The Best Embouchure for Tone, Intonation and Endurance Lesson

(3 customer reviews)



In this new video lesson, I give you the inside scoop on my approach to saxophone embouchure.  I talk about my journey with different embouchures and when I realized that there was a better way to play my sax in regards to the embouchure.  I teach you how this type of embouchure effects your tone, intonation, sub-tone and endurance.  I show you first hand how to do it and talk about how to practice this type of embouchure.  Lastly, I will be posting a blog article with photos of great players like Dexter, Coltrane, Brecker, as well as many others doing what I believe is exactly what I am teaching in this video.(37 Minute Video Lesson)

*The teachings in this video on playing the saxophone are based on my experience.  They are based on my opinions that have been formed over many years of playing the saxophone. I understand that others might approach embouchure, tonguing, voicing and playing the saxophone in a different way entirely and that is ok.  This lesson is based off of the approach that I have found to be the best for me and hopefully it will benefit you as well.    Steve 


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3 reviews for The Best Embouchure for Tone, Intonation and Endurance Lesson

  1. Avatar

    Chris Lang (verified owner)

    Hi Steve! I am a long-time virtual student of yours, and have benefited greatly from your lessons. I am a self-taught working pro- I learned jazz from a piano player, so my sax technique came by trial and error. I just wanted to thank you for your detailed embouchure lesson. For all of these years (30+) of playing, I have had 90% of it correct, but NEVER have I heard about “side pressure”. I have always wrestled with intonation issues- not enough to keep from working full-time, but it has always bugged me. Once I tried concentrating on the side pressure, it changed everything. Instantly. Now I have that firm embouchure, and I can apply more or less side pressure to keep my lip consistent. Voila! My intonation is a thousand times better. This is perhaps the best piece of sax intel I have ever heard from you. Thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate you! God Bless, Chris

  2. Avatar

    Nigel aka Saxpunter (verified owner)

    Hi Steve

    I’ve been back playing 13 years or so now and I am at the stage where small changes can still return good results. I’ve always subscribed to the feel loose thing for a lot of reasons including forums and online discussions and because I was biting so bad I had trouble getting palm keys to sound good for years.

    Physiology is hard to explain and this results in books not really being able to explain nuance. In this lesson you’ve nailed the one thing that I needed to change in the feeling of sideways pressure and it’s really helped.

    Worth every cent of ten bucks, well fifteen Australian but who’s counting.

    Qudos to you for taking a pretty hard thing to describe and doing it so clearly.

  3. Avatar


    Hi Steve,
    Just watched your video…really interesting. I had exactly the same early experience as you, learning sax at school, playing classical and military band. I was taught to put my bottom lip over my teeth and that’s the way I played for years. I had a significant gap in my playing but since coming back to it a few years ago I’ve been experimenting a little bit with lip position, though I didn’t like the sound I was getting initially when rolling the lip out…like you said, you lose control and it sounds ‘quacky’.

    The game changer for me has been trying out a different Alto mouthpiece…a Jody Jazz Custom Dark with a large chamber. With this piece rolling my lip out seems to work really well and the sound doesn’t have the same ‘quackiness’. Interestingly if I play this piece with my ‘old’ lip over embouchure it sounds dull and lifeless with no edge. I’m still in the transition stage though, but I really want to move over to a more lip out style as I can already feel that I can play longer without discomfort and the higher notes are more in tune and fuller sounding. Finding the ‘right’ spot for the lip is obviously the trick. I went through Dave Liebman’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Sound Production’ and his embouchure advice is very similar to yours! He also spends some time discussing overtones/harmonics and playing a scale with just the mouthpiece, both of which have also helped a lot with my embouchure. With my old lip over teeth style I would struggle to get any notes out of the mouthpiece alone at all, but with the lip rolled out I can play about half a major scale now. I think this is quite telling in itself!?

    Anyway, I enjoyed watching your video and for me I can see that the embouchure you’re describing makes total sense and is the way I will be going from now on…just a quick question, are there any exercises you recommend for strengthening the cheek/side face muscles when away from the sax?

    All the best,


  4. Steve

    Steve (verified owner)

    Just a quick question, are there any exercises you recommend for strengthening the cheek/side face muscles when away from the sax?

    All the best,


    I find myself forming my embouchure even without my sax and blowing focused air quite often. It engages all the same muscles in the face. (I’ve been told whistling is very similar but I can’t whistle so I do not know personally.)

    I also talk in my lessons about forming an embouchure like this with a pen in your mouth and to try holding the pen horizontal to the ground. This exercise is tiring after a while but it seems to also engage the same muscles in the face that I use while playing my sax. Hope this helps. Steve

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