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Distinguished SOTW Member, & Forum Contributor 200
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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen advice here recently with reference to beginners and correct embouchure and note production , stating ' put bottom lip over bottom teeth ' or roll lip over bottom teeth .

I realise there has been differences of opinions on this one for ever , and that we all are different shapes etc , but I can think of very few modern players ( talking jazz here ) that use the lip in method or use teeth at all for reed support .

Less teeth = freer reed vibrarion = better tone .

Whats your take on this and what do you teach beginners?
 

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Well, you have to cover the teeth at least to some degree. Otherwise, the teeth would touch the reed and that's not a pretty sound. I will be in agreement that "rolling in the lip" is a poor descriptor for what should actually be taking place. From kind of a neutral perspective, the lip should neither really be in nor out. It should be more or less straight up. But when the reed comes in contact with the lip, the lip will be "smooshed" down and some lip will naturally fold out and some will naturally fold in as a result. The part that folds in, folds over the bottom teeth. From here, the player can roll in or out more based on personal preference and how it affects the town.

I don't know how you don't use the teeth/jaw at all. If you want to talk about players, everybody who uses an Allard embouchure uses jaw support. I'm not well versed on who all uses it (there used to be a thread), but Brecker and Davicd Liebman were students. Liebman has books and videos that teach what Allard taught.

Unless I'm mistaken, one of the main things about the Allard embouchure is that you use jaw pressure not lip pressure. It's not a lot. You're not chomping down, but it's there. I believe the philosophy behind it is this. Let your lower lip go slack and put your index finger on it, pointing towards your mouth. Now tense your lips as if you were puckering. This is what you have to do when the support comes primarily from the lips. Notice how the lip feels harder now. You say less teeth equals freer vibration. I say that a softer lip creates a softer cushion which allows for freer vibration. By using the jaw as the primary source for support, you allow the lip to be more relaxed, which allows it to create a softer cushion.

Ideally, there's a certain amount of pressure that should be applied regardless of the source. If there's an option as to whether it comes from the lips of the jaw, I choose jaw because it allows the lip to be more flexible. The danger of jaw pressure is that because the jaw is so much more powerful than the lip, it can apply more pressure. Too much pressure. If you want to compare lip support with the right amount of pressure vs jaw support with too much pressure, then yes, the lip will probably sound better. But all else being equal, I believe that jaw pressure wins hands down. But that's my opinion.
 

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Alot of what instructors tell beginners is based on what that beginner is doing. Dont tell them to "do" anything other than plant upper teeth on the piece, and form a proper seal with lips. I certainly dont want the lower lip to protrude outward, but like you implied, I dont want it way in with alot of surface area on the reed either. Probably a good diagnostic (and everyone's lips are different) is to see a little red of the lower lip in the corner of your mouth. If you dont see any red of the lip, you're probably sticking it in too far(usually accompanied by "crinckled" corners of your mouth), if you see the entire outline of the lower lip under the reed (use a mirror) its probably sticking out too far. Everyones lips are different , my experience with any african-american students (for example)is that you will most likely see alot of the line of the lower lip under the reed.
 

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I end up doing a couple high schools a year and I've always shown a visual when I've been with beginning players.

I use the visuals from the Larry Teal books or the many others that are out there showing a proper beginning foundation. A young player gets a quicker insight when seeing something over listening to someones definition.

JR
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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I follow the Allard/Leibman approach with a very loose and active bottom lip. Low notes = lots of gentle lip on the reed to dampen and balance the tone high end other way with lots of reed exposed and mid point kinda where teeth touch lip in saying "V". Have to modify that more than I like on open C# down to B in staff to balance tone. FWIW play sop exclusively atm.

A big change late in life (mid life crises???:mrgreen:) however I love the increased flexibility in tone

Pitch control is all through the larynx now and I still find that challenging on some pitches for a long and vibratoless note.

There are no teachers in this area that I have talked to that use this approach so I had to print off all of Allard's stuff and bought Dave Leibman's book. Lots of study but it's starting to make sense now.

For a gifted student I think this would be a great approach but without a dedicated practice regime IMO could be very frustrating. I spend at least an hour a day on overtones and longtones and still have a few quavery pitches octave stack E being the most difficult to control. Funny that the overtone of stack E is quite pure and doesn't quaver at all.
 
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