A couple of weeks ago I wrote about changing my embouchure. There is the basic lip curl type embouchure I had as a kid my first time around. I started reading all kinds of things as part of my comeback and started reconfiguring my embouchure based on the readings or my “misinterpretation” of them. It did not go too well. I have basically returned to my original embouchure setting and feel like everything is “in synch” again. I am not saying that things are perfect. I just feel comfortable again, like I am on the right track.
I had this general discussion with my teacher and she gave me a great exercise that I am grooving on. I am terrible at it now but it seems to be helping me make the connection of what I have to do with both my embouchure and air. I go to page 2 of Rubank’s Elementary Method to the Table of Harmonics. Starting on the last line is: low F#, C#, F#, A#, C#, E, and F# all with 1,2,3 fingering. I am suppose to “lip slur” from F# up and back. The long term goal is to work upwards through each harmonic exercise. I think this exercise is what Rowuk means by getting the embouchure to develop through “evolution”.
Now, here is the question:
I can set my chops for third space C# or even higher and go down by relaxing to low F# then immediately and go back up. BUT, starting from low F# “first” with the same embouchure set and just going up is near impossible. WORSE still, if I use an embouchure set that allows me to start at a low F# and go upwards, it is even more of a struggle because I cannot make the “small” reverse changes in my embouchure to slur up to the higher notes. If this normal and I just need lots of practice, OK. I am willing to grind it out.
I can easily slur down chromatically from low C to low F# and play it very solidly. But, starting off on low F# and going upwards is not easily done. I do a lot of lip buzzing in the car, trying to play simple tunes (i.e., London Bridges, etc.). I have read that lip buzzing can make the chops inelastic. Could this be a problem with starting off at low F#? Am I at a stage where I might need a slightly larger (5C or 3C, versus my current 7C) mouthpiece so the lips vibrate more freely? Or, is there something technique-wise that I should keep in mind based on much more experience of others. Any helpful hints?