Topic: Inflating Cheeks

Hi everybody
is that a fault to inflating the cheeks while your are playing?
(i mean blowing in your instrument through the reed)
Thanks a lot


Re: Inflating Cheeks

Once it was considered an absolute "no-no" and was strongly disapproved of. More recent approaches to embouchure and tone production, which focus on using the oral cavity to compress the air and resonate the tone, accommodate "controlled" flexing of the cheeks at appropriate times. As an extension to "yawning", inflating the cheeks can increase the air space further and a happy by-product  of this can be the rejuvenation of the cheek muscles. The total relaxation which occurs allows blood to flush toxins away and bring nourishment to tiring muscles. I would encourage you to try gently releasing the cheeks, with an awareness of containing the breath pressure and then slowly pulling them back in against the teeth. It is that variability which ensures you maintain control over the cheek muscles. Being out of control and having the cheeks "blown out" continuously, would still be regarded as a problem needing to be addressed.

Allowing air to inflate the lips in front of the front teeth can also be problematic and I would discourage that from happening.

Additionally I would take care that in releasing the cheek muscles, the sealing of the lips on the reed is not allowed to leak air around the reed - this can cause distracting hiss as air escapes. My comparison would be a steam engineer "over-driving" the system to the point where the safety valve is constantly venting steam wastefully. A skillfiul driver would operate just below the "escape point" a matter of only a few kpa pressure difference.

Regards Neville

Last edited by NevilleForsythe (2010-10-17 06:18:11)

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor