The embouchure below and related “E-Tips for E-Lips” Embouchure Tips (to be reposted soon) have been heavily influenced by the ideas of master single reed teacher Joe Allard. The embouchure and tips reflect years of careful refinements on an embouchure that was originally passed down to me from Joe Allard through one of his students (see NOTE below). FYI, this embouchure can be used on all clarinets and saxophones.
ClarinetMike says, “The 5-C Clarinet Embouchure works great! Check It Out!”
The 5-C Clarinet Embouchure
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas USA
firstname.lastname@example.org * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmike.wordpress.com
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).
What is the purpose of clarinet embouchure? The purpose of clarinet embouchure is to provide a great platform (or “Happy Place”) for the reed to vibrate. The 5-C embouchure below will help a clarinetist develop a great environment or “Happy Place” for the reed to vibrate.
The 5-C embouchure could be thought of as a single lip version of a double lip embouchure (aka “Single Lip-Double Lip”). 5-C allows the reed to vibrate freely as in double lip embouchure. However, since 5-C is a single lip embouchure with top teeth on the mouthpiece, it avoids the problems of double lip: hard to do, hurts for some, lack of stability for marching/standing, etc.
5-C Embouchure Steps
1. Circumference (or Circle)
2. Corners to Cheekbones
5-C Embouchure Details
- Circumference (or Circle): Lightly stretch bottom lip flat around lower teeth circumference (or circle).
- 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 upward toward top teeth with no downward pressure.
NOTE: See HERE for important acknowledgements, etc.