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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner in the General forums; I'm quite surprised that I couldn't find a post about this matter already. It seems like something that people would ...
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    Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    I'm quite surprised that I couldn't find a post about this matter already. It seems like something that people would have many different opinions about. Either way, I'm sure there are many methods out there that people like when teaching a complete beginner about how to form a trumpet embouchure, besides the old standby of "Mmmm, pooo" or "Mmmm, buzz" into the mpc.

    My cooperating teacher in student teaching had the students make a buzzing sound without the mouthpiece first, because it's almost impossible to do so with loose corners or puffy cheeks/lips. Once the student was buzzing with only their lips, he would have them place the mouthpiece on the embouchure in the middle of the buzz, and then eventually rearticulate to teach them how to start the buzz with the mouthpiece on. Of course this was only used in the first few weeks in order to get the concept firm in the students mind (any longer and the students would develop stiff embouchures as well as stiff sounds).

    I want to hear other ideas on this subject and why they are beneficial.

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    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    I've been teaching beginners for 33 years. I never have them start with lip buzzing and mpc buzzing. I start them right on the horn. First I play for them and have them watch me play. I then play a middle G and and tell them to "make that sound" Then I address breathing and blowing and posture. have them just play the G for a few mintues until I can tell thatb they feel comfortable with it. The I'll play some other easy notes and have them copy me. Then we take out the beginning book and start with the first lesson. This takes about 30 minutes. The rest of the lesson we go over their assignment.

    I don't see the need for lip and mpc buzzing for beginners. There are better ways to assurs a proper embouchure. But if one does choose to do it it should only last a few minutes in the first lesson. Beginners want to PLAY the trumpet not just buzz the mpc for even oneweek.
    Last edited by Bob Grier; 08-11-2011 at 10:15 PM.
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    Pianissimo User MSfortissimo's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    Since it seems that you're asking how to teach the embouchure, sometimes when I notice a problem in a student I have them take a small straw and put it through their mouthpiece. The wrap their mouth around the straw and bring the mouthpiece up to their face. The straw should have lined their mouth up perfectly with the mouthpiece. That's where the mouthpiece should be. I realize I may need to clarify this a bit...
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    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    I simply have them watch me and emulate. In the first couple of years I NEVER TALK about embouchure. I just show my students the exercizes that I consider to be helpful and monitor their progress. I want them focussed on what comes out of the bell.

    They always see my big breath first.

    I do call it "M"-bouchure however.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    I simply have them watch me and emulate. In the first couple of years I NEVER TALK about embouchure. I just show my students the exercizes that I consider to be helpful and monitor their progress. I want them focussed on what comes out of the bell.
    They always see my big breath first.

    I do call it "M"-bouchure however.
    +1 on what you've said as I've taken the liberty to embolden. From my observations over the "few" years I've been involved with brass, IMO I don't believe 90+% of instrumental music educators know enough about mouthpiece placement (note I did not say "embouchure" or "aperture") to diagnose what would be best for each individual brass player, and the worst is that I don't believe that 70+% of the instrumental music educators can play a brass instrument much better than a beginning player who has just completed Book 1 and that is if they have ever even attempted to play one themselves. (Yeah, there are exceptions I realize, that are in the remaining 30%) OK, personally, I'm even going to exclude myself from having adequate capability to instruct others about this. Yes, I used the word "diagnose"! What I've not seen, and wish there was, is an adequate text accompanied by CD demos and diagrams of the "Anatomical Physiology for Brass Musical Instrument Performance". Uh huh, this would include a very important ... if not the most important ... aspect for performance which is the type of breathing necessary. Too, I wish I could say, "Don't attempt to emulate me or anyone else." because I realize how I make do may not be physically appropriate for anyone else. Presently I'm coping with and / or accomodating many of my own problems and wouldn't wish these to affect any others.
    Last edited by Ed Lee; 08-12-2011 at 12:12 PM.

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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MSfortissimo View Post
    Since it seems that you're asking how to teach the embouchure, sometimes when I notice a problem in a student I have them take a small straw and put it through their mouthpiece. The wrap their mouth around the straw and bring the mouthpiece up to their face. The straw should have lined their mouth up perfectly with the mouthpiece. That's where the mouthpiece should be. I realize I may need to clarify this a bit...
    Yep, the use of a small straw is a starter point towards achieving the solution. I finally found a coffee stirrer straw that is perfect for this. I now keep a zip-lock type bag of these in my brief case and distribute them at the first lesson session.
    Last edited by Ed Lee; 08-12-2011 at 12:21 PM.

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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    Ed, I am sorry about the state of music education near you. I must say that in central New York even the string and woodwind teachers have a pretty darn good concept of brass embouchures or know where to ask a collegue. We have a pretty good rapport between teachers of different school districts and are not afraid to ask for pointers.

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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Sterling View Post
    Ed, I am sorry about the state of music education near you. I must say that in central New York even the string and woodwind teachers have a pretty darn good concept of brass embouchures or know where to ask a collegue. We have a pretty good rapport between teachers of different school districts and are not afraid to ask for pointers.
    As I made my statement on embouchure, I'm addressing the broad spectrum, not only of the whole U.S., but internationally, and at all levels of education through the Doctorate degree in instrumental music and above and beyond. True, many understand the concept, but can they execute and teach it themselves? As said, I can execute my own embouchure (for all the brass instruments), but teaching it to another may or may not be a satisfactory accomplishment by me. Too, I know the theory of violin strings, the frets of a guitar and mandolin, and the reed instruments including piccolo, flute, oboe and bassoon, and also piano / keyboard but would not endeavor to teach them. Up front, I know zilch about percussion in all its aspects, but yes I know others to ask about these should I want to know more about them and / or learn myself.

    One of the Northampton County NC (where I live) high school band directors is a superb pianist and floutist, also the organist and choir director of a local church, and additionally owns her own private music school in nearby Roanoke Rapids NC. We are in close communication about brass instrumentation, but yet she doesn't have any who seek to learn brass, thus I'm not yet offering to teach such in her school, but on my own now have a few near beginning students.

    Yes, I'm just 2 years new to NC and myself after severe health and dental issues recovering my own prior capability. However, here on TM are many others in NC that are as involved in brass instruments as I am and more likely more proficient. However, at their own enjoyment level, I don't believe they excel me.

    Born in PA, in all my 75 years I've been around all but one U.S. state and many foreign countries. I went through basic USAF training at Sampson AFB on the Finger Lakes near Geneva, and wandered around central NY then and later, as well as another 2 years in Albany and 4 more in NYC with more excursions throughout. Only one negative I'll say about NY is that it can be bitter cold in winter that my old bones could no longer endure.
    Last edited by Ed Lee; 08-12-2011 at 02:15 PM.

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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    When I was first taught I remember my teacher telling my just to put the mouthpiece to my lips and raspberry without puffing your cheeks, with a few demos, Ive also seen teachers use a toilet roll for them to practice blowing. but demos are the best thing, im also a swimming teacher and the same goes there, quick explanation and a demo and then they copy, job done, they dont need to know about the catch, in sweep, downsweep outsweep, upsweep and recovery of front crawl, they just do it.....

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    Re: Teaching the trumpet embouchure to a beginner

    Nice reply, Ed. Yes it can get pretty darn cold here in central NY. We are also the city with the most snowfall in the US. I am lucky that in my area there is a close knit group of veteran teachers who look after new teachers and take them under our wings.

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