Forming The Horn Embouchure
As teachers, we know that if a student gets the embouchure correct in the beginning, he/she will have more success and less problems in the future. Without the foundation of a correct embouchure, the brass player will not be able to develop endurance, range or flexibility. On this page, you will find multiple ways of teaching the embouchure to students. Each way is a proven, reliable method. Multiple ways are being provided to accommodate individual teaching preferences for different teaching styles. Nobody likes to be told what to do, so options have been provided to allow you to choose which best suits you.
Embou-Sure Method by Val Phillips (Full Article)
- First, try to buzz without the mouthpiece. The goal is a sound like that of a bee or large fly.
- Use “Dim” or “Em” to set the lips. Say it multiple times. This sets the lip corners and placement of the teeth and lips.
- The teeth should be about the thickness of a tongue-tip apart
- Lick the lips, set the lips with “Dim” or “Em” and blow a puff of air to get a buzz. Do it vigorously with much effort. It may help to place two fingers in a “V” over the lips to restrain them.
- The syllable of the airburst is “PEH”.
- Place the mouthpiece on center of the lips so that 2/3 of the mouthpiece is on the top lip and 1/3 of the mouthpiece is on the bottom lip.
- Hold the mouthpiece in place with a thumb and forefinger.
- Then set the lips with “Dim” or “Em” and buzz with the mouthpiece.
- Once a good buzz is consistent, the student should flex the jaw (chew) both silently and with a buzz. For smooth slurs, consistent quality of tone, and ease of response in range extremes, it is necessary to have lower jaw flexibility.
Method from Teaching Brass: A Resource Manual
- The player should place the mouthpiece in the center of the lips horizontally and with the mouthpiece two-thirds on the upper lip and one-third on the lower lip.
- The chin should be firm and flat with the jaw slightly forward.
- The corners of the mouth should be firm and push toward the center of the mouthpiece.
- The lips should be slightly pursed or puckered. The horn embouchure should use more pucker than the trumpet embouchure.
- The oral cavity should be open. Think “Oh”.
- The lips should be moist.
- The lower jaw should drop noticeably as the hornist descends into the lower register.
- Have the student hold the mouthpiece so that the face is parallel to the floor (It will look like he/she is holding a tiny cup).
- Then, place the edge of the rim against the middle of the lower lip.
- Next, tip the mouthpiece face so that it contacts the lips (the motion looks like when you would take a sip from a teacup).
- The aperture of the lips should be in the lower third section of the mouthpiece cup.
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