How to Form a Trumpet Embouchure – Trumpet Tips & Tricks with Charlie Porter

June 25, 2013

Charlie Porter·81 videos

NYC Trumpeter, Charlie Porter, demonstrates the way to form a trumpet embouchure. Topics covered are aperture, mouthpiece placement, air direction and lip buzzing.

Charlie is available for Online Trumpet Lessons via Skype or in person if you are in the NYC area. Please visit:…

Notes RE: video:
While some players may have great success with playing in the red of the lips, blowing air downward or playing with closed lip positions, I believe that the advice I have given is sound and reliable.

RE: Playing in the red of the lips (rim placement):

Yes you can play in the red of the lip. I did it for years. However, it is fact, that the tissue is much softer and more prone to damage and only a few people who play on the red learn to do so without the added pressure that can cause damage. There is a reason that teachers like Armando Ghitalla changed each one of his students embouchure at the college level to have the lips placed inside the mpc. I’m not saying that I would do this for every student, but having thick fleshy lips myself, and having seen people with lips twice my size doing it, I know very well that it is possible. It is a personal journey for everyone, but we are all capable of it. That being said, if you have super chops galore and play in the red of your lip, then you really don’t need to watch this video do you? If you can’t fit them in, I’d be happy to show you how I managed it.

RE: Blowing air straight ahead vs. downward (lip alignment)

It is possible for people with even the most bizarre teeth formations, under bites and over bites to align their lips. How? Well, if you are gripping the lips tightly over the teeth this is NOT possible because naturally the lips will form to the shape of that of your teeth or your jaw. However, if you use the ability to pucker and place your lips slightly off the teeth, a player with misaligned teeth or a heavy over bite (such as myself) can easily find this alignment.

Why align the lips? Sound…range….dynamics…articulation­. Its all better when the air is not first having to hit the side of the cup, getting deflected and reducing your air pressure before going into the horn. This approach of blowing down (advocated by some pivot systems) can cause greater internal pressure and can eventually reek havoc on your throat, eyes, etc. Observe the greatest high note players out there and you will see that there air direction goes forward into the horn. It is all around more efficient. That being said, it is ok if your air points a little bit down…mine does sometimes, do to my overbite. However, try not to let it go to an extreme.

*Please note: Aligning the lips does not always mean that the horn is straight out! I never advocated playing with the horn straight out. There are plenty of players who point down (Maurice Andre, Reinhold Friedrich, etc.) and still have their lips aligned. The point is that no matter what angle you play at, it is still possible to have the lips in line with each other if they are not gripping tight to the teeth.

However, all of that being said, if you blow down or up, etc. and you don’t align your lips and you have a sweet sound, awesome range, etc. then great! Why do you need to watch this video?

RE: Mouthpiece Visualizer
I get a lot of questions regarding what kind of visualizer I am using. Unfortunately I am not sure who made it, as I got it so long ago. However, I usually just recommend that my students just buy the $12.99 visualizer made by Bach and put there hand in front of it to feel the direction of the air. I have put a link to this item on my website:…

I am not pedantic about my views. If something works for you and you are comfortable and have all that you want, then more power to you. This advice, as any advice that is out there, can be taken or left. My views are a culmination of the lessons I have taken with Wynton Marsalis, Laurie Frink, Vincent Penzerella, Raymond Mase, Mark Gould, Jon Faddis, Armando Ghitalla, Guy Touvron, Pierre Thibaud, and Dominic Derasse as well as my experience and challenges facing problems that many other trumpeters have had.

No offense to any of you trumpeters who do something different


Charlie is available for Online Trumpet Lessons via Skype or in person if you are in the NYC area.

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iTunes Link to “Initiation” CD by The Charlie Porter Quartet:…

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