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Author Topic: More Embouchure questions  (Read 2467 times)
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2dutch
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« on: Oct 18, 2005, 06:23PM »

Hello,
First, thanks for providing such a great resource for beginning trombonists!
I have started again after 20+ years of not playing. I used to have embouchure problems, so this time, I wanted to read up on the topic and maybe make some changes. So I read Farkas' book on the art of brass playing, bought myself an embouchure visualiser, and sure enough, I noticed that I blow the air straight down over my chin, exactly what Farkas says is dead wrong. His remedy however does not work for me. He says that the downward airstream is almost invariably caused by a chin that is receded too much. Well, no matter how much I stick my chin forward (even to the point of having my bottom teeth forward from my upper teeth!), I always blow the air more or less down, probably because I have my upper lip slightly over my lower lip, especially when I get tired.
Something else I have noticed: I tried free buzzing, checking that I blow the air forward. There is no way that I can do that. The only way to produce a buzzing sound without a mouthpiece for me is to blow the air straight down. I find that it really helps to have a ring (mouthpiece or visualiser) above my upper lip, even if the pressure is only very slight, to produce a buzzing sound. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Any advice? Thanks in advance!
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KrowleyRock
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 18, 2005, 07:19PM »

when i free buzz and the air goes down, i keep the buzz going and slowly bring my bottom lip forward. if the buzzing stops, try again, and figure out how to keep it going. i know that seems kind of vague, but you know your body best. you can figure out things about it better than anybody else can. eventually you will be able to start eh buzzing in the straight forward position, once you know what it feels like.
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JBledsoe
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 18, 2005, 08:13PM »

Howdy,


 Its important to realize that Farkas was a horn player, not a trombonist. Its also important to realize that if you tried to follow everything you read, then you would have the worst embouchure ever seen. You tried to fix it, and it doesnt work for you. So can it. Farkas also says that the air should be blown straight into the mouthpiece at all times, that the air should not be directed toward the top or bottom of the cup, but VERY few people can accomplish this with any success.

 Read the book, gather what you can, ditch what you cant. There is more than one way to play a brass instrument.


Josh
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Josh Bledsoe
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 18, 2005, 08:38PM »

The simple answer is that Farkas was wrong.  NOBODY blows the air straight out.  It's not possible, and certainly not desirable.

Somebody posted before that Farkas changed his mind later.

Keep doing what you're doing.  The air SHOULD go down and hit your chin.
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Dave
« Reply #4 on: Oct 19, 2005, 04:41AM »

Doug's right here.  The air stream must either travel downward (most common) or upward (less common, but still correct for some players).  Players who strive to make the air stream travel straight into the shank, like Farkas recommended in the Art of Brass Playing either aren't doing so or will end up with some chops problems.

About 10 years after Farkas published the Art of Brass Playing he put out a smaller and lesser known book, A Photographic Study of 40 Virtuosi Horn Players.  39 of the players played with their air stream directed downwards, one was an upstream player.  Unfortunately, Farkas never made corrections to his more popular book, so many people (particularly horn players) use this book as literal truth instead of a step along the process of discovery on the mechanics of brass playing.

Farkas was a very fine horn player and, from what I've heard from a former student of his, a great teacher.  Unfortunately he published his best known book including his hypothesis on the embouchure before testing it out to see if it was accurate.

Quote
Its important to realize that Farkas was a horn player, not a trombonist.


There's really no major differences in how horn players' embouchure will work compared with trombone players.  The same basic principles apply for all brass instruments.

Quote
I used to have embouchure problems, so this time, I wanted to read up on the topic and maybe make some changes.


What problems did you have?  Are you having similar issues now?  Are you taking lessons with someone who can watch you play in person?  All we can do here is guess based on the little information you're able to write, which is less than ideal in diagnosing embouchure troubles and prescribing help.

Dave
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Knuckle Dragger

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« Reply #5 on: Oct 19, 2005, 11:37AM »

All that stuff that your reading is good, but remember that everyone has a different set of chops and that you need to find out what works for you!
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2dutch
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 19, 2005, 07:04PM »

Thanks so much for your comments! It is very encouraging to hear that I might not be on the wrong track. I have just started taking lessons and I will work with my teacher on these things, like, a less airy tone, better high range, and basically learning to "sing" in the trombone. I know it will take years, and I want to make sure I start out right.
Thanks so much!
Jan
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