Embouchure mechanics certificates?

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AndrewMeronek
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Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:43 am

First, I gotta give a shout out to Doug Elliot for the few lessons I've had with him. My playing is as easy as it has ever been, and I've been getting a fair amount of compliments for my tone lately. :biggrin:

I'm wondering: has anyone tried to incorporate brass embouchure mechanics into part of a degree program somewhere? It just seems like as much as university (and the like, conservatories, etc.) music departments should have to follow the same rules as many spheres of upper education in terms of procuring grants, providing innovative research and staying on the front edge of ideas; that music departments generally fail at this pretty hard - and one way that they *all* should be moving to the fore of musical knowledge is to have brass pedagogy in this respect, provided by at least one certified expert like Doug, Dave Wilken, David Sheetz, or one of many others who have this skill set.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by torobone » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:13 pm

I've not heard of one. I continue to run into music grads that have a long way to go in this regard.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:43 am
First, I gotta give a shout out to Doug Elliot for the few lessons I've had with him. My playing is as easy as it has ever been, and I've been getting a fair amount of compliments for my tone lately. :biggrin:

I'm wondering: has anyone tried to incorporate brass embouchure mechanics into part of a degree program somewhere? It just seems like as much as university (and the like, conservatories, etc.) music departments should have to follow the same rules as many spheres of upper education in terms of procuring grants, providing innovative research and staying on the front edge of ideas; that music departments generally fail at this pretty hard - and one way that they *all* should be moving to the fore of musical knowledge is to have brass pedagogy in this respect, provided by at least one certified expert like Doug, Dave Wilken, David Sheetz, or one of many others who have this skill set.
I would presume that you do not have direct experience of Conservatoires. Some are not strong on research, but many are. Who is 'certified' in embouchure ? Letters after your name mean that you have letters after your name. A lot of people with fancy qualifications don't have a clue. That's the nice thing about playing.... it's out there and obvious. Nobody asks for qualifications.
When Conservatoires are populated by 'certified' people they will be places to avoid.

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:47 pm

While I have a certain empathy for that view, it also seems to suggest that the principles and practice of composition (not to mention various aspects of performance) can't be taught. And if these can be taught in a way that's even partly based on formal principles, then to that degree the notion of certification may make some sense. It doesn't make what many may think of as practical art into a science. It just recognizes that some significant aspects of the practice of the art are teachable and learnable.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:50 pm

Certified chops docs. The next step would inevitably be obtaining some sort of degree or certificate indicating you followed a prescribed course of study with said chops doc or met some required chops curriculum as part of your studies (your thesis will be in Wet vs Dry Embouchures in Baroque Sackbut Performance Practice in France, 1659-1750) allowing you to graduate with your own chops certification.
Last edited by Bach5G on Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:52 pm

blast wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm
I would presume that you do not have direct experience of Conservatoires. Some are not strong on research, but many are. Who is 'certified' in embouchure ? Letters after your name mean that you have letters after your name. A lot of people with fancy qualifications don't have a clue. That's the nice thing about playing.... it's out there and obvious. Nobody asks for qualifications.
When Conservatoires are populated by 'certified' people they will be places to avoid.

Chris
Conservatories offer degrees and their faculty are populated by people with degrees.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Matt K » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:28 pm

Degrees != certifications.

They are both what you'd call a sorting-mechanism in economic jargon, but the incentive structure is vastly different. That isn't to say that conservatories and universities are perfect, but they are quite different. And you'd have to consider what a certificate would add that a university would not and if it is a realistic model that would be able to both train someone as well as incentivize the accrediting institution to define and enforce a standard. In some cases (in the tech world, W3 certifications for example) are hardly worth the paper they are so seldom printed on. Others can be more useful or the requirement for a job.

But the market for someone who would want to say, be a "brass embouchure" specialist is really quite limited. What would it add? Would you be able to pick up more students if you had the certification? What would stop someone from saying they were a certificate holder before... and they just didn't want to renew their certification? Would they lose that information? Not really... so you're looking at a one-off certificate probably. And how do you objectively indicate that someone is an expert in the field? Do you send someone out to observe them fixing an array of brass embouchure problems?

In the music education side of things, teachers are required to be certified, but they aren't required to be as in depth as performance majors are in any given instrument. So the certification would have to be more specific than that certification but less specific or perhaps less indepth than a degree in performance which almost always covers at least some pedagogical elements but also the broader context of what it takes to be a performer in that particular domain.

Granted, I've often thought that if you weren't seeking to be in academia, that I would question the utility of a masters degree, especially if you pay for it. Seems to me that if you want to get good, you could just as easily go to a great musician and pay them some amount less than $30-90k for a weekly lesson... a weekly lesson at $400 a lesson is still only $20k... but I don't know if competing with accredited institutions to provide a certificate would be able to adequately provide a middle ground between that option and a full blown academic degree.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by BGuttman » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:06 pm

Having a reputation as a "chop doc" sometimes can have negative repercussions. At one time professional players would come to Reinhardt's studio in secret because if it became known that they needed that kind of help their careers would be curtailed.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:20 pm

Matt K wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:28 pm
Degrees != certifications.
I see we're speaking two different languages.
Matt K wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:28 pm
And how do you objectively indicate that someone is an expert in the field? Do you send someone out to observe them fixing an array of brass embouchure problems?
Sounds reasonable to me.
In the music education side of things, teachers are required to be certified, but they aren't required to be as in depth as performance majors are in any given instrument. So the certification would have to be more specific than that certification but less specific or perhaps less indepth than a degree in performance which almost always covers at least some pedagogical elements but also the broader context of what it takes to be a performer in that particular domain.
Well, maybe it doesn't have to be a degree/certificate separate from a different degree like a Master's performance degree where you're expected to be able to teach other brass students at a high level.
Granted, I've often thought that if you weren't seeking to be in academia, that I would question the utility of a masters degree, especially if you pay for it. Seems to me that if you want to get good, you could just as easily go to a great musician and pay them some amount less than $30-90k for a weekly lesson... a weekly lesson at $400 a lesson is still only $20k... but I don't know if competing with accredited institutions to provide a certificate would be able to adequately provide a middle ground between that option and a full blown academic degree.
I'm not really suggesting to create a potentially fraudulent certificate not associated with an accreditation.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:01 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:52 pm
blast wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm
I would presume that you do not have direct experience of Conservatoires. Some are not strong on research, but many are. Who is 'certified' in embouchure ? Letters after your name mean that you have letters after your name. A lot of people with fancy qualifications don't have a clue. That's the nice thing about playing.... it's out there and obvious. Nobody asks for qualifications.
When Conservatoires are populated by 'certified' people they will be places to avoid.

Chris
Conservatories offer degrees and their faculty are populated by people with degrees.
Not in the UK. Staff on performance courses are hired on their standing in the profession. For 28 years I have been teaching on BA, BEd, and Masters courses. No degree in my pocket.
There is more than one philosophy regarding the physical aspects of brass performance, with positive results to be seen from very different approaches. There is no danger of one philosophy gaining supremacy in the near future, and therefore no possibility of a global formalisation of physical brass instruction.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by baileyman » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:38 pm

Personal story:

A 30 year or so grad of Berklee who gets a wonderful cornet style sound from double pedals to probably 17th or 18th partial, over and over again, seemingly without effort, so I asked him to help me, over email, with the high pressure in my head. And he did, in the first simple reply. Later he added, "The dirty secret in music schools is they have you play lots of things but don't actually teach you how to play the horn."
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:33 pm

blast wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:01 pm

There is more than one philosophy regarding the physical aspects of brass performance, with positive results to be seen from very different approaches.
Absolutely.
There is no danger of one philosophy gaining supremacy in the near future, and therefore no possibility of a global formalisation of physical brass instruction.
A certification program need not be committed to a single approach. But there are good implementations of a certification program and bad ones. It's pretty clear that Doug Elliott is intimately familiar with several different (at times incompatible) approaches. Choosing to pursue one approach rather than others -- even while being knowledgeable about the others -- in general should not be forbidden (there are complications to this in some areas, but in general it's true). If you think about it, anyone who has an advanced degree, at least at the doctoral level (D.Ed., Ph.D., MD, DO, ...), is expected and required to be familiar in a pretty detailed way with those approaches that may compete with the one he or she chooses to follow. Indeed, it's often the "certification" process that demands and ensures that breadth of knowledge.

Certification does not imply global formalization.

I'm not pimping for certification programs here (and tend to shun them myself -- certainly once I abandoned academia), but they have their advantages if carefully done.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Redthunder » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:22 pm

blast wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm


I would presume that you do not have direct experience of Conservatoires. Some are not strong on research, but many are. Who is 'certified' in embouchure ? Letters after your name mean that you have letters after your name. A lot of people with fancy qualifications don't have a clue. That's the nice thing about playing.... it's out there and obvious. Nobody asks for qualifications.
When Conservatoires are populated by 'certified' people they will be places to avoid.

Chris
Have you ever almost had your chops wrecked by somebody who didn't know the first thing about dealing with an embouchure that didn't "look" normal? I have, by some pretty well known Conservatory names who by your standard alone should have been master teachers. I cannot even remember how many teachers I had who answered many of my questions with "I don't know, just stop thinking about it and the issue will clear up on it's own". That's not teaching. They didn't know the first thing about chops and I feel sorry for all of the students who may not have recovered from the experience.

You scoff at the of consideration of any other factor than the abilities as a player when it comes to landing teaching jobs, as if the ability to communicate with someone who may or may not understand what it is your doing, solve problems, and adapt to new challenges are irrelevant. Why do you think that teaching in and of itself is not it's own skill, separate from a person's musical abilities? Being a great musician is the baseline required to be a great teacher, not the end in and of itself. If a person doesn't have an in depth knowledge of how whatever subject they may be teaching, AND how to replicate the process in others, than that person might as well be taking shots in the dark.

Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I am a professional educator. It took real work to learn the skills I have, just like learning the horn did, and I still constantly push myself to learn new things and improve my abilities, outside of my degree alone. You're entirely correct in saying the degree itself doesn't mean anything. The skills associated with that degree do. When you learn how to teach you learn skills you DON'T get as a player or performer. Teaching is a measurable activity. If I rely on MY abilities as a trombonist alone to teach, I'm failing to see the larger scope of my role as a teacher.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:59 am

Redthunder wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:22 pm
blast wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm


I would presume that you do not have direct experience of Conservatoires. Some are not strong on research, but many are. Who is 'certified' in embouchure ? Letters after your name mean that you have letters after your name. A lot of people with fancy qualifications don't have a clue. That's the nice thing about playing.... it's out there and obvious. Nobody asks for qualifications.
When Conservatoires are populated by 'certified' people they will be places to avoid.

Chris
Have you ever almost had your chops wrecked by somebody who didn't know the first thing about dealing with an embouchure that didn't "look" normal? I have, by some pretty well known Conservatory names who by your standard alone should have been master teachers. I cannot even remember how many teachers I had who answered many of my questions with "I don't know, just stop thinking about it and the issue will clear up on it's own". That's not teaching. They didn't know the first thing about chops and I feel sorry for all of the students who may not have recovered from the experience.

You scoff at the of consideration of any other factor than the abilities as a player when it comes to landing teaching jobs, as if the ability to communicate with someone who may or may not understand what it is your doing, solve problems, and adapt to new challenges are irrelevant. Why do you think that teaching in and of itself is not it's own skill, separate from a person's musical abilities? Being a great musician is the baseline required to be a great teacher, not the end in and of itself. If a person doesn't have an in depth knowledge of how whatever subject they may be teaching, AND how to replicate the process in others, than that person might as well be taking shots in the dark.

Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I am a professional educator. It took real work to learn the skills I have, just like learning the horn did, and I still constantly push myself to learn new things and improve my abilities, outside of my degree alone. You're entirely correct in saying the degree itself doesn't mean anything. The skills associated with that degree do. When you learn how to teach you learn skills you DON'T get as a player or performer. Teaching is a measurable activity. If I rely on MY abilities as a trombonist alone to teach, I'm failing to see the larger scope of my role as a teacher.
I scoff at nothing and no-one. I have great respect for great teachers, whether they are top players or not. Not all top players make good teachers.... many do not. In 45 years of teaching I have seen and sometimes had to undo the results of ill informed teaching, often by highly qualified people. When I started out I taught very differently to the way I do now.... I like to think I am better now, but I had success in those early days too. You go on to create a whole paragraph of assertions about my attitude that are simply untrue and therefore unpleasant. I obviously upset you, but please do not create a characterisation with no basis in fact.
We have a different system here, which my simple point. I have no letters to hide behind and as a teacher, I am as good as my last lesson. Word gets around about who the best college teachers are and so you attract students.
I enjoy teaching. I enjoy doing it far more than talking about it.It is part of my being a musician and is mostly to do with music.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Redthunder » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:38 am

blast wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:59 am

I scoff at nothing and no-one. I have great respect for great teachers, whether they are top players or not. Not all top players make good teachers.... many do not. In 45 years of teaching I have seen and sometimes had to undo the results of ill informed teaching, often by highly qualified people. When I started out I taught very differently to the way I do now.... I like to think I am better now, but I had success in those early days too. You go on to create a whole paragraph of assertions about my attitude that are simply untrue and therefore unpleasant. I obviously upset you, but please do not create a characterisation with no basis in fact.
We have a different system here, which my simple point. I have no letters to hide behind and as a teacher, I am as good as my last lesson. Word gets around about who the best college teachers are and so you attract students.
I enjoy teaching. I enjoy doing it far more than talking about it.It is part of my being a musician and is mostly to do with music.

Chris
I’m not upset, and I apologize if I created that impression, however you did pretty much say that music schools shouldn’t be places for people with degrees or qualifications. I think my point in general was that professional reputation alone can be a great tool to discover great players and educators, but frankly, when other peoples welfare are on the line, there’s nothing wrong with also upholding an expectation of teachers having a certain set of skills or knowledge through standardized measures of abilities. Degrees are an example of this. The system you’re describing still leaves a huge opening for things to go wrong with people that don’t know what they’re doing.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:10 am

I suppose what I am saying is that when formal qualifications become essential, some of the most valuable teaching will no longer be available.
We are working in an art form.... sometimes our work is craft, sometimes art, but at conservatoire level, students need access to those creating at the highest level of music performance. Many of those people did not complete formal training for one reason or another. Most work at Conservatoire level is about music, not mechanics.... we try not to accept people with obvious mechanical issues at audition as our courses are so fast paced that there is not really time for corrective work in the normal course of events. That may seem tough, but it is a tough profession.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:44 am

blast wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:10 am
I suppose what I am saying is that when formal qualifications become essential, some of the most valuable teaching will no longer be available.
We are working in an art form.... sometimes our work is craft, sometimes art, but at conservatoire level, students need access to those creating at the highest level of music performance. Many of those people did not complete formal training for one reason or another. Most work at Conservatoire level is about music, not mechanics.... we try not to accept people with obvious mechanical issues at audition as our courses are so fast paced that there is not really time for corrective work in the normal course of events. That may seem tough, but it is a tough profession.

Chris
Interesting how there seem to be some small differences across the pond. Although, this observation about the pace of conservatories is the same. To be clear, embouchure experts:

- don't just help people with obvious mechanical issues; they also help good players just play easier.
- know enough to avoid giving advice that causes issues.
- need years of study to become proficient.
- tend to be great musicians, but I don't believe this is mandatory.

I didn't throw the idea out here to suggest a universal 'you must have this' kind of thing, although that would be a concern. Do people require a degree to get an orchestra job? It kind of seem to be so; performance degrees offer the kind of experience in university/conservatory ensembles that we need to become proficient musicians that is very hard to get otherwise. For the best musicians, there does seem to be a path where someone goes to get the degree, but lands a gig before actually completing it. Which implies that the training is more important than the degree certificate, which makes sense for performers. I'm not too sure if the same thing would apply to embouchure experts, or even to music instructors more generally. Being able to perform and being able to teach are obviously two different skill sets.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:08 am

A performer needs to be able to optimize his own playing.

A teacher needs to optimize the playing of a variety of people.

There is a difference.

Jaroslav Cimera, Emory Remington, and others we revere as great teachers were not necessarily the best players of the era.

And it's not just trombone players. I just watched a TV program about Jascha Heifetz and it appears he wasn't a great teacher although he was a terrific performer.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:18 am

In Sweden you need to be certified to work at a school. Not the exam but a special new certificate for teaching. The education I have is old 1984-1988. I worked for 13 years as a brass instrument teacher. I even had a few students in trombone at a music gymnasium for three years. The certificate idea came some years ago from the politicians. Old teachers had to study again to get that certificate. Fortunately I switched career 19 years ago and will never go back. It would probably be a problem to get a job now as a teacher without that special certificate, although I have the exam and 13 years of experience because the certificate has to do with things not included back then, but on the other hand someone sent me a message last week and asked if I wanted to sub as a trombone teacher at a school again 😀I'm glad I don't need to. I'm fine with how things are.

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Kbiggs » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:11 am

Human beings often operate under the hope that adherence to form will create consistency, predictability, and progress. Go to school, learn this, get this piece of paper, go and… be a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, a teacher. If a teacher simply says, “Do it this way and only this way, and you’ll get better,” then the teacher is missing some critical information, namely the needs of the student.

America tends to resort to certificates and degrees to demonstrate—“prove”—that someone is competent in a field. Billions are spent training teachers, and more billions are spent by people who want to become teachers. As if certification and granting a degree guaranteed competence and proficiency.

My impression of the UK conservatory system (not just from Chris’ posts but also other stuff I’ve read—it’s an impression, mind) is that it is more akin to a guild system. The teacher has acquired status as a result of experience, knowledge, reputation, and “networking,” so to speak. The result seems to be more a process of the teacher attracting students, rather than promotion.

Personally, and regardless of any field I’ve studied, I have benefitted more from teachers who have struggled, spent time figuring out what works best for them, found good teachers/mentors, then learned to teach others in a flexible way suited to each student, not a dogmatic, certificate-approved approach.

***

I read that in his early days, Reinhardt attempted to operate franchises by certifying teachers. He abandoned it when he discovered that many of the franchisees were teaching the way they always taught, and not adhering to his system.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by VJOFan » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:52 am

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:43 am
First, I gotta give a shout out to Doug Elliot for the few lessons I've had with him. My playing is as easy as it has ever been, and I've been getting a fair amount of compliments for my tone lately. :biggrin:

I'm wondering: has anyone tried to incorporate brass embouchure mechanics into part of a degree program somewhere? It just seems like as much as university (and the like, conservatories, etc.) music departments should have to follow the same rules as many spheres of upper education in terms of procuring grants, providing innovative research and staying on the front edge of ideas; that music departments generally fail at this pretty hard - and one way that they *all* should be moving to the fore of musical knowledge is to have brass pedagogy in this respect, provided by at least one certified expert like Doug, Dave Wilken, David Sheetz, or one of many others who have this skill set.
I don't think it has or is very likely to happen. Probably due to a combination of the concept of academic freedom (professors do as professors want to do), inertia (professors do what they've done before) and the scarcity and specificity of the skill you want to mandate (the number who practice or have been taught in this way versus the number who have been successful with no or only cursory knowledge of the system).

However, posts like yours will help to make sure more students will think about looking for his kind of pedagogy. If the market demands chop teachers, schools will look to hire them.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:25 pm

Kbiggs wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:11 am
Human beings often operate under the hope that adherence to form will create consistency, predictability, and progress. Go to school, learn this, get this piece of paper, go and… be a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, a teacher. If a teacher simply says, “Do it this way and only this way, and you’ll get better,” then the teacher is missing some critical information, namely the needs of the student.

America tends to resort to certificates and degrees to demonstrate—“prove”—that someone is competent in a field. Billions are spent training teachers, and more billions are spent by people who want to become teachers. As if certification and granting a degree guaranteed competence and proficiency.

My impression of the UK conservatory system (not just from Chris’ posts but also other stuff I’ve read—it’s an impression, mind) is that it is more akin to a guild system. The teacher has acquired status as a result of experience, knowledge, reputation, and “networking,” so to speak. The result seems to be more a process of the teacher attracting students, rather than promotion.

Personally, and regardless of any field I’ve studied, I have benefitted more from teachers who have struggled, spent time figuring out what works best for them, found good teachers/mentors, then learned to teach others in a flexible way suited to each student, not a dogmatic, certificate-approved approach.

***

I read that in his early days, Reinhardt attempted to operate franchises by certifying teachers. He abandoned it when he discovered that many of the franchisees were teaching the way they always taught, and not adhering to his system.
Yes,yes,yes Ken.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:54 pm

Following on....
The most important lesson of my life was given to me by an old, self-taught, retired trombone player.
He showed me in less than one hour, pretty much everything that is possible on the trombone... technically and musically.
I have spent most of a lifetime chasing what he showed me.
The only times that I wish I was a bit better at making music on this instrument is not in the orchestra but in lessons.... I would love to give that one lesson that leads to lifetime of study and enjoyment.
You cannot study that in a classroom.
My day to day teaching has become ever more flexible, ever more geared to making the student grow musically....totally student-centric, ever more distant from any form standardised assessment.... that's why this topic sort of bugs me. My only defence are my results.... and I am happy with that.
I am a dinosaur from another age, sure.... and glad not to be starting out now. Young players today have so much more expected of them in so many ways, but the basics remain the same.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by JohnL » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:04 pm

I'm afraid it's a field that's far too deep to be covered in as part of a conservatory or university trombone curriculum. It'd have to be more of a "survey of bass trombone embouchure mechanics"; something to provide a foundation for further study and (more importantly) to introduce the student to the idea that the "one size fits all" solutions don't actually "fit all". You'd need to spend a whole lot of time looking at a lot of different embouchures before you were qualified to start making diagnoses.

There's also something of a chicken vs. egg thing. Someone would have to decide who is qualified to decide who is qualified. Shaky ground.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:34 am

A special certificate to be trustworthy to teach and correct emboushure? No, that sounds silly to me. It is an experience to gain through a lifetime of playing and teaching and it is not enough to have ben an educated and experienced teacher because these problems can be avoided if you start students your self. You need experience from a lot of students who had a bad start to be able to learn how to fix emboushures.

What I think is important to be able to fix emboushures
I think you need to be a good musician yourself to get the trust needed from students who have these kind of problems and it would be great if you somewhere in your career had experienced and overcome emboushure problems, the bigger the better. You also need to have studied a lot of different emboushures. You do not need to have used them yourself but you need to understand what goes on when you play with a smile emboushure for example. You also need to be trained in psychology and anatomy, enough to understand what goes on in the mind under stress and how the body works. You also need knowledge of different schools about the subject.

What I think is very important for all teachers on any instrument

You need to be able to demonstrate what works. You need to be a raw model as a musician to your students. You need to be a scientist to evaluate all the experience you've collected and use that. You need to be open to new ideas. You need to always question yourself. You need to look beyond your self and decide when you should advice the student to seek another teacher.

That's requirements for a teacher to take care of emboushure problems. It could be in the ad when you need him/her.

Do you fit this description?

/Tom
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:18 am

The issue isn't whether or not a certification or degree makes a music teacher qualified to help students with embouchure issues. The issue is that the consensus of people who are considered to be "experts" usually don't know what they don't know about embouchures.

Ideally, the basics of embouchure mechanics that Doug teaches would be common knowledge. It's really not all that difficult to understand and once a foundational background is grasped one has at least enough information to know what one doesn't know.

What Chris says about conservatories is also true in an awful lot of studios in institutions of higher learning across the U.S. too. You had better be good enough before you start, because your studio teacher probably won't be able fix any serious embouchure issues you may have. Any embouchure tweaking or corrections is probably going to be attempted through musical coaching or work on breathing. It's like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks, you can still end up with a mess to clean up.

Of course if a studio only accepts players who are good already, then that teacher's results are probably going to be good regardless. But I would argue that it still leaves a gaping hole in the student's education. As Chris pointed out, it's a tough profession and there are fewer available teaching positions for those recently graduated music teachers. The chances that those teachers will get a high profile teaching or playing gig right out of school are slimmer than before, so they often end up teaching students who DO need that help with embouchure. But since they haven't learned even the basics of brass embouchure mechanics, the new teachers teach the same way they learned.

We've ended up with a cycle of ignorance. As a rule, the folks who teach the next generation of players and teachers are folks who rarely needed to consider embouchure during their own education. The students who need that help get weeded out by an audition process, guided to other career paths, or they simply quit out of frustration. The next generation of teachers are equally ignorant.

The culture in the field of brass pedagogy (at least in the U.S.) largely de-emphasizes any sort of embouchure analysis. It's seen as unnecessary at best ("Teacher/player X gets great results without it.") and harmful at worst ("Paralysis by analysis!"). I frequently see resistance from smart, talented, experienced brass teachers and players any time the topic of embouchure analysis comes up. Many people seem to be comfortable in their ignorance and even revel in it as if it's a good thing.

"A Complete Guide to Brass," by Scott Whitener, is a textbook designed for brass pedagogy courses. The book is 411 pages long. The section on embouchure is not even 6 pages. Furthermore, there is a whole lot of misleading, inaccurate or outright wrong statements about embouchure in this book. While I haven't reviewed every book or article out there about brass pedagogy, I'd say that this sort of attention and accuracy is pretty much the norm.

We don't need specific certificates or degrees, we need to change the attitude so many brass players and teachers have. Really, it's not rocket science. If you feel it's a good thing to study music theory, history, literature, etc. because it makes you a better musician and educator, then perhaps you should also study some embouchure mechanics.

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:58 am

We are still grouping ourselves around philosophies that were the fruit of the mid 20th C. The brain controls the muscles of the face... we need to study the brain. Plenty of material, mostly sports research and psychological research.
Brave new world,

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:46 am

Yes, the psychology of peak performance and acquisition/development of motor skills is also a fascinating topic, but a red herring.

I'm sure you know many of us here find Doug Elliott's advice and lessons helpful. The information he shares is valuable and perfectly compatible with any teaching philosophy you want to use. The basics of what he teaches is simple enough that a woodwind player wanting to become a band director can learn from it and make use of it. Having that understanding of brass embouchure mechanics has allowed me to better help beginners and professional players.

It's not a matter of a teaching philosophy. It's a matter of the field acknowledging a gap in our understanding and fixing it. How you go about applying that knowledge is up to you and your situation, but at least it's an informed one.

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:31 pm

A RED HERRING ????????? Dave, did you really post that ??????
WOW!!!!!
What is it that controls everything you do ??? Control....that's the interesting bit..... the thing that directs us to post here, play in a group, live, laugh and love.... the bit in charge. That's the ultimate key to achievement.... the brain.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Doug Elliott » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:33 pm

I think I should probably stay out of this, but I get where Dave's coming from.

The most basic thing about this philosophy is an understanding of how things work mechanically. To say the brain controls the muscles of the face so we should study the brain sounds an awful lot like promoting ignorance of the mechanics involved.

"we try not to accept people with obvious mechanical issues at audition" results in exactly that on the part of both teachers and students - ignorance of how to deal with problems that crop up later. Dave himself was in a Master's program when things fell apart and his teacher brought him to me - because HE didn't know how to fix it.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by blast » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:12 am

We try not to accept people with problems as the design of the course makes it almost impossible to work at resolving issues and still continue with the course. Several years ago, when I was not on the panel, the RCS accepted a young man with considerable issues.I knew what was happening and how to correct it, but the relentless stream of performance exams, scales, excerpts and solo and performance classes, ensembles of all kinds meant that every time we came close to correcting things, the simple need to produce some kind of result took us back to square one. We both found this frustrating and upsetting. I don't want another young person to suffer like that. if someone comes to audition with issues they are advised of the problem and it is up to them to think how they want to proceed. Some go away and return a year later in shape to cope with the course.
Over the years I have undertaken all manner of remedial work with players at all ages and levels...beginner to pro. I am yet to be stumped by a problem but in the constant quest for more effective remedies, I find myself more and more focussed on the mental aspect of this skill.
I don't do Skype lessons and do not actively seek work with players with problems, so I am not touting for work here. Just saying where I am after 45 years at this.

Chris
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:31 am

"we try not to accept people with obvious mechanical issues at audition" is also how they look at it in Stockholm.

I additioned for two different programs in 1982, one to be a "trombone player/musician" and the other to be a "trombone player/teacher". I was accepted at the teaching program. At the musician program only one person was accepted (some years there were none) and I do think they resoned just as Chris describes it.

It would have been difficult to participate in all those courses involving playing without having a solid ground mechanically and in my case I was in the second year after a complete change of emboushure technique. Any emboushure trouble would have limit me to fulfill the program and to be frank I was not completely done with it. It would have been much frustration. The teaching program was a better match for me back then even though I did not see it at the time.

On the teaching program we focused on methodology and brass teaching. What we didn't do was to especially study emboushure problems in depth. It would have been a very interesting course if a suitable teacher with such material had been assigned to do a course like that.

Since it is a very delicate matter and many brass players have their own opinion of what works and what is the sole solution of how to play a brass instrument just the creation of such a course would fast become a can of worms. Often it is musicians who are fantastic brass musicians who also have the strongest opinions. The fact they are so good makes it very hard to question them. Thats one reason why it is not as easy to introduce and plan such a course on national music college level.

The catch is you can not present a sientific truth of any mythology to work, not in a format that we all agree to. To be successful and to get acceptance you need statistic proof of the methods you use to work. How do you do that? Stastistic proofs is about counting numbers and to do experiments that can be measured and documented. You need to proove that every step in a pointed direction can be predicted, not because you say so but because the proofs are there and can be checked. The test must be possible to repeat and results must then be the same. It is a very complex matter when it comes to such unpredictable issues as people. Just think of the subjects maths, physics, chemistry. They are all based on science. History is a strange subject that can be changed depending on the winner of wars who writes it. Religion is strange too. It is as unpredictable as History. Language? That is not an exact science either, nor painting, gymnastics or music. All the unpredictable subjects has to do with people. How can we make "emboushure" be a special science in brass playing, as the need to produce a sound (any sound) on a trombone that is just one of all the instruments we use to produce some kind of music? It is a real challenge to make science out of that, and to be successful with it.

Just think of the eternal questions "to buzz or not to buzz?", "is the buzz in the mouthpiece the same buzz as when the mouthpiece is inserted in the horn?" Not even those questions have one clear answer that can be presented as "facts" to exclude one or the other. There are believers on both sides and it depends on the outcome. What do you want? Not even this is a scientific fact.

There are some facts about how to produce sound and play the trombone and those are what we were taught. The things needed to solve my own problems was given to me in private lessons in steps only relevant to me and my playing. It took years after I graduated to overcome the problems. It is just until resently, maybe the last 10 years that I can play effortlessly and I'm still solving problems and getting better mechanically. With better mechanics follows better confidence and the possibility to play the trombone more musical, so I'm making great progress in every aspect of playing.

It's in the best interests of the students that the ones with mechanical problems are not accepted at the higher education programs. It may be an "inherited" non issue for them who are accepted that emboushure problems is a non issue because of that, but I think there are a teacher for all. Some students - possibly they who later in their carrer get an emboushure problem - choose to specialize on the mechanics and make a name out of them selves as emboushure-fixers and it is fine with me. What would be great is if there was less intolerance in the field teaching. I see every teacher as an expert and resource. You try everything and pick what works to make it successful as a student.

/Tom
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:22 am

I certainly realize the need to audition in order to maximize success. But the unfortunate truth is that the entire system is set up to produce great musicians who know how to play and teach music but not fix the very real problems that sometimes end the careers of those same great musicians.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Redthunder » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:59 am

In the US, you can find dozens of public schools that still select students by looking at their lips, teeth, faces, and fingers and give them an instrument based off how these things look when they are 8, 9, or 10 years old.

Often if these students are not successful immediately at creating passable sounds, these students are doomed, because the instruction for brass is so poor they are usually just passed along through the system until they either quit or change instruments.

On the other end of this spectrum are the people who pick up the horn and sail through their instruction, and are often told they either have “natural chops” or that they must be working harder than others.

For those who don’t quit and try to make a go out of playing brass in college, they then show up to audition for someone like Chris, and either be accepted, and turned away, based on no small part on whether they were lucky enough to have figured out the right way to play when they were young.

Chris, no body is questioning whether you are a great musician or a great teacher. Your presence here and willingness to engage in this discussion is greatly appreciated. But what I am interested, in and what Dave and Doug both already have done is evaluate the effectiveness and fairness of these systems, and find new, better ways of teaching that actually work for everyone.

At the end of the day, what I was able to learn from Dave and Doug was that teaching brass is NOT the mystery many people make it out to be. There ARE concrete and easily observed principals about embouchure that SHOULD be understood by anyone and everyone who is teaching or playing at a high level. This is simply not the case currently. It shouldn’t be controversial to promote a somewhat consistent common pedagogy that is known to work.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:06 am

A RED HERRING ????????? Dave, did you really post that ??????
WOW!!!!!
What is it that controls everything you do ??? Control....that's the interesting bit..... the thing that directs us to post here, play in a group, live, laugh and love.... the bit in charge. That's the ultimate key to achievement.... the brain.
No need to shout at me, Chris. I can read your words just fine from over here. :hi:

Andrew started this topic to discuss the broad question of why embouchure mechanics aren't a subject of some study in higher education. The brain and its role in trombone playing seems to be off topic.

I'm not at all interested in playing bass trombone. I did take it seriously in school, including playing bass trombone in graduate school wind ensemble and the local orchestra as a sub. It made me a better teacher, but I've left that behind. What I wouldn't do is go into a topic here about bass trombone and advocate for tenor trombone because it's superior.

(But it is. :tongue: )
Dave himself was in a Master's program when things fell apart and his teacher brought him to me - because HE didn't know how to fix it.
It was a doctoral program, but who's counting.

And while the correction was conceptually easy, it did take hard work and time for it to settle in. Fortunately for me, it happened at the beginning of a summer break from graduate school, but I did have gigs and a European tour to play later in the summer. The director was pretty angry with me at the time, but I muddled through and by the time school started back up I was OK. I would have had a lot of trouble making this correction during the school year.

I had excellent teachers since high school and all the way through graduate school and beyond. But none of my teachers until Doug were able to help with this. Ideally, I would have learned this in high school, then I wouldn't have had to reach the point where I had to struggle and resolve my issues while continuing with my studies and gigs.
The catch is you can not present a sientific truth of any mythology to work, not in a format that we all agree to.
What we can agree to are the objective observations of how brass embouchures function, how they differ from player to player, and what characteristics correlate with problems. As I mentioned above, these are not difficult concepts to grasp and have been observed independently by many before.

I will try to put together a demonstration to help you understand better later, Tom.

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by JohnL » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:45 am

blast wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:12 am
I knew what was happening and how to correct it, but the relentless stream of performance exams, scales, excerpts and solo and performance classes, ensembles of all kinds meant that every time we came close to correcting things, the simple need to produce some kind of result took us back to square one.
Wilktone wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:06 am
And while the correction was conceptually easy, it did take hard work and time for it to settle in. Fortunately for me, it happened at the beginning of a summer break from graduate school, but I did have gigs and a European tour to play later in the summer. The director was pretty angry with me at the time, but I muddled through and by the time school started back up I was OK. I would have had a lot of trouble making this correction during the school year.
I've seen this in my own, admittedly limited, experience. Even at the high school level. You've got a student who, in spite of "issues", is someone the director has come to rely upon to carry a part (maybe even an entire section). Then they hit a wall. No matter how hard they work, they just stop improving. They find someone who can help them, but it requires that "settling in" period Dave mentioned. Next thing you know, the director is angry, the other students (particularly at the high school level) are cruel, and our protagonist is miserable. Some make it through, but a lot of them never come back.

I don't know what the solution is. In a perfect world, every beginner would have access to someone who could guide them toward developing an embouchure that fit their facial structure. In our less-then-perfect world, it's often just a matter of developing something that makes a sound.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:48 am

Another reason why I think brass embouchure mechanics doesn’t get studied much in higher education is because it requires teachers and players to change their thinking. It’s one thing to point out factual errors or make a nuanced update, but to really change minds, research suggests that we should provide a better alternative.

https://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/rbt ... /full#_i20
Providing an alternative causal explanation of the event can fill the gap left behind by retracting misinformation. Studies have shown that the continued influence of misinformation can be eliminated through the provision of an alternative account that explains why the information was incorrect.
In the spirit of applying a little brain research to this topic, I’d like to see if I can fill the gap for those of you who might still be interested.

Here is a video I took about 10 years ago. This tubist came to me with an issue that he hadn’t gotten any effective help with at the arts magnet school he had attended. Entrance to this school is pretty exclusive. His tuba instructor there was well regarded (and still is).

There are a handful of things that could be corrected with this tubist's embouchure, but one in particular is causing this musician problems. Conceptually, this is something that a woodwind player teaching high school band can understand and learn how to correct.

How many of us see it?

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:01 am

He change between upstream and downstream and the problem is obvious on those notes where he is neither up or downstream. At fast runs he crack in the middle. He is more successful in big leaps. If we could not see this in the plastic mouthpiece it would have been remained as hidden. I can see why the tuba teacher did not spot that.

What to do about it except showing him the video?

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:21 am

If we could not see this in the plastic mouthpiece it would have been remained as hidden.
Hidden visually, yes. You can hear this happen too, albeit it's not as obvious in what he's playing here. I can post more video of him if you want to see that.

He also had some range issues. His high range caps out pretty abruptly and had been there for a long time.
What to do about it except showing him the video?
Well, you spotted his problem very quickly. What do you think? What would you try to help figure out what he needs to be doing?
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Redthunder » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:28 am

Maybe that tubist just needs to work on his air more....

/sarcasm
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:28 am

Well, you spotted his problem very quickly. What do you think? What would you try to help figure out what he needs to be doing?
Yes the plan is the big thing!

He probably needs to do a change big enough to overcome that switch

Even if it sometimes can be difficult to diagnose what's wrong it is not the biggest challenge. The big challenge is to help the student correct the problem. For this there need to be a plan from the start

For example;
If you look in the mirror and notice you have big movements in your emboushure outside the mouthpiece then it is very easy to tell the student that this is a problem. You can tell that student to go and have a look in the mirror and try to hold still, but does it solve the problem? Who needs to do the work? It is still the student who need to transform that information to something that works. There are different methods to do this. I had a very good teacher who inspired me to do a change and the methods he used may have been completely different from another teacher. There are more ways to scin a cat. His methods turned out to work and today I'm so grateful. If he had done this differently I'm not sure I had been able to do it. The problems I had, probably would have made most quit playing.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:42 am

Tom, I think there is a more direct and simpler solution. You are on the right track. Let me see if I can guide you towards what I think.

First, can we agree that the switch between upstream and downstream certainly correlates with the cracked notes? Again, I can show some other video footage of this player that is more obvious.

Secondly, another clue is that he has a high range cap.

What is the primary influence on a brass embouchure air stream direction? A very direct suggestion for this player to try is found in the answer.

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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:51 am

He might have to do the same receipt I gave myself when I decided to get rid of my "smile emboushure". I also changed from upstream to downstream when I did my change. How I did it? I worked from top to bottom and started as high as I could downstream and took it one hafstep at the time. I started at high C, a note I had never been able to play with my smile emboushure and from there I tried to go as low as I could. In the beginning I could only do one octave before the smile and upstream returned instinctively. Half year later I was a better player than I was before. I did it with chromatics

He need to decide either if he should play upstream or downstream and do something similar.

I remember when I got that C to be a big moment to me. It gave me the commitment to go through it. I thought "If I suddenly can get this high note with this new emboushure, a note I have never been able to produce, how right must this then be? I have never been able to get this note with the smile emboushure I have used for long as I can remember, since I started to play"

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:04 am

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Dave for this video of his that he referenced here. I've watched it several times. It's super-informative, and for the record, I would not have been able to diagnose that tubist's issue before watching it.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:05 am

"He probably needs to do a change big enough to overcome that switch."
YES!

"Either he needs to remain upstream or change to downstream."
YES!

"Probably work a lot just below or under the point where he switch and go up or down one note at the time and gradually move the switch to a point he no longer needs it."
NO!

What happened to "a change big enough to overcome that switch"? Why prolong it by treating a symptom while ignoring the problem?

The correct first step is testing to reach an actual diagnosis. This player is using a combination of different embouchure types that conflict. You can't really fix it without an understanding of the possibilities.

Tom, it sounds like you fixed your own problem the right way, working from one side, not both.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:17 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:05 am
"He probably needs to do a change big enough to overcome that switch."
YES!

"Either he needs to remain upstream or change to downstream."
YES!

"Probably work a lot just below or under the point where he switch and go up or down one note at the time and gradually move the switch to a point he no longer needs it."

NO!

What happened to "a change big enough to overcome that switch"? Why prolong it by treating a symptom while ignoring the problem?

The correct first step is testing to reach an actual diagnosis. This player is using a combination of different embouchure types that conflict. You can't really fix it without an understanding of the possibilities.

Tom, it sounds like you fixed your own problem the right way, working from one side, not both.
Sorry about that both Dave and Doug. I decided to remove that thing in bold and that's why it is no longer in my first post, and now you made a comment about it because you had not seen my update. To set things straight. Yes, you are right. The reason I removed this is I changed my mind when I recalled my own journey

/Tom
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:19 am

Good. But that is the typical approach taken by almost all teachers.

It can provide an apparent immediate imorovement - but does nothing to fix the actually problem, it only hides it better.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:13 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:19 am
Good. But that is the typical approach taken by almost all teachers.

It can provide an apparent immediate imorovement - but does nothing to fix the actually problem, it only hides it better.
Yes it is an approach that teachers who themselves have never experienced such a problem would se as logical, because in this case the tuba player is rather good and to wreck everything with such a big change we are talking about could be devastating to his playing.

The first thing that will happen is probably that he can not play anything at all either low or high, depending on if he choose upstream or downstream. Some would not survive this backlash as a player and quit when they face such a drastic effect.

I must admit I would not have talked this student into a change based only on the sounds he is doing. I had not been able to diagnose that without the video.

If I had used a plastic mouthpiece which I did not use when I worked as a teacher and had discovered the problem I think I had handled the "What to do" the same way my teacher handled my situation.

I had told the student he has a switch in his emboushure that is the cause of his problems. Then I had probably told him about my own journey and how I fixed my "smile emboushure". I had not insisted in a change but I would tell him that the problems need to be taken care of if he ever want to be a professional player. If he then would decide he wanted more advice I would ask the student to start on his highest note and go chromatically from that note.

It is not as easy to give this student that same "lightning bulb" I got when I discovered immediately that I got a note I never had played in my life before. This student is on tuba so his concern should be to go low. Yeah, that immediate "reward" would not be as obvious.

/Tom
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by Wilktone » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:20 pm

Tom, you're very close to what I suggested to this tubist, but you may be missing an important bit of information that will help enormously.

Andrew, have you figured out what I'm driving at yet?

Perhaps this will help. Here are photographs of two different trombonist's embouchures. One is upstream, the other downstream. If they were playing on a normal mouthpiece you would still be able to have a very good idea as to which was the downstream and upstream embouchure. Ignore what you see on the inside temporarily. What is the obvious difference from the outside?

Image

Image

I've intentionally picked two more obvious examples for the demonstration.
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Re: Embouchure mechanics certificates?

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:33 pm

The placement of the mouthpiece is obviously different. You could suspect the first player to be upstream and the second to be downstream, but I would not be 100% sure
Their placement suggest this, that's all I can say. The tubist has a centered mouthpiece placement. It might be easier for his overall change if he moved his mouthpiece slightly either down or up. Since he has not much room above (because there is his nose) he could try to move the mouthpiece down slightly. In that case the advice would be to play downstream but since it is only a slight change I would not suggest this (downstream). I think I would leave that to the student to decide since a tuba mouthpiece is so big. I'm not sure this has to be done but it might help make a change come easier.

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
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