'smiley' embouchure

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings

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vandoren
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'smiley' embouchure

Post by vandoren »

I note that the instructional part of 'fluteland' promotes the 'smiley' embouchure but so many flautists condem it. Could experienced players comment on this ?
IanR..................

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remnantpark
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Post by remnantpark »

ehhh...Embochures really come in all shapes and sizes...I've seen some flutists with excellent and wide tone and their embochure is slightly 'smiling' but not totally exaggerated.

I think what they mean by 'smiling' is when many inexperienced players strain their lips so much that the whole sound is a bit strained as well. Typically for me, when I 'smile' I sound well...um...well...not that great. (yes i play around at the mirror) I'm not so sure what to say because i haven't seen the instructional part of fluteland that promotes the 'smiley' embochure. Can you give any specific details or the link?

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

normally the 'smiley' embouchure is to get people started. After a couple of years or so, directors and private teachers should [and usually do] emphasize a looser embouchure. Some people describe this as being very loose, but in actuality, you must think of it as controlled pressure rather than being totally loose. It must be flexible for range and tone color reasons, but it must be firm enough/ have enough muscle control that you still have a directed airstream.

My private teacher thinks of it as this: You have a focused column of air, and your embouchure is merely supposed to guide it/regulate how much and where it is going. For the most part, she likes to think of it as your embouchure goes AROUND your airstream, not your air going through your embouchure.

So, the smiley thing is the basic to get you started, then most people go through a stage where they 're-train' and go through basics such as embouchure, technique, and articulation revising.

FLflutist
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Post by FLflutist »

Instead of bringing our corners out, like smiling, bring them in

That's what my private teacher basically told me when I first started with her in January.

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard »

"Smiley" embouchure often produces a thin, inflexible tone, that's hard to blend and tune with others. A "poo" embouchure is now often used with beginning players, so there's no unlearning later. Allow your lips to relax, and the corners to fall forward, and articulate with a (silent) "poo" syllable, almost like a puff of air. Embouchure strength is then gradually developed. Obviously, I left out a lot of detail.
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

Claiken
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Post by Claiken »

i am one who had to relearn. it makes so much more work, then if youre taught the right way from the start. But I have been told many times, relaxed lips is very imporant. of course, there will be slight tension, because your not sleeping, lol. I used to tense right up when going to high notes, and it made them sound awful. relaxing lips, and opening your throat really helps. I also use a singing & playing exercise to help my tone. oddly enough it does help!!!
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remnantpark
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Post by remnantpark »

Claiken wrote:i am one who had to relearn. it makes so much more work, then if youre taught the right way from the start. But I have been told many times, relaxed lips is very imporant. of course, there will be slight tension, because your not sleeping, lol. I used to tense right up when going to high notes, and it made them sound awful. relaxing lips, and opening your throat really helps. I also use a singing & playing exercise to help my tone. oddly enough it does help!!!
Even as a beginner, I never had a 'smiley' embochure and still don't...

I know your pain with relearning, though. Although i didn't have a 'smiley' embochure i did have a /crooked/ embochure and I've only fixed that like 5 to 7 months ago...Yeah. :oops:

And me, too. The singing and playing exercise is FUN! After that, there is a HUGE difference in my sound.

Cooeyflute
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Post by Cooeyflute »

I learnt the 'poo' way too and my new teacher said this was good as it meant i had flexability. The only trouble with such a relaxed mouth is that sometimes on high notes my lips will vibrate.
Music, life... Same thing

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nasxxx
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Post by nasxxx »

Not too sure what type of Embochure I have got, I certainly don't smile but move the lips forwards and backwards think this is a French Embochure or something, still havn't mastered it properally yet, as the mussles are still developing. But finding practicing low to high helps + sluring them.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

THe whole smiley thing never really worked well for me ever. I was taught what ever would give me the best sound blowing a cross a bottle, use the same technique on your flute.

I guess that is why I look like I am frowning when I play...lol

Phineas

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MrBaz
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Post by MrBaz »

If it makes any difference to anyone, Sir James Galway does NOT like the smiley embouchure. Doesn't work for me anyway.

concertpianist16
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Post by concertpianist16 »

Maybe someone could post a picture of the "smiley" embouchure. Since I'm self taught this would be really helpful.
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MrBaz
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Post by MrBaz »

concertpianist16 wrote:Maybe someone could post a picture of the "smiley" embouchure. Since I'm self taught this would be really helpful.
Think of yourself smiling. Then try to play the flute.

Make a frown. Now try and play. You should notice a difference.
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