Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 09:59:44 -0400
From: "LEON MERIAN" <>
Subject: Fw: Facial Exercise By Leon Merian

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Ayick" <>

Facial Exercise By Leon Merian

Some trumpet methods, systems and teachers take the approach of  "it's all air ",  others zero in on the specific physical details such as; arch the tongue, blow the air up for high notes, wedge your air stream, 1/3 rds upper 2/3 rds lower, etc. etc. etc. , and,  still others use a purely "bell canto" or beautiful sound approach. There are as many different theories as there are great players. There is usually some good and some truth in each approach and depending on ones initial deficiencies, assuming there are some, the results of any given student with any given teacher, system, or method may vary from nil to stupendous, sort of a roll of the dice.

Well Leon Merians approach is to address all of the factors involved. His prime axioms of, keep the air on, and "isometricizing", two very simple concepts that address all areas of playing ,and, the more one understands his teachings the more apparent this becomes. Things he stresses.......... keep the air on and constant (this should appease the "it's all in the air" set ) "the very act of  breathing deeply and holding will compress and compact your air". Add to this the muscles  of the face, "corners firmed and sneering"  using virtually all the muscles in the face to keep a nice firm jaw, this will provide a great foundation sans any distortion usually caused by  corners that are too weak. This concept of using all the facial muscles to maintain the embouchure is of premium importance.

So there it is  ................air and embouchure. Leons approach is on the surface simplistic but in practice it is all encompassing. He has his own drills for every area of playing and he has shown me some wonderful exercise for developing the facial muscles they are:

The kiss is done in time, (as are all these facial drills)  for as long as one can hold on in rythmn. With the lips in their natural position firm the corners and without unrolling them make a kissing sound by "smacking " the soft red membranes one against the other or a simple kissing motion without the pucker.. The tongue will come into the teeth opening and draw back quickly as the lips separate in a "smacking" or "kissing" motion. MM 60 kisses as 1/8th notes. This really works the corners!
Say the word "OUI" and at the end of the word on the "EE" portion of it, snap the corners back hard and quick. time the motion to the metronome as above.
3. The WOW WOW WOW   
When you pronounce W O W it is more like  this...WAH--OU / WAH--OU / WAH--OU  in other words you are wide open on the WAH,   then you are snapping the chop back to OU...that makes it one complete W O W....simply keep repeating this over & over again...Got it ? To put it another way, the WAH is wide open...the OU is closed ready to start the next WAH Again time the exercise to a metronome.