To P.E.T.E or not to P.E.T.E.

Personal Embouchure Training Device Review

Personal Embouchure Training Device Review

Many have reported advantages when using the P.E.T.E. mechanism. For me it didn’t seem to increase the benefits as advertised. Because of this, I decided to search and experiment with something different and hopefully more beneficial.

Known fact #1- Most great trumpet players suggest that the best embouchure requires firmness in the corners of the embouchure.

Known fact #2- the P.E.T.E. exercises increase strength towards the center of the embouchure.
So what’s wrong with this picture?

To illustrate my point, read what my former trumpet teacher, Don Jacoby said about this topic in his book “The Trumpet Method of Don Jake Jacoby on page 27; “Remember— only the corners should be firm, the part of your chops inside the mouthpiece should stay relaxed”. Does anyone other than I see the problem here?

If strength should be developed in the corners, then why should we spend time trying to increase strength and firmness in the middle as when practicing with the P.E.T.E device?

I would like to hear your opinion on this issue and for the rest of my day; I will be searching for another way to strengthen the corners of my embouchure.

Stay tuned for I will share my findings as soon as I have more helpful information on this debate.

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.

9 thoughts on “To P.E.T.E or not to P.E.T.E.

  1. Brian Cade

    Pitch bends are the go-to exercise for strengthening corners. I start my day with leadpipe buzzing a la Adam then pitch bends starting on G then mouthpiece practice, currently working through Thompson’s Buzzing Book. The overall idea is to develop an embouchure that is responsive to air attacks. We want just enough tension in the embouchure and no more.

  2. Luis Ortiz

    In my case it did work for me. One thing is for sure it can be overdone very easy. It help me by increasing my endurance, preventing my chops or corners from getting tire and not supporting specially when I was tire. It help on the upper register also with a more secure sound, imho.

  3. derek

    Interesting thoughts. I didn’t find much benefit from using the PETE device. But I have read of others finding it very useful. I wonder if it depends on your embouchure type, as to how beneficial it is.

  4. Paul F

    I did find it particularly useful. (Although I use a homemade device that is similar) I agree with the comment about embouchure type and in addition posit that muscular structure could have a role in deciding whether or not any benefit is seen from the device.

    • Bruce Chidester

      I spent yesterday visiting with me physician trying to understand which muscles are involved with embouchure strength. I think the P.E.T.E concept works main because those that pay the money want the device to work and actually practice more with this in mind. I’m still not convinced there is a better way to build an embouchure in the corners still leaving the middle relaxed. As I gain more information on this, I will share them with you all.

      Thanks for visiting our site and the very best to you and yours from Branson.

  5. Roy Breiling

    I’m going to try it for a while. Have you spent any time with it? Any results?


    • Bruce Chidester

      I used it for some time and eventually decided to put it on the shelf and go at a more traditional way. Eventually a good friend of mine who played with the Count Basie Orchestra visited and showed interest in trying it. So I gave it to him. He reported that he experienced some improvement and I think he is still using it. I’ll have to check back with him to see if he still likes it.

  6. Ron Post

    I have for a while been using the P.E.T.E but without being faithful to a schedule. So my evaluation is a bit compromised. But I believe it seems to have a positive influence. I can understand the thought that the center lip muscles are being strengthened contrary to Mr. Jacoby’s wishes. But I can feel the influence much more in the facial muscles in the corners of my mouth. Its seems to give me the most benefit when I have a lot of playing to do 🙂 so who knows if its the gigs or the P.E.T.E. But I do believe it is an advantage for the vast majority of new or moderately skilled players. Once one is at your level Bruce, the influence may not be as meaningful.

    • Bruce Chidester

      Good to hear from you again and we appreciate everyone’s opinion on each issue.

      If I am speaking to a UNI grad……let me know off line what you have been doing all these years..


Comments are closed.