Muffled sound – how to fix it?

Questions and AnswersCategory: General QuestionMuffled sound – how to fix it?
Concerned parent asked 3 years ago

My son has a muffled sound when he plays his euphonium.  Is this likely to be the instrument or his playing?  How can it be fixed?  What is he doing wrong?

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1 Answers
Scott Kardash answered 3 years ago

The most likely cause of this type of issue with sound quality is an incorrect embouchure or placement of the mouthpiece on the lips.  The instrument can be checked by having an experienced player produce a few notes on it for you.
Ask your son to place the mouthpiece a little higher or lower on this lips and see how that changes the sound quality.  Everyone is built differently, but ideally, the mouthpiece shouldn’t be too high or too low on the lips.  A muffled sound will usually be produced if the mouthpiece is too low on the lips.  This is because the top lip does the buzzing against the bottom lip.
Too much lip inside the mouthpiece can also cause a stuffy sound.  Experiment with changing the amount of lip inside the mouthpiece.  It will alter the sound quality.  Find the sweet spot.
Three more important areas that should be in place;

  1.  make sure he is filling his lungs completely before playing any note or phrase.  Air is the fuel for the sound.  He needs to support the note with a solid stream of air.
  2. The inside of the mouth cavity should be open like the inside of a cave as much as possible.
  3. make sure the teeth aren’t clenched together. They need to be slightly apart to allow the air to freely pass through to the lips.

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