band director told my child to change instruments :(

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetmom94, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. trumpetmom94

    trumpetmom94 New Friend

    Nov 21, 2009
    My son has braces. He's a 10th grader.
    He can't seem to hit the high notes.
    His band director plays trumpet
    I have paid for a private teacher for 2 years
    He practices at least 30 minutes per day...

    But still,
    His band director told him that in order to make the top band, he probably would never on a trumpet (range, tightness of thoat - not being able to hit high notes).
    He said Euphonium would be good...
    but my son wants to do trumpet...
    I'm wondering if this is correct. Do the braces hinder THAT much?
    Do you have any suggestions on what we can do to make him better on his trumpet?
    As a mom, I'm NOT getting Why changing to Euphonium would help? bigger mouthpiece??? I just hate to waste the 5 years he's already spent on the trumpet... but I know he's getting REALLY DISCOURAGED. :-?
  2. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    My son is in the 8th grade, has braces, and is the lead trumpet in symphonic band and jazz band. Yes, braces can be a hinderance. But many people can still play with them. So I don't think that braces alone is a good reason to switch.

    More importantly, your son want to continue on the trumpet. I think that's the most important consideration.
  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    It's possible play the trumpet well (including high notes) with braces. When I had them, I used a little piece of white plumbers tape to cover the brackets on the front teeth (top and bottom) and was able to play without any pain. Some people really struggle, though.

    Have you talked with the private teacher about why he's struggling with throat tension and range? Does his practice routine include fundaments like breathing, long tones, lip slus, etc? 30 minutes a day may not be enough to really make huge improvments, so if he REALLY wants to play the trumpet, maybe his teacher can help him expand his practice routine. What are the teacher's qualifications? If he says your son can't improve because of the braces, I'd suggest thinking about a new teacher.

    I've seen struggling trumpet players go to Euphonium and do really well, but if it's not what he wants to do and he's not excited about it, then it's probably not a good idea.
  4. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Yeah, I get that, but when a kid struggles so much that the director wants them to switch, I've got to wonder if he's getting good instruction.
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Trumpetmom94 - I love your description of your son's passion for THE instrument - battle half won. (I'm once again in awe of a Mom's (Mum's) passion for a boy's loves (his trumpet and his Mom) - Mom's have just gotta do what they gotta do - onya Mom, you're a Champion).

    I can't offer a solution per se, but I can offer some support - the best trumpeter in our Community Band played for some years with really nasty braces - bled a little but often - learnt to play with minimum pressure against the lips, and played beautifully (albeit with some limit to her range) - but when she settled after her braces came off her musical language soared - and her teeth were really pretty.

    Hang in there - continue to support - keep up the practice - chat to his teacher about pressure of the mouthpiece onto the lips (not pressure between the lips though) - and ask your boy to focus on his breath control (this bit is VITAL) and the logic of his practice regime.

    On the other hand my #1 Son plays Bb Tuba (a really big Eupho) and the sound is the "Velvet cushion upon which the Band sits" - if I wasn't able to murder music with my trumpet, then the Eupho (or in my case a tenor horn (alto horn in the US) would be my weapon of choice - and if your son switches, then that little sucker will FORCE him to breathe. :thumbsup:
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Let's look at the band directors side:
    1) they only have the kids a minimal amount of time per week

    2) for kids that can't cut the part on their own they only have a minimal amount of time to invest to get them to the required level

    3) depending on the band program have to uphold "quality standards" based on what comes out of the horn and NOT the natural ability of the child.

    If we consider these three realities, it may have been good advice.

    Braces are a CURSE to many and I refused as a child to get them. That caused a great amount of friction with my parents, but when my dentist said that I would have to quit trumpet for 2 years, I said adios. I live perfectly well with my crooked teeth, have no social problems when I smile and no abnormal issues with the dentist.

    What to do?
    Take the band directors advice seriously. That means your son starts investing 60 or more minutes with the trumpet per day because the band is important and 30 minutes daily with braces does not cut it in his case. If 30 minutes it is, perhaps the euphonium could be a better interim solution until the braces are gone. If top band is not possible because of an unwillingness to adjust, the dissappointment could be the end of the trumpet. Then whoever made the braces decision shares part of the blame.

    A music teacher has quite a bit on their plate. Trying to help a 30 minute kid means thinking practically. I think you got good advice.

    Your son has a decision to make. Prove it is worth it, or take the consequences. You as a parent should NOT be involved in that decision and NOT go to bat for them with the teacher. Part of growing up is learning to deal with reality.

    If it was your decision on the braces, you now have been confronted with a reality that is not comfortable. That is life.
  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    If you love your son, take him to the Dr. and have the braces removed.

    Take it from us, we all love the trumpet too.
    If you don't want him to hate you later in life, get those things off.

    Why are you torchering him? To make him look a little better? Does he go to the plastic surgeon too?
  9. abtrumpet

    abtrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 14, 2009
    How long has your son had braces? It definitely takes time to adjust to them. Just getting a clear note out with them is a challenge, if you want to play well you must practice a lot more (1hr+). I just got my braces off a few days ago and I'm having problems again. It's not the braces on that give him trouble, he has to change his embouchure a little. Not expert advice, but from my experience it worked fine.

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