When should I as a wind instrument player react to embouchure problems?

    For wind instrument players, the well-being of the embouchure is essential. How this part of the anatomy feels at times can vary, just as fatigue, tension and pain in the shoulders are felt in varying degrees.

    If your lips start to feel painful, stiff and swollen, and it is difficult to maintain certain registers that usually work, you need to take a break and consider how you are organizing your practice time. These symptoms are typical of swollen tissues and they will be helped by improved circulation in that area. Avoid pressing your lips to a mouthpiece for awhile.

    On the website: www.embouchures.com it is recommended that you rinse your lips in warm water for several minutes and then put ice on them. Making small vibrations with your lips can also be helpful in increasing the circulation again.

    Embouchure rehabilitation should include working with a specialist who can observe how the facial muscles are used when playing. Recovery includes building up the embouchure muscles slowly and learning new practicing strategies for performance preparation so that the embouchure gets the rest it needs to maintain muscular fluidity.

    Contact a physiotherapist who can help you find your optimal breathing technique and physical interaction with your instrument to avoid tension specifically in your jaw, neck, shoulders, and in your body in general. In a long-term situation of embouchure problems, it is important to clear up any thoughts and anxiety that often slow recovery.

    A good resource for French horn players is: www.erjajoukamoampuja.fi.

    Karin Engquist och Ing-Marie Olsson
    Artist- & Musikerhälsan
    Östra Rönneholmsvägen 9B
    211 47 Malmö
    Phone: +46 (0)708 670 647

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