ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Teacher Tips: Great Embouchure = Great Clarinetists! The Single Lip-Double Lip Embouchure
“Single-Lip-Double Lip” is the term I use to describe the embouchure I perform with and teach (also known as “5-C“ Embouchure). The embouchure was developed over a number of years based on my study of the innovative ideas of master single reed teacher Joe Allard. (See HERE for important acknowledgements, etc.)
“Single Lip-Double Lip” is a single lip embouchure that gives the benefits of both single and double lip embouchures. Described below, the “Single Lip-Double Lip” embouchure allows the reed to vibrate freely as does a double lip embouchure. However, it avoids the problems of double lip: hard to do, hurts for some, lack of stability for marching/standing, etc.
I strongly suggest using the “Single Lip-Double Lip” embouchure in conjunction with my “5 E-Tips for E-Lips” embouchure tips.
Single Lip-Double Lip Clarinet Embouchure
What produces the sound on the clarinet? Clarinet sound is produced by the reed vibrating against the slot in the mouthpiece activated by the air (see E-Tip #3). Unlike brass players, the clarinet embouchure is not the sound maker (resonator).
So, what is the purpose of clarinet embouchure? The purpose of clarinet embouchure is to provide a great environment or platform (or “Happy Place”) for the reed to vibrate. My Single Lip-Double Lip (aka 5-C) Embouchure below will help a clarinetist develop a good platform or “Happy Place” for the reed to vibrate.
Single Lip-Double Lip [5-C] Embouchure Steps:
2. Corners to Cheekbones
Single Lip-Double Lip [5-C] Embouchure Details:
- Circumference: Lightly stretch bottom lip flat around lower teeth circumference.
- Corners to Cheekbones: Use “Smile Muscles” (Zygomaticus major muscles) to stretch lightly upwards from mouth corners to cheekbones. These muscles are the ones used when smiling. This should also help flatten out the chin.
- Chin: Smooth out chin muscles, focusing the chin to a point. But, DO NOT hinge the jaw forward – use a normal face. NOTE: Steps 1 and 2 will likely flatten the chin just about right – this step could be called “Check Chin.”
- Cover: Put some bottom lip over bottom teeth – “Not too much, not too little, just right.”
- Click: Top teeth rest on mouthpiece. Think, “Click” (See E-Tip #4). Don’t bite down hard – think of top teeth “receiving” the mouthpiece. IMPORTANT: Upper lip also sits gently on top of mouthpiece and moves upwards toward top teeth with no downward pressure.
ClarinetMike says, “Great Clarinet Tone is really only about making a happy place for the reed to vibrate and blowing the air the right way.”*
*High quality clarinet, mouthpiece, reed, ligature, barrel, etc. are essential too, of course….
[The above is a slightly revised version of a previous post.]