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Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby wilktone » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:54 am

I recently posted a brass embouchure resource for teachers on my web site. Even very experienced teachers and players may learn something from it.

http://www.wilktone.com/?page_id=5619" target="_blank

Questions and corrections are welcome.

Dave
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby stevennorsworthy » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:04 pm

I also posted Dave’s website on TubeNet just after he posted it. Dave has an amazing compilation of empirical evidence that is irrefutable and I would say that anyone who denies it just doing it at their own peril, it is that profound. I would say that anyone at any level, the best of the best, can benefit.
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby the elephant » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:58 pm

One quick note: your autocorrect failed you. You have "lexicon" where it should be "lexan" when referring to polycarbonate mouthpieces. Might want to fix that. :-)
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby Will Jones » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:18 pm

This deserves immediate inclusion in the canon of brass pedagogy.
There's certainly more to be said on the topic, but this is an amazing effort.
As principal euphonium in the Air Force Band, I took my euphonium playing pretty far - I'd like to think I achieved a fair bit of success. But I've struggled adapting my skills (now in my amateur life) to tuba and bass trombone. I sound better than your average bear, but not as good as most good college players. On tuba, particularly, I've struggled to understand why I just randomly miss notes.

I read Dave's work and implemented it in practice tonight; making some "common sense" changes in how I hold by BAT Conn 36j to facilitate Dave's observations about mouthpiece movement and angle. For me, I had to make changes to actually do the mouthpiece placement/air direction stuff while not compromising my posture. It was an immediate and significant improvement on my tuba playing accuracy.

I don't think this article is the last word. I think there's future debate about how "overdoing it" might limit tone consistency and development. But for me, my accuracy improved dramatically and I'm going with it.

This doesn't mean throw out everything you've learned for oral cavity shape, breath quantity/velocity/pressure, etc... but it means something I think most advanced players know: embouchure matters too. But it goes a step further and makes a pretty big assertion: there are three right ways to do this, and each has additional left-right variation. Understand which one is yours you'll have another tool in the box.
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby stevennorsworthy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:05 am

Irrefutable, a breakthrough that is very well explained by Dave and is simply a carryover from the 1940’s and ignored or rejected brass players and teachers who refuse to approach brass playing from a scientific point of view of human physiognomy.
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby wilktone » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:11 am

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

the elephant wrote:One quick note: your autocorrect failed you. You have "lexicon" where it should be "lexan" when referring to polycarbonate mouthpieces. Might want to fix that. :-)


Thanks for catching that. I'm sure there are more typos and other mistakes throughout. What I'm most worried about is confusing folks with up/down and left/right discrepancies, which are very easy mistakes to make when writing.

Will Jones wrote:This deserves immediate inclusion in the canon of brass pedagogy.


stevennorsworthy wrote:Irrefutable, a breakthrough that is very well explained by Dave and is simply a carryover from the 1940’s and ignored or rejected brass players and teachers who refuse to approach brass playing from a scientific point of view of human physiognomy.


Thank you for noticing. Yes, I believe that the information I put in there should be common knowledge to all brass teachers. It's not new and as Steven notes, it's been around for about 75 years now (at least), it's just generally ignored. There is a culture in brass pedagogy that finds it not only acceptable but actually encourages against studying instrumental technique in detail. I hope that after going through my resource (at least the first three pages) teachers will understand how that attitude can hold back our teaching.

If you've found it interesting and/or helpful please share it with someone who also might.

Thanks,

Dave
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby MaryAnn » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:03 pm

I found in learning horn as an adult that that culture of "analysis is paralysis" was almost a religion in the horn world, and it's my opinion that lack of attention to what should be the basics results in a lot of students being classified as having no talent, when the real problem is they are not being taught, only encouraged. The tuba world is much more open.
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby timothy42b » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:49 am

wilktone wrote:There is a culture in brass pedagogy that finds it not only acceptable but actually encourages against studying instrumental technique in detail. I hope that after going through my resource (at least the first three pages) teachers will understand how that attitude can hold back our teaching.


Dave


Yes, that culture is based on superstition, but has had considerable success which reinforces its permanence.

Recently Andrew Glendenning wrote a book and James Markey has done some master classes making the same point Dave has.

Contrast our common approach with sports analyses - here's a couple of simple examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIo12LO ... x=193&t=0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIo12LO ... x=193&t=0s
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Re: Brass Embouchure Pedagogy Resource

Postby wilktone » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:50 am

MaryAnn wrote:I found in learning horn as an adult that that culture of "analysis is paralysis" was almost a religion in the horn world, and it's my opinion that lack of attention to what should be the basics results in a lot of students being classified as having no talent, when the real problem is they are not being taught, only encouraged. The tuba world is much more open.


I would agree that horn methods and teachers are more rigid in how they describe embouchure and what they teach, but it's not just them. I've encountered resistance from teachers and players on all brass instruments. Frankly, the tradition in tuba pedagogy seems to be one of the less open instruments too, partly because Arnold Jacobs so strongly discouraged embouchure analysis as worth while. I notice that jazz players are often more open to these ideas (perhaps because so many earlier jazz musicians were self taught and simply did what worked, instead of what's taught as "correct"), so trumpet and trombone pedagogy sometimes seems a bit more receptive.

Those are generalities, however, and based on my personal impressions. It's not too dissimilar from what Timothy is talking about below.

[quote="timothy42b"

Yes, that culture is based on superstition, but has had considerable success which reinforces its permanence.[/quote]

One of the points I make in my introduction to Embouchure 101 is that since this culture is so pervasive, it's pretty much the only game in town. Sure, it has its successes, but you also have to blame all the failures on it too. We don't hear about those, though.

It's a natural bias we all have. We remember those moments we gave a student sudden insight or made long-term corrections, but forget all those students who gave up, washed out, or moved on. Not to mention that those high profile teachers who maintain studios in prestigious universities and conservatories typically don't accept students that need some embouchure analysis and corrections. Those students don't even make it through the door.

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