ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #15 Clarinet Embouchure, E-Tips for E-Lips 1

Reed and Emb

Clarinet Embouchure:
E-Tips for E-Lips
by Dr. Michael Dean

Introduction and E-Tip #1

[The following embouchure tips have been heavily influenced by the ideas of master single reed teacher Joe Allard. The reader is especially directed to Debra McKim’s important dissertation on Joe Allard and the little booklet accompanying the Joe Allard DVD.]

In a recent important article on teaching a master class, clarinet professor Kelly Burke stated that the problems students have in performing works are often related to either “a technical/mechanical aspect of playing related to a core concept,” or “an underdeveloped understanding of musical phrasing.” (The Clarinet, March 2009, p 40)

One of the most important core concepts is that of embouchure. Below are some embouchure tips that I have found helpful in improving my students and my own playing. Also, most of these tips work great on the saxophone, too.

E-Tip #1: Engage. “Keep Lower Teeth Engaged.”   Beneath the reed, keep the lower teeth right under the bottom lip – do not allow space between the lip and teeth.  Think “Reed, Lip, Teeth.”  You want to somewhat feel the reed through the lower lip with the bottom teeth. But, don’t push up too much. Think in terms of creating a good platform for the reed to vibrate upon. Keeping the lower teeth engaged allows for sensitive adjustments to the sound, as there is a close connection to the resonator (reed vibrating against the slot of the mouthpiece).

ClarinetMike says, “Watch for E-Tips #2-5 coming soon!”

About ClarinetMike

American Clarinetist Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as, “world-class clarinetist and pedagogue,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super,” “brilliant performer,” and “one of the best clinicians I have ever seen.” Dr. Dean’s career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Royal Northern College of Music, and Eastman School of Music, with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Canada, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He recently returned for a fourth summer to the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival. He is featured on 6 commercial CD’s including his soon-to-be-released new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He is also prominent on New Media, such as YouTube. He was clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for 11 years and he’s also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He has given more than 500 master classes, clinics and performances at universities, conservatories, conferences, festivals, high schools, junior high schools, and a diverse array of venues. As “ClarinetMike,” he writes for his noted and widely-read ClarinetMike Blog – viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents, clarinetmike.wordpress.com. His blog is the #1 clarinet blog on the Internet according to Google Search and a recent ranking on Feedspot. His articles also appear in professional journals such as the Southwestern Musician, The Bandmasters’ Review, WINDPLAYER, and NACWPI Journal. He is a past president and former officer on the National Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). After a successful 20 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is currently an active clarinet and woodwind performer, teacher, clinician, blogger, and consultant based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Bob Ackerman, and Jess Youngblood. He is a BG France Performing Artist and his professional website is clarinetmike.com. Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas. His family’s new Golden Retriever, Nimbus, is a relative of Andy.
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4 Responses to ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #15 Clarinet Embouchure, E-Tips for E-Lips 1

  1. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #16 Clarinet Embouchure, E-Tips for E-Lips 2 | ClarinetMike Blog

  2. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #17 Clarinet Embouchure, E-Tips for E-Lips 3 | ClarinetMike Blog

  3. Pingback: “Clarinet Embouchure: E-Tips for E-Lips” Complete Article Now Available Online | ClarinetMike Blog

  4. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #11-20 | ClarinetMike Blog

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