There are many points
of view regarding the embouchure. What follows below is probably
generally accepted as being true for most everyone. The student
needs to work with their individual teacher closely on this subject. Practicing
in front of a mirror is very useful. Look for some of the following
things when watching your embouchure:
point where the reed breaks away from the mouthpiece should
contact the lip on the line where the lip meets the chin.
upper lip comes down "flush" with
the upper teeth on
the mouthpiece. i.e.,
the upper lip is
never between the
upper teeth and the
some extent, there should
be a slight "overbite," perhaps
as a firm, strong upper lip, securely out on the
mouthpiece for high notes as well as
about the embouchure
as a drawstring purse; the embouchure
is like the closing of this purse when the "strings" (below
the chin) are pulled.
not to smile when
playing. When the lips are stretched, the muscles and
tissue around the lips are stretched and thin. This
results in a thin sound
especially up high.
lip muscles are some
of the weakest muscles in the body and must be directed
firmly around the mouthpiece, NOT away
from it as when you "smile." If
you smile, you are working against yourself.
let the chin
bunch up; keep the bottom lip flat against the bottom
it can be useful to think of "pointing" the
think of slightly increasing the distance between the teeth. Do not
allow the clarinet to be held too far out from the body.
Do not allow the clarinet to be held too far out from the body
It is important
to realize that all of the above factors lead to one basic point. That
is, the lower lip, jaw and teeth must not squeeze up against
the reed in order that the reed (the source of musical sound) be
allowed to vibrate freely and give a full resonant sound.
The Texas School Music Project is a source for ideas
and information concerning pedagogical practices in the music classroom
or rehearsal hall.
The TSMP is a service provided to all music specialists by the faculty
of the School of Music at Stephen
F. Austin State University.