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Embouchure adjustment and range



 
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AlexBazinet
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Joined: 25 Jul 2023
Posts: 32
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2024 7:18 am    Post subject: Embouchure adjustment and range Reply with quote

I play with my lips set in the middle of the mouthpiece so that there is a 50/50 split between my top and bottom lips. With this setup I get a full tone from pedal C up to High E and I can squeak out a double G now and then. If I adjust my mouthpiece higher so that it's like 80% my bottom lip in my mouthpiece I can play a popping triple G, however my tone bellow high C suffers HEAVILY. I have come to the conclusion that either, I use my bottom lips predominantly for playing in the upper register, or to play higher I need to get my aperture smaller. I have 2 questions. If I am playing with mostly bottom lip what exercises can I do to strengthen my top lip? If I do need to make my aperture smaller how do I do so without moving my mouthpiece? Thank you.
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mograph
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Joined: 17 Feb 2020
Posts: 164

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2024 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Embouchure adjustment and range Reply with quote

AlexBazinet wrote:
I play with my lips set in the middle of the mouthpiece so that there is a 50/50 split between my top and bottom lips. With this setup I get a full tone from pedal C up to High E and I can squeak out a double G now and then.


Use this setup for now, and work on long tones, working up to the point when you can play a strong, clear, painless tone. Work up incrementally. Also try octave exercises, so you can hear the tone first down the octave, before you go up. Also use less mouthpiece-to-lip pressure above high C. And you need to keep the same lip setup at the top as well at the bottom.

AlexBazinet wrote:
If I adjust my mouthpiece higher so that it's like 80% my bottom lip in my mouthpiece I can play a popping triple G, however my tone bellow high C suffers HEAVILY.


Yeah, don't do that.

AlexBazinet wrote:
I have come to the conclusion that either, I use my bottom lips predominantly for playing in the upper register, or to play higher I need to get my aperture smaller.


Never change your lip embouchure or setup (if one considers the entire lower part of your head as the "embouchure") between high and low playing. Have one lip embouchure. You should work towards playing extra high and extra low quickly, without changing your lips. I open my lower jaw hinge, keeping the lips on the mouthpiece as-is, when I go below middle C. YMMV.

AlexBazinet wrote:
I have 2 questions. If I am playing with mostly bottom lip what exercises can I do to strengthen my top lip?


You don't strengthen the top lip as much as the other components, IMO: it needs to stay flexible to vibrate. You strengthen the side corners and the bottom lip, for support. HOWEVER, I've found that using the Warburton P.E.T.E. trainer helps me curl the lips in for high stuff, and you use both lips with that thing. Again, YMMV.

AlexBazinet wrote:
If I do need to make my aperture smaller how do I do so without moving my mouthpiece? Thank you.


Start with a smaller aperture when you bring the mouthpiece to the face, and keep that setup whether going high or low. When changing pitch, change the tongue level, the jaw hinge, the amount/speed of air; and at the higher end, try curling the lips in slightly. You might also relax the pressure on the upper lip at the high end, and relax the pressure on the lower lip at the low end -- this often appears as a subtle head tilt relative to the horn: head up when high, head down when low.

Naturally, you'll have to do a lot of adjustment on your own to find your sweet spot.

signed, RandomGuyOnInternetWhoIsNotYourTeacher.
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