Less Effort in the High Range

A common error is to over-stress the embouchure in the upper register. From early on in our training, we are taught that in order to create higher notes, the lips must be closer together, creating a smaller aperture. While this is true, we sometimes apply this information incorrectly. One tendency I've noticed in my own playing as well as the playing of many students, is to make the embouchure extremely tight and inflexible in an effort to bring the lips closer together.

It is important to remember that a muscle bound embouchure will not vibrate easily. Work to shape the aperture and embouchure through flexibility instead of muscularity. Also remember that an aperture that is too closed off in the upper register will result in a high range that sounds pinched and lacks resonance. To work on this, practice your scales very slowly starting in a comfortable register. As you ascend, try to maintain the lack of tension in the embouchure and relative openness of the aperture that you have in the more comfortable ranges.