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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,
Im primarily a tenor/jazz player and when I switched my major to music I had to start taking classical lessons on alto. Apparently my embouchure (teeth over bottom lip) has been wrong since I started playing. Im being told to only use my lip muscles, leave my jaw loose and not scrunch my chin. It turns out my lip muscles are very undeveloped. After only a few notes my jaw starts to tense up and support my lips.
Has anyone else gone through this or have some input that will help me strengthen these new muscles?

Thanks,
TenorGuy
 

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try carrying a mouthpiece around with you and practice playing long tones and scales on it with your new embouchure whenever you can

I put a rico in the glovebox for doing this to and from work

a little at a time but more often might help

this would be a good chance to use a plasticover reed
 

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I play with my bottom lip rolled out all the way and very loose, just enough pressure to create a seal. I have always thought that my embouchure is more or a jazz players embouchure. It does take time to get used to but I think it is worth it. You gain a lot of tonal, pitch, overtones and volume control. Try playing mouthpiece only exercises. They will get your whole embouchure going well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGBL5QDtCQM
 

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nefertiti said:
I hope you mean bottom lip over teeth? I have never heard of teeth over bottom lip..............
No wonder the teacher said it was wrong. :mrgreen:

Seriously to tone up the embouchure muscles:

smile whistle smile whistle 50 X then rest and repeat.................Teal

sit and watch a half hour TV show holding soda straw between your lips...........Sinta

make out a lot...................................your girlfriend (or significant other)

Practicing long tones resting when tired can help. Techniques I use with my students are:

- Lift up with the RH thumb in the thumbrest slightly as you play. This presses the mouthpiece up toward the top teeth and surprisingly help to remove pressure from the jaw.

- Mentally direct the airstream toward the thumb on the octave pad. This helps to pull the jaw down and away from the reed.

- Hold a note, make it go flat by dropping the jaw and opening the teeth, and then bring it back up to pitch using only the lips. Hold for as long as you can, rest, and repeat. (This one not only strengthens the embouchure muscles, but reinforces the feeling of the jaw pulling down and away at the same time).
 

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When I came to college I had to go through this embouchure change. I had to change my reed strength. Best way to practice pulling your chin down is to watch yourself in the mirror while blowing notes. At first I was very reluctant to change because I sounded terrible, but eventually you will get your sound back through practice. Keep at it!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys. This information is very helpful. Im going to keep practicing and doing exercises. Hopefully i'll see some results soon. And yes i do mean lip over teeth:faceinpalm:
 

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No wonder the teacher said it was wrong. :mrgreen:

Seriously to tone up the embouchure muscles:

smile whistle smile whistle 50 X then rest and repeat.................Teal

sit and watch a half hour TV show holding soda straw between your lips...........Sinta

make out a lot...................................your girlfriend (or significant other)

Practicing long tones resting when tired can help. Techniques I use with my students are:

- Lift up with the RH thumb in the thumbrest slightly as you play. This presses the mouthpiece up toward the top teeth and surprisingly help to remove pressure from the jaw.

- Mentally direct the airstream toward the thumb on the octave pad. This helps to pull the jaw down and away from the reed.

- Hold a note, make it go flat by dropping the jaw and opening the teeth, and then bring it back up to pitch using only the lips. Hold for as long as you can, rest, and repeat. (This one not only strengthens the embouchure muscles, but reinforces the feeling of the jaw pulling down and away at the same time).
I really don't like the whole drop the jaw thing. You should be able to control vast changes in pitch, volume and tone while leaving your jaw pretty much static. I find the most controlled and expressive way to play is to manipulate your airstream with you tongue, soft pallet and throat.
 

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I really don't like the whole drop the jaw thing. You should be able to control vast changes in pitch, volume and tone while leaving your jaw pretty much static. I find the most controlled and expressive way to play is to manipulate your airstream with you tongue, soft pallet and throat.
Developing the feeling of the jaw pulling down and away from the reed is a remedial step in helping to solve the problem of the teeth pressing up into the bottom lip and the effect of "biting" too hard with the embouchure. All wind instruments respond in a positive way when the teeth are opened a bit more when you blow.

I wasn't suggesting to move the jaw about when playing, only to relax and drop the jaw and open the teeth a bit and make that the new "set" position. I agree entirely with your observation about the importance airstream, shape of the tongue, soft pallet, and throat. I do believe however that all those elements become less effective when the player is biting too hard on the reed and playing too high on the input pitch of the instrument.
 

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Developing the feeling of the jaw pulling down and away from the reed is a remedial step in helping to solve the problem of the teeth pressing up into the bottom lip and the effect of "biting" too hard with the embouchure. All wind instruments respond in a positive way when the teeth are opened a bit more when you blow.

I wasn't suggesting to move the jaw about when playing, only to relax and drop the jaw and open the teeth a bit and make that the new "set" position. I agree entirely with your observation about the importance airstream, shape of the tongue, soft pallet, and throat. I do believe however that all those elements become less effective when the player is biting too hard on the reed and playing too high on the input pitch of the instrument.
ok, I see. That makes sense. A step to get there for the younger players.
 

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I play with my bottom lip rolled out all the way and very loose, just enough pressure to create a seal. I have always thought that my embouchure is more or a jazz players embouchure. It does take time to get used to but I think it is worth it. You gain a lot of tonal, pitch, overtones and volume control. Try playing mouthpiece only exercises. They will get your whole embouchure going well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGBL5QDtCQM
I like that video, if you look at his throat you can see how he changes it for the different pitches.
 
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