The Balanced Embouchure Website — www. The Balanced Embouchure Discussion Forum — www. Back to Main Page. The Balanced Embouchure BE is a set of embouchure development exercises and practice methods that coordinate and strengthen the lip muscles so that they work better and more efficiently, and lead to improved playing — better tone, endurance, flexibility and range. It is a self-help method that can be done without a teacher, and works for everyone, regardless of age or ability, and regardless of how good or messed up their embouchure is. The Balanced Embouchure is not an embouchure type.
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The Balanced Embouchure Website — www. The Balanced Embouchure Discussion Forum — www. Back to Main Page. The Balanced Embouchure BE is a set of embouchure development exercises and practice methods that coordinate and strengthen the lip muscles so that they work better and more efficiently, and lead to improved playing — better tone, endurance, flexibility and range.
It is a self-help method that can be done without a teacher, and works for everyone, regardless of age or ability, and regardless of how good or messed up their embouchure is. The Balanced Embouchure is not an embouchure type. It is a set of exercises that complements ANY embouchure type.
For most people, the changes are very subtle, and help their normal embouchure to work better without fundamentally changing it. This generally occurs spontaneously, with maybe a few days of instability, after which you gain huge improvement in all aspects of playing. Jeff Smiley the author uses BE with all his students. His average motivated high school students years old have a playable performance range of G over high C, played loud and full, and he does NOT specifically select talented students.
This is realistic for anyone using BE, as is a rich, full tone, and the endurance to play for hours. You will learn how to play the trumpet properly and learn to do things you previously thought impossible. Your only limitations will be musical, not technical. Most people experience steady improvement over months to years. It is not a magic bullet that will fix all problems overnight — it takes practice and patience. Most people notice an immediate big improvement in tone, then useful and noticeable improvements within a few months, and steady improvements after that in all aspects of their playing.
Occasionally, someone starts BE and everything falls into place very fast, with their range extending by an octave or more in a few weeks. Firstly , BE does not require you to adopt a specific lip embouchure setting or tonguing style — it helps you to make the best of what you have, and find what works best for you.
Thirdly , it actually works! Many BE students including me have tried a variety of methods in the past, and none have given any real improvement. For many, BE has given them real improvement for the first time in years and now they can do things that they thought were impossible.
It is new, published only in , and not yet distributed widely. The author, Jeff Smiley, currently offers email support to all users of the book. That role is gradually being taken over by the internet discussion forum, after which the book will be released more widely. The idea is to grow the method gradually, through a body of trumpet players and eventually teachers that have successfully applied the methods. BE is being used by all types of players, from beginners to players of over 50 years experience, from high school students to comeback players to professional trumpeters.
What they all have in common is that they are making more rapid improvement than they have ever done — for many it is the first time their playing has improved in decades of dedicated practice. One side-effect of BE is the ability to play well on small mouthpieces, but it is not required. Play on the mouthpiece you have, and only change if you want to.
BE does not need an ideal face and mouth structure to work. Even playing with braces is possible. The minimum is about sessions per week, minutes each. Less than this will still give progress, but more slowly. More than this will not necessarily give faster progress. The BE exercises uses all these and more.
They are merely exercises that use the full range of motion of the lips. Some other BE students have experienced the same thing. Some teachers feel quite threatened when their methods seem to be questioned or challenged. One solution is to do the BE exercises by yourself in your own practice, times per week, and then wait until your trumpet teacher asks why you have improved so much.
One result of BE development is increased range, with a big, fat, loud double G a realistic goal, on any mouthpiece or higher even , but this is not the main aim, or done at the expense of anything else. BE leads to great improvement in ALL aspects of trumpet playing — tone, endurance, clarity, articulation, flexibility, dynamics, and range. BE enables you to play how you want to in any style, from screaming lead playing, to moody jazz, from classical solo work to modern orchestral playing.
Check out the BE website www. Will I have to change my embouchure? What are realistic achievements using BE? How long will it take to improve? How is BE different from other methods? I have never heard of BE — why? Who is using BE? I have heard that BE uses small mouthpieces — do I have to change mouthpieces?
How much time is required to practice BE? My trumpet teacher does not approve of BE — what should I do? Is BE just another high note method? Can you play Classical and Orchestral trumpet using BE? Want to find out more or have more questions?
Tongue On Lips (The Balanced Embouchure Way)
I will not be quoting the book directly and this is not intended to be a guide for those wishing to pursue the technique. Simply put, this post is a supplement to another blog post written here to prevent it from drifting off-topic. Tongue On Lips is an idea that originates, at least in the twentieth century, in the teaching of Jerome Callet. The basic premise is that to tongue on the lips you need to touch your top lip with your tongue as a means of articulating notes. Some trumpet ideologies, specifically the work of Donald Reinhardt and Claude Gordon among others, strictly forbid this method of attack although it can easily be traced back at least to the methods of Jean-Baptiste Arban and Jules Levy.
Do you use The Balanced Embouchure?
He divides his text into two basic sections, an overview followed by his specific exercises. The book is physically put together very well. Additionally, Smiley has made much of the text from his book available on his web site, including excerpts from his Introduction and chapters on Mechanics , Performance , and even some of his exercises. I showed this chapter to a friend who is a licensed S. She found several misleading or false statements just skimming through a couple of pages. This book would be much stronger if he simply removed this chapter entirely, as Smiley is clearly not qualified to give medical advice neither am I, for that matter, consult with your doctor. My main complaint with his description of proper embouchure mechanics is his revolutionary hypothesis that tight corners create a flat chin and that this is only useful for 3 in 10 players.
Recently this question has come up in a couple of places in reference to my recordings of several Kopprasch etudes on YouTube. Rather than address questions individually, I decided to write a blog post. In short, the answer is no, I do not use any exercises from The Balanced Embouchure , although I am seeing this book mentioned in more and more places. I am interested in learning more about both the book and the approach developed by Jeff Smiley, as I consider it part of my job as a teacher to be as informed as possible about current pedagogical practices. First let me say that I have not studied with Mr. Smiley or any of his students, nor have I read or practiced any material from The Balanced Embouchure. Consequently, I do not feel prepared at this point to make anything other than very general comments about the subject.