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Thread: Euphonium Embouchure Troubles

  1. Euphonium Embouchure Troubles

    Hello! I am currently a Junior in high school, and plan on majoring in music. However, I do have quite a big problem. I have been told by multiple people that my mouthpiece placement is incredibly low, with about 10% of my lips on the mouthpiece, which is actually about on the rim. This is affecting my range and flexibility, and I need to change it. I have been working on it for a couple of days now, and just wanted to get some extra advice. When I play with my mouthpiece 50/50, it is very difficult, and I can barely play anything. Any tips on this or things I can do to help this process go as quickly as possible?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by haydenrizzo View Post
    Hello! I am currently a Junior in high school, and plan on majoring in music. However, I do have quite a big problem. I have been told by multiple people that my mouthpiece placement is incredibly low, with about 10% of my lips on the mouthpiece, which is actually about on the rim. This is affecting my range and flexibility, and I need to change it. I have been working on it for a couple of days now, and just wanted to get some extra advice. When I play with my mouthpiece 50/50, it is very difficult, and I can barely play anything. Any tips on this or things I can do to help this process go as quickly as possible?
    For your own sake, don't think of going as quickly as possible. You are re-training muscles to work in a different way. Progress will be slow, with setbacks. You may have breakthroughs or you may have none. I'll defer to the better players/teachers in this list for specific advice, but it seems to me that long tones in the middle range are the place to start. I don't know if you'll find this relevant, but I played piano/organ/keyboards professionally for about 15 years and when I was in my 30s I went back to my high school teacher to correct the many inefficiencies I had in my technique. I practiced pieces at perhaps one-quarter full speed. It was only many months later that I noticed the difference, and that was by listening to recordings I had made of my practice session.

    Patience, hard work, practice, guidance from a good teacher.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1 (DE 101XTG9 mouthpiece in the drawer)
    Bach 36B trombone; Bach 6.5AL mouthpiece (pBone on loan to granddaughter)
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo) keep me company while practicing

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by haydenrizzo View Post
    Hello! I am currently a Junior in high school, and plan on majoring in music. However, I do have quite a big problem. I have been told by multiple people that my mouthpiece placement is incredibly low, with about 10% of my lips on the mouthpiece, which is actually about on the rim. This is affecting my range and flexibility, and I need to change it. I have been working on it for a couple of days now, and just wanted to get some extra advice. When I play with my mouthpiece 50/50, it is very difficult, and I can barely play anything. Any tips on this or things I can do to help this process go as quickly as possible?
    Mouthpiece placement depends on the person. If someone is telling you that is should be 50/50, they my be very wrong. My placement is about 70/30 on the upper lip. You may consider contacting Doug Elliott to see if he has any advice. Doug is a well known expert about such issues.

    DOUG ELLIOTT MOUTHPIECES
    13619 Layhill Rd
    Silver Spring, Maryland 20906

    DEMouthpieces on Skype or (at) aol.com
    phone 301-871-3535


    Mike

  4. #4
    I'm not exactly a professional, but I've never seen anyone play Euphonium with a 50/50 embouchure. Way back when I started as a wee lad, I was told to get the mouthpiece as high as I could get it where it just nearly touches my nose. Even many years later, playing smaller cup diameters (lol), I still use that same concept. Basically, the rim is on my bottom lip and the top lip does the magic. Best as I can tell by looking, this is what actual professionals are doing, so that's good enough for me. Anthony Caillet has fairly thin lips, but he plays with his nose riding the mouthpiece. Top lip on the rim is a nice trick for playing high when you're desperate, but not really "correct" for low brass, and definitely not what you want to be doing by default.

    Technically, it is possible to play with a 50/50 embouchure if the mouthpiece is large enough. I've been practicing this sort-of-Tuba embouchure on a 28mm wide cup. It's not really the "Euphonium" way of doing things, but I'm experimenting. For me, 28mm is large enough for Eb Bass and gets me down as low as my physical limit. That is definitely not going to be typical, so you'll need to do some experimentation to work this out.
    Hobbyist. Collector. Oval rotary guy. Unpaid shill for Josef Klier mouthpieces.

  5. #5
    Hopefully the OP has had a few productive days of experimenting! I agree with others who have advised you to be very patient. In my experience it takes many many months, not days, to make meaningful and lasting progress. If you can find a couple lessons, in person or virtual, that would be great for you to have somebody qualified listen and watch you play.

    I also agree with others that 50/50 may not be an ideal placement for you, so don't necessarily think that is what you need to strive for. I am around 60% top lip and 40% bottom lip. Something that you might try would be to find one note in the middle of your register that you can make a wonderful sound with your current placement. Then experiment by moving the mouthpiece in small increments downward and seeing if you can keep the tone great. I'm no expert, but in general if it feels fairly comfortable and sounds good you're probably in ok shape. If it feels like you're doing something really strange with your embouchure to make a nice sound you may want to try something else.

    When I got to college and started taking lessons, I found out some habits I had developed that were not ideal. One was having kind of a low range placement and a high range placement. I had a lot of trouble moving around the full range of notes because I was doing a lot of extra movement to make that happen. The Arban interval studies were absolutely impossible for me to play like that. It took a long time for me to get comfortable playing high notes and low notes with more or less the same setup. I think that might be what you're getting at when you say your placement is negatively affecting your range and flexibility. So as you experiment with lower mouthpiece placements, try to find something that allows you to jump between registers without resetting the mouthpiece on your face.

    The other thought I had was you might try playing around with mouthpiece buzzing and free buzzing, again starting with your easiest best middle or low middle range note. Don't overdo buzzing exercises but I like to use them in my practice. Search YouTube for Julie Landsman lips-mouthpiece-horn and that may be a good place to start. I really like that exercise and although not directly related to mouthpiece placements issues I think it may help you in your search for a good setup.
    Last edited by aroberts781; 03-03-2022 at 08:25 PM. Reason: Typos

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