Thursday, December 31, 2009

Horn Player with Unusual Embouchure
The interesting video linked above, was posted on the Yahoo horn list by Susan McKeever. (If the link doesn't work, you can find it by searching Yahoo Music for "Peanut Vendor by Liberace.") The horn player is Susan's uncle, John Graas. Notice his very unusual embouchure: rolled in with air pockets, relaxed lip corners and gently bunched chin. Wow! He looks like the kids on the cover of the BE book! I've seen a few trumpeters play like that, but never a horn player. To learn more about this remarkable musician, John Graas, follow this link:
When I first started BE, I couldn't do RI exercises with air pockets. I was naive enough to believe it couldn't be done on horn. I've since learned I was wrong because two years into BE, I finally learned to do RI's with air pockets. This video not only proves it can be done, but it also proves that a horn player can develop an efficient, flexible embouchure with a rolled in set up, relaxed lip corners, and a bunched chin. Who knew?
Please don't misunderstand, I'm not promoting John Graas's embouchure as the "ideal" or "correct" BE embouchure. There's no such thing as the "correct" BE embouchure. I'm only trying to open eyes to possibilities. This video shows that the hard & fast embouchure rules of the past -- tight lip corners, no air pockets, flat chin, etc. -- aren't necessarily the best thing for everyone. Can you imagine the results if John Graas had had a horn instructor who insisted he follow the rules and change his embouchure?
Valerie Wells

1 comment:

  1. Great Post. I read the article about John and love the part where it says,

    "During recording sessions, Graas' accuracy was so great that some of the band would buy him drinks if and when he missed...Graas would hit high "E" entrance notes night after night, never missing."