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Let's share some positive embouchure change stories


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Wilktone
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Joined: 25 Aug 2002
Posts: 561
Location: Asheville, NC

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In my younger years, I played with a fairly pronounced down angle, particularly in the upper register, and played in the red of the upper lip.


Context is everything. Looking through this thread you'll note that more than one person has posted about an embouchure change to move the mouthpiece placement "off the red" of the upper lip. You'll also see some examples here where players specifically moved the placement to be lower and right on the red. What's going to be most effective for the individual student is dependent on the player's anatomical features.

What I do want to point out is that the red of your lips is an arbitrary feature and in no way directly related to embouchure technique. Your lips don't just include the vermillion part, they also extend upwards the the frenum above your upper teeth and gums and down below your lower teeth and gums. There is no muscle line at the vermillion, your obicularis orus muscle is also present under the red of the lips. The red of your lips is equally capable of taking normal mouthpiece pressure as the rest of your lips. Playing mechanics for upstream players actually favor more rim contact on the upper lip to reduce the intensity of upper lip vibration, so if the individual player is suited for an upstream embouchure such a low placement might be exactly where it works best.

I've also done a pretty extensive review of medical and musical literature on this specific topic. You can read it here if you have insomnia.

Dave
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JayKosta
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Joined: 24 Dec 2018
Posts: 1794
Location: Endwell NY USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilktone wrote:
...
What I do want to point out is that the red of your lips is an arbitrary feature and in no way directly related to embouchure technique.
...
The red of your lips is equally capable of taking normal mouthpiece pressure as the rest of your lips.
...
I've also done a pretty extensive review of medical and musical literature on this specific topic. You can read it here if you have insomnia.

Dave

--------------------------------------
I did a 'serious scan' of the article, and it does make a convincing case for not blindly prohibiting 'placing the mouthpiece on the vermillion'.

In my view, with the important principals being
1) the lips must be capable of producing controlled vibrations
and
2) mouthpiece placement and pressure should not inhibit the vibrations, and should not cause pain or injury.

Jay
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going back to French horn!
Yamaha 668N, Holton DC mpc
The 'next note' is the most important one.
Don't take a '20 minute mouthpiece' to a 1 hour session.
http://users.hancock.net/jkosta/2021_April_1_snow_web.jpg
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Robert P
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Joined: 28 Feb 2013
Posts: 1896

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
Wilktone wrote:
...
What I do want to point out is that the red of your lips is an arbitrary feature and in no way directly related to embouchure technique.
...
The red of your lips is equally capable of taking normal mouthpiece pressure as the rest of your lips.
...
I've also done a pretty extensive review of medical and musical literature on this specific topic. You can read it here if you have insomnia.

Dave

--------------------------------------
I did a 'serious scan' of the article, and it does make a convincing case for not blindly prohibiting 'placing the mouthpiece on the vermillion'.

In my view, with the important principals being
1) the lips must be capable of producing controlled vibrations
and
2) mouthpiece placement and pressure should not inhibit the vibrations, and should not cause pain or injury.

Another issue to be considered that was problematic for me is that the mouthpiece needs to feel anchored on the lips. For a very long time this wasn't the case for me. The mouthpiece didn't feel like it "fit", like there was a comfortable, natural home for it on the lips. Also as I tried to ascend the mp felt like it was slipping off the top lip. It was incredibly aggravating. Other people who didn't have the problems I was having didn't have this same issue. When I would describe this they'd just shrug - no, it wasn't a problem for them.

I've noticed that if I suck my lips in so the red basically disappears making them look like someone with thin lips the mouthpiece finds a "spot" very readily - and I had long theorized that people with naturally thin lips have a very different sensation than what I experience.

I can't play with my lips sucked in like that - there's too much thickness of the tissue which is unnaturally sucked under and not enough overhang over the top lip, but as far as the initial anchoring of the mouthpiece on the lips it gives me an insight as to what others likely experience.

I once saw a beginner book - probably written in the 50's or 60's that stated that the mouthpiece should be placed on the lips such that a small amount of white meat shows just inside the rim on a visualizer. That will work for someone with thin lips but there's absolutely no way that's going to work for me.

What I had to do was learn to set the mouthpiece on my lips in such a way that was comfortable and functional. Along with rebalancing how I use the muscles, centering my placement and shortening my upper central incisors helped with this. The inner edge of the rim sets just about at the junction of the red and white.


Last edited by Robert P on Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JayKosta
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Joined: 24 Dec 2018
Posts: 1794
Location: Endwell NY USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert P wrote:
JayKosta wrote:

...
In my view, with the important principals being
1) the lips must be capable of producing controlled vibrations
and
2) mouthpiece placement and pressure should not inhibit the vibrations, and should not cause pain or injury.

...
What I had to do was learn to set the mouthpiece on my lips in such a way that was comfortable and functional. Along with rebalancing how I use the muscles, centering my placement and shortening my upper central incisors helped with this. The inner edge of the rim sets just about at the junction of the red and white.

-----------------------------------
Robert, yes I completely agree that using the appropriate rim size and placement is necessary. Doing that is the way to achieve the items I mentioned above.

For basic pedagogy, it is important for a teacher (and somewhat for a student) to know BOTH -
What basic functions need to occur
and
How to make them occur for an individual player.

Jay
_________________
going back to French horn!
Yamaha 668N, Holton DC mpc
The 'next note' is the most important one.
Don't take a '20 minute mouthpiece' to a 1 hour session.
http://users.hancock.net/jkosta/2021_April_1_snow_web.jpg
April morning Surprise
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