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embouchure problem - due to lip shape?

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Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 7

PostPosted: 2014-12-23, 05:32    Post subject: embouchure problem - due to lip shape? Reply with quote

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Hi all,

I've been slowly getting back into playing shakuhachi after losing most of my ability following a concussion. I don't think my tone is too bad anymore, but I recently started playing in front of a mirror and noticed that my embouchure is really weird. It's very much pulled to one side. I think this is because of two problems I have: The bump in the middle of my top lip (no idea what it's actually called) is large, and my facial muscles have always favored a slightly crooked smile.

Because of the bump, when I gently blow air out of my mouth it naturally comes out from one side of the bump. When I "tighten" my embouchure, I end up pulling my lips to the opposite side to flatten out the hole and making a crooked smile. I recently read that I should be using more control of the upper lip to affect tone instead of pulling the lips to their sides, though, so maybe that will help.

Because of this, I'm really worried that I might have to unlearn this embouchure and somehow train myself to blow air out the center of my mouth... but after multiple attempts in front of a mirror, this seems to be physically impossible for me. Does anyone have any advice about how to handle this? I'm hoping to resume lessons soon but I'm also wondering if this problem will make shakuhachi not the best choice of instrument for me and wondering if I should even continue. I've had lessons on skype with some teachers before but I feel like this is something that someone might need to see in person. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any teachers nearby. Thank you all in advance for your advice!
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Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 226
Localisation: Germany

PostPosted: 2014-12-23, 11:32    Post subject: embouchure problem - due to lip shape? Reply with quote

There are a lot of players which blows on one site. There is nothing wrong with a weird embouchure. If it works for you, it is OK.
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Plume Blanche


Joined: 12 Sep 2012
Posts: 251
Localisation: France

PostPosted: 2014-12-23, 13:12    Post subject: embouchure problem - due to lip shape? Reply with quote

Hi muraiki,

The problem you describe seems to be apparent when you are looked at you in the mirror (if I understand correctly what you write).

If you arrive to make good sounds, how you arrive is not important. You gotta do with what you have. If you love this instrument, you will find your way.

We have all different capabilities, and life is not always gentle with us, but we should not feel defeated before barriers. On the contrary! We need to look at obstacles as a chance to surpass ourselves (I hope I don't shock you).

Continues to move at your own pace with the Shakuhachi. It is the reconquest of what you are. Wink
Don't give up. Nomally it is the last key on the ring which opens the door. (Paulo Coelho).
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felix martens


Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 126

PostPosted: 2015-01-01, 11:33    Post subject: embouchure problem - due to lip shape? Reply with quote

Hi Muraiki! I've just been watching Yamaguchi Goro playing "Sokaku Reibo" on Youtube and I remembered this post. As you can see if you look at the close ups of his face the great man is playing using the right side of his mouth rather than the centre. There the proof if you need it that wherever your breath comes from, if it sounds good, or in this case, brilliant, then all is well!
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PostPosted: Today at 03:20    Post subject: embouchure problem - due to lip shape?

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