The lips need to be moist, or the air stream will separate them and there will be no sound. This moisture causes surface tension, which facilitates the buzzing process. The air blows through the lip aperture. The higher or softer that you play the smaller the lip aperture is. The lower or louder that you play, the larger the lip aperture will be. High notes need a lot of lip compression and abdominal pressure, not mouthpiece pressure. Lip compression is something all teachers make mention of. Their advice is, tighten up to play high. They don't tell you that this compression is lip against lip, like when you squeeze your thumb and forefinger together to grab something. It's this lip pressure that you need to fight the air stream and soar into the sky. Excessive mouthpiece pressure against the lips will separate your lips by pushing them apart. This lowers your range and causes a poor, thin tone, sluggish technique and less endurance.
Points to remember:
1. Good posture. Chest, arms and head up.
2. Relax jaw and open throat.
3. Teeth 1/2 inch apart. Jaw forward.
4. Pull the mouth corners in toward your lips.
5. Roll both lips in slightly. You want a hint of an inward curl.
6. Let the lips touch and expose to air. Say "M".
7. Buzzing firmness before placing mouthpiece.
8. Place mouthpiece gently on lips.
9. Little mouthpiece pressure.
10. Breathe and blow. Don't hold it in.
11. Pivot to keep mouthpiece lined up with air stream.
12. Lip compression will give you upper register. Lip against lip.
13. Relax the chops. Back off the pressure and make the air work.
14. Always set for a g on top of the staff. The lips can easily relax 1&1/2 octaves to get to low c and high g is only an octave away.
15. Always set chops, place mouthpiece, blow.
Nine times out of ten if your upper register does not speak it is because your lips are too tense. Most people do not play in the upper register because they depend on their mouth corners and mouthpiece pressure to create tension. All we want is to resist the air by rolling the lips in ( slightly ). This can not be seen nor is it like a sax or clarinet embouchure. We create a one way valve. Only in this case we are blowing the air against the valve the wrong way. This causes a great deal of resistance with a very little tension. Therefore a super c is now played with high c tension and a lip curl in. ....
Take this example:
1. Take two pieces of paper hold them so that the top piece and the bottom piece touch but do not overlap. Now blow see how the paper (lips) does nothing to resist the air. We need to make the paper (lips)strong enough to resist the air.
2. Take the same two pieces of paper and
let the top overlap the bottom. Now blow . Again they offer no resistance.
If we put the mouthpiece in front then mouthpiece pressure WILL create
3. Take the pieces and put them together so that they both curl out away from you. Now blow. Again there is no resistance. We will put the mouthpiece in the way to let mouthpiece pressure create resistance.
4. Take the paper and put them together so that they curl in toward you. Now blow. There IS now built in resistance. It needs no mouthpiece pressure, or years and years of lip ups to build a mass of muscle. The air does the work for you.
Relax and make the air work for you. If
your sound is thin and weak you are using too much pressure. To get a brighter
sound roll your lips in, or direct the air stream behind your upper teeth.
To get a darker sound, roll your lips out, direct the air stream down,
or make a more oval lip aperture by drawing the corners in slightly. Too
flat a lip aperture will produce a bright, hard sound. You will not be
able to play softly and will have air in your tone. No matter what embouchure
you play, make the air do the work, relax your chops, back off the pressure
and use the right equipment for the job. If you need a dark sound, you need
a deep cup and wide bell flare.
Don't forget to set your chops for the g on top of the staff every time you play. This prevents lots of problems from ever forming. Plus it makes leaps and range overall easier.
Remember, as a player you will need to play more low A's and G's in public than high A's or G's. Practice your low register and make it sound good.