I got my braces off, and I really need help getting back my tone and range

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by andrewlee1206, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. andrewlee1206

    andrewlee1206 New Friend

    Jul 26, 2014
    Last week, on Tuesday, I got my braces removed, and I've had trouble playing the trumpet ever since. I've had braces off pretty much all throughout middle school, and I just got them off during my freshman year in high school. After getting my braces removed, I found out I couldn't play anything above a middle-c. That's a really big problem for me because I'm in marching band, and I have to play a bunch of music and stands tunes, with a ton of playing tests in the coming week. I've tried everything I could think of to get my range and tone back, including lip slurs, long tones, middle school beginning band exercises, the pencil exercise, the first few pages of Arban's, etc, but I still can't play anything over a middle c. Is there anything I can do that will drastically improve my tone and range before Tuesday or will I have to fail all of my playing tests? Please Help!!!
  2. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    I have no experience personally with braces. What I think you might have to accept is that this could be a long haul. The whole make up pf your mouth, teeth position, the way your lips will fit against your newly straightened and unbraced teeth etc wiil have changed. It will come back but unless someone weighs in with something I think you will have to be patient. My suspicion is not very nice for you to hear but I think you are in for retrainging your embouchure which we all know takes time. Everything will feel to have changed on you. I hope someone can come in with something more encouraging for you. Waht I would warn against is trying to get back too quickly, I did that coming back from a serious (not quite hospitalised) chest infection and ended up giving myself a real pressure problem because I was making up for lack of air with pressure, please don't make the mistake of pressing too hard and making more work for yourself

    Sorry to sound so negative

    barliman2001 likes this.
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    No. Your embouchure musculature will need to readjust to a new configuration it has now assumed. This takes weeks and doesn't optimize for about 3-6 months.

    Hopefully your instructor will understand so they will not fail you. If they have no compassion, then failure is a possibility

    I could write you a doctor's excuse!

    Good luck, getting back takes time and practice, but all the practicing in the world will not advance the clock, at least not at this stage of re-building.
  4. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Sorry to sound as negative as the previous posters; but getting back an embouchure after a major change in your facial map (and that's what braces - and their removal - amount to). Even Maurice André, the best of the best (RIP, friend!), had to take almost a year off after major dental work. He did play two or three concerts while rebuilding, but those were the rare moments when he did not sound like himself. In fact, he played like a six-year-old with his first trumpet (I was there). Of course, you could somehow squeeze out those higher notes; but the result would most probably be permanent damage to your lips and facial muscles. So be prepared to drop out of marching band for a while, until you have readjusted, and then show them how furious and successful a comeback can be.
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    See it as a positive opportunity.

    Instead of your development being driven by the performance requirements of people who have selfish agendas of their own, you can go back to basics and spend maybe even a year cleaning up all those aspects of your technique that were probably rushed through earlier. Really work on your breathing (see Rowuk's post at http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f13...g-mouthpiece-pressure-54433-2.html#post497039), the 'Basics' (see http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f136/basics-sheet-69326.html#post662891) and musical aspects such as phrasing and expressivity.

    While your classmates are beating themselves up with performance programmes that as often as not send their development backwards, you get the chance to build a really sure foundation and come out much the better in the long run.
    barliman2001 likes this.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually miracles are possible. I have had students with amazing come backs - but they all had real routines during the whole braces time, they all were dedicated to lipslurs, longtones and scales very softly. They really cranked up the basics before the braces came off.

    That being said, it is VERY naive to expect the internet help to beat mother nature. We are creatures of habit. What you reap today is the product of what you sowed for the last year or so. With that in mind, you can calculate what you need by tomorrow. I would suggest NOT trying to be a superhero. Jumping off of a building without the prerequisites generally means that you break your neck. Plead for consideration of your situation. Don't walk in with an excuse, explain what happened and how much time that you invested in basics to show the traits that count even more than playing: Dependability, devotion, ability to recognize what you can and can't. I don't know of a teacher in the world that enjoys kicking kids struck by fate (well except for some marching band bandleaders......). Monday night think really hard about what you can play and stay in that comfort zone. Those in power will understand!
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There's already a load of good advice in this thread. (I sure hope our young poster comes back to read some of it.) I'll only climb on the band wagon and say that you can't force chops development, and that's exactly what's going on. The braces came off, and functionally your chops need to be rebuilt, almost from the ground up. You can't rush that - it's going to take time. If you try to force it, it's not going to be pretty.

    About the only player I've ever known who got their braces off and didn't go through a frustrating period of playing was my sister, but she was a methodical practicer who did a lot with fundamentals - after a short amount of adjustment time, she was right back in the game.

    Any teacher who knows half of anything should be understanding to a kid who just got their braces off, and will realize the limitations of those brand new chops. Don't look at it as failing your upcoming playing tests. Look at it as the opportunity to be the most improved out of your class.
  8. peanuts56

    peanuts56 Pianissimo User

    Jan 18, 2009
    I wore invisalign braces in my late 40's for a year. I was advised by my orthodontist not to play and took his advice. I didn't have anyone knocking on my door and there's not much work in my area. When I got the ok to play again I had a lot of problems. My problems were in the middle register, I sounded great above the staff but the middle register was just a real struggle. It's a very slow process to retrain the muscles, your vibrating surface has probably changed a bit.
    I did get my middle register back eventually. I ended up having to take another layoff due to major melanoma surgery on my forehead over my left eye. Sadly, I have not touched the horn since June, 2011 and probably won't until I retire in 2016. I may just pack it in and sell my horns, I have not made up my mind. The good news is I am cancer free.
    Best of luck with your playing.
  9. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    peanuts56, the fact that you are still here on TM is a good sign. Perhaps, at the moment, you are too busy/tired/whatever to do any work on the horn; but your interest in everything trumpet is still there, and it is that which really counts. So - give yourself a bit of a rest, and then go at it again! All the best!
  10. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    peanuts56, you´re a trumpeter at heart and you are well !!

    You deserve to own a couple of horns!

    Keep them and you´ll see that one day you and your horns will again embrace! :grouphug:

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