's books or approach. Leno notes the upstream and downstream embouchures in his film (he apparently wasn't looking for this when he first began his research). Doug, I believe you said you attended a screening of Leno's film at an ITF once, do you know if Leno ever became familiar with Reinhardt's work?

And I would also like to see a "Part 2" of the film, Doug.

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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by BurckhardtS » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:09 am

With easy access to digital cameras and film editing software, another project like that might not be as prohibitive as it was before, unless you filmed in high-speed in the original video. High-speed cameras can be expensive. I would love to see a modern version!
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:57 am

Lloyd Leno presented his films twice at the early ITF's; I was there for both of them. He had funding for it and used extremely high speed cameras with a rotary lens that filmed at 15,000 frames per second, in black and white - I think the second was twice as fast at 30,000 frames per second and it was in color. The biggest problem for him and his subjects was the extremely bright light that was required. Also the cameras wasted lots of film just getting up to speed.

I don't think Leno knew much if anything about Reinhardt, but Reinhardt was very aware of Leno's work.

Most of the players I used in my film are available, with some travel. Milt Stevens is gone, he had a very unusual embouchure type and he was my only example of it.

I'll be thinking about it.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Leftybone » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:47 pm

Doug, if you do decide someday to move forward with this, you might consider funding it as a Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/about?ref=global-footer). I bet you would find many backers here.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by davebb » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:10 pm

High speed footage of the embouchure in combination with MRI footage of the tongue and throatcould be REALLY interesting. (like this: )
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:03 pm

It's not possible to do an MRI while actually playing the instrument in the normal way, so some of the important subtleties are missed. It's interesting but not entirely useful.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by bcschipper » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:45 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:48 am
I made that 33 minute film in 1988 with the help of a cameraman from National Geographic. It was done on film, not video, but I did get it transferred to digital. It features 21 different brass players playing on clear plastic mouthpieces that I made. I explained how all of them fit into Reinhardt's categories of embouchure types, and commented on some problems some of them had.
The only person I have shared it with is Dave Wilkin and he is not to share it.

At that time I showed it at the International Trombone Workshop in Nashville. I got a warm response from some, including Albert Mangelsdorf. Not such from others, including Van Haney and Bill Cramer.

Sorry but I will probably never put it on YouTube.

I did show it to Reinhardt and he liked it.
Thanks for the clarification. I don't understand though why you don't want to make the movie public. Just because of some criticism from some people?

I am a researcher. When I submit a manuscript for publication under peer review, I never get just positive reviews. My field is particular nasty. Sometimes I don't even look at the reports for a year till I calm down (something I always tell my PhD student no to do). Some people even left the profession because they didn't like the tone of anonymous peer reviews in our field. The point I want to make is that we can never expect to receive just positive feedback and should somehow live with it.

A second point I want to make is that research is always tentative. (I implicitly label your movie as research.) No experiment is perfect. (Again, I implicitly label your movie as an experiment.) One can always come up with a better design. And such incremental improvements and discovery of imperfections and new questions along the way is very much the nature of research.

Making tentative research public is important because (1) it allows others to improve upon it and (2) allows the researcher to learn from the subsequent discourse about the research. In some sense you seem to have acknowledged this already by sharing the movie with David Wilkin, who wrote a very interesting dissertation on your embouchure types.

One reason for not making it public is to keep the monopoly of knowledge like often done with research in the private sector and with "divine knowledge'' in religions/cults. In the present case, may be the monopoly of knowledge is important for your teaching or mouthpiece making. But monopolies always come at a cost for the public.

I would strongly encourage you not just to make the old movie public but also work on a follow up.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Pre59 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:30 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:57 am

Most of the players I used in my film are available, with some travel. Milt Stevens is gone, he had a very unusual embouchure type and he was my only example of it.

Doug, I've seen some high speed embouchure film with a credit given to Jim Fulkerson, was he one of your examples? I played with him in the early '90's here in the UK.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Redthunder » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:50 am

bcschipper wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:45 am
One reason for not making it public is to keep the monopoly of knowledge like often done with research in the private sector and with "divine knowledge'' in religions/cults. In the present case, may be the monopoly of knowledge is important for your teaching or mouthpiece making. But monopolies always come at a cost for the public.

I would strongly encourage you not just to make the old movie public but also work on a follow up.
Doug hardly has a monopoly on what he's teaching, so this isn't a fair thing to say at all. We've already seen how Doug was willing to share the video with Dave, as you mentioned. I've also spent a good deal of time corresponding with both Doug and Dave, both during in person lessons, and via TromboneChat or email, about the stuff Doug teaches. Doug has freely answered all of my questions about this topic every time, whether I was paying for his time, or when I wasn't, as I've expressed a greater interest in how embouchure form and function works beyond how it simply affects my own playing.

He freely contributes and has contributed for years to various online forums like this one, often helping and offering advice to individuals completely free of charge.

Doug was also one of literally hundreds of students that Donald Reinhardt taught, and you can find others who have an in depth understanding of what Doug teaches and also teach it themselves, though with variations. Two examples that come to mind are Dave Sheetz and Rich Wiley. Rich has dozens of books on his website that deal with playing brass with Reinhardt's pedagogy in mind, and these are all easily accessible on his website.

You can even find Donald Reinhardt's book, the Encyclopedia of the Pivot System, available in PDF form, where you can try to parse through the original source of what Doug's teaching stems from.

Doug also already mentioned that he invested a significant amount of his own money into the film. We should respect that there is a reason that Doug has chosen to keep this movie private and NOT alienate him, as he is an invaluable resource for dozens of people on this board and others.

I'll also add this: You are a researcher, correct? Do you conduct your research for free, out of the goodness of your heart? Do you fund your work yourself? Do you think it's reasonable to ask someone who has invested much of his life figuring out not just how to become an effective trombone player and mouthpiece maker, but also an incredibly effective teacher that has aided hundreds, if not thousands of individuals in bettering their own playing on an instrument who's collective pedagogy has not changed much in fifty years, to simply give away a clearly very important film for the "public good"?

Doug doesn't attach his name, his teaching, or his product to an institution, (which pretty much every other "famous" teacher does, whether they're effective at what they do or not). The fact of the matter is that Doug and his knowledge and experience are VASTLY more accessible (and affordable) than what most knowledgable trombone teachers offer, and I'd argue the quality is often much higher as well. It's well within reason for Doug to want to keep some things private.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by cozzagiorgi » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:17 am

Redthunder wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:50 am
bcschipper wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:45 am
One reason for not making it public is to keep the monopoly of knowledge like often done with research in the private sector and with "divine knowledge'' in religions/cults. In the present case, may be the monopoly of knowledge is important for your teaching or mouthpiece making. But monopolies always come at a cost for the public.

I would strongly encourage you not just to make the old movie public but also work on a follow up.
Doug hardly has a monopoly on what he's teaching, so this isn't a fair thing to say at all. We've already seen how Doug was willing to share the video with Dave, as you mentioned. I've also spent a good deal of time corresponding with both Doug and Dave, both during in person lessons, and via TromboneChat or email, about the stuff Doug teaches. Doug has freely answered all of my questions about this topic every time, whether I was paying for his time, or when I wasn't, as I've expressed a greater interest in how embouchure form and function works beyond how it simply affects my own playing.

He freely contributes and has contributed for years to various online forums like this one, often helping and offering advice to individuals completely free of charge.

Doug was also one of literally hundreds of students that Donald Reinhardt taught, and you can find others who have an in depth understanding of what Doug teaches and also teach it themselves, though with variations. Two examples that come to mind are Dave Sheetz and Rich Wiley. Rich has dozens of books on his website that deal with playing brass with Reinhardt's pedagogy in mind, and these are all easily accessible on his website.

You can even find Donald Reinhardt's book, the Encyclopedia of the Pivot System, available in PDF form, where you can try to parse through the original source of what Doug's teaching stems from.

Doug also already mentioned that he invested a significant amount of his own money into the film. We should respect that there is a reason that Doug has chosen to keep this movie private and NOT alienate him, as he is an invaluable resource for dozens of people on this board and others.

I'll also add this: You are a researcher, correct? Do you conduct your research for free, out of the goodness of your heart? Do you fund your work yourself? Do you think it's reasonable to ask someone who has invested much of his life figuring out not just how to become an effective trombone player and mouthpiece maker, but also an incredibly effective teacher that has aided hundreds, if not thousands of individuals in bettering their own playing on an instrument who's collective pedagogy has not changed much in fifty years, to simply give away a clearly very important film for the "public good"?

Doug doesn't attach his name, his teaching, or his product to an institution, (which pretty much every other "famous" teacher does, whether they're effective at what they do or not). The fact of the matter is that Doug and his knowledge and experience are VASTLY more accessible (and affordable) than what most knowledgable trombone teachers offer, and I'd argue the quality is often much higher as well. It's well within reason for Doug to want to keep some things private.
Thank you for this post Redthunder. I am 100% with you on this one.
I think we can close this "researcher" paranthese now.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by bcschipper » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:52 pm

Sorry, I think my post created a wrong impression. I was simply debating possible reasons for and against making such a film public. I do not know what is the real reason as mentioned in the second sentence of my posting.

My goal is not to "alienate him" or anybody else but rather to encourage Mr. Elliott to make the film public.

In terms of research funding, a follow up film should be properly funded. Someone else suggested crowdfunding, and I believe with proper advertising in the community this could work well. As for the existing film, the funds are sunk already. And yes, I strongly believe that from a social welfare perspective, providing it for the "public good" would enhance the welfare of the community. (That's the reason why patents (i.e., temporary monopolies on private research) expire after a couple of years.)

It is unfortunate that apparently there is so little serious public research and funding of pedagogy of brass instruments. But this may change with more attempts of systematic studies. Research builds on research and it seems that a start has been made but not much more. As far as I understand, the film is essentially a collection and classification of data. Embouchures of different brass players are shown and categorized. That's how typically research starts: You collect data and try to structure it. (David Wilkin in his dissertation did a more thorough study of features of embouchure characteristics, in particular their frequency, the correlation of different embouchure characteristics, and the correlation of some other observable characteristics.) The structuring coupled with observations during teaching apparently led to some hypotheses about what works and what doesn't work for different embouchure types. The next step would be to experimentally test these hypotheses in a systematic way (not just by casual observation during teaching). E.g., one could ask a player of embouchure H to set the mouthpiece like a player of embouchure L and then study his loss of range, tonal quality, etc. That is, what's the extend of the problem when using a "wrong" embouchure type? Analogous with slight shifts when going up and down. Collect data on 20-30 players for each embouchure type and with some simple statistics you should be able to reject or not reject the hypothesis. With more funds and effort, may be add more players like 80 for each embouchure type and control for additional individual characteristics like years of playing, gender etc. for robustness. It might be possible to get this number of observations when running such an experiment at an ITA meeting.

Here is what would be needed:
1. Get ITA to strongly suggest all participants to enter the "embouchure clinic" during the meeting.
2. In the clinic, you need somebody competent in "diagnosing" the correct and current (which may differ) embouchure types: I guess the best would be Doug Elliott or David Wilkin.
2. Instruct the player to play with their "correct embouchure": record on video and audio
3. Instruct the player to play with an "incorrect embouchure": record on video and audio
4. Let them fill in a questionnaire with demographics and playing history
4. Code data from video/audio and questionnaires into numbers: That's a lot of work. Aren't there some PhD students in brass pedagogy in the country that need publications and would be willing help?
5. Analyze data: I am happy to help with that.
6. Write it up and put on the web/journal.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by BurckhardtS » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:16 pm

The problem with a completely scientific approach to brass pedagogy is that there is NO way to control the variables from person to person, and while everyone fits into the patterns, things need to be adjusted specifically for the individual. I think Dave Wilken has talked about how his dissertation was on physical characteristics of people's anatomy and attempted to relate it to Reinhardt embouchure types, but found no correlation (or thought there was, and was subject to his own confirmation bias).
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by bcschipper » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:33 pm

Yes, every person is different. That's why we need more data and systematic ways of studying it. The argument that everybody is different is an argument FOR a statistical approach, not against it. It is precisely the method for taking care of the stochasticity of nature.

Wilkin (2000) did find some significant correlations. But given the number of measures taken, you would expect some significant correlations (without control for multiple comparison) to show up simply for statistical reasons even if there is no true underlying correlation. Even if some characteristics are not significant for some embouchure types, we may still want to control for them in order to make estimates of other characteristics more precise.

I am not so much interested in the correlations between characteristics of embouchure types. Wilkin studied this nicely already. I am more interested in CAUSAL relationship between "right" embouchure type (no matter whether we use Reinhardt's or Elliott's typology) and characteristics of PLAY. For this, the treatment variable is "wrong embouchure" vs "correct embouchure". That is, I need to experimentally vary the embouchure for each embouchure type and observe playing.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Wilktone » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:14 pm

I understand Doug's point of view and respect his decision, although I will occasionally gently goad him to make it public/make another/screen it the next time I see him.

Speaking for myself, I have sometimes thought about pulling my videos down. The first embouchure video I put together and posted is 10 years old as I write this. I'd like to think that I've gotten more knowledgable in that time and now would prefer to emphasize different things or even correct some mistakes. I sometimes think about rebooting them, but I'm reluctant to do so for a couple of reasons.

Like Doug, I've had my share of flames, including from some well regarded players/teachers. Add random trolls when you post things on the internet for comments and it can sometimes feel like banging your head up against a brick wall.

Also, it's a ton of work and expensive. I did my videos on the cheap and it still cost me a lot out of pocket and was a big time investment. Doug's film was professionally produced and you can tell the difference. I don't know if it would be cheaper today or not, but if the video production companies that are local to me are typical, it is still quite expensive.
It is unfortunate that apparently there is so little serious public research and funding of pedagogy of brass instruments.
You're preaching to the choir. Ideally the information in Doug's video would all be common knowledge, or at least the basics of it. It's unfortunate that brass pedagogy is so firmly entrenched into not wanting to understand the mechanics of making music.
I think Dave Wilken has talked about how his dissertation was on physical characteristics of people's anatomy and attempted to relate it to Reinhardt embouchure types, but found no correlation (or thought there was, and was subject to his own confirmation bias).
It's hard to interpret the final statistics from my dissertation in any meaningful way. One thing that does stick out with me from the experience was how different my expectations of what I would find in the statistical analysis from the end result.
That is, I need to experimentally vary the embouchure for each embouchure type and observe playing.
That can be tricky tricky. When I photographed my test subject I used Reinhardt's Pivot Test to help check their embouchure type(see "Encyclopedia of the Pivot System," if I have time I'll post details later). I also asked every player to try some different mouthpiece placements and tried to guide them to playing on all three of the basic embouchure types to see if a different one showed improvement or promise.

Some players are very good at playing in a way that I think is "wrong." Even though they may be playing on an embouchure type that I would think is less efficient, they might play very well. I also think there are players who are playing on their correct embouchure type, but have something not correct about their embouchure form that creates problems. Not all (or even most) embouchure corrections are about changing embouchure type (in my opinion). If you want to conduct research on this topic, it would have to be a longitudinal study.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:31 am

I don't actually like the opinion that this film should just automatically be released "to the public" for "the public good". The film belongs to the copyright holder, for one. On top of that, the number of people that would actually benefit from such a film (to help their teaching, or understand their playing, etc) is miniscule, especially when you take into consideration the cost it apparently took to produce. Probably only two or three times the number of people who actually screened it when it was released. Not casually interested people, but people who'd benefit professionally, mind you.

If I were Doug, I'd slap the old film on a DVD along with an updated version, market it to brass teachers, and charge a significant amount of money for it. But I'm not Doug. He can do whatever he wants with his film, bruh.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Redthunder » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:37 am

bcschipper wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:52 pm
Sorry, I think my post created a wrong impression. I was simply debating possible reasons for and against making such a film public. I do not know what is the real reason as mentioned in the second sentence of my posting.

My goal is not to "alienate him" or anybody else but rather to encourage Mr. Elliott to make the film public.

In terms of research funding, a follow up film should be properly funded. Someone else suggested crowdfunding, and I believe with proper advertising in the community this could work well. As for the existing film, the funds are sunk already. And yes, I strongly believe that from a social welfare perspective, providing it for the "public good" would enhance the welfare of the community. (That's the reason why patents (i.e., temporary monopolies on private research) expire after a couple of years.)
I think it's great that you're interested in furthering the research in this particular field. However I still take issue with this idea that Doug (or anyone else for that matter) is behaving analogously to a corporation, or even a religious cult by not sharing his own video, and that he's not releasing it to maintain some kind of monopoly on the information. My point was that the work done by Doug, Dave, and others has NEVER, at least not from my perspective, been treated as privileged information where secrets are kept, lest someone else undermine their expertise. I've met teachers like that who actually do keep secrets out of fear of losing their value as performers or educators, and Doug is not that at all, and that he's enabled so many musicians achieve their full potential on brass instruments that wouldn't necessarily achieve it otherwise. Same for Dave.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:28 am

Interesting that the subject of patents was brought up but only in the context of their expiration.

None of this information is new. Reinhardt was a contemporary of Arnold Jacobs, they both went to Curtis in the 1930's. But Jacob's approach became the dominant force in brass teaching - the idea that the player SHOULDN'T know anything about embouchure.

I feel very fortunate that I became interested and was able to study with him for as long as I did. Which was not free... How many students today would take 100 lessons with the same teacher, and pay for them? Everybody wants to read free information on the internet. Or on YouTube.

The very few big name players who once contributed on the forum have quit. Not offering free advice except the very few who post on their own websites.

Don't expect to see my film on YouTube.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by BGuttman » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:09 am

I'd bet if you wanted to see Doug's film, you could pay for a lesson...
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Pre59 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:34 am

Pre59 wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:30 am
Doug Elliott wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:57 am

Most of the players I used in my film are available, with some travel. Milt Stevens is gone, he had a very unusual embouchure type and he was my only example of it.

Doug, I've seen some high speed embouchure film with a credit given to Jim Fulkerson, was he one of your examples? I played with him in the early '90's here in the UK.
I've answered my own own question..

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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Wilktone » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:54 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:28 am
None of this information is new. Reinhardt was a contemporary of Arnold Jacobs, they both went to Curtis in the 1930's. But Jacob's approach became the dominant force in brass teaching - the idea that the player SHOULDN'T know anything about embouchure.
And THAT'S why brass embouchure pedagogy is in its current state. I just did a search via an academic library for "(embouchure) AND (pedagogy)." In the past 5 years, 6 relevant articles came up. Of the 6, three essentially argued that breathing was the key to good embouchure. One was an explicit endorsement of Jacobs's approach. One was based completely on anecdotes (but this one was one of the better ones, in my opinion). Only one used scientific methodology to actually test something about brass pedagogy (the end result showed no noticeable difference between beginning brass students who mouthpiece buzzed and a control group that didn't mouthpiece buzz).

I posted my thoughts about these papers/articles here, if you're curious.

Doug, if you were to do a follow up video, would you still describe Reinhardt's embouchure types or would you use the three basic types you first taught me?

Both Doug and I have gotten grief from former Reinhardt students for "corrupting" what he taught by changing the presentation around, for what it's worth.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by BurckhardtS » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:25 pm

In our brass pedagogy class, we were all assigned to present and review a brass pedagogy book, like the Art of Brass Playing by Farkas or Reinhardt's Encyclopedia (which I was assigned) to the class, some of them more standard, and some of them more obscure. Both in a practical use standpoint, and from a scientific/research.

Most of the books are OPINION books and have no real scientific data other than "I'm a successful player and I've had a few successful students". Reinhardt's Encyclopedia is actually not a whole lot different, because the data is not available to view, but the rules are made through deductive reasoning (as far as I could tell).
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by bcschipper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:39 am

I like Mr. Reed's and Mr. Guttman's suggestion. Both suggested to make it available for a positive but finite price. This contrasts nicely not only to my previous proposal but also with the status quo. Previously, I suggested that the film could be free on youtube. Currently the status-quo price is essentially infinity because the film is not available for any price. Both a price of zero or infinity are extremes. So why not make it available to watch it for a strict positive but finite price? Then everyone with a willingness to pay above the price would watch it and Mr. Elliott could recoup some of his investment into the film. Sounds like an improvement for all.

David Wilken's response made me realize that my experimental proposal is too naive. A longitudinal study is probably necessary, which can be executed only by someone with an extensive and active teaching practice and knowledge of embouchure typologies.

The debate of Jacobs vs. Reinhardt approaches is again a debate that could only settled with an empirical study. The ideal experiment would treat randomly students with either the Jacobs or the Reinhardt approach and then observe outcomes. Not easy to do but perhaps there is a quasi-experiment: For instance, two highschools with similar demographics, one with a bandleader in the Jacobs camp, another with a bandleader in the Reinhardt camp.

In response to David Wilkin finding only 5 works on enbouchure and pedagogy in the last five years, a quick search on Google Scholar with terms "embouchure" and "pedagogy" and "brass" and "Reinhardt" yields 52 entries since 2014. Although these items are of different qualities and some of them are clearly not relevant, I thought that these are more than I expected and some items sound promising at a first glance (see below). So I am less pessimistic about current developments in brass pedagogy than I was after reading David Wilkin's comment.

Fundamentals of Embouchure in Brass Players: Towards a Definition and Clinical Assessment by Kees H. Woldendorp, Hans Boschma, Anne M. Boonstra, Hans J. Arendzen, Michiel F. Reneman, Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 31 Number 4: Page 232 (December 2016)

21st-Century Brass Pedagogy: Modern Scientific Discoveries and their Implications on Current Brass Pedagogy by Sulliman, Jason, Dissertation, Indiana University

Tone Development Through Non-Traditional Techniques: A Pedagogical Resource for Trombonists by Martinson, Philip, Dissertation, Oklahoma University

Trombone players seem to use different tongue positions while playing sustained notes, depending on their native languages by Matthias Heyne and Donald Derrick, Proceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, 17-22 August 2015, Manchester, UK

Integrating Rhythmic Syllable with Tonguing Drills in Elementary Brass Instruments Instruction by Khor, A. K., Chan, C. J. and Roslan, S., Pertanika Journal Social Sciences & Humanities 24 (4): 1381 - 1396 (2016)

...
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by afugate » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:55 am

bcschipper wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:39 am
...
Tone Development Through Non-Traditional Techniques: A Pedagogical Resource for Trombonists by Martinson, Philip, Dissertation, Oklahoma University
...
Thank you for the links. I'm reading Philip Martinson's document now. He has such a gorgeous sound! So, whatever he's written is undoubtedly worth reading and further thought.

About 4 years ago, I was at the University of Oklahoma's Trombone Day. I was one of two adult volunteers who were asked to assist with the beginner students. The other person was Philip. :o I remember the director asking Philip to play something for the kids. It was beautiful! :good: Then he turned to me and asked me to play the same thing. I was TERRIFIED! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I shared that story with Philip a couple years later and we both got a good laugh out of it.

--Andy in OKC
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Wilktone » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:43 pm

In response to David Wilkin finding only 5 works on enbouchure and pedagogy in the last five years, a quick search on Google Scholar with terms "embouchure" and "pedagogy" and "brass" and "Reinhardt" yields 52 entries since 2014.
To be clear, I was just searching Brevard College's subscriptions, a very cursory search. I just found the hits I found interesting as a snapshot into contemporary embouchure research.
Fundamentals of Embouchure in Brass Players: Towards a Definition and Clinical Assessment by Kees H. Woldendorp, Hans Boschma, Anne M. Boonstra, Hans J. Arendzen, Michiel F. Reneman, Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 31 Number 4: Page 232 (December 2016)
Last year they were collecting surveys for the next stage in their research and I got to participate. They were trying to come up with standard definitions and important anatomical and playing characteristics for use in physical therapy for brass musicians. I imagine that they will be publishing in the not too distant future.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by blast » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:39 am

Interesting that there is a debate still going on about ideas that are more than 50 years old. Has there been such a lack of pedagogical progress in the last 50 years ? Is it not a little immature to say that you either subscribe to Jacobs or Reinhardt ? Anything involving the brain and body is bound to be of a level of complexity that demands holistic investigation using the substantial body of research into brain function and body control that has taken place in the last 50 years. Brave new world ?

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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by VJOFan » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:04 am

To set the context for my thinking I am presently teaching English as second language at the high school level. In training for that position I have read a lot of "research". I put it in quotes because a lot of ESL research is done on a very small scale and in quite specific circumstances.

The profile of the learners, teachers and context make a big difference in how any approach to pedagogy is successful or not.

That being said I really wonder if studying any pedagogy has similar limitations. Does it take a life long personal commitment to embouchure analysis for a Doug Elliot or Dr. Dave to be successful? Does it take the gravitas and credibility of a Jacobs for saying "wind and song" to be effective?

There are so many variables in any teaching and learning situation that I am coming to the belief that it defies a scientific study approach, in the manner of a drug trial. By its nature, teaching is an empirical art. Teachers need to share and discuss all their work and observations that include the context and characteristics of each learner. In the end we each have to develop a plan that fits our abilities and strengths and fits the characteristics and needs of our students.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by timothy42b » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:30 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:28 am


None of this information is new. Reinhardt was a contemporary of Arnold Jacobs, they both went to Curtis in the 1930's. But Jacob's approach became the dominant force in brass teaching - the idea that the player SHOULDN'T know anything about embouchure.


At 2:10, he states that his students never hear the word embouchure.

He also notes that he struggled with range for years, then got the knack through an exercise he demonstrates. Hmm.

I suspect that students differ in learning styles, and that some of us do much better with one approach vs the other. I also think (though some here strongly disagree) that learning styles are fairly firmly fixed, maybe even hardwired.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Redthunder » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:32 am

blast wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:39 am
Interesting that there is a debate still going on about ideas that are more than 50 years old. Has there been such a lack of pedagogical progress in the last 50 years ?
On the whole, it seems like it. But obviously the existence of individuals like Doug, Dave, and others have defied it.

Is it not a little immature to say that you either subscribe to Jacobs or Reinhardt ?
Yes, but this isn't really the discussion, so it's not really fair to frame it so simply. People don't subscribe to Reinhardt just because, people subscribe to the fact that Reinhardt took a much more objective approach and catered to the needs and demands of individuals, and found the best approach to help every student. For some players, this helped fine tune their playing to become slightly more efficient. For other players, it made the difference between quitting, just barely scraping by, and thriving as a brass musician. It's not really about Reinhardt, it's about the information he presented. And individuals like Doug and Dave have refined and advanced that information, so in this context, yes, the pedagogy has absolutely developed. A great example of this is how Reinhardt had a complex and detailed system for classifying embouchure types. I think there were no less than 9 sub-types. And then he also included many different "tongue classification types" as well. Doug simplified this to three main types, Very High Placement, Medium High Placement, and Low Placement. This makes the ideas on embouchure that Reinhardt taught much more accessible. Here's a Dave Wilken blog post comparing the two systems. http://www.wilktone.com/?p=2500

I think the Jacobs approach alone (as it is understood, and taught today) of Wind and Song is great, if you already play correctly and have no serious playing gaps to work on. Dave has repeatedly stressed that in his articles. Many people arguing against analysis of embouchure problems often leave this detail out.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Redthunder » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:40 am

timothy42b wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:30 am



At 2:10, he states that his students never hear the word embouchure.

He also notes that he struggled with range for years, then got the knack through an exercise he demonstrates. Hmm.

I suspect that students differ in learning styles, and that some of us do much better with one approach vs the other. I also think (though some here strongly disagree) that learning styles are fairly firmly fixed, maybe even hardwired.
I strongly dislike this video, because he takes the idea that it's impossible to replicate the same motion or sound in the exact same manner every single time to argue that this means it's irrelevant to try and discuss the physical components of embouchure. No wonder he struggled with range.

Videos like this always bother me because they don't argue in good faith - they assume that just because THEY don't fully understand, or are incapable of properly analyzing certain things, that NO ONE can, and it shouldn't be done.

And relating all of this to learning styles, of course some people do better with different styles. But there are still right and wrong ways to teach each of these learning styles.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by blast » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:07 pm

VJOFan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:04 am
To set the context for my thinking I am presently teaching English as second language at the high school level. In training for that position I have read a lot of "research". I put it in quotes because a lot of ESL research is done on a very small scale and in quite specific circumstances.

The profile of the learners, teachers and context make a big difference in how any approach to pedagogy is successful or not.

That being said I really wonder if studying any pedagogy has similar limitations. Does it take a life long personal commitment to embouchure analysis for a Doug Elliot or Dr. Dave to be successful? Does it take the gravitas and credibility of a Jacobs for saying "wind and song" to be effective?

There are so many variables in any teaching and learning situation that I am coming to the belief that it defies a scientific study approach, in the manner of a drug trial. By its nature, teaching is an empirical art. Teachers need to share and discuss all their work and observations that include the context and characteristics of each learner. In the end we each have to develop a plan that fits our abilities and strengths and fits the characteristics and needs of our students.
Very well put.

Chris
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by blast » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:16 pm

I would hesitate to post any videos about any of this stuff online. A video is set in time, inflexible and open to all manner of interpretation. Good teaching is of the moment, personal, flexible and forever changing.

Chris
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Savio » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:09 pm

Chris always tell some wise words. I wonder how all this videos should help us regular players? I have to say for me some are fun to see, but I admit I dont understand much of it. And a little knowledge is dangerous, so I stay away and hand it over to people that have interest and understand more. Maybe that was why Jacobs didnt tell much either? Anyway, I think there is some to learn from all this great teachers, but as Chris tell. "Good teaching is of the moment, flexible and forever" So very true!

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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Kbiggs » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:16 pm

This isn’t strictly on topic, but...

It seems that in this discussion (and in various academic discussions and in casual conversation) that there’s a tendency to talk about the “Jacobs camp” and the “Reinhardt camp.” (Often, the “Reinhardt camp” is more generalized to “embouchure formation,” esp. with those who aren’t familiar with or who haven’t heard of Reinhardt.)

Practically speaking, I don’t believe these different views of pedagogy are opposed to each, nor do they seeme to be in a thesis and antithesis dialectic. To me, a well-formed embouchure appropriate to the individual’s anatomy and physiology AND a well-developed sense of air flow are necessary to produce a characteristic tone that allows the player to play music.

I’m thinking of David Vining’s formulation here:

• An embouchure is a three-dimensional entity in motion created by wind rushing past lips.

• An embouchure does not exist without air flow because an embouchure includes motion.

• You can’t take a two-dimensional photo of an embouchure but you can videotape an embouchure.


https://trombonetools.com/embouchure/
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Kbiggs » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:45 pm

Sorry, I accidentally hit send when I wasn’t finished...

One place I see the two approaches getting artificially set up as antagonists is in the emphasis. Yes, Doug Elliott, Dave Wilken, and other students and teachers of Reinhardt focus on embouchure formation but not to the exclusion of air flow. Yes, Jacobs famously said, “There are no rules for embouchure,” but you have to look at the context in which he said it: he wanted his students to produce music, and allow their minds to focus on the goal, rather than getting involved in introspection and other anxiety-type responses. For Jacobs, focusing on embouchure and technique for technique’s sake led to too much emphasis on introspection, anxiety, chipped notes, poor phrasing, etc. In a very broad (and not altogether accurate) view, Jacobs sought to do an “end run” around all that by having the student focus on the product rather than the process.

My view is that both “camps” have their place: it is just as important and necessary to have a good embouchure as it is to use good air flow.

I believe that one of the purposes of pedagogy is get teachers to think about how they teach and what to teach to each student. Too often, it seems, pedagogy and other methods confuse adherence to a system or principle with good results. The results are in the student: if the student improves, that is the mark of a good teacher, not whether the student adheres to a particular school of thought or set of exercises.

(Of course, that’s saying nothing about the relationship between student and teacher, a dynamic that is intensely intimate and personal as well as professional.)
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:51 pm

Where they differ is that Jabobs insisted you should never focus on the process. It seems to me that's what practicing is for - to get the process right so you can forget about it.

And Reinhardt was the only brass teacher who talked at all about different embouchure types. I'm not even sure if Jacobs acknowledged "upstream" and "downstream."
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:43 pm

Once you realize that "there is no trombone", you can move past even the concept of air.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by bcschipper » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:27 pm

VJOFan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:04 am

... There are so many variables in any teaching and learning situation that I am coming to the belief that it defies a scientific study approach, in the manner of a drug trial. ...
Essentially, what you are saying is that it is too complex for a scientific approach. But we do science precisely because some things are complex and cannot be fully understood just we common sense. The moment something displays some regularities, we can try to systematize, analyze, test etc. And what Reinhardt claimed was that there are regularities and he tried to systematize, analyze etc. It is not necessarily always best if the student herself/himself tries to analyze as it may lead to anxieties. Yet, good teachers should be able too.

What would be the alternative? A brass pedagogy where people argue based on their own beliefs formed on their very specific learning and playing experience and their casual observations during teaching? Then we shouldn't be surprised when dogmas start to evolve and Dave Wilkin complains that "(b)oth Doug and I have gotten grief from former Reinhardt students for "corrupting" what he taught by changing the presentation around, for what it's worth".
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by VJOFan » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:33 am

bcschipper wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:27 pm
VJOFan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:04 am

... There are so many variables in any teaching and learning situation that I am coming to the belief that it defies a scientific study approach, in the manner of a drug trial. ...
What would be the alternative? A brass pedagogy where people argue based on their own beliefs formed on their very specific learning and playing experience and their casual observations during teaching?
I think the very next sentences after the one you quoted explains the alternative as I see it.

"By its nature, teaching is an empirical art. Teachers need to share and discuss all their work and observations that include the context and characteristics of each learner. In the end we each have to develop a plan that fits our abilities and strengths and fits the characteristics and needs of our students."

If I understand what Mr. Elliot does, it is exactly that. He observes each student and prescribes adjustments based on their needs. He arrives at these suggestions based on his vast experience with and observation of many players.

So no, an approach that doesn't use "double blind" methodology or another objective way to find a truth doesn't automatically have to become dogmatic. The student, the situation, the goal... the amount of coffee in each person's system... all affect the outcome of any teaching/learning interaction.

We can't find the answer to pedagogy so, for an open and enlightened individual, that means one has to look at what everyone does and see how and why it works or doesn't work. I think dogmatism can only arise when an individual believes that there can be a single, correct answer. I am pretty sure what I say above is to use all available information to find the best answer for each teaching/learning problem.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Kbiggs » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:10 am

To get a better understanding of his teachings, I’ve read a few articles and dissertations on or about Reinhardt since this thread started:

*Cook, Brian Christopher. The Life and Teaching of Donald S. Reinhardt, Boston Univ., 2014
*King, Daniel. An Analysis and Comparison [of four trumpet pedagogues], Ohio State Univ., 2004
*Sulliman, Jason. 20th Century Brass Pedagogy, Indiana Univ., 2017

Cook was the most informative concerning Reinhardt. I can’t speak for its accuracy, but there is a lot of information.



There are a couple of articles/dissertations I can’t find on google scholar, and I don’t have access to any academic accounts.

*Turnbull, David Ray. An Analysis, Clarification, and Revaluation of Donald S. Reinhardt’s Pivot System, Arizona State Univ., 2001.

*Boschma et al. Fundamentals of Embouchure in Brass Players.... Medical Problems of Performing Artists, December 2016.

Does anyone have these articles, or have access to them, and is willing to share them?

Thanks.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:41 am

I haven't read any of them and I don't know any of those people.

What I do know is that most of the people who think they know what Reinhardt taught, don't know at all... even people who did study with him. I spent a LOT of time with him over a LOT of years. The reason I teach my own version is that I saw so many people misunderstand, largely from their own preconceptions.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Savio » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:45 pm

Doug. You have helped me and lot of trombone players. You helped me with both technical, musical aspects also how to be a teacher. A question for you since you obvious dont like Jacobs teaching.

Is there any aspect of Jacobs teaching you like?

Is there any aspect of Reinhardt teaching you dont like?

And what do you see as the most important aspect in teaching?

I have to admit I dont know much either about Jacobs or Reinhardt.

Leif
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:17 pm

For someone with no chop issues, the Jacobs "Song and Wind" approach works well, and that's how Reinhardt would have taught a "natural" player with no mechanical problems. However, almost everyone has mechanics that could be improved for better consistency - and I'm not talking only about today's consistency, but a lifetime of consistency and ease of playing.

Jacobs thought that the musical approach would solve mechanical problems without needing to address them directly. Think result, not process.
Reinhardt was pretty much exactly the opposite - he thought that achieving a mechanically correct process early in their career would free the player to play without impediments - freeing them to use the "singing" musical type of approach to playing.

So I think they're both important - there's a time for each.
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Re: Doug Elliott’s film “The Brass Player’s Embouchure”

Post by Wilktone » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:02 pm

I've read Turnbull's dissertation years ago when I got it through interlibrary loan as a hard copy. My recollection is that he discussed Reinhardt's embouchure types and showed photographs of different players belonging to each embouchure type.

The Cook dissertation I think is quite good.

Here is the abstract of the "Fundamentals..." paper.
Brass players may experience problems producing an optimal sound (or range of sounds) in their instrument. Assessing and treating dysfunctional embouchure requires knowledge of functional embouchure, but peer-reviewed literature on dysfunctional and functional embouchure is scarce. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide a narrative overview of embouchure based on information from different scientific and clinical fields. This should be regarded as a first step in constructing a reliable, valid, and practical multi-item method to assess embouchure for brass players. METHODS: Literature reviews were conducted concerning: 1) the definition of embouchure, 2) physics and acoustics of embouchure, 3) functioning of embouchure-related structures, and 4) instruments to assess embouchure. Also, embouchure experts (clinicians, scientists, and elite wind players) were consulted for information and discussion. RESULTS: A proposal for a new definition of embouchure, an overview of the relevant physics and acoustics, functions of embouchure-related body structures, and the main methods to measure embouchure in brass playing are presented. CONCLUSION: Peer-reviewed information about the fundamentals of dysfunctional embouchure is scarce and sometimes contradictory. A new definition for embouchure is proposed: embouchure is the process needed to adjust the amount, pressure, and direction of the air flow (generated by the breath support) as it travels through the mouth cavity and between the lips, by the position and/or movements of the tongue, teeth, jaws, cheeks, and lips, to produce a tone in a wind instrument. An integrative overview is presented which can serve as a transparent foundation for the present understanding of functional and dysfunctional embouchure and for developing an evidence-based multi-item assessment instrument.
David Wilken
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