It is currently Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:54 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:24 am
Posts: 14
Have you tried just working with the headjoint? With the hand covering the end, you can work on producing a good tone in the lower register; remove the hand and you can work on the upper register. One thing that may or may not have been mentioned already is that embouchure is an important part of producing a good tone, but air/wind/support is/are equally (if not more) important.

I've been thinking about the suggestions of smiling, pouting, etc. to create the embouchure/aperture. When first learning the flute, I was encouraged to turn the outer edges of my lips upward as if in a smile. Not too far down the road, I was encouraged to "relax" my embouchure, which essentially meant that the outer edges of my lips were neutral, neither smiling nor pouting.

I watched some Matt Molloy videos this weekend. There were one or two that got nice and up close from the side and front. IMHO, he has a terrific embouchure. There is no frown/pout, no smile; it looks completely natural. And listen to how he sounds! He has an incredibly flexible tone/sound.

BTW, what a terrific topic.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:27 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:15 pm
Posts: 641
Location: Seattle, WA
One thing that helps me a lot is making a lip scrub. Get some fine, but not powdered, sugar and mix it 1:1 with olive or coconut oil. I add a dash of peppermint oil. This helps remove dead skin and keep the surface of the lips smooth. Can't speak for everyone, but I have to work with the "embouchure du jour" which is different every day. More about troubleshooting than anything else! I'll be making an 'embouchure troubleshooting tips' video soon for my channel.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:10 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:15 pm
Posts: 52
Just the topic that's on my mind! I'm what you might call an advanced beginner, or a rebeginner, or a beginning intermediate player. I'm sure you know what I mean.

Embouchure has been the bane of my playing for a LOOONG time. Since I rebegan a few months ago I've got to the stage where I have a decent bottom D more often than not, but it's highly unreliable. But lately I've noticed a pattern. Try as I might to figure it out, I don't know why it's like this - I've read many a tip, and many are helpful, but I still haven't cracked it. So does anybody recognize this pattern, and do you have a relevant tip? Here's the thing:

First thing in the morning (well, after coffee) I have a first go. I begin with a couple of warm-up notes, a long G, a long A, that sort of thing. (As an aside, I can tell from the tone of those easy notes whether my bottom E and D are going to be any good.) Then down I go: F#, E, D - brilliant! Usually, anyway. Strong, clear, a bit of the reedy buzz I like to hear. I'll play a tune or two and feel satisfied. But then the tone gets more elusive. (Another aside: I'm trying to play little and often, especially in search of the hard bottom, a few minutes several times a day, and usually a longer session in the evening.) A similar thing happens later in the day, though it's the early morning toot that usually starts best.

So there's the pattern: starts well, gets more elusive after a few minutes.

What might this be telling me that I perhaps haven't already thought of? Does anybody recognize this?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:39 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 334
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
lingpupa wrote:
So there's the pattern: starts well, gets more elusive after a few minutes.

What might this be telling me that I perhaps haven't already thought of? Does anybody recognize this?

I recognize it. My flute always sounds its absolute best when I first pick it up, especially that nice hard low D and the low C# on my keyed flute. And then depending on the day and how long I'm playing, it can go slowly downhill unless I give it a rest. The reason could be one of two things, or both together.

The most obvious cause is that the tiny muscles surrounding my lips get tired. Over time, the airstream isn't as finely controlled even though I'm making the same effort.

After you've been playing for a few years you can go longer before that happens. In the early years (I've been playing for 5 years) it happened fairly quickly. Now, I can go for about an hour or hour and a half of practice time before I feel I need to rest. I'll sometimes switch to mandolin for a few tunes before going back to the flute. Just a little rest time like that does wonders in getting the embouchure back.

The other reason might be condensation buildup in the flute barrel. Especially if you're a "wet" player, which I seem to be. The tone gradually shifts from strong and "buzzy" to a weaker and more veiled sound. When I suspect this is happening, I close all the tone holes with my fingers and give the flute a good hard blow with my lips sealed around the embouchure hole to clear it out. Be careful to avoid hitting a resonance peak that sounds like an loud elephant honk, if you don't want to attract too much attention. :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:24 am
Posts: 14
So, I started out as a classical flutist (silver Boehm flute) and also dabbled on a Boxwood baroque flute. I didn't have issues with the condensation in either of those instruments interfering with my tone, aside from the occasional spit bubble on a pad. I've noticed that I need to swab my Irish flute during practice sessions. This helps; helps me anyway.

FWIW, I start each day with interval exercises to and from the hard D and low E (also low G), e.g. D-E-D, D-F#-D, etc. to the middle D. I experiment with honking on the hard D and playing the other notes with a mellow tone. I also have started doing crescendo/decrescendo exercises on one note per day. So on Monday, I do the exercise on the hard D, middle D, and even the high D. On Tuesdays, it's low E and middle E. And so on. This is something I did religiously on the silver flute. It helped me develop a good, solid tone on each note. I felt like my lips knew where to find them.

Another tip I picked up from an interview I heard with an Irish player (can't remember who it was): instead of practicing tunes just two times through, practice them five times through. I've been working on this and I can feel that my endurance is improving.

Love this topic.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:18 pm
Posts: 307
I have been inconsistent for a long time in my journey. With steady practice, It improved slowly; happily progress seemed to be more rapidly recently.

I agree with the idea that fine motor muscles get tired.

Beyond that, I think the main reason is inconsistent focus of the air stream. As always, daily effort over time is required.

One thing that helped me the most, was playing the highest notes as quietly as possible. This forced me to be correctly focussed and exercised the fine motor skills in my lips. Surprisingly, working like this on the high notes made huge improvements in the low notes.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16933
I don't know if it's been mentioned, but let me add that it can be helpful to purchase
a G, A, or Bb flute and play your regular repertoire on it. The higher pitched flute makes serious
demands on your embouchure and can really help when you play the D flute. There are very good ones relatively cheap. Also they sound very good.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:01 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:15 pm
Posts: 52
Well guys, I'm too old and have too many disappointments behind me to say anything like "I've cracked it", in addition to which I am genuinely and deeply aware that embouchure development is a near lifelong project.

BUT, after six months of rebeginning, during which I several times was on the point of giving it up with the thought that it's not for me, that there is something fundamentally unflutey about the configuration of my apparently more or less normal teeth and mouth - a breakthrough!

Things improved a bit with various little mods: keeping the tube nicely horizontal, relaxing the cheeks, softening the lips near the low notes - and on and on, though all the tips in this thread and more. But today, all day, at every little practice session (I work at home alone) I've had a decent, strong bottom D and E. Room for further improvement, of course, but entirely presentable and workable. The Blarney Pilgrim does not sound stupid or make me consider throwing the thing across the room!

The final trick? Not that this is likely to be the final trick for many people - we have to get so many things right before it comes together. But for me it was letting my lower teeth and jaw drop back (not down) a bit, giving me a bit more overbite than is natural.

This is not a new tip, of course, but it does go to show. There is hope for us all!

(Not that I aim at this kind of playing, of course, nor am I doing anything so unusual: https://youtu.be/WcHrguRGFMk.)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Embouchure Tips
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:21 pm
Posts: 40
Hey guys, I havnt logged in for a while. Thanks for all the bonus advice! Just read through all of it, lots of good stuff. I've still been practicing, and working on lots of stuff mentioned. I've been improving which is good, but as expected still a long way to go :)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.081s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)