The Balanced Embouchure

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

  1. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    I will give it credit for making me think about my embouchure. What had me interested was the promised high G. I was then told by several competent teachers on this forum and in person that only practice would get me that regardless of the embouchure I used. I decided to save the $50 and just practice. The teachers were right. I too was turned off by the Quixotesque rantings on "the machine", although he has some good points, they could be said better IMO.
     
  2. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    First off, guys, you might want to know that that is not German. It's Dutch.

    There is no "embouchure" in the "balanced embouchure" as such. By that I mean that, unlike other "systems" there are no particular positioning of the mouthpiece, pivoting of the horn, etc. The balance comes from the exercises helping one's embouchure come into its own most efficient position and function. Smiley recommends developing a conventional embouchure and using the rolled-in and rolled-out exercises to, in a sense, give the embouchure choices as to where to best set itself. (Those long-tones and flexibility exercises are not "just" long-tones and flexibility exercises. They are exercises to help bridge the overlap between the miniscule rolled-in and rolled-out motions of the embouchure.)

    The range is one example. There's a kid on another forum who can scream a double high C and he does it with a rolled-in embouchure. For him, it seems to be no big deal. I can't get squat rolled-in. Ironically, OTOH, rolled-out, I can play from double pedal C to double high C. It's all relative to the player and Jeff is very clear about that in his writing. Some of his text is actually very simple and maybe some are looking for something more profound and complicated. You won't find that.

    The one exception to embouchure where one might bump heads is his acceptance of the opposite of a flat chin (can't think of a better term - maybe scrunched up?). Hey, if it works for 6th graders, what's to say? OTOH, perhaps it might not be compatible for someone seeking a place in the Juilliard School later on. I don't know. I tend to think Juilliard is concerned with results.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    I can't read Dutch either. I get your point. I can "do" many different embouchure's but they don't sound good. If I roll in and bunch and bulldog my jaw I can play a DHC but it doesn't sound good, and nothing else will come out of that mess. The breaking point for me was the money and I didn't see anyone that was brought up on it per se. He has a lot of testimonials, so maybe when I get a spare $50, I'll buy it.
     
  4. larrios

    larrios New Friend

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    BE doesn't promise a high G, certainly not without practice. BE does point out that a range up till high G is within the physical capabilities of the average trumpet player, even while still in highschool. I know that this is probably going to be considered a wild claim by many, but that doesn't mean it's untrue.

    Before BE, I had never played this register, despite hours of daily practice and years of lessons with top professional players. It took me years to recover from several failed attempts to directly change my embouchure ("guided" by teachers in the conservatory) to get back into playing again. That I managed to do so, I owe to BE, and tons of practice and patience. Today, I play in a big band, a symphony orchestra, and easily double on trombone with no fear or worry about my embouchure. I can play a high G every day now. It's no longer a big deal.

    Ko
     
  5. larrios

    larrios New Friend

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    Just because it sounds horrible, doesn't mean it is completely useless. Obviously, if you can play a DHC this way, some aspects could be very useful indeed. What BE could do for you here, is offer you a set of excercises and a practice strategy that could help you incorporate the useful elements of a rolled in setting into your normal playing, without messing up your current playing level.

    $50 is less than what most professional trumpet teachers charge for a one hour lesson, and that usually doesn't include a written lesson summary, not to mention a detailed account with audio samples of how to play certain exercises.

    Ko
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Hey, if BE provides a comfortable embouchure upon which an individual plays... then more power to it. If it does not provide a comfortable feel for the performer, than it for that individual is BS. I play high G's with the most ease, volume an intonation. I use the Onadian method... no BS... it just works for me.
     
  7. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

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    I tried BE for a while but was younger and more stupid than I am now, and mis-applied many of the principles. In the end, it was unable to break the mental block I had about embouchure. If I had gone to see a teacher who specialized in it, I may have had better luck than trying to figure everything out on my own. In the end I went through a more standard embouchure change with a chop doc who sorted me out over the course of a few painful years.

    On the other hand I know somebody who is a monster player who swears by BE... If you aren't happy with your chops and have tried all the "normal" methods of improving them, I'd say it's worth giving a chance at least. Maybe it won't be what makes it click for you, but maybe it will, or maybe it will at least unlock your brain a little and be a step along the path to figuring it out.
     
  8. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

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    The biggest thing I misunderstood about BE when I was doing it is that it is NOT an embouchure... You're supposed to keep playing on your normal embouchure. You just do the BE exercises, and over time your embouchure gradually changes on its own. This didn't happen for me, and I got impatient and tried to rush things, and in the end had limited success. Ymmv.
     
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Muscle is muscle is muscle. If you work out muscle... this is called practicing... muscle develops around the points that the force is exerted. One good exercise is as good as another as long as a good range of techniques are used. Any standard work book will do this. The Eddie Brookshire Quintet song book excels at this. I know this is a method, and it will develop a decent embouchure... I am confident of this. And one should NEVER rush development of muscle, as more harm can be done than good. But great practice skills will achieve the same optimal result. So no misunderstanding at all. I teach muscle physiology at my medical school. I think I've got it down OK.
     
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Like I said earlier, the BE exercises are long tones and lip slurs. Looking again through my copy, there are also some placement and tonguing exercises.

    I agree that BE gives you a strategy for approaching these studies. But the studies themselves are not new. And working on long tones and lips slurs apart from BE or any embouchure method is going to yield positive results.

    Mike
     

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