Correct breathing techniques for wind instrument players (X) – Choosing a mouthpiece correctly and its placement for the brass

Wilkom’s video on youtube.com is really useful for brass players. He says that although there are many players who play really good, actually most of them are aware of how they are playing technically. After inhaling-exhaling correctly, some other issues occur like mouthpiece and position. The video maker claims there is a lack of understanding on embouchure’s facilities. First; many teachers and students do not have enough knowledge about the features of an embouchure. Second; it is useful to get know about the embouchure’s shape. The other one is correcting the embouchure problems. According to Wilkom the brass players should not be afraid of embouchure problems that would emerge easily. On the other hand, one shouldn’t underestimate them. He says many of the problems occur through embouchure positions because it cannot be easily controlled or analyzed. According to the resulting sound, it can be understood or controlled. The role of analyzing belongs to the player. Because the musical expression is the main focus, the most flexibly and naturally posed mouthpiece is the best one for the brass player. As in the video placed, there are many horn teachers who do not really understand mouthpiece function. (It should be a bridge for air from diaphragm to the bell). To provide the perfect balance the correct mouthpiece and position should be chosen. Embouchure is the place on your lips, where the resonance occurs, and mouthpiece is the object that you put on your lips. So when we try to analyze different players’ embouchures (with a modern plastic and transparent tool) we can see that every person has a different position, embouchure so mouthpiece. In general there are a few tips to follow to find the correct position. First, upper and lower teeth should be parallel in your mouth. Then, take a slightly smiling position and put the mouthpiece first on the lower lip and then on the upper. There should be enough place to vibrate. So, think like that the lower lip goes little more down and the upper lip goes up which though makes your position correct. Mainly, there should not be any parasites (a disturbed, unfocused sound) or obstacles. Of course there are many exceptions. Many famous players’ position is though “wrongly” placed! So, it may be altered from person to person. However, as it is mentioned, three tips should be applied: 1. Make your teeth parallel. 2. Place your mouthpiece on lips first on the lower and then on the upper. 3. Think the hole larger, existing between your upper and lower lips.

Mouthpiece selection is important. Though, it changes from one player to the other. Generally, the embouchure anatomy of the player is important in choosing the mouthpiece. If the embouchure is tiny, mouthpiece should be a small one. If the embouchure part is large and there is more space to vibrate, the mouthpiece should be deep and bigger. Also, it may change according to the personal breathing technique. To be aware of these features, a player should analyze his/her position and embouchure.

Reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyxXOcHhYV4

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