Life after braces...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Brassmonkey, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. Brassmonkey

    Brassmonkey Pianissimo User

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    Jan 6, 2007
    Florida
    Is there anyone who can share their experience with playing after the braces came off? I had a friend who was a fine French horn player and taught at the university level then completely lost his ability to play after having worn braces. He gave up trying to deal with them while he wore them and waited until they came off to pick it up again. When they came off he had a beautiful smile but couldn't play! He spent 2 + years trying to get it together but out of frustration (and depression) he decided to give it up altogether.

    In the mid '70's when I was actively freelancing there were a number of players that had dental casts made in the event something happend to them - auto accident, etc. They were convinced that they would never be able to play again with a new set of teeth unless that set was a duplicate of what they had.

    My wife would like me to get my not so nearly perfectly aligned choppers fixed but I have always had that fear lingering in my mind. I now teach in the public schools (elementary + an after school band program) and play faily regularly.

    Any survivors out there?

    Roland
     
  2. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Jun 11, 2006
    Adult orthodontics problems are not discussed very often.
    I would imagine you will have to go through the same rehabilitation that an elementary or Junior High student would.
    No one in there right mind would give you advice on this. So I'll provide some ideas.

    The braces may be a minor part of the problem. Playing with a retainer on with the wire across the front gave me the most problems. You have to wear the retainer to stabilize the teeth. It is usually three years.

    More than likely, People who have problems with braces play with pressure on their upper teeth. Before you get braces try to "anchor" on your lower teeth and free up the pressure on the upper teeth. If you can do that in a year you may be able to survive adult orthodontics.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007
  3. Brassmonkey

    Brassmonkey Pianissimo User

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    What I have may not be all that great to look at but at least they're mine and pretty solid at that. If I busted them up in an accident that would be one thing but to change things voluntarily and go through that whole learning process again.....not worth it!

    I remain, homely but happy!
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    When you are in your teens, you are struggling with many "body" issues at the same time. In addition, the formative years of puberty put an additional strain on developing the muscle memory important to consistent playing.
    As an adult, we only have the geometrical considerations of the braces. I think that is solvable for an adult player that does not resort to "please feel sorry for me, I just got braces"! If our attitude is proper, we can compensate ANY inconveniences!
    OK, maybe our double C goes away for a year or two, we can work to improve our tonguing, improvisation, rhythm or a multitude of other things when "range" is not an issue!
    Naturally, we have to weigh the benefits vs our playing schedule. That is something that we can't handle over the internet though!
     
  5. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA
    As a teenager, I had braces for FIVE years. I got them off around graduation time in high school in '69. They'd been a royal pain to my playing, but I'd managed to be the first chair player at a large high school.

    The old-style braces had metal bands around teeth with wires CLIPPED onto the front of the teeth with big rectangular metal clips, so the radical change meant I had to start all over again.


    RESULTS . . .The first day . . . I couldn't buzz a note.

    The second, a little better.

    A month later I was playing far better than ever!!! The radical change in my mouth allowed me to re-learn the way to play the horn without the habitual incorporation of my former bad habits. Particularly, my "second time around" I learned to play without much pressure, amoungst other things.

    My performance level skyrocketed and it allowed me to major in music in college, play solo trumpet in an Army band, and then move on to play professionally for several years as a civilian. I still play a lot and I could have never done any of this if I hadn't been forced to relearn the horn without incorporating all those school kid mistakes.

    Today, I'm particularly grateful that I got a "second chance" to learn a correct embouchere without also having to cheat on what my high school band director was trying to get me to do all along . . . just to get me through a performance.

    IN SHORT . . . I believe that removal of braces doesn't have to be the end of the world . . . or getting braces either!

    The hardest thing for most players is losing their abilities temporarily but, if they can get over that, there's no reason that most folks can't come back better than ever.

    T.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Tom,
    did a teacher walk you through those embouchure changes?
     
  7. Brassmonkey

    Brassmonkey Pianissimo User

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    Jan 6, 2007
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    Tom,

    Thanks for sharing such a positive experience! I wish my F Horn player friend would have been able to keep a more positive frame of mind while on the come-back. I think his attitude had a negative effect. There were some periods of progress for him but when difficulties arose things snowballed and he could never keep it together.

    I don't personally intend to do anything about my situation. My teeth aren't THAT bad and they don't pose a health risk or anything. It would be pure vanity.

    I too would be interested to know if a teacher walked you through those changes.

    Thank you all for your input on this thread. Enlightening!

    R.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007

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