Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Circus Trick" or Developmental Tool?

On Yahoo Horn, Aleks wrote:
I suspect that your understanding of an einsetzen embouchure has been dictated by trumpet players who roll their lower lip out and put it practically outside the mouthpiece cup to play pedal tones. This is not an einsetzen embouchure, but a circus trick.
Aleks, Thank you so much for your comment. You may call this a "circus trick", because you aren't aware of its value and use to the brass player. I would also call it a "circus trick" if I didn't have positive experience using it. I will agree that it has little or no direct application in regular performance, but I do regard this technique as a valuable tool for embouchure development. I liken it to buzzing, which also seems useless to those who have never used it systematically. No one actually performs free buzzing or buzzing the mouthpiece alone, but this is never-the-less a valuable development tool for many.

The technique of playing with the lower lip completely rolled out below the mouthpiece rim, which I consider an exaggerated or extreme form of einsetzen, is the foundation of the roll out exercises in the Balanced Embouchure system. Trumpet players and horn players alike use this technique to help them develop their embouchures. Those who have benefited from this development tool, are very grateful for this "circus trick!" Here are links to one horn player's positive experience working with this exercise:

Also on Yahoo Horn, Richard Hirsch defined einsetzen as one in which the mouthpiece is set into & stays in the lower lip. After thinking about this, I realized that his definition closely describes the activity of one particular BE exercise (RO#4) which I practice daily. This exercise employs this set up to develop the ability to play the fullest range possible while keeping the rim of the mouthpiece set into the lower lip as much as possible -- pretty close to Richard's definition.

There's another set of exercises, the roll-in's, that do the opposite. These start way up high with an exaggerated rolled in set-up, then drag the setting down as far as possible into the lower ranges. This set up, which I believe may be a form of ansetzen, could also be called a "circus trick", because in its most exaggerated form, has no direct application to regular performance. I regard it as a valuable tool for embouchure development, practice it daily, and am pleased with the results.

Working with both extremes of einsetzen (roll-out) and ansetzen (roll-in) on a systematic, daily basis as presented in The Balanced Embouchure, provides comprehensive experiences for discovery that are not part of any other embouchure development system I've seen. These exercises expand the range of motion and abilities of the average brass player far beyond anything most could even imagine possible.

"Everything's impossible until someone does it." --Bruce Wayne

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