I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for teaching embouchure? I am teaching a student from the very beginning, and on her first lesson, I told her to form a whistle, put the reed on the lower lip, and then roll it in over her teeth, keep the corners tight, and check to be sure her chin is flat. The next week, though, it didn’t look right, so I went over it again, but now her lower lip is showing. I have another student who took lessons from a bassoon teacher, and her lower lip is also showing. So I was wondering, what are some signs to look for that an embouchure isn’t right, and what needs to be done to correct it? Is embouchure something that you need to work on for more than one lesson, or is there a way to teach it that students can pick up more quickly?
Thank you in advance!
I’m guessing that saying “tight corners” makes someone pull back rather than pushing forward. I also tell students that they want to think of a “ewwww” sound, or an ü or something of that sort. But it does take time for some students to really get it. I can’t tell you how many times I have to say “corners forward” when I teach!
I also show them the picture in the book by Jay Light, that shows an anteater (correct) vs a cabbage patch doll (incorrect). I tell them that while it looks like we are pulling back sometimes, it never feels that way.
Sometimes, with my little ones, I suggest that they “kiss the reed”. That helps them understand we don’t bite. Sometimes.
I’m sure others will have better solutions, but there are just a few things I talk about.
Thank you so much! I’ll try your suggestions, and it’s good to know that it’s normal to need to continue working on it with them. I was wondering, what Jay Light book were you referring to? I have one on reed making, but I don’t see any embouchures in it.
I believe the Jay Light book Patty is referring to is “Essays for Oboists.” It’s a great book and I refer to it a lot when teaching.
Yep, that’s the book, Dawn.
I found it on Amazon for $19.00 & ordered it–thanks again!