I’ve had this YouTube video bookmarked for a while and been meaning to post it. Trumpet player Brad Goode demonstrates a warm up he uses with a “skeleton mouthpiece” (sometimes called an embouchure visualizer).
One thing that I’d like to echo that Brad says in his video is that the “visualizer” is not really very good for looking at the embouchure. The lack of normal resistance sometimes will make the lips form in a slightly different position than they will when playing, which is why I prefer to use a transparent mouthpiece for embouchure diagnosis. The skeleton mouthpiece has some interesting potential for practice, though. Check out how Brad uses it and while we’re at it, let’s play “Guess the Embouchure Type.” My guess after the break.
I have to admit that I have some previous knowledge of Brad’s chops based on this thread on the Donald S. Reinhardt Trumpet Herald Forum. In it Brad discusses his difficulty in working out which embouchure type works best for him. Because he has teeth that align when he bites, this would make him fit Reinhardt’s Type I or Type IA types. Players with this anatomical feature seem to need a mouthpiece placement that is either very high or very low on the lips, correlating with Doug Elliott’s Very High Placement or Low Placement embouchure types (here’s a simple conversion chart to show how Reinhardt’s and Elliott’s types relate, they’re essentially the same thing, Doug just describes it in simplified terms to make it more accessible). Doug comments in that topic how challenging it can be to work out the best embouchure type for a player with an even bite. (I’ve only seen a couple before, one who was a Very High Placement and one who I think should have been a Low Placement Type, but who couldn’t get used to placing the mouthpiece low enough on his lips, so maybe that wasn’t correct for him.)
Looking at Brad’s video, his placement looks too low to be a Very High Placement. His embouchure motion also is distinctly down and to his left, which is not how the Very High Placement types would normally want to play. On the other hand, Brad’s mouthpiece placement looks low enough and has the proper embouchure motion to fit the Low Placement Type, so that’s my guess.
I note that this was essentially what Brad has come up with also for his own embouchure type, after he has experimented for quite a while, so I think this is a pretty accurate guess. If you’re not familiar with Brad Goode’s playing do yourself a favor and check out his web site. He’s got some streaming audio files of his playing up there. Back when I lived in Chicago I used to go out to hear Brad’s quintet/sextet play at the Green Mill on Wednesday nights.
I’ve got a couple more videos that were sent to me recently, so I’ll be trying to get those up soon. If you spot a video online with a good look at a brass player’s chops, send me the link and I’ll use that for another “Guess the Embouchure Type.”