Guess the Embouchure Type – Melissa Venema

It’s been a while since I’ve played “Guess the Embouchure Type.” To bring it back I’m going to take a look at Dutch trumpet player Melissa Venema. She’s a remarkable player at only 19 years old at the time I write this. She was 18 in when this concert video was recorded.

There are several pretty good shots of her embouchure, but it may be tricky to pick her embouchure type. Take a close look and see what you think. My guess after the break.

Venema’s mouthpiece placement close to half and half, but is high enough on the lips that it looks as if her embouchure is one of the downstream types. It’s really not low enough to make her embouchure look like an upstream one. Assuming this is correct, the main distinguishing factor here will then be which embouchure motion she uses. Take a close look at around 3:08 in the video where she plays some octave leaps. You can clearly see her pull down to ascend and push up to descend. This indicates her embouchure type is probably the “medium high placement” type. Her slightly lower horn angle is also pretty common for this embouchure type, but not always indicative.

Of course one of the more interesting features about Venema’s embouchure is her off center placement. There are some anatomical features that would make a brass musician play best with an off center mouthpiece placement, most notably the teeth. Take a look at her smile at 1:00 into the video and you can see her upper teeth are not entirely even, so perhaps that’s why she places to the side. There are other players I know who don’t have an obvious protruding tooth that play best with their mouthpiece placed to the side too, so it’s not always something you can easily look at and note why off center works better.

Did you have a different guess for her embouchure type? Did you notice something interesting about her embouchure I didn’t spot? Please leave your comments below.

Tip of the hat to “Gdog Ritdog” for spotting this video.


I have been playing the trumpet for over 70 years, and I am no where near your beautiful technique
and I am very impressed with your embouchure. Wishing you many years of beautiful comfort in the
way you express yourself by way of your trumpet expressing the beautiful You….You are Fantastic

James Hand

Melissa what a great talent! Beautiful tone – effortless style.
As for embouchure, I started trumpet at 12 years old, 79 years ago. I loved the instrument but thought I would never play it again after a collision playing baseball. I learned how to play off center due to a broken front tooth. Did marching band and dance orchestra work with my new embouchure. I still try to keep my lip in passable
condition to this day on my old silver bell King.

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