The Balanced Embouchure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by larrios, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. larrios

    larrios New Friend

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    Hello everyone,

    Last month, I've made a website about Jeff Smiley's The Balanced Embouchure, as I think it deserves more attention:

    http://www.balanced-embouchure.eu

    I hope you don't mind me sharing this here.

    Best,

    Ko
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    No problem sharing the link. It does not represent an endorsement however.

    I take this opportunity to WARN everyone that embouchure is a very personal thing. Methods that claim to work universally should be very cautiously approached............
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Ahhhh a German embouchure at that. My German is a little rusty so I am not really able to translate to judge, but I do agre with Rowuk, that an embouchure is a very personal thing.
     
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Hilft mir nicht, da ich nicht Deutsch sprechen (nicht lesen kann entweder) HAHAHA
     
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    When I started my comeback 4 years ago, I got into the Balanced Embouchure (BE). After about 6 months, I decided to study privately again. At that point, there wasn't much room for embouchure methods. Here's my take on BE.

    On the plus side, Jeff Smiley is great at creating metaphors and painting pictures. Sometimes this is what we need -- someone to explain things in a way that we can relate to. I think this is probably the best attribute of the system. In addition, BE borrows concepts from Walter Johnson's "high gear" approach as well as concepts about accenting from Colin's Advanced Lip Flexibilities. These similarities, I believe, give credibility to BE.

    On the down side, the first half of the book is very preachy, and contains negative comments about formal education, music educators, and physicians.

    In addition, you start with some very simple concepts (double pedal tones, lip clamps, rolling out). These are easy to master in a couple days. However, the last concept ("rolling in") is where it gets tough. The result is that you tend to make some quick progress, but then get bogged down for months with little to show for it.

    Also, if you look closely, the key exercises are long tones and lip slurs. "Long tones and lips slurs" ... sound familiar, right? You are led to believe that "rolling in" and "rolling out" are the key. But I wonder if the real key is that you are doing long tones and lip slurs. It's like a diet pill that promises weight loss if you take the pill ... and diet and exercise. Of course, you'd lose weight if you diet and exercise without the pill, too. (In case you missed the metaphor, long tones and lip slurs are "diet and exercise", and BE is the "diet pill".)

    Mike
     
  6. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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    I got tempted at some point but all these methods to me have the following flaw: if they were that great, everybody would be doing it and most would have tremendous results. Reality tells a different story. So far, the most useful formulation (as in: put in words) that I have run across about embouchure and sound production on the trumpet is still that of Greg in the Mystery to Mastery series. Funnily enough, a good bunch of it (including some really important points) is free on YouTube. No credit card required. Link is in the Trumpet Discussion header, I recommend it. I can honestly say that it has helped me.
     
  7. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Seriously, that was my take on it as well (at least the free stuff you could read at the time).
     
  9. larrios

    larrios New Friend

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    Jan 16, 2013
    Just click "English" right above the picture of the book.

    Anyone will agree that embouchure is a very personal thing. BE is actually very clear about that: we all have to find out the details for ourselves. That doesn't mean, however, that there are no universal principles, applying to how the lips function, that can be used as guidelines to move the embouchure more or less in the right direction.

    For some, rolling in is relatively easy, for others, rolling out. It is different for each individual.

    I honestly don't see how anyone could come to that conclusion.

    That's certainly one way of missing an opportunity. :-)

    BE is used by all kinds of players, from mere beginners to accomplished professionals in both classical and jazz. The number is only growing. To offer some perspective for people reading these posts, you may want to read some testimonials through the links below:

    Testimonials
    Testimonials_archives
    The Balanced Embouchure for Horn

    Ko
     
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    I reviewed my initial reply, and think it might have been a bit out of balance.

    The BE approach definitely helped me to think more about my embouchure (in a good way).

    However, for the reasons I stated, BE was not for me. But if you're going to use an embouchure method, it might be worth considering. If it helps you, that's great. But I tend to agree with Rowuk's cautionary comments.

    Mike
     

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