Jeff Smiley’s Balanced Embouchure



  • Do any of you have experience with Jeff Smiley’s Balanced Embouchure method? I’ve read the book and I’m intrigued with his approach. I don’t have any major issues with my embouchure, but I wanted to change up my practice routine and thought incorporating his exercises would be beneficial. Any thoughts?



  • I've used it for a couple of years and have had two, in-person lessons with Jeff.

    I like the system (BE). To me, it's valid in that it acknowledges a roll-in embouchure for high notes. Then, through a set of exercises, reconciles the use of both rolled-in and roll-out embouchure, balanced embouchure, if you will.

    In the book, he mentions playing other exercises, which he does not provide. I asked him about that and he mentioned also using the mainstream books, like Irons, Clark, etc. for other technical facets. In that matter, it's like Claude Gordon's system.

    I think he has used some approaches of Claude Gordon and others, but his basic work on roll-in/out approach and his supporting exercises are unique. You might get a balanced embouchure but not a balanced technique until you add the supplementary material.



  • @Kehaulani
    I've been using Claude Gordon's system for the past 6 months. Based on what you're saying adding BE to what I'm already doing makes sense.

    I'm going to give BE a try. Thank you for the input Kehaulani!



  • I've worked out of the Claude Gordon (CG) system, as well. Keep in mind that the pedal tones are one octave below in CG and two octaves below (double pedal tones) in BE and do different things, do not eliminate one or the other. In some other cases, exercise goals duplicate themselves, so only one of these exercises are necessary, avoiding duplicity.

    If it were me, I'd follow the BE lesson plan as found in the book as a warmup and to begin the playing day, then follow on with the CG system, keeping in mind that the Clark, etc. exercises work for both, so you only have to do them once.

    It probably adds a little more exercises but there is some duplicity that can double up on, so the added time is probably 15 or 20 minutes extra. I think this is a good way to go.



  • @Kehaulani
    I'm glad you mentioned the CG petal tones. I was wondering if I should do both. I'll keep both in my routine.

    Using the BE lesson plans as a warm up sounds like the way to go. I'll give myself a decent amount of rest before moving on to the CG system. Thanks again Kehaulani!


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