It’s been a while since we’ve played “guess the embouchure type.” I recently came across this video of a very fine up-and-coming horn player, Josh Williams. Take a close look at his embouchure in this video and see if you can guess his embouchure type. My guess after the break.
Williams’s embouchure type is pretty obvious as soon as you get a close look at his mouthpiece placement. He’s clearly a “Low Placement” upstream embouchure type. You can see his very low mouthpiece placement, characteristic of many Low Placement type players. It also works very well for him.
Traditionally, horn teachers tend to be even more dogmatic about adopting a mouthpiece placement that is opposite of how Williams places his mouthpiece on his lips. He’s probably very lucky that he has had teachers who allowed him to play with the embouchure type that works best for his anatomy. Many brass students would be told to change their mouthpiece placement, rather than learning to work with (not against) their natural tendencies.
Williams is also a good example of a brass musician who places the mouthpiece rim very close to, if not directly on the red of his upper lip. Longtime readers here will know that I consider the lip vermillion to be an arbitrary when it comes to mouthpiece placement, but many teachers and players are vehemently opposed to it. When the player has the anatomy suited for such a mouthpiece placement, as many Low Placement type players are, moving the mouthpiece placement to a higher position to “get it off the red” will ultimately not be useful.
It’s also nice to find another example of an upstream horn player. Many horn teachers and players will acknowledge that some other brass instruments can use different embouchure types, but still insist that there’s a “horn embouchure” that must be used. Josh Williams is another nail in the coffin for this sort of thinking.
Have you come across video footage of a brass player that you’d like to play “guess the embouchure type?” Drop me a line and I’ll take a look.