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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject: Embouchure Reply with quote

I'm not convinced that there are exactly four types of embouchures: Farkas, Stevens, Super Chops, and Lip Buzzing (or five if you throw in the MF Protocol, or seven if you throw in BE roll in and roll out). I think that there are multitude of ways that people form the embouchure, based on many factors, among which are their unique facial features. Just the same, I think that there is some utility in discussing the characteristics of different approaches to embouchures.

Did Claude Gordon advocate one or more specific types of embouchure?

Does SATDP (and pedal tone exercises in particular) promote any specific type of embouchure?

Regards,
Grits
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NoNameJustMe
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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget Maggio, Airplay, the weird embouchure that doesn't work that Kurt Thompson prescribes, Charlie Porter's video...
Claude Gordon advocates to not worry about the lip, as long as you have wind power, control, and are using your tongue properly your lips will sort themselves out.
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bach_again
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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe Reinhardt offers about the most complete studies into embouchure and describes types and variations of embouchure in a methodical analytical manner. All those other embouchures fit into Reinhardts classifications. The WIG embouchure does not, and to my mind is maybe the only one that doesn't but it is pretty dramatic.

I don't mean to hit up the CG forum and say "Reinhardt"... but if you aren't sure there are exactly 4 types, you'd be right. It's more complicated than that. The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System is interesting reading, IMO.

As far as CG goes, from what I have studied, he seems to entirely neglect the embouchure in favour of air. If anyone can show me CG talking about chops/embouchure besides "forget about it" I'm all ears. I'm here to learn.

Best,
Mike
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bach_again wrote:
I believe Reinhardt offers about the most complete studies into embouchure and describes types and variations of embouchure in a methodical analytical manner. All those other embouchures fit into Reinhardts classifications. The WIG embouchure does not, and to my mind is maybe the only one that doesn't but it is pretty dramatic.

I don't mean to hit up the CG forum and say "Reinhardt"... but if you aren't sure there are exactly 4 types, you'd be right. It's more complicated than that. The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System is interesting reading, IMO.

As far as CG goes, from what I have studied, he seems to entirely neglect the embouchure in favour of air. If anyone can show me CG talking about chops/embouchure besides "forget about it" I'm all ears. I'm here to learn.

Best,
Mike


Hi Mike,

Don't worry about bringing up Reinhardt here - your inquiry is most welcome by all I'm sure!

Reinhardt was right - it is way more complicated than just a few types of embouchure. But I think it is infinitely more complicated than even Reinhardt thought. Or infinitely more simple. Or both. Actually, both. Confused? Keep reading!

Claude often did say "forget about the lip and it will take care of itself". When he said this or wrote words to this effect he was directing his thoughts toward the vast majority of players who are way too lip conscious (and I think he was right to). In my opinion, those overly lip-conscious types flock to the Reinhardt world, as well as the other methods that concentrate on the lips (but I wouldn't say that in a dedicated Reinhardt forum, nor do I think I've ever said it before on the TH - I wouldn't be saying it now, but the door has been opened with your inquiry).

Reinhardt performed a ton of research and created descriptions of many different types of embouchure. To me, given the infinite number of actual embouchure types (one exact one for every player that has ever lived), while many find Reinhardt's classifications helpful, I don't find it necessary for me or my students. Clearly others do though.

In his books, during Clinics and in Private Lessons Claude would describe how the lips should be kept moist so they can move under the mouthpiece to the position they need to be in to provide a good, free vibration in whatever register the player is playing in, and he described the general way the lips should move (contracting toward the mouthpiece; not stretching backward). But he would also say that while the general movements can be described, the exact movements for any individual player cannot be described, but can be felt and must be learned through proper practice, until the "feel" or "knack" of it is gained. At his brass camps, in lectures and lessons, he would ask students to define a "perfect embouchure". He would then give his definition, that a perfect embouchure is one that provides a "good, free vibration" which in turn provides the clearest tone.

When I think of Claude's (and before him, Clarke's and Maggio's) approach to development, I am reminded of the way certain other athletic/artistic abilities are developed. To me, the way a gymnast, or a ballet dancer (or any dancer) develops ability is very similar to what we must do. The same can be said for how a pianist or violin player seeks and gains virtuosic levels of ability. They develop the needed strength, and coordination (i.e. the feel or knack of it) by practicing over and over what they seek to do, starting off with rudimentary material and then moving forward to more complicated movements and routines. They don't spend much if any time analyzing stuff. I don't think we should either.

One caveat: If the day came when I had a student who wasn't progressing to my satisfaction, and I was going to recommend a different approach to that student, it might surprise you, but I would most likely recommend a top-level Reinhardt teacher to that student, the reason being, it would be the most divergent approach compared to what and how I teach (with the exception of SC/TCE/Whatever-It's-Now-Being-Called-Now - I wouldn't do that to anyone).

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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Jeff_Purtle
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will add a little to John Mohan. I personally had a problem with tucking in my bottom lip when I went to higher notes. I picked up that bad habit for a number of reasons. Claude didn't directly talk about it until after a process of changing it through Colin's Advanced Lip Flexibility Studies and other related flexibility studies that made me play over a wider range using Tongue Level more than trying to make my lips do it. He kept me on a particular section in Colin for at least 6 months and I didn't notice the process until it seemed much easier and a High C or D felt just as easy and relaxed as a Low C. Then, at that point I tried to play higher and notes would shutoff with the old way. I asked Claude about it and it all made sense.

My point is that the systematic gradual changes in the routines are what made my playing change. In my teaching I have found that when you tell people "Don't do ....!" they have even more problems. To stay focused on the primary things will cause the secondary things to fall into place. One book I read called "The Power of Habit" called those items "Keystone Habits" because they set in motion many other good habits.

Claude talked about some of these things in his teaching pedagogy classes. But, he stressed that you can screw people up by getting them worrying about things they don't need to worry about.

The lips just vibrate. Clarke made that point to Claude in his personal letter to him. And, if you watch the CG video where Claude plays using his tongue in place of his lower lip he is making that same point. Claude also puts the mouthpiece all over his face and can play. You could develop an embouchure anyplace you can get a vibration. However, I know from personal experience and an embouchure change with Claude that it works WAY better with the mouthpiece high on the top lip. I have more than ⅔ top lip and maybe more like .

I always get a kick out of some of this stuff too because I play slightly to the left because of my front teeth not being even. If you look at the way my lips look under a visualizer it doesn't have an aperture that others might say is ideal. Who cares?!!! It works and produces a vibration and I can play.

In preparation for my 2012 brass conference I read the entire Reinhardt book. After that I had a new appreciation of why Claude would say "Forget about your lip!" when students came in worried and wanting to dwell on that too much. I would also say that over the development of my playing my embouchure (according to the Reinhardt book) would have changed. I used to point down more and I used to pivot up and down more. That doesn't matter because my Tongue Level was the more important thing that was making things work.

Those Seven Items of Claude's and H.L. Clarke are the core things to stay focused on.
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, John, Jeff,

Thanks for the posts.

My limited experience with SATDP is that the exercises did teach me how to form an embouchure that resulted in increased range. My embouchure did change while studying SATDP. I am playing notes much higher than I could before I discovered SATDP - much higher than I thought myself capable. Additionally, my sound is closer to what I would like it to be - more depth. Well, at least sometimes. When I am on, I love the sound. Unfortunately, I lack consistency. The Clark studies have improved my fingering and facility with scales and I greatly appreciate the way that SATDP provides the curriculum for approaching Clark, Arban, etc.

Just the same, I am still a work in progress. I need to improve tonguing, slurring, articulation and I need to improve control over my sound. Hence my questions. When I reach an obstacle, I ask questions (and buy more mouthpieces ). I am very grateful for the assistance that you offer on TH. Very helpful.

For now, I'll quit obsessing over embouchure. I'll just continue to practice daily in SATDP - and maybe get a Reeve's 43M/692, just have to decide on the drill, 20 maybe?

Warm regards,
Grits
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grits Burgh wrote:
Mike, John, Jeff,

Thanks for the posts.

My limited experience with SATDP is that the exercises did teach me how to form an embouchure that resulted in increased range. My embouchure did change while studying SATDP. I am playing notes much higher than I could before I discovered SATDP - much higher than I thought myself capable. Additionally, my sound is closer to what I would like it to be - more depth. Well, at least sometimes. When I am on, I love the sound. Unfortunately, I lack consistency. The Clark studies have improved my fingering and facility with scales and I greatly appreciate the way that SATDP provides the curriculum for approaching Clark, Arban, etc.

Just the same, I am still a work in progress. I need to improve tonguing, slurring, articulation and I need to improve control over my sound. Hence my questions. When I reach an obstacle, I ask questions (and buy more mouthpieces ). I am very grateful for the assistance that you offer on TH. Very helpful.

For now, I'll quit obsessing over embouchure. I'll just continue to practice daily in SATDP - and maybe get a Reeve's 43M/692, just have to decide on the drill, 20 maybe?

Warm regards,
Grits


Nice to hear about your progress! You're headed in the right direction... just keep on swimming, keep on swimming...

Concerning mouthpieces, if you switch to a Reeves, I strongly suggest you stay with whatever stock size throat Bob puts in the particular one you get. Though I tend to like bigger throats, every time I've ordered a custom mouthpiece from Bob with a bigger throat than what he delivers as stock, he's told me I won't like it - and every time he has been correct. Lastly, if you do go to a Reeve mouthpiece, I would suggest a 43C with the stock #26 throat and standard Reeves #2 backbore instead of a 43M. The 43C is actually fairly shallow (shallower than a 3C) and gives a nice warm sound in the lower and middle registers while really "lighting up" in the upper register with a BIG and bright tone. The 43M is probably shallower than what you need.

Cheers,

John Mohan
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kevin_soda
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff_Purtle wrote:
I will add a little to John Mohan. I personally had a problem with tucking in my bottom lip when I went to higher notes. I picked up that bad habit for a number of reasons. Claude didn't directly talk about it until after a process of changing it through Colin's Advanced Lip Flexibility Studies and other related flexibility studies that made me play over a wider range using Tongue Level more than trying to make my lips do it. He kept me on a particular section in Colin for at least 6 months and I didn't notice the process until it seemed much easier and a High C or D felt just as easy and relaxed as a Low C. Then, at that point I tried to play higher and notes would shutoff with the old way. I asked Claude about it and it all made sense.

My point is that the systematic gradual changes in the routines are what made my playing change. In my teaching I have found that when you tell people "Don't do ....!" they have even more problems. To stay focused on the primary things will cause the secondary things to fall into place. One book I read called "The Power of Habit" called those items "Keystone Habits" because they set in motion many other good habits.

Claude talked about some of these things in his teaching pedagogy classes. But, he stressed that you can screw people up by getting them worrying about things they don't need to worry about.

The lips just vibrate. Clarke made that point to Claude in his personal letter to him. And, if you watch the CG video where Claude plays using his tongue in place of his lower lip he is making that same point. Claude also puts the mouthpiece all over his face and can play. You could develop an embouchure anyplace you can get a vibration. However, I know from personal experience and an embouchure change with Claude that it works WAY better with the mouthpiece high on the top lip. I have more than ⅔ top lip and maybe more like .

I always get a kick out of some of this stuff too because I play slightly to the left because of my front teeth not being even. If you look at the way my lips look under a visualizer it doesn't have an aperture that others might say is ideal. Who cares?!!! It works and produces a vibration and I can play.

In preparation for my 2012 brass conference I read the entire Reinhardt book. After that I had a new appreciation of why Claude would say "Forget about your lip!" when students came in worried and wanting to dwell on that too much. I would also say that over the development of my playing my embouchure (according to the Reinhardt book) would have changed. I used to point down more and I used to pivot up and down more. That doesn't matter because my Tongue Level was the more important thing that was making things work.

Those Seven Items of Claude's and H.L. Clarke are the core things to stay focused on.


This perspective seems close to Bill Adam as well as others that advocate air leading the way and allowing the sound goal to fix everything else. There are too many variables to try and control them all, hence, "put your lips together and blow."
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grits Burgh wrote:
Mike, John, Jeff,

Thanks for the posts.

My limited experience with SATDP is that the exercises did teach me how to form an embouchure that resulted in increased range. My embouchure did change while studying SATDP. I am playing notes much higher than I could before I discovered SATDP - much higher than I thought myself capable. Additionally, my sound is closer to what I would like it to be - more depth. Well, at least sometimes. When I am on, I love the sound. Unfortunately, I lack consistency. The Clark studies have improved my fingering and facility with scales and I greatly appreciate the way that SATDP provides the curriculum for approaching Clark, Arban, etc.

Just the same, I am still a work in progress. I need to improve tonguing, slurring, articulation and I need to improve control over my sound. Hence my questions. When I reach an obstacle, I ask questions (and buy more mouthpieces ). I am very grateful for the assistance that you offer on TH. Very helpful.

For now, I'll quit obsessing over embouchure. I'll just continue to practice daily in SATDP - and maybe get a Reeve's 43M/692, just have to decide on the drill, 20 maybe?



Warm regards,
Grits


The exercises ARE supposed to help you develop an embouchure but not consciously. They help you develop YOUR embouchure that's unique to you. And it sounds like you're nailing it! Good work!
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Kevin_Soda posted:

And it sounds like you're nailing it!


Thanks for the encouragement. No doubt I have made some progress, but it sure doesn't feel as if I am nailing it.

Perhaps because I lost almost two months of practice (travel and a nasty virus), I seem to be stuck - perhaps even regressed. The last few days I have been working on Lesson 6 in the Clarks Technical Studies and frankly, I stink. A more reasonable and less stubborn person than myself would throw in the towel. However, I am attacking my lack of progress with more practice (and more mouthpieces )

Warm regards,
Grits
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, well, stay positive and keep at it. Sorry I misunderstood your progress.

Best wishes.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would add that the CG approach is more about getting the feel of correct playing and the sound is the byproduct of that instead of the other way around. It's possible for some people to primarily focus on the sound and never really experience how to play the trumpet easily. But, if you get the knack of playing easily the controlling your sound is just another aspect of technique.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Embouchure Reply with quote

Grits Burgh wrote:
Did Claude Gordon advocate one or more specific types of embouchure?

Does SATDP (and pedal tone exercises in particular) promote any specific type of embouchure?

Regards,
Grits


I don't think I completely answered the above in my previous posts. Claude's description in Systematic Approach to Daily Practice for Trumpet of the lips moving toward the mouthpiece as one ascended, and the idea that the lips should grip the mouthpiece, and the admonishment not to use smiling or stretching motions of the lips when ascending, as well as the 2/3 top lip - 1/3 bottom lip placement recommendation are all characteristics of Louis Maggio's description of a proper embouchure. It is not coincidental that Claude studied for several years with Louis Maggio after his teacher Herbert L. Clarke passed away.

As Claude grew older he came to realize through experience that it was best to steer students away from thinking too much about the embouchure, and particularly, what it looked like. The instruction to "Use a mirror" in the Facial Muscles section of page 6 of Systematic Approach was removed from later editions, and in his more recent book Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing he actually makes fun of the idea of using a mirror:

Quote:
Did you ever notice how students are continually practicing before a mirror looking at their lips? What are they looking for? And if they thought they found something, what would they do about it? They would worry! Stay away from a mirror while practicing.


Also in BPINHTDB Claude writes that different players' embouchures will look different when playing, and there are three illustrations in the book showing one player appearing to have lips smiling upward, one appearing to frown and the third having a smile shape on one side and a frown on the other. The main thing he advocated for regarding the embouchure was that placing the mouthpiece more on the top lip was best, though even this was not set in stone.

Hope this is helpful,

John Mohan
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Jeff Purtle posted:


Quote:
I would add that the CG approach is more about getting the feel of correct playing and the sound is the byproduct of that instead of the other way around. It's possible for some people to primarily focus on the sound and never really experience how to play the trumpet easily.


Good point. I wanted to develop a full, smooth, sound not bright, not thin, not a cutting or lead type sound. Arturo Sandoval and Roy Hargrove have the kind of sound I like (though of course, Arturo has a broad pallet of different sounds and can play lead as well as anyone). Perhaps because that is the sound in my head, or perhaps because of the SATDP exercises, my sound has improved and is much closer to what I was hoping to achieve.

Quote:
But, if you get the knack of playing easily the controlling your sound is just another aspect of technique.


That has been my experience thus far. Thanks for the post.

Warm regards,
Grits
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
John Mohan posted:

I don't think I completely answered the above in my previous posts. Claude's description in Systematic Approach to Daily Practice for Trumpet of the lips moving toward the mouthpiece as one ascended, and the idea that the lips should grip the mouthpiece, and the admonishment not to use smiling or stretching motions of the lips when ascending, as well as the 2/3 top lip - 1/3 bottom lip placement recommendation are all characteristics of Louis Maggio's description of a proper embouchure. It is not coincidental that Claude studied for several years with Louis Maggio after his teacher Herbert L. Clarke passed away.


Thanks for the post. You have confirmed my suspicion. Based on this and previous posts in this thread, two things seem to be true. First, SATDP is designed to help the student develop the embouchure without getting caught up in visualizing or over analyzing it. Second, although Claude Gordon did not emphasize (or even address) adopting any particular type of embouchure, his books (particularly Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing), lend themselves to developing the type of embouchure that Louis Maggio advocated.

The reason that I asked the question is because my embouchure has changed significantly since I began using SATDP. I think that Louis Maggio would be happy with my embouchure, though perhaps I am not a textbook example of what he advocated.

Happily, my embouchure developed on its own without me paying much attention to it. Basically, SATDP taught me a technique for playing much higher notes that I could play previously and although I have by no means mastered the register above high C, I am very happy with the way my sound has changed throughout my register.

Maybe there is some merit to plowing through Doc Rheinhardt's theory, but so far, I haven't felt the need to do it. I think the time is better spent on the horn.

Warm regards,
Grits
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I went to Carl Leach (CG disciple) the first thing he told me was that I could not play the way I was playing and completely changed my embouchure.
So there are wrong ways to play the trumpet that should be changed no matter what methodology you prescribe to. These are:
Playing in the red. Defined as red meat showing over the top of the rim.
Lower lip completely turned out.
I see this embouchures frequently and do have to change them.

Eb
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric,

Good point.

Fortunately, I am not violating any of your prohibitions. I think I'm good.

As long as I can maintain my practice routine, I am very happy with my sound and my progress using SATDP. However, I quickly get frustrated when life interferes with my practice routine - as it has recently with some travel and a nasty bug of some sort. I hope to get back in the saddle shortly.

I'm tending to an elderly relative in the hospital. Do you suppose that the hospital would mind if I hijacked the chapel for some trumpet practice? Do you think that would be in bad taste? I'd be happy to say a prayer first.

Warm regards,
Grits
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello,

In spite of all the benefits i got when young i practiced SA, it never corrected my embouchure (playing on the red that caused me for years some issues).
If good exercices, good routine or whatever can lead you to positive changes (better placement, embouchure, accuracy, flex, range, stamina, etc), i think in a lot of cases, it's not sufficient.
For good setting, embouchure, coordination, you need sometimes other tools, out from the practice (visualizer, etc.)

Happy summer concerts and holidays to everyone
Best
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