The Musician Sound Towards His Embouchure
The instrument of the woodwind player really appears to behave as his megaphone, thanks to his embouchure.
Get Your Mask Down !
Your mouth/mouthpiece /reed/ligature set defines your global embouchure : this configuration may vary between players, closely associating your morphology and the gear you use.
Your inner resonance propagates to the reed, which should easily vibrate, opposing a low resistance, hence a not too hard reed is recommended in order to be able to master the depth of the sound, shaped up at the bottom of the air column (Peter King had told me once how he had bee surprised to see that Cannonball Adderley was playing a really weak reed, when he substituted him in England in the 70’s).
This way, you define the best mouthpiece/reed combination for your sound control : this compromise depend on several factors, but you must know how to adjust it, mainly by selecting an appropriate reed, with your usual mouthpiece. And if you need a softer reed to ease out your playing, then you would be able to modulate your reed strength later on, bringing full balance and self-confidence : through your mentally visualizing that your emission remains centered on the sound source, you avoid unnecessary contractions above your diaphragm (which would be triggered by a harder reed), following the recommendations of Alfred Tomatis in The Ear And The Voice.
By focusing on the opening of his sound column backward and downward – by willing to prononce the « ah » vowel – the player forgets about his real trunk and his mouth, thus ensuring that his throat remains free of contractions.
Think Your Sound, But Do Not Pinch It
The wind player sets up his vibrating attitude by rooting his sound column in his heels, and moreover pictures his embouchure at the sound source, down to the bottom of his diaphragm : then, letting the relaxation down, his inner vibration gently takes off on the « ah » vowel, to feed the instrument through his embouchure.
Dominique Hoppenot describes how the violon player lets his vibration propage to the violon body through his clavicle.
Once your posture is set up and stabilized, your hands naturally seize your instrument (entering your mouth if you are a wind player), to amplify the anticipated sound ; then your flexible and relaxed embouchure, which you actually forget, since you are focussed on the air column bottom, comes into play : it links you, as the sender (the instrumentist’s body), to the amplifier (the instrument body). The projected sound gets then sculpted out by your fingers, and your tongue.