Friday, July 13, 2007

Flute Embouchure: A Rather “Square” Subject

For many years I have taught that a good flute embouchure has 4 corners: 2 corners by the upper cheekbones, one by each nostril, and, the 2 corners on the chin, below the lower lip. The location of these muscles forms a square on your face.

The exercise I call “Tongue Sandwich,” activates the Levator labii superioris (Rabbit Face muscle) and Depressor labii inferioris (Lizard face” muscle) at the same time, drawing the lips away from the tongue and encouraging an active embouchure without jaw tension.

Think of your upper and lower teeth as the pieces of bread for your sandwich and the tongue as the very generous serving of your favorite sandwich filling.

(See Dataface website, mentioned in a May post, for illustrations, descriptions and video of these muscles at work.)

I have posted a video of the “Lizard Face” and “Tongue Sandwich” exercises in the LeGrand Virtual Studio for your information and amusement. “Rabbit Face” Exercise video can also be found there.

Here is a Blogger Beta trial of an embedded video. Let me know how this works.

Good Tongue-Controlled Embouchure spit-buzzing technique, as advocated by Jerome Callet and Keith Underwood, creates a rather “boxy” feel in the embouchure—a "box " INSIDE the “square,” creating an active, yet flexible, embouchure.

Spit-buzzing encourages the use of the orbicularis oris muscle (the ring of muscle around the lips) to engage by curling gently inward creating compression of air with the wide, forward tongue.

This is also a type of “sandwich.” Try thinking of it as 3 layers of Tootsie Rolls:
  • Top layer: upper lip curling downward (feel with your tongue the thick tube-like band of muscles on the inside of your upper lip).
  • The middle layer--the forward, thickened and widened tongue with downward trajectory.
  • The lower layer—lower lip raised slightly by the mentalis muscle and curled slightly back over the tongue to support the tongue position.
I hope these ideas are useful.

Hmmm…all this talk of sandwiches...Time for lunch!



Lie said...

Video says more than thousand words in emails. Thank you for posting this!!!!

Catherine said...

You are welcome! The video is good for a laugh, also!