The “M-P” Technique

Mike Lawson • April 2023Playing Tips • April 2, 2023

Through my years of teaching beginner trumpet players, I found that the “M-P” technique has been the most successful way to teach embouchure. I had read books and had many trumpet teachers talk to me about how to create an appropriate embouchure. I always found it difficult to convey those concepts to not only elementary age children, but to college students in a brass pedagogy class. With these thoughts in mind, I decided that I should break it down as simply as possible. My goal was to retain key concepts and elements without losing the intended long-term learning.  

To begin, I ask students say the letter “M” and hold the position to form the embouchure.  To say the letter “P”, you must send a burst of air through the lips just like the air required to start the buzzing of the aperture.  I direct the students to elongate the saying of “P” gradually until they are creating a buzzing sound through the set embouchure (M).  This helps the student understand they must buzz with a consistent airstream sooner in their development. Set the “M” buzz with a “P”!

Charles Mekealian
La Costa Canyon High School/Earl Warren Middle School
San Diego, CA


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