Guess the Embouchure Type – Maurice Andre

It’s time for yet another of my Guess the Embouchure Type installments, where I look at videos of brass players available online and try to guess which of the three basic embouchure types the player belongs to.  This time I’m going to take a close look at the embouchure of one of the best trumpet players around, Maurice Andre.

If you aren’t already familiar with the three basic embouchure types, skim through this article and then take a look at the above video of Andre playing the first movement from Haynd’s Trumpet Concerto in Eb major.  Which embouchure type do you think he belongs to?

As always, you should take this with a grain of salt, but I think that the basic characteristics of Andre’s embouchure are visible enough to make a pretty good guess that he belongs to a Medium High Placement embouchure type.  His mouthpiece placement is close to half and half, but it looks as if there’s a little more top lip inside the mouthpiece.  His horn angle is also tilted slightly down, which is also very common for Medium High Placement embouchure types (although there are exceptions).  Lastly, if you look at around 4:08 into the video you can see his embouchure motion of pulling his mouthpiece and lips together down to ascend and pushing up to descend.  While the Low Placement embouchure type also makes this same embouchure motion, Andre’s mouthpiece placement seems to be high enough on the lips to be a downstream embouchure.  Most Low Placement types (not all) also play with a horn angle that is closer to straight out, which is not how Andre plays.

Please remember that the best embouchure type for a particular player is determined by the player’s anatomy, and isn’t a choice that one can make based on how your favorite player plays.  Teachers will want to understand this, as changing a student’s embouchure type to match your own can sometimes really mess up a student’s chops.  Andre’s embouchure types is one of the more common ones, but not everyone will be successful this way.

Paul T.

Just for fun, another comment!

I disagree with your guess this time. Look at 5:20-5:24. To me that looks like a very clear “push up to ascend, pull down to descend” type of embouchure motion (“type one”).

On the other hand, his stance does look like a lot of Medium High Placement players. And I spent very little time looking at the video, so take that with a grain of salt.

Dave

Hi, Paul.

I don’t see the pushing up to ascend, although in the excerpt you’re talking about he moves so that the angle isn’t all that good to see the embouchure motion. At 4:08 and shortly afterwards you can get a clear look at his embouchure motion at at intervals that are wide enough to make the embouchure motion apparent. Of course, it’s possible that Andre uses different directions for different parts of his range, but since I’ve only ever seen this accompanied by problems that Andre obviously doesn’t have, I doubt it.

Richard Autenzio

Very interesting but I have always wondered if some players who play with the instrument angled down and or have the mouthpiece placement close to half and half or even two thirds on the upper lip can still be upstream players. The reason I keep asking myself this question is because it might come back to how one rolls the upper lip in etc. I have heard thasome scream players change from upstream to dpwn stream when playing very high. I believe that a guy with a name something like Walt Johnston taught this method. Please help me out here. I am also interested in the thickness of the lips that a player might have in relation to how much more air might be needed to vibrate thicker lips in motion etc.
richard@archtopguitarsandbooks.com

Dave

Hi, Richard.

It is possible to play upstream on a mouthpiece placement that looks like it has more upper lip inside, but it’s very rare. For example, I had a trumpet student a while back with an overbite, but a mouthpiece placement with more upper lip inside. He was trying to play with an upstream embouchure but with a downstream setting. Moving his placement lower increased his range by almost an octave. When this sort of thing happens it seems that almost always these players would actually do better by adopting a mouthpiece placement with more lower lip inside.

Changing embouchure types is usually not a good idea. One embouchure will work best for the entire range.

Dave

João

Very high placement. Using the bottom lip as an anchor! I have in my mind some players with this kind of embouchure but with different angles. Arturo, Maynard and Bill Chase.

Dave

I’ll have to look at Bill Chase, but I’m pretty sure that Maynard would probably be classified as a “medium high placement” type, while Arturo Sandoval is probably a “very high placement” type.

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