Credit: clconroy

Importance Of Embochure

What does a good embouchure do for you?  Well if you play a wind instrument your embouchure is very important for consistency, accuracy and tone.  It is a vital part of your learning and training as a musician.  It is basically the muscles in your mouth that control airflow.  Like all muscles, the muscles in your mouth need a workout to get stronger.  Take the time to give them the attention they need.

Some Steps to Work On

Just like working out your body, working out your mouth requires various exercises. Here are a few ways you can build the muscles in your mouth.  

1.  Try holding a pencil straight with only your lips.  Don't use your teeth, that is cheating.  Place the pencil between your lips and try to keep it straight.  Holding the pencil straight for longer periods will make the exercise more effective.

2. Practice children's songs with just your mouthpiece.  Long tones are also fun to do on just the mouth piece.  It is useful to do this practice with a keyboard to help you keep your tones in tune.

MouthpieceCredit: J.N. Thurgood


3.  Lip slurs.  A lip slur is when you slide from one note in a register to another note in another register.  Do not use your tongue to switch between notes.   It requires a lot of air and for trombone players some lip slurs require very quick arm motion from one position to the next, although most lip slurs won't require much arm motion. Try to make the slurs smooth and in time to a metronome.

4.  Lip buzzing.  This is when you buzz your lips together.  No mouthpiece or horn required.  Just put them together and blow as if you were playing your horn.  Try buzzing simple tunes or scales.  

BuzzingCredit: J.N. Thurgood

5.  Another way to practice building your embouchure and the range of the instrument is to play scales in extreme registers.  It is a good idea to build into these registers and not try to play too high or too low right away.  You want to start where you are comfortable and know that your embouchure is correct.  Then have the scale go higher or lower trying to keep your embouchure as similar as possible.  This will help you learn to use a good embouchure for all ranges of the instrument.  Be careful, it is easy to let your embouchure get sloppy in extreme ranges.  Do not let a bad habit form just because you are too impatient to practice it right.

Keep Practicing and Have Fun

It is important to remember to have fun.  If at any point you feel like the monotony is too much then switch your routine.  There are dozens of ways to practice.  You don't even have to have a horn with you.  An instrument is not always required to practice your technique.  As you improve your embouchure you should notice improvements in range, steadiness, and tone.  You will also be able to play for longer periods of time.  This fundamental goes hand in hand with breath support.  Make sure your air flow and embouchure work together to create a good buzzing of the lips.  This will help your tone sound great.  Good luck and have fun.