Date: Sun, 1 Feb 1998 12:56:56 +0000
From: "Rune Aleksandersen" <>
Subject: Re:  my mystifying embouchure(and other random stuff)...

Hi Alan,

Knowing something about how Gordon played, makes it easier to understand his thinking. He used very open horns and mouthpieces and talks about creating resistance in front of the equipment. Why don't people follow this advice? Because the embouchure they are using don't work with open equipment! If open equipment were the norm, I bet that many common embouchure problems would not excist.

> "Did you ever notice how students are continually practicing before a mirror
> looking at their lips?  What are they looking for?  And if they thought they
> found something, what would they do about it?  They would worry!  <begin
> italics> Stay away from a mirror while practicing. <end italics>
The problem is that it is no use in staring in the mirror if you don't know what to look for. He is quite right about this. Another issue is if you really know what to look for.

> Another quote:
> "All of (ed.  these false theories are) based upon the false assumption that
> the lips play the horn; <begin italics> that the lip gets the high notes.
> <end italics> This fallacy has been the main cause of all the frustrations
> and disappointments experienced by so many players today.
Gordon : "What makes the lips vibrate? The answer of course, is the air moving."
Example : When playing the Stevens embouhcure, supplying more air will close the lips so one gets higher notes. So the air assists the player and makes the job easier.

> "Remember, the lips do not play the horn, so once your embouchure is set,
> FORGET THE LIP.  If you leave the lip alone, with proper practice, it will
> take care of itself!"
"Once your embouchure is set."  This is important. It depends on how the embouchure is set. Setting the embouchure with a good teeth opening and lips rolled slighly inwards, very little thought is needed. But many other methods of setting the embouchure need more focus on the lip for things to work.

Other Gordon quotes:

"The lips cannot vibrate if you keep shutting the vibrations off by pinching them together. They are constantly moving and adjusting, so they will keep vibrating. Therefore, they must always be moist. Never play with a dry lip."

"The position of the mouthpiece on the lips is very important. It  should be placed where it will produce the best vibrations, not were it necessarily feels comfortable"

"Many are afraid of changing the embouchure. However, if it is uncorrect, it should be changed"

"Another fallacy is tucking the lower lip under the upper. This should never happen and will lead to all sorts of problems because it shuts of the vibrations."

This above is very precise advice!
Gordon can be quoted to support very many different views on playing the trumpet: Forget about the lip! Think about the lip!


"Figures don't lie. But liars figure."

Rune Aleksandersen