Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Lips Don't Care...

So here's a saying that has been forming in my mind. Let me know what you think...

The lips don't care about the tongue.
They only care about air.

The horn doesn't care about the lips.
It only cares about vibration.

The audience doesn't care about the horn.
They only care about sound.

Perhaps it then follows that you should...

Focus more on: Air, Vibration, Sound

Focus less on: tongue, lips, horn


Justin said...

So then what's the point of fundamentals? Are you saying let's just let students play however they want as long as the product is good?

Brad Edwards said...

The point of fundamentals is that, over time, we've figured out approaches that seem to offer the highest chance of success. A sort of "best average" of what the best players do.
We stress fundamentals because we believe they offer the best route to the best sound.
That doesn't change the basic idea that the ultimate goals remains a great sound.
Honestly, if you saw a student for the first time and they sounded great, would you want to go in and tinker with their embouchure because it isn't textbook perfect?
I've had this kind of experience. I usually make a mental note to keep an eye on the situation and see if there is a time when that embouchure is holding them back. At that point I figure out how to approach the problem.
I think you *could* make the argument that, the younger the student, the more one should tinker with the basics of physical approach.
In other words, I would try to correct a funny mouthpiece placement on a 6th grader even if it was the same placement I saw with of my teachers, Tony Chipurn. His mouthpiece was way off to the side. He sounded great but I wouldn't push a beginner in that direction.