Topic: Exercises to maintain embouchure

I have a student who is going through carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists this coming week.  He is very worried about losing his embouchure while he is recovering from surgery; do you know of any exercises he could do to help him maintain his embouchure while he heals?  If you have any breathing exercises as well, or pretty much anything that he could do to keep him in shape while he cannot pick up his instrument, it would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Exercises to maintain embouchure

Interesting that you have posted this topic. Sorry for the delay!  I hope that your student's surgery is going well.

I have been thinking about this recently in regards to a student leaving on a trip this summer. My hope is to put together some ideas in a more formal way, but here are some ideas:

I have written a few articles on practicing exercises with a bassoon reed and bocal and use of "drives."  See:

"Using the Bassoon Bocal as a Diagnostic and Pedagogical Tool," Journal of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors 60/3 (Spring 1992): 4-7.

"A Bassoonist's Expansions upon Marcel Tabuteau's "Drive," The Journal of the International Double Reed Society 20 (July 1992): 27-30.

“Basic Bassoon Articulations,” The Instrumentalist 53/8 (March 1999): 28-32.

There are lots of exercises you can do with dynamics, articulation (great time to learn double tonguing!), and breathing. Speaking of breathing why not make this a time to master circular breathing. 

Any how, if time allows I hope to put this quick notes together into an article. Let me know if you have any ideas as well.  Terry

Terry Ewell
Professor Bassoon, Towson University
Former President, IDRS
Former Principal Bassoon Hong Kong Philharmonic, Wheeling Symphony


Re: Exercises to maintain embouchure


Thanks so much for the reply.  My student is doing quite well and is able to now play a very limited amount of time.
I have gotten a lot of e-mail responses about exercises for tonguing, double tonguing, breathing, and many other topics of interest for those unable to pick up their instrument for an extended period of time.  Once I get things complied, I will send you out an e-mail of all that I have collected.
Thanks again!