How to form a Flute Embouchure: the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in
playing a flute.
How to form a Flute Embouchure
To assist the students in forming and developing their flute embouchure, each flute student should practice with a
mirror. This will help the student to see that their embouchure is being formed properly.
With the flute head joint
1. Place the head joint on the chin (not the lip) just below the lower lip. The inner edge of the blow hole should
rest just below where the wet and dry part of the lip meet. The lower lip should remain soft and should “flop over”
approximately 1/3 of the blow hole. Check it with the mirror.
2. Using the mirror, check to see that, when blowing the air, the opening in the lips should be centered
on the blow hole. Adjust, if necessary. Another way of checking to see if the embouchure is centered is to look
to see that there is a compact “triangle of condensation” centered on the opposite side of the embouchure plate
as your lips. Check in your mirror.
3. Roll the head joint in or out to create the best tone. The tone is created by splitting the air stream with the
opposite side of the blow hole.
4. Experiment with changing the direction of your air stream upward toward the short end of the head joint or
downward toward the “fingers and keys” end of the head joint until you hear a nice clear tone. Remember what
sounds clearest and fullest and duplicate that embouchure when you put your entire flute together.
Remember: Only about half of air you are blowing out is actually making sound so you need to move a
lot of air through your lips to get that metal flute to vibrate.
Take huge breaths and blow a strong air stream. Not necessarily fast, but strong.
How to form an Oboe Embouchure: the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in
playing the oboe.
How to form an Oboe Embouchure:
Because there is no mouthpiece, and the reed is so small, many young oboists come up with
some very interesting embouchures! To form the correct embouchure, here are a couple of tips.
1. Pretend to whistle. Freeze that position, and put the oboe reed in the mouth.
This sets the opening of the lips in the shape of an "O". One of the most common problems with oboe
embouchure is that students "bite" down on the reed with too much pressure coming from the top and bottom
and not enough from the sides. When they pretend to whistle, it brings the sides in.
2. Pull your bottom lip over your teeth. Curl the bottom lip over the bottom teeth as if they are trying
to put the bottom lip in their mouth.
3. Pull the lip out and down and stretch it across the teeth. This will "flatten" out the chin. The chin muscles
should be pulling away from the reed, not pushing up.
4. The teeth should be far apart, and the not putting any pressure on the reed.
The lips should be the only part of the body in contact with the reed.
Practice long relaxed tones.
How to form a Clarinet Embouchure: the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in
playing a clarinet.
How to form a Clarinet Embouchure:
1. Put the mouthpiece and the barrel together and secure the reed with the ligature. Slip a piece of paper
between the reed and the mouthpiece and slide the paper down toward the barrel until it stops.
2. If you were to draw a light line across the reed connecting the two sides of the paper, that line would
indicate where the lower lip should be placed.
3. Hold the assembled mouthpiece and barrel in one hand and place the tip of the thumb just under the line
that was drawn on the reed.
4. Remove the paper from behind the reed with the other hand and shape the mouth as if saying “whee-too.”
Hold the mouth in the “whee” position while saying "too."
5. Cover the bottom teeth with a small amount of the lower lip.
6. Place the mouthpiece in the mouth so that the lower lip touches the thumb that was placed just below
the line. The thumb should serve as a “stop” allowing just the right amount of mouthpiece in the mouth.
Too much mouthpiece in the mouth will cause a harsh, raucous tone. Too little mouthpiece in the mouth will
cause a tight, weak tone.
7. Rest the top teeth directly on the mouthpiece. Close the mouth in a drawstring fashion with equal support
on all sides of the reed. The chin should be flat and pointed downward.
Use a mirror to check that your embouchure is formed properly.
8. Firm-up the top lip. This will open the back of the throat.
9. Take a full breath of air and play a long, steady tone.
How to form a Saxophone Embouchure: the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth
in playing a saxophone.
How to form a Saxophone Embouchure:
When we talk about embouchure, what we are really referring to is the way that you form your mouth around
the mouthpiece of the saxophone.
Luckily, forming a good saxophone embouchure is relatively easy.
1. Roll your bottom lip over your bottom teeth You just need to roll your bottom lip back over your bottom
teeth far enough to cover your teeth. You want your lip to get in between the saxophone reed, and your teeth.
2. Bunch up the muscle on your bottom lip, to form a " cushion" over your teeth.
After you have rolled your lip back to cover your teeth, you need to provide as much muscle as possible
between your bottom teeth and the reed. This will help to absorb the vibrations.
3. Place your mouthpiece in your mouth, with the reed gently resting on your bottom lip, and your
teeth resting on the top of the mouthpiece.
If you were to insert a piece of paper between the tip of the mouthpiece and the reed, and slide it down in between
as far as you can without using any force, you can get a good idea as to how far into your mouth you need to
place the mouthpiece.
You need to take as much mouthpiece in as to the point where the reed and the mouthpiece join up. On most
models of mouthpiece this distance is roughly 1 inch.
4. Finally, seal the top lip and corners of your mouth up against the mouthpiece.
Make sure that you have equal pressure all the way around the mouthpiece. Now blow! If you can't get a sound
out, the most likely possibility is that you are biting too hard. Don't try to bite the mouthpiece at all. Just let it sit
comfortably between your bottom and top teeth when you blow. Likewise, you need some (but not very much)
pressure from your bottom teeth up against the reed to help support your embouchure. Now, blow! The more
cushion you have, the better protected your teeth and the more mellow your sound. It helps to imagine that you
have a flat chin when you form your embouchure - this keeps you from biting.
How to form a trumpet embouchure: the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in
playing a trumpet.
How to form a trumpet embouchure
The embouchure controls the pitch and to some degree the quality of your sound.
Regardless of the embouchure you use these things MUST always happen.
1. The lips must be moist. The surface tension of the water aids in setting up the vibrations.
2. The lips must be touching. If the air has nothing to fight there is NO buzz.
Do not press the mouthpiece too hard against your lips. Pressure only separates the lips and stops the sound.
Backing off the pressure will allow you to get a nice buzz.
3. Say the letter "M".
4. Point your CHIN down. It is the pointing of the chin that prevents you from stretching the lips too thinly.
The skin under your lower lip will be firm with no air pocket.
5. Your lips should not over lap nor should they roll in or out.
6. The corners of your mouth should be held firmly in place. Whee - Tooo
7. Place mouthpiece on this embouchure and buzz.
Tighten up to play high tones. Hold something between your finger and thumb. That squeeze is what they are
talking about. Playing high involves slightly pushing your lips together as you ascend (play higher notes).
How to form a trombone embouchure: the position and use of the lips, tongue, and
teeth in playing a trombone.
How to form a trombone embouchure
5. Your lips should not over-lap nor should they roll in or out.
Tighten up to play high tones. Hold something between your finger and thumb.
That squeeze is what they are talking about. Playing high involves slightly pushing your lips together as you
ascend (play higher notes).