16 Guided Practice Lesson 1.1


Students will be able to:

  • identify the proper setup of their embouchure that allows for a relaxed, consistent, and full tone
  • engage the lower abdomen when breathing deeply, allowing for full expansion of the lungs
  • create a sound on both the mouthpiece and instrument that will be refined in future practice sessions


  • Instrument
  • Metronome


  1. Sustained Breathing. Breathe in for four counts, hold the breath for four counts, and exhale over four counts. As you breathe in, place your hand on your stomach. You should feel your lower abdomen expanding outward as you breathe in, stay firm as you hold the breath, and collapse back as you exhale out. While holding the breath, you should feel slight discomfort from your fully expanded lungs and rib cage.
  2. Mouthpiece Experimentation. Experiment with the placement of the mouthpiece and the setup of the embouchure.
    1. Position it high on the upper lip, low on the lower lip, off center, and centered. Each time you place the mouthpiece, blow air between the lips to feel and listen to the buzz that is created. Continue to experiment until you find a location where you have the fullest, most consistent sound without bringing tension into the embouchure.
    2. Adjust the placement of the corners of the mouth. Bring the corners close to the center of your face, pull the corners back toward your ears, smile to pull the corners up, frown to pull the corners down. Find the point at which you get the fullest, most relaxed, consistent sound.
  3. Long tones on the mouthpiece. Play for four counts, rest for four counts. Repeat 4 times. As you play, try to center the mouthpiece at the location that you determined was the most relaxed and fullest sound. Focus on keeping the center of the embouchure relaxed and the corners of the mouth firm with full use of lower abdomen air.
  4. Long tones on the instrument. Add the mouthpiece to the instrument, giving it a quarter turn so that it does not get jammed in the instrument. Repeat the same activity as you did on the mouthpiece, focusing on getting a relaxed full tone as you play. Do not worry about a specific pitch; rather, try to repeat the same pitch each time you play with a relaxed, full tone.


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Brass Techniques and Pedagogy by Brian N. Weidner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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