Taming the Tuba


First Sound
  - Place the mouthpiece on your lips
  - Use “OH-OO-SQUEEZE” 
  - Breathe and blow out air as fast as possible!  

     If done correctly,
     one of these notes should come out.


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photo courtesy of Velo Photographyhttp://she-she-says.blogspot.com/2011/12/another-monday.html
Is This Like Trumpet?
Potential Problems
  “OH”      “OO”    “Squeeze the Tube!”
Forming the Embouchure
2/3 top 1/3 bottom
Producing a Sound
Mouthpiece Placement
If the correct sound doesn’t 
 occur, one of these sounds might, instead.

You’re making a great sound!
Click here to learn to read notes in bass clef!

photo from tubahead.wordpress.com
2 Things to Remember
Tongue Position
Breathe Deeply
Fill up!!
Say  “OH”
Keep it Low!
No tone, Rushing air
If you get no tone, you might have one of two possible problems:

 Your embouchure may not be tight enough (lips are spread)
 Your air stream is restricted by a closed throat or a high tongue

To fix these problems:

 Re-form embouchure (“OH-OO-SQUEEZE”) and grip the tube firmly
2)  Remember “OH” - open the throat and keep the tongue low

Thin, Pinched tone

If you get a thin sound, you might have these problems:

 Your embouchure might be too tight (lips are pinched)
 You are not using enough air

To fix these problems:

 Loosen the grip on “the tube” with your embouchure (less squeeze)
2)  Remember to breathe deeply and move air fast through your lips

Gargled tone

If you get a gargled sound, check for these problems:

  1. 1) Your lips might be folded over your teeth

  2. 2) Your embouchure may be too loose

To fix these problems:

  1. 1) Re-form embouchure (“OH-OO-SQUEEZE”), use a ring to check lip position

2)  Grip “the tube” firmly when you form your embouchure

Stopped, Intense air

If you get the sound of intense air, you might have these problems:

 Your lips might be completely pinched together
 You are not using enough air

To fix these problems:

 Loosen the grip on “the tube” with your embouchure (less squeeze)
2)  Review your tongue position (keep it low) and use fast air

Forming the tuba embouchure is as simple as “1, 2, 3!”
The correct shape can be formed in three simple steps:

 Say the syllable “OH” (as in boat or go).  
    - Saying “OH” will keep your tongue low inside your mouth.

 Say the syllable “OO” (as in moon or too).  
    - Saying “OO” will set the corners of your mouth into the correct playing position.
    **Be sure to keep your tongue low (OH) while moving your corners to this shape.

Now “SQUEEZE!” (imagine squeezing a tube between your lips).  
    - Squeezing will tighten your lips toward the center and make everything firm.
    - You can use a large straw or a medium marker to actually practice squeezing.
    **Be sure keep the shape from the first two steps while you move the center of your 
    top and bottom lips to squeeze!

It’s easy!  OH-OO-SQUEEZE!


    - You must take in a lot of air to play the tuba! 

    - When you take a breath, think about filling up your entire core with air. 

    - If you breathe well, it will feel great - like a big yawn! 

    **Breathe deeply and fill up!

Tongue Position

    - When you blow air out to make a sound on tuba, make sure you leave plenty of
    room in your mouth for all of that air to come out! 

    - Lower your tongue flat in the bottom of your mouth. 

    **Remember the “OH” syllable that you used to form the embouchure!

Mouthpiece Placement
    - Start with the mouthpiece centered on your lips (1/2 top lip and 1/2 bottom lip inside).
    - Some players (usually older players) move the mouthpiece just a little higher (2/3 top lip 
    and 1/3 bottom lip inside).
    **Very little pressure is needed from the mouthpiece.  Because of this, there is a little bit 
    of “lee-way” in the placement of the mouthpiece.  You can experiment to find the 
    placement that works best for you, as long as it is close to the pictures above.
Correct Tone

Brass embouchures are very
similar from instrument to instrument.  Many of the basic characteristics are the same.  Since you already play trumpet, let’s take a moment to compare and contrast the embouchures.

+ + Similarities + +

Keep the corners of your mouth firm. 

You need to have a flat chin. 

Your lips vibrate by using fast air.

- - Differences - -

Teeth are much farther apart.

Less pressure is needed from the mouthpiece.

The lips are much more relaxed when buzzing.