2 Questions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Manny- I have 2 questions for you about some student players.

    The first, not my student, but the son of one of the 5th grade teachers (he does study privately with a trumpet professor from the college nearby) is having major issues with braces. He just got the bottoms on, and his mother tells me that his lip is getting cut up pretty badly (she compared it to hamburger). He just switched to a 10 1/2c under his teacher's advice. He is doing the Goedicke for NYS solo evaluation festival, and can almost get the A, but the Bb is almost out of the question, and he used to have a C no problem. My hunch is that he should not be playing the festival this year, but that is not my decision. Is there anything he can do? (He is already using wax.)

    The second does relate to one of mine (10th grade). I've been working for a few years to no avail to help one of my students overcome a bizarre embouchre. She has a beautiful sound, but it's getting in the way of her upper register, and will soon make it impossible for her to progress. She has reached level V (which includes pieces like Maid of the Mist, which she is working on, and Turrin Caprice) (and we DO use Arban alot...she owns one and has been in it since 8th grade) with it, but to go on is going to demand that she has a solid Bb at least, which really means a C. (She can get it on occasion, but no reliably, now). The problem is apparently a rolled in bottom lip, causing air pockets to develop in her bottom lip. She also gets them in the upper lip, and it becomes more pronounced as she ascends above the staff. Whe I offered her a 1c, she tried it, and has seen an increase in her range (she was on a 5c). As you can guess, it is also wreaking havoc on her endurance, causing her to press when fatigue sets in. (I can see tthe little white ring appear when she stops playing). What can I be giving her to do that will help her overcome this? She's quite a good little player and very motivated. I am stumped, and have tried everything I can think of. :?: Thanks!
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    I don't see the point of the boy doing irrepairable damage to his lip. If he's already using wax and is still getting cut up like that I'd have him switch to baritone or tuba if he really just wants to keep playing something. I think the 10.5 C mouthpiece idea is a bad one. He's still a kid and he's going to use a lot of pressure because that's what he knows unless his lips happen to be paper-thin.

    Away from the horn, teach her to make the faces she needs to play properly. Get her corners down any way you can (tell her to look like a fish or some such thing) and get her to breathe in and out many times in that "position". When she does that right, ask her to describe what adjectives she'll use to remind herself how to do that. See if she can inititate that on her own to your satisfaction.

    Tell her to then put her horn up to her face very lightly (about an inch away from her lips) and to blow into the mouthpiece from that inch away, so you can hear a little air coming out of the bell. After a while of that have her play a low C in that set up, then a G and then a middle C. If you're satisfied that it's a nice relatively solid sound, you'll know you're on to something.

    This is a very tricky thing unless she has very solid musical instincts. In that case she'll make the switch easily.

    Good luck, let me know how it goes.

    ML
     
  3. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Manny- Thanks, again. I will certainly give that a try. I have her for her lesson next Wednesday. We'll see how it goes...she does have a high degree of musical aptitude.
     
  4. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Braces.
    Orthodontists think they are doing a favor by applying uppers and lowers at different times thus cutting the brace time to a minimum. They do not understand what a problem this is for brass players. Tell the orthodontists that they need to apply/remove uppers and lowers on the same day.

    The best protection I have found is https://www.morganbumper.com/index1.html.
    Wax is from the dark ages. Teflon plumbers tape also works and is even less intrusive.

    Mouthpiece size is an individual thing. I let the student with braces try a variety of sizes and shapes. Interstingly enough, most kids go for the 10 1/2 C.

    I have never had a student who couldn't make the adjustment. Then the braces come of and we have to make another adjustment!
     
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Billy- Can you re-check and repost that address? I got an error message when I clicked it.

    Just spoke to his mother this am and she apparently went with the professor's mouthpiece recommendation. (This professor, by the way, is a fantastic player and very knowlegable about cornet literature and performance...not to do him any discredit or disrespect by disagreeing with him). She says it is working, but I'll bet it's unfortunately only going to be short term success. Also, I sense he may be experiencing success not because of the mouthpiece but because he is beginning to adjust to the bottom braces. Seems to me that a small mouthpiece like a 10 1/2c would only compound things, where a larger mouthpiece might allow more freedom of lip movement. Again, this is not my student, but another faculty member asked (or seemed to, anyway) for advice. I will recommend the teflon tape thing, and if I can get that website in view will check out your other recommendation and mention it, as well. Thanks.
     
  6. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    I don't understand the mouthpiece switch at all. What're they going to when the braces come off? Switch to yet another mouthpiece?

    I think it may help because the different size might cause the rim to rest against a smoother or less abrasive part of the brace. Who knows....?

    I had braces as an adult and had them removed about five years ago. For me, they put the bottom brackets on first. This didn't bother me at all, and after a couple days I was playing almost as well as ever. What killed me was when they put the top set on. I went through wax like it was water.

    Then someone gave me this silicon stuff and it was fabulous. Sadly, I don't recall the maker. Somoene went to a concert of mine and noticed I had braces. She was a trumpet player herself who had braces as an adult and after the concert she gave me this stuff. So I never got a brand name or anything...but I'd say look around. There are alternatives to wax that are fantastic!!!

    I defer to our resident expert on the other question....
     
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    You are exactly right. I still think going to a large mouthpiece instrument is the way I'd go. Better to produce a good sound on a different instrument than a mediocre sound on your home instrument.

    ML
     
  8. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I have a son who began braces (tops and bottoms) about 6 months after he first started playing trumpet (cornet, at the time). He is (finally) within weeks of getting them off after wearing the braces for about 3-1/2 years. His "mouthpiece of choice" was initially a Bach 7C but about a year ago he switched to a GR 66** (that he 'bummed' off his dad... me!) and has been quite happy with it. The GR *star* series has a rim design for comfort (personal design for Gary Radke) and is of slightly larger diameter than a Bach 3C (at least, it feels like it to me, I'm using the 66*** myself). He has never used guards or shields but I had him doing long, quiet tones with note bending initially so that he could develop a "low pressure" approach and get the "air" out of his sound.

    Seems to have worked OK since he plays lead in both the school orchestra and jazz bands. He has a very pronounced "bell up" embouchure and I'll be really interested to see what happens when the "tracks" are removed!

    I also had a daughter (well, I've still got her!) who went all the way through high school wearing braces while learning French Horn. Again, no shields or guards. She's now got her performance degree on horn (and you might know how brutally "sharp" a horn mouthpiece rim is!) She played 1st horn in provincial honors band within one week of getting the braces removed! As her teacher said about the timing "Well, that was certainly a non-event!"

    I think this deal about braces is "much ado about little". Yes, I'll agree that if the student is overconcerned about high range or marching band (loud, high and fast) then they're going to tend to use a lot more pressure.... but it is certainly not to worry about if the primary concern is nice, melodic music "in the staff" or to high C. Time enough to become the next Jon Faddis once the braces are off and the final embouchure can be developed.

    Just my thoughts.... feel free to fire at will!
     
  10. pots13

    pots13 New Friend

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    Dec 5, 2004
    I had realy trouble getting my braces off. Now it's better but it's been good half a year and my range is still lower than before I got braces (high f versus used to have almost the double high c). I got little plastic 'slip covers' from my braces to keep them from butting my lips while I played, but by that time I had already adjusted to playing without the covers and they added that extra distance that really wrecked my embouchure so I never actually used them.
    All the best,
    Pots
     

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