It took Jeff Smiley 30 years to decipher the clues and discover an easier way to play trumpet, His book, “The Balanced Embouchure”, is now available. It is the . The Balanced Embouchure, by Jeff Smiley: a dynamic development system that’s easy to learn and works for every trumpet player. Order online!. I have had a copy of Jeff’s book “The Balanced Embouchure” for . In his ” Balanced Embouchure” book, Jeff Smiley says that he prefers to.

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At first glance it would be easy to dismiss this chapter as having nothing to do with trumpet playing but when you get deeper into the process you realise this has to do with the method of symptoms and solutions for health and brass playing. To again summarize my thoughts, and perhaps make my points clearer: Unlocking my corners Mouth corners that are not locked in place i. This book would be much stronger if he simply removed this chapter entirely, as Smiley is clearly not qualified to give medical advice neither am I, for that matter, consult with your doctor.

Establishing standards for range development at different grade levels, and teaching the mechanics which allow those standards to be met, bzlanced a big priority in my philosophy.

The Balanced Embouchure: A Review – Wilktone

The extremes of high and low have helped a ton it exaggerates the rolling in and rolling out. It might help some but others will find it counterproductive. The Trumpet Herald Forum has an entire section dedicated to The Balanced Embouchure moderated by Smiley himself, so you should be able to find a more accurate depiction about it than I can offerthere are a couple of other YouTube videos here and hereand even a horn blog devoted to it. Closing of the jaw, especially as you ascend in pitch, is a common problem for players that is solved by practising this exercise.

Additionally, Smiley has made much of the text from his book available on his web site, including excerpts from his Introduction and chapters on MechanicsPerformanceand even some of his exercises. I find it first very interesting that I was able to point Joy an Australian player who is principal horn in a German orchestra— website here to the Balanced Embouchure approach at a time when it was really helpful to him. I reviewed the book a while back and the note I would add to that is I think one of the things that BE concepts open up is an ability to achieve a greater range of motion in the embouchure.


I have address many of your points already above, either in the original blog post or in the comments following.

We had a conversation with Jeff via email about his book and the ideas behind it. I also would take issue with your points about pedals. But until one has given BE an honest trial period, that individual really knows nothing about it. Even after several years, part of me is still amazed to work with 6th graders who look at notes above the staff with little or no fear.

My experience is emouchure the opposite, especially regarding tone quality. Strength, power, flexibiility, range have all significantly improved. BE decomposes the complex embouchure movement into two muscle groups, than can be separately trained: As long as it works, they are happy, which is OK with me for now.

Could you point me to some research on embouchure that is used in academia?

Likewise, I find that one of the most serious shortcomings of his book is the lack of accurate descriptions of how brass embouchures actually function. So many teachers are “etude checkers”, who focus primarily on rhythms, technique, tuning, and melodic concepts.

In many cases, by the time you find out that something is not good for you – it is a habit in need of breaking. Whoever shows up on his doorstep, simley good enough for him I went in the opposite direction. You cannot touch your lips with your tongue unless your jaw is open.

Tongue On Lips (The Balanced Embouchure Way)

Here is a catch, though. Whoever shows up on his doorstep, that’s good enough for him. So I supposed Embouchurf actually have three questions: Pedal tones in BE are practiced for an entirely different reason than in many other methods. Nobody is writing these books to make smilsy lot of money!


There is no one size fits all for the human face. By the end of 6th grade, all of my students can play a G above the staff, as demonstrated by playing a two octave G scale, up and down, in one breath. From what I can tell, Smiley is even less qualified than I am.

The Balanced Embouchure

My main complaint with his description of proper embouchure mechanics is his revolutionary hypothesis that tight corners create a flat chin and that this is only useful for 3 in 10 players. I question whether this is really the best way for a player to learn this.

The tongue is not regular held in contact with the lips like a TCE setting may be, but rather only the tip of the tongue strikes the inside of the top lip to articulate. In January ofafter a four-week break from playing, I was getting back into shape when a blister developed in the middle of my bottom lip in the area that sits inside the mouthpiece.

Search Media New Media. Enjoy your time practicing and best of luck to you both! Are you supposed to allow those embouuchure lip positions to creep into your normal embouchure or not?

Jeff Smiley, “The Balanced Embouchure”

My next step is to introduce a beginner book, designed like “Standard of Excellence” or other similar titles, but integrated with the BE range of motion exercises and a more progressive structure. Some trumpet ideologies, specifically the work of Donald Reinhardt and Claude Gordon among others, strictly forbid this method of attack although it can easily be traced back at least to the methods of Jean-Baptiste Arban and Jules Levy.

I do have an academic interest in brass as I am a scientist myself and can appreciate a good research.

Back to your review.