Posted by Chase Sanborn

Playing a brass instrument requires the coordinated use of many different muscles. A mirror can help you learn to use your muscles in the most efficient way.

A full-length mirror is useful for improving your playing posture and revealing bad habits:

-Plant your feet firmly on the floor; feel that you are pushing against the floor to expel the air.
-Keep your elbows comfortably away from the body, your shoulders down and relaxed, and your chest up.
-Let your entire torso expand as you take a breath.
-The exhalation should follow the inhalation with no delay. If you breathe in and out naturally, you stay relaxed.
-Keep your chin up to open the throat and eliminate a common source of tension.
-Picture the sound as a visible beam of light emanating from the horn-the higher you play, the farther the beam projects. High notes are not further up, they are further out!

A close-up mirror can help you discover the most efficient way to form your embouchure:

-Listen as you watch your embouchure, and make small adjustments with the lips and with the position of the mouthpiece on the lips.
-Search for the embouchure setting that produces the most resonant sound on each note.
-Strive to reduce exterior facial movements; adjust the vibrating points within the rim.
-Don’t try to copy someone else’s embouchure or operate on a pre-conceived notion of what is ‘correct’. Whatever produces the best sound is correct for you.

Chase Sanborn

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