Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 10:25:22 -0500
From: Paul Ayick <>
Subject: A question about embouchure "M"

> "M" I could be wrong, but I think this has been a part of the Stevens-Costello
> teaching for decades.  I know I heard it before the TPIN even existed.  Are
> there any Roy Stevens pupils on the list that could verify one way or the
> other?

I studied with Roy in the 70's and would dissuade anyone from taking anything in the Costello System (which is what Roy taught, he bought the rights from the family) too literally. In my opinion the Costello System is bogus ( I know some have done well with it and I know a few but most did not) and I will tell you why.

One word. DOGMA. In the original

Costello writings he says time and again one must roll in somewhat (good), use 1/3 top 2/3rds bottom and blow up for the high notes. For most players this is worse than bad. What he describes is an upstream embouchure and most players are downstream types. Imagine teaching a righty to become a lefty or of going through your day walking backwards. Roy turned out a few good players but essentially most of his students had loud high "G"s, and little else. Around NY when I was growing up most of the established good players looked at his methods with essentially what was disdane.I think if one really wants to understand the mechanics involved in brass playing there still is no teacher more astute and perceptive that Reinhardt and you can still find his Encyclopedia Of The Pivot System treatise if you look for it. There is no 1 way to do anything and that is where Costello/Stevens is vitally flawed. Listen to Leon when he says firm the corners, get the jaw involved, and keep the air on and go for tone. You can't get any better advice from anyone.

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