Forming an embouchure

How and what to teach and learn.
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Forming an embouchure

Post by Rusty » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:49 am

I’m interested in hearing if you think about how you form your embouchure and set your lips before you play.

I think it was Dick Noel that recommended imagining or mouthing the word ‘imp’ as you breathe in, with the ‘p’ bringing the lips together.

Do some of you set your lips a certain way before you breathe in, or aim for a certain feel or placement of your lips on the mouthpiece, or do you just focus on your breath in and tongue and blow?
Doug Elliott
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Re: Forming an embouchure

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:21 am

Absolutely. I follow a very careful setting procedure that keeps me totally consistent. This is what I do and teach:

Wet the lips.
Form the embouchure as if already playing, with the lips touching.
Place the mouthpiece, with playing pressure (or more).
Breathe through the corners while keeping theouthpiece pressure on.
Push corners forward.simultaneously with blowing for the note.
Mouthpiece pressure stays totally constant throughout. That's the hardest part, but the most important.
Also the jaw position and horn angle stays the same throughout, it starts and ends in playing position.
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Re: Forming an embouchure

Post by Redthunder » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:43 am

I used to never do this, and I also played with a totally dry embouchure. It was awful for my chops, and took me many many months of practicing Doug's and Dave Wilken's recommendations for it to stick. For me the jaw position is still tricky at times. Practicing bass trombone and lightly practicing trumpet went a long way in also helping me figure the correct sensation out, as it was a little easier to adapt and rely less on habits that I had formed playing tenor trombone since it was entirely new to my chops.
Last edited by Redthunder on Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Forming an embouchure

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:20 pm

I do it, for sure. For me it's mostly about remembering where my lower jaw needs to be positioned (I have an underbite, and I've learned that it's important to not try and fix that while playing). If the teeth form the correct "plane", then the mouthpiece will naturally go onto the right spot, and the corners form around that.
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Re: Forming an embouchure

Post by cigmar » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:59 am

I remember reading something Doug said that it's not so much about firming the corners, but firming the area directly in front of the lower canine teeth. This has helped me.
Doug Elliott
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Re: Forming an embouchure

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:38 am

Firm the area below the corners. On me that's pretty far back from the canine teeth. But everybody's mouth is different.

Most people tend to put the tension too far forward. Except the ones who put it too far back. I like putting it down from where the corners are in resting position - not smiling or pursing.
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