Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Throwing the laundry behind the speakers

So, you're hanging around your apartment relaxing.  Maybe you are deep into some amazing video game.  All of the sudden, the phone rings.  Mom is coming for a visit (and she's two blocks away!).

Quick!!  We gotta make this place presentable.  And fast!

What to do with that dirty laundry?  There's the doorbell!  No time!
Throw it behind the stereo speakers.

You open the door for her.  Her practiced eye quickly scans your apartment.  Wait, what's that on top of the speaker??   What, a dirty tube sock??


(no, this never happened to me).

OK, let's retell that story if you're an embouchure...

So you're hanging around the teeth relaxing.  Maybe you are deep into some amazing dental hygiene video.  All of the sudden the lungs fire up.  A note is coming for a visit (and the conductor prepping the downbeat!).

Quick!!  We gotta make these chops presentable. And fast!

How to set for that high A-flat?  There's the downbeat! No time!
Just throw the mouthpiece in place and play.

You deliver your note.  Your practiced ear quickly scans the tone.  Wait, what's that fracking sound at the beginning??  What, a dirty attack??


(yes, this has happened to me).

And yet, over and over, I watch my students try to form the embouchure at the last possible instant, almost setting it simultaneously with the beginning of the note.

What I recommend is this: make sure the lips are ready just a bit earlier.  Don't set your embouchure just as the note begins.  You might be stuck with a dirty tube sock in your attack!

(not to confused with 'locking up' the air before an attack...which is also bad)