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If you read enough beginner resources for Akai EWI players, you'll keep seeing people mention that you need to let air leak out the sides of your mouth while you play, to avoid building up backpressure. See the question "I cannot blow enough air through my [EWI]. What can I do about this airflow problem?" on Patchman's FAQ, or the bottom of this answer on the site.

But even though it sounds simple enough, I've been struggling to figure out how to do this for myself. If I leave my mouth really open, the leaking air is distracting and it's hard to maintain good control over the dynamics. If I leave it open just enough to let air leak out, eventually the gaps close while I'm tonguing, and then it feels really counterintuitive to get them open again. I can get the best results so far if I just barely put my mouth over the mouthpiece, but from watching people play on YouTube this doesn't seem to be common, and it makes it hard to control the bite sensor.

I would love to read a more detailed description of how to get the right embouchure to achieve this airflow. As you're getting ready to play, how do you put your mouth around the mouthpiece? As you play, does air leak out at a constant rate, or does it change depending on what you're playing? Are there suggested exercises for practicing this? For background, I'm coming to the EWI from flute, so I would especially appreciate an answer that doesn't assume knowledge of other instruments with mouthpieces closer to the EWI's.

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Leaking air out of the sides of the embouchure is a really bad habit to get into if you also play real wind instruments. It can be audibly distracting and it's also totally unnecessary. Oboe players have exactly the same problem that not enough air goes through the instrument. They cope by exhaling at the end of a phrase to empty the lungs before inhaling, and this is the technique you should use on EWI. If you're coming from flute (where you have the opposite problem) it's going to take a bit of work to get used to this.

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  • Agreed. Why not simply take less air in if you know the EWI doesn't take much air? Compare with alto and soprano recorders, which certainly don't require a lot of air volume. – Carl Witthoft Dec 2 '19 at 14:12

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