SAXOPHONE EMBOUCHURE BASICS
As a beginner, the saxophone embouchure can be somehow confusing to grasp considering there are many components to take into consideration.
Today, we are going to take a deep look at the saxophone embouchure basics so you will no longer have any doubts on this.
Watch the video below for a practical demonstration on the saxophone embouchure basics.
The French term “Embouchure” means the way in which a player applies their mouth to the mouthpiece of a brass or wind instrument, especially as it affects the production of the sound.
When understanding the saxophone embouchure you want to pay attention to two main parts: the teeth and the lips.
Place your upper teeth on the mouthpiece
Slightly roll the bottom lip onto your teeth as this acts as cushion and helps the reed to vibrate.
Try to maintain a good alignment between the upper teeth and lower teeth avoid one part to be more forward (or backwards) than the other. Doing so will create an imbalance in the sound and the reed will no longer vibrate properly and you will have a hard time producing a good sound.
Upper teeth too forward
Lower teeth too forward
HOW MUCH BOTTOM LIP SHOULD YOU ROLL IN FOR AN OPTIMAL SAXOPHONE EMBOUCHURE?
In the video I demonstrate what happens if you roll in your lip too much in or too little.
When you have too much lip rolled in, the reed won’t be vibrate fully because the lip is stopping the vibrations of the reed.
On the other hand, if you have very little lip rolled in it will be very hard to produce a sound as it will be very challenging to put the reed in vibration.
You should know that if your bottom teeth are too close to the reed you run into the risk of squeaking and produce harsh sounds just because the reed needs that cushioning from the bottom lip to help it produce a good sound.
You should experiment (as showed in the video) with all the positions of the lip so you can really feel the difference in sound.
To find the proper position of the bottom lip try the following:
Experiment rolling all your lip in then blow a sound
Experiment rolling very little lip in then blow a sound
Go half way (think 2/3 as well) between these two extremes then blow a sound. I like to think that my bottom teeth “cuts”the lower lip in half so the lip doesn’t disappear inside my mouth nor it’s completely out.
EXPERIMENTATION IS KEY
Really spend the time experimenting with your lip and teeth as, I believe, experimenting is everything when it comes to building good foundations of a great embouchure.
Improve your saxophone playing with our online saxophone course, with our in-person lessons and in-person courses for kids and adults