This is a repost of something that got lost in my recent server issue. The issues I discuss in this open letter go beyond the specifics of my discussion with Lucinda Lewis (another post on this topic can be viewed here), so I cross posted it here. Rather than simply repost it this time, I wanted to take a moment and offer some thoughts that may help readers put this letter into the broader context, which I feel is ultimately the more important issue.
During the course of conducting my research on brass embouchures, I’ve come across several cases of serious embouchure dysfunction and become interested in learning more about what is causing those problems and how they can be best treated. Sifting through the wide variety of resources I happened to come across (ranging from medical, academic, musical, and just random stuff you can find on the internet), I’ve discovered that not only are recommendations for serious embouchure issues all over the map, but many of the experts seem to be completely unaware of each other.
I feel the scientific method provides us with the best model to follow here. Not only does it require us to make an effort to falsify our hypotheses about embouchure dysfunction (only if it withstands this process can our research be accepted), but it also places a high emphasis on peer review and collaboration. In all three areas, brass pedagogy has tended to drop the ball. More importantly, the handful of individuals who are devoted to helping players with serious embouchure dysfunction are frequently basing their advice on philosophical, illogical, or on poorly understood or biased research methods. In this particular area we can and should do better.
Although the following open letter is addressed to a specific person, I hope that others who do embouchure troubleshooting will take note and engage in a more collaborative and scientific approach. In my humble opinion, when offering a form of therapy we have an ethical obligation to at least become familiar with what else is out there in order to put it into the proper context, not just for our students but also for our colleagues in the field.
Here then is my reposted open letter to Lucinda Lewis, author of Broken Embouchures and Embouchure Rehabilitation. Continue reading An Open Letter To Lucinda Lewis of Embouchures.com