I’ve blogged recently about Denver Dill’s new book, Still Playing, My Journey Through Embouchure Surgery and Rehabilitation. Shortly before my copy of his book arrived I got an email from Denver, who happened to come across this site. After watching some of my embouchure vods he was interested in putting together something similar that would show his embouchure. He demonstrates his mouthpiece placement both prior to the surgery and after. Denver also got a hold of a transparent mouthpiece for his video, posted by the West Point Band’s YouTube page. Take a look and see if you can guess Denver’s embouchure type. My guess after the break.
While it’s interesting to see how Denver’s mouthpiece placement moved more centered after his surgery, I think both his pre-surgery and post-surgery embouchures are both examples of the medium high placement type.
It’s good that Denver got a hold of a transparent mouthpiece for this, as his placement is close enough to half and half that it becomes challenging to determine which lip predominates inside the mouthpiece and whether the embouchure is upstream or downstream. Since both the medium high placement and low placement embouchure types have the same embouchure motion (pulling the mouthpiece and lips together down to ascend), it’s best to use a transparent mouthpiece to look at the air stream. Looking at his lip position inside the mouthpiece, to me it seems pretty clear that he’s directing the air downstream. As he ascends you can see how his lower lip rolls slightly inward and the air stream gets blown down even closer to the rim, typical for downstream players. Compare Denver’s lip position to this upstream trumpet player (although the low brass examples that follow in that video have a clearer view of the lips while playing). Denver’s lips look much more like this downstream trumpet player’s.
Denver noted to me that his placement is quite low, right on the vermillion line, and so he would guess low placement type. I would prefer to see his chops in person before committing, but I’m pretty certain I would guess his embouchure type as medium high placement, rather than low placement type. I also don’t see any evidence that he needs to change his embouchure type. The range and excerpts he demonstrates in this video are quite impressive.
What do you think? Do you also guess Denver to be a medium high placement or low placement type?
Thanks to Denver for posting that video for us to check out. Go learn more about his playing and his recovery from lip surgery on his blog.