Braces or Trombone?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by amailmanyouknow, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. amailmanyouknow

    amailmanyouknow New Friend

    Apr 17, 2007
    My 14 yo son has a huge space between his front teeth. This results in either too much pressure (so he can't play high), and/or a buzzy tone (because he's playing between the teeth). He's been playing for 5 years and is a fairly advanced reader, and the range/tone issues are really starting to catch up with him. He's also been through a couple of teachers who either didn't want to work on the embouchure, or didn't really know what to do.

    We started him on trombone to see if we could help relieve the pressure a bit and it did seem to help a bit. That was on a suggestion from his director, who plays baritone - and yes, he's still playing trumpet. However, the pressure is still there. It's also helped with his reading bass clef for his piano, lol.... [​IMG]

    He's with a teacher right now who we think is on the right track - and in fact, he just changed his mouthpiece from a 5C to a 1-1/2C, which seems to be working. But they all say it will take a year or so to change his embouchure. We questioned the teachers about braces and none of them want to commit (the insurance pays for them, so for us it's not a cost issue) - the one he's with now says he knows guys who have had spaces actually put IN their teeth so they could play higher! He is getting better range with the 1-1/2 - I am not sure why, I thought you used a smaller piece to play higher, but what do I know, I play woodwinds....

    I don't know. When the teacher used a visualizer with him, he had an instant good buzz and embouchure on the trombone side, and got nothing immediately on the trumpet size (he had to work at it). Would it be worth it to get the braces to close the space a bit if not entirely? That would get rid of the pressure, for sure.... He does not particularly care for trombone and wants to play trumpet. But he said to me the other week that he "didn't know it would have to play so high"....LOL.....what can I say, he listens to a bunch of old jazzers who don't go above a G..... [​IMG]

    Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. michaelm2

    michaelm2 New Friend

    Mar 23, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Not any easy answers. If he doesn't want to play trombone he may lose interest altogether. Straightening his teeth may help or it may make it worse. There's really no way to tell until after it's done. My best suggestion would be to go ahead and get his teeth straightened and ride it out with the trumpet and do the best he can and not push 'too' much.

    Best of luck.

  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    What about a retainer, or braces behind the teeth -- any options there?
  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    I don't understand how a space in your teeth results in more pressure. Improper playing techniques lead to more pressure.
  5. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    As a band director, and a trumpet player that had braces, I would recommend that you go ahead and get them. The main reason is that he's got to live his entire life with his teeth. Yes, it's only a cosmetic thing, BUT the cost in terms of self-esteem can be great. My mom had them in her 40's and was glad she did.

    The braces will cause an immediate dip in his technique, but it's also a chance to unlearn those bad habits (he'll learn to quit using pressure the first time he bleeds).

    Under the guidance of a competent teacher the transition to, through, and from braces can be smooth and profitable.

    If I had to go back and do it again, would I? You bet ya!
  6. amailmanyouknow

    amailmanyouknow New Friend

    Apr 17, 2007
    Thanks for your responses.

    Just a note, his teeth are not crooked. He just has a space - it's a family trait, he was doomed, both dad and mom have it..... :dontknow:
  7. trumpet520

    trumpet520 Pianissimo User

    Oct 25, 2006
    before i had braces i had a huge gap in my teeth and it probably helped my tone is what my teacher said.
  8. trumpet520

    trumpet520 Pianissimo User

    Oct 25, 2006
    by the way my teacher who is an amazing trumpet player has a big gap between his teeth.
  9. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Get his teeth straighten and or gap filled. I am with the above people.
    More than likely it may only require an appliance. The appliance can come out when he practices.
    If he needs brackets put them on and learn to play correctly.
    Tell us your geographic location so that the TM'ers can recommend a teacher and possibly an orthodontist.

    I went through the brackets and the appliance. He will be able to play.

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