Guess the Embouchure Type: Martin Kretzer

It’s been a while since I played “Guess the Embouchure Type.”  Aulis sent me a link to a video he spotted of the Berlin Philharmoniker performing an excerpt from Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with a good look at trumpet player Martin Kretzer’s embouchure.  Take a close look at around 2:07 and 2:14 and see which embouchure type you think Kretzer has.  My guess after the break.

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Brass Embouchures: A Guide For Teachers and Players Take 2

Here is a cleaned up version of my 50 minute video presentation called Brass Embouchures: A Guide For Teachers and Players.  While I’ve had this presentation up on YouTube already, I had to split it into 6 parts when I initially posted it.  Later I tried to post it in a single video, but the audio and video didn’t sync up towards the end.  This time I believe it should work just fine all the way through.

A Big Band of Upstream Players

Embedding was disabled on this YouTube video, so you’ll have to follow this link to watch the Don Lusher Big Band from 1987 perform Two O’Clock Jump.  It’s a good performance, with lots of good soloing in the brass section.

What’s so interesting is that the “low placement” upstream embouchure players in Lusher’s brass section outnumber the more common downstream types players.  Lusher himself is a “low placement” player as well and at least 3 of the 4 trumpet players are upstream players.

As I alluded to, it’s a little unusual to have more upstream players in a group than downstream players, as most people have the physical characteristics that make them better suited for one of the downstream embouchure types.  Still, it does happen occasionally.  A few years ago I was directing an all-county honor jazz band made up of high school students.  Out of the 8 brass students, 4 were upstream and if you counted myself and the band director at the hosting school, the upstream players outnumbered the downstream.  It’s uncommon, but it happens once in a while.  This video can make a good demonstration to show people who deny that “low placement” players can have good range and endurance or who want to claim that it’s so rare that they teach all their students to avoid it.

Tip of the horn to Paul T. for sending this one in to me.

Embouchure Question: Top Lip Pressure

Brian stopped by and asked the following question.

I’ve watched all your videos in the last 2 days and have been studying Reinhardt with the encyclopedia for quite awhile and I appreciate your use of “embouchure motion” rather than pivot. My embouchure is upstream, off to the L side, angle almost straight out. I had been using side movement: R and up for low reg. and L and down for higher reg. In the ency. Reinhardt says it is best no matter what type to put pressure on lower lip but in listening to your videos you say that with a low placement upstream emb. more vibration happens with the lower lip and I seemed to have confirmed this today. Putting more pressure on top for low notes and then more pressure on bottom lip for high notes. This seems to free up vibrations and the side mvt. is not so extreme. Is this correct for low placement upstreamer? thank you, Brian

As always, I have to caution you about taking advice from someone who can’t watch you play in person.  It’s really tough to know for certain what’s going on. Continue reading Embouchure Question: Top Lip Pressure

Guess the Embouchure Type: Tyree Glenn

About a week ago John shot me an email after coming across this photo of trombonist Tyree Glenn for sale (not sure how long that link will work).  I poked around and found a video that has a couple pretty good looks at Glenn’s chops.  Take a look and see if you can tell what his embouchure type was.  Embedding was disabled, so you’ll have to follow this link to watch it.  My guess after the break.

Continue reading Guess the Embouchure Type: Tyree Glenn

Embouchure Question: Top Lip Slipping Out Of Mouthpiece

Hank stopped by to ask a question I’ve also had to personally deal with.

I’ve found that the only way I can get the sensation of “embouchure motion“, i.e. the MP/embouchure/jaw `tracking’ along the teeth foundation either for ascending or descending, is on a so-called `dry’ set up.  If I try a `wet’ set up the MP tends to slip down onto the red part of top lip in stead of the whole assembly moving/tracking. Thanks, Comments?

This is actually a pretty common issue for some players, particularly those who belong to the Low Placement embouchure type, but also sometimes Medium High Placement players as well.  These types both have an embouchure motion to pull the mouthpiece and lips together down to ascend.  When the lips feel slippery, sometimes the mouthpiece placement will slide on the lips to a lower placement like Hank describes.

First of all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with placing the mouthpiece so the rim sits on the red of the upper lips, in spite of what many teachers and players believe.  My own embouchure, shown at the right, has the rim right on the red of my upper lip.  This just happens to be where it works best for me, and is a quite a bit lower than most Low Placement embouchure types I’ve seen.  Perhaps the reason your mouthpiece wants to slide down there is because that’s where it works best.  Try it out and see what happens.  But without watching you play in person, that’s just a wild guess.  Caveat emptor.

I did mention above that I’ve dealt with this issue myself, though.  As you can note from the photo, if my top lip starts to slide up it goes right off the rim, so I have to be careful.  I’ve tried a few different things, all of which help to a certain degree.  Here they are, in no particular order. Continue reading Embouchure Question: Top Lip Slipping Out Of Mouthpiece

Embouchure Questions: Mouthpiece Pressure and Lip Ratio

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Now that the semester is finally over and grades have been done I plan to get back to some regular updates, starting with another question from the internet.  Kevin writes:

Hi my name is Kevin and iv’e been playing trombone for 5 years now. I am currently a junior in high school. Ever since i started playing, i have always used more mouthpiece pressure than one would normal use. Every time i finish practicing, i always get the “pressure ring” round my lips. I really don’t know how i can break this bad habit.

First, don’t worry about a red mark where you place the mouthpiece, it doesn’t mean anything.  Players with fairer skin will get more of a red mark.  Some players just get it more than others.  It’s certainly not an accurate judge of mouthpiece pressure.

Speaking of mouthpiece pressure, I don’t know for sure that you’re using too much pressure or not.   Continue reading Embouchure Questions: Mouthpiece Pressure and Lip Ratio

Guess the Embouchure Type – Cat Anderson

I’ve been looking for some video footage of Cat Anderson that shows a good look at his embouchure for a long time.  I’ve found one that’s pretty good, but unfortunately it doesn’t show him changing register enough to get a good look at his embouchure motion.  Still, if you know what to look for you might be able to make a pretty good guess as to what embouchure type Cat Anderson belonged to.  Take a look and see what you think.

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Guess the Embouchure Type – Italian Hornist Plays Jobim

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Guess the Embouchure Type” post.  Bruce Hembd, from the excellent Horn Matters blog, spotted this one and sent this link, knowing that I like to look at embouchures.  Since my Italian is very bad, I’m not certain of this horn player’s name, but I recognize the tune he’s playing as Antonio Carlos Jobim’s composition Corcavado.  Take a look and see if you can spot this horn player’s embouchure type.

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