The Right Embouchure for You

The embouchure is one of the most important aspects to a good tone. If the saxophone is functioning properly and you have the proper reed and mouthpiece, then the rest is up to you! Some people get the embouchure right away, and others struggle with this important step. Remember, anyone can learn to do this, and if you follow the process, you’ll be able to have a great saxophone tone too!

Purpose

The purpose of this post is not to go through every step of the embouchure. We have already done that in great detail in the free lessons. This post will focus on important points that are sometimes skipped by the student, even after going through our step by step process. In addition, we’ll go over a few points that are not in the free lessons but are important for getting your best tone.

Get the Step by Step Process

If you have not done so already, sign up for the free lessons on the right side of this page. You’ll have access to a detailed video and step by step instructions for forming a proper embouchure. You can print off the instructions as well. 

Know Your Style

There are multiple approaches to the embouchure; slight adjustments can make a drastic change in tone. Reading about the embouchure online can be confusing because there are so many descriptions available. The reason? Different techniques and approaches work for different styles. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a classical embouchure when playing jazz; it just doesn’t sound right. Know the embouchure that best works with the style you want to play.

What’s Our Approach?

First of all, the embouchure we teach is not specifically designed for jazz or any other popular style. But wait! No need to worry. The approach taught here is best suited for a beginner. In other words, you’ll sound better, sooner, by using this approach. Here is a short list of some benefits you’ll get from this embouchure:

  • Fuller tone
  • Better intonation
  • Blend well with groups sooner
  • Sound better when playing by yourself
  • People will be more likely to enjoy their experience listening to you

In addition, our embouchure requires a slight adjustment to play in popular styles. You won’t be required to learn multiple embouchures for multiple styles. Just learn the one we teach here and you’ll be a few adjustments away from any style you want. Too good to be true? It’s not. It still takes work, but you’ll be more likely to succeed with this approach. Give it a try; you’ll be happy with the results. Want an example of this? Click here and scroll down to the Recordings section. The classical recording uses the embouchure you’ll learn first. The jazz recording uses the same embouchure as the classical recording, but with 1 adjustment. Enjoy!

Warning!

The internet is filled with the following warning: Don’t add too much pressure to the reed!!!

It’s true that we don’t want to add too much pressure to the reed, but many people take this instruction too far and don’t add enough pressure. What’s the result of not enough pressure?

  • Honky tone
  • Squeaky tone
  • Notes are flat in pitch
  • Notes can be harder to play
  • Can’t play softly
  • Notes are fuzzy in tone

These are just a few characteristics of an embouchure that does not add enough pressure. 

Part II

You can get all the specifics about the embouchure in the free lessons, but next week I’ll continue to go over additional embouchure items that will help you get your best tone. We’ll start with a short exercise to determine if you’re adding enough pressure to the reed.

What has helped you improve your tone in regards to embouchure? Is there anything that has made a drastic difference? Please share in out comment section- I would love to hear what works for you!

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