Mouthpiece Advice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by AndrewWK, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. AndrewWK

    AndrewWK Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2004
    :p I would hate to be like dbacon but here it goes :p
    PS: i was joking (it's all good, dbacon)

    But i thought this needed a good lookin' over. I found this on a youth edition of ITG. I figured since it was an international org it might have some good advice.

    This next statement is from a masterclass of Tina Erickson. it jokingly gets the point across that the mp does not make the player and tha because some one else plays the mp and sounds good it might not be for you. (that is a logical fallousy) Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (latin)

    Sit back and ......... enjoy the enlightenment.


    Mouthpiece Advice
    Tina Erickson

    "What size mouthpiece do YOU play?"

    We've all heard the joke -- what? You don't know the joke? Ok... here it goes...

    A guy walks into a Waffle House (this is a youth page, after all...) and sees a bunch of people sitting at the counter. The man on the far right says to the guy next to him, "What's your I.Q.?"

    The second guy says, "Well, I don't like to brag, but my I.Q. is 175."

    The first guy says, "Hey! So is mine! Have you read the article about cold fusion in this month's Modern Physicist? I think I caught an error..."

    The man continues to observe, and sees that the next two people are having a similar discussion.

    "What's your I.Q.? says the woman at the counter.

    "Well, my I.Q. is around 120."

    "Hey, mine too! Have you been following the elections in Israel?"

    The observer continues to look to the left end of the counter, and finds two men speaking to each other.

    "Did you hear the people to our right? They're talking about IQs. I guess mine is around 90."

    "Yeah, me too -- did you catch the Lakers game last night?"

    Finally, the observer looks to the far end of the counter.

    "What's your I.Q.?"

    "I don't know... about a 12, I think..."

    "Hey, me too! What size mouthpiece do you play?"

    OK, so it's not the funniest joke you ever heard, but hey - this isn't, right? It's a trumpet site, and you're here to learn about trumpet stuff. So, what have we learned from this dumb joke? Why is it funny, at all?

    It's funny because it doesn't matter what somebody else plays on. What matters is finding equipment that fits you, physically, and helps you get the sound and facility on the instrument that you're looking for.

    There's a wealth of information about how to pick the right mouthpiece. Go to any mouthpiece maker's site, and you'll find lots of help. Let me tell you a few things NOT to do.

    DON'T pick a mouthpiece because someone whose playing you admire plays one just like it. If they wear size 9 shoes, and you're a size 4, will their shoes work for you? (No. The answer is no.)
    ***DON'T pick a mouthpiece because you can squeeze two more notes out of your upper register. So-called "cheater" mouthpieces generally aid the extreme upper register, but can harm overall development by hampering flexibility, and encouraging use of pressure. Be sure the mouthpiece you choose works for ALL the basics. Can you get the sound you want from this mouthpiece? Does it move smoothly between the different registers? Can you do good basic things, like lip slurs? Can you articulate cleanly and evenly?*** (are all you young cats reaing this)
    DON'T pick a mouthpiece because having a bigger size makes you a bigger man/woman in the eyes of your peers. Bigger is NOT necessarily better -- remember the shoe analogy -- if you get something that's too big for you, your playing will suffer.
    For those of you with braces, be particularly careful about mouthpiece choice. You might want to move to a slightly bigger size when the braces go on, to give you a bit more room. Keep in mind though, that when they come off again, you'll probably want to go back to a smaller size, at least for a while, until you get used to playing without all that wire in your mouth.

    In general, the thing to keep in mind is that there are a million different mouthpieces out there, and probably half of them will work for you, at least on some level. If you have specific questions about mouthpieces, check out some of the makers in the list I’ve included at the end of this piece, and if you don't find answers there, call or email some of the companies. Although these are busy, professional people, few of them would turn away questions from interested young players. (Please be sure to thoroughly read the FAQ's before you bother anyone in person, though - you'll get a better reception if your question isn't already answered someplace on their web page.)

    Be patient, and use your head-- your WHOLE head, including your chops, your ears and your brain -- and ask intelligent questions of experienced people. If you don't have a private instructor, ask your band director for some advice. There are several web sites where trumpet players discuss things, but be careful of these, as you don't know these people, or how competent they actually are. (Hey, that joke started as a basic truth, right? We're not all rocket scientists...) If you take this path, watch the list a while, and see what kind of responses these people get - if it's mostly positive, then maybe they know of what they speak. If they get a bunch of sarcastic replies, then maybe you'd better find someone else to emulate.

    More than anything else find something that works, and practice! There is no mouthpiece on the planet that will make up for lack of good, solid work - trust me, I've been looking for years - it's just not out there. So, first and foremost, make sure you're practicing, as you should be. Then, if you honestly feel like there's something about your equipment that's holding you back, do some research, ask good questions to the right people, and start your search for the perfect mouthpiece. Be prepared for the fact that this is a journey that may never end... most of us have shoeboxes full of the silly things...but if you're smart, and lucky, you'll find the mouthpiece that lets you be the same musician on the outside that you are on the inside... because after all, that's what it's all about.

    To find a great list of mouthpiece makers, and instrument makers, too, go to

    Thank you and I hope you got something out of this because I ,ost certainly did

    Good Day!

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