What is the TCE?

The Tongue Controlled Embouchure, or TCE for short, is an embouchure system suitable for all brass-playing musicians. It is also system that relies on a number of simple ideas that enable a player to identify key areas of their development and grow into a powerful brass musician.

Unlike other proponents of Jerome Callet’s research, the information on this website recognises the value in each of the stages of development of the TCE, Superchops and Trumpet Yoga methods. The fundamental teachings behind each of these is the same and the result of their combined study gives the player authority to make informed decisions about their development based upon decades of research and study. Some believe that Callet’s latest and greatest ideas are all that you need but a lot of people have struggled to apply his current teachings to musical performance. By taking a broader look at the development of his ideas it has been shown that most can get themselves on a path of positive change. This is the meaning of Being Empowered With Knowledge.

The core teachings of the Tongue Controlled Embouchure can be summarised in five concepts:

  1. Correct Sound Concept – working with your instrument, not against it.
  2. Use Of The Tongue – anchored on the bottom lip.
  3. Lips Moving Correctly – central lip grip, not lateral movement.
  4. Einsetzen/Ansetzen – double pedal note exercises using two embouchure positions.
  5. Correct Use Of Air – quality not quantity.

Advantages of learning this playing system include, but are not limited to:

  1. Strong, clean articulation and resonant, projected sound.
  2. Vastly improved centring of pitches and intonation.
  3. Elimination of note production problems.
  4. Playing without straining.
  5. Increased stamina and range as a result of playing with a highly efficient set up.
  6. The ability to play with mouthpieces of all shapes and sizes.

TCE (and Jerome Callet’s Superchops) has often been seen as a ‘high note method’ but this interpretation is misleading. A famous American trumpet pedagogue once said that given a player has good technique then high notes are inevitable. This is certainly true, and it may be that this technique is the best of them all.

Disclaimer: There is much discussion on the internet, most of it reactionary, in which people argue whether aspects of this system are right or wrong. This form of argument is not productive and wilful ignorance of the different ideas in a field of study only serves to stifle personal development. Genuine understanding of the Tongue Controlled Embouchure can only be achieved through its practice and all of TCE’s critics are people who have not taken the time to understand and master the technique. Please refer to the FAQ page for more information.