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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Playing With Braces in the General forums; Now this is going to sound funny coming from a 42 yr old seasoned trumpet player, but how does one ...
  1. #1
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    Jul 2005

    Playing With Braces

    Now this is going to sound funny coming from a 42 yr old seasoned trumpet player, but how does one play a trumpet with braces!!??

    I had to get braces and the day I get my braces put on my church asks me to play on the worship band. I've played for years, (age 10) but never proffessionally. I now have a new challenge to get a decent tone out much less losing a drastic portion of range (barely a G).

    Does anyone have any tips to overcome this issue quickly or is it going to take time? Will my tone improve? From my view point I'll have to forget playing on stage for sometime before I can sound halfway decent.

    I play both trumpet and Flugel and perfer the Flugel.

  2. #2
    Mezzo Piano User trumpet blower88's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Lots and lots of that weird, gunky, white, wax stuff that your orthodontist should have given you. Put it over every bracket and every wire that stickes out. Of course, make sure it's on nice and tight so it doesn't break off into your trumpet, that stuff can make a mess of the valves!

    Other then that its just going to take time getting used to. Go back to the basics and start learning every thing over again, because you'll find that you'll have to change your emboucher a bit. One thing you might want to try is to experiment with some new mouth pieces. I used to play on a Bach 1C and 3C, but I found that when I had braces useing something with the B rim/cup felt alot more comfortable and I was able to play just as well as befor the braces, and when I got them off, switching back to the 1C didn't seem to phase me at all.

    Good luck. It's going to be tough for a while, but once you get them off again you'll sound so much better than before. For me it was almost like braces were just some extra training for my chops.
    -David Jacques

  3. #3
    Pianissimo User
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    May 2005
    Gordonsville, TN
    Ok, I'm an expert at this kinda stuff. I have had braces TWICE both times I was playing the trumpet. Now you have been playing trumpet longer than I have been alive, but I know what I'm talking about when it comes to braces.

    Ok, honestly wax doesn't help. if it makes you more comfortable that's fine, but it will mor than likely cause a larger problem by creating an air pocket in your upper lip after the braces come off. The lips will weaken in that area. Bad thing to overcome.

    It does take time to get used to, but it eventually gets better. One thing I noticed during my play with braces though is it actually improved my tone. My range did suffer, but my tone was beautiful.

    So, some tips. After playing any long concert or performance, take advil or tylenol to decrease swelling because your lips WILL swell. Use wax sparingly. The only time I ever used wax was when I had a sore on the inside of my lips and sometimes I didn't use it then. Use a little pressure if you need to. It doesn't hurt. I know that would normally be discouraged in every trumpet playing group out there, but it makes it alot easier to play if you use a little bit more pressure than you normally would.

    Hope these comments help. If I'm not very helpful I apologize, everyone is different, but I worked for me.
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  4. #4
    Mezzo Forte User JackD's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    Manchester / London
    Basically, playing with braces is awful. If you use ANY pressure you'll cut your lips to shreds.

    I had braces from age 11 - 12 and I found it so difficult and depressing I almost gave up. (I was pretty good before I had them, and it basically destroyed my tone and range)

    I was recommended to use rizla papers by someone, and found it helped a bit. I tried the wax, and quite frankly it didn't help at all.

    So... good luck, and try to get the damn things off as soon as possible.

  5. #5
    Piano User MahlerBrass's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    Houston, TX
    I've never had braces but I have several students and friends that have, one of the things it teaches you is to use less pressure so that's definitely a plus. Two options they all used to make playing a bit easier is using EZO, which is the stuff that people use on dentures, the other option is that Jet Tone Lip Protector, difference is you can't get the Jet Tone thing at a local market, hope this helps!
    Music isn't a career, it's a way of life.

  6. #6
    Pianissimo User
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    Nov 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    I have had many students with braces. The most common problem is that the different feeling directs the player's concentration to the lips. This almost always results in poor breathing. You must double your efforts to keep a steady, energized air flow. Focus your mind on the sound and you will soon not even notice the braces. Teflon plumber's tape will wrap around the braces and offer a small amount of cushion. The Morgan bumpers are more intrusive but offer more cushion.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2005

    Thanks for the encouragement

    Yes, I have found out that the wax is not helping but hindering my problem! I don't tend to us allot of pressure and my braces are those plastic transparant type so the metal is not messing up my gums. The brackets did a number on my cheeks but those are improving.

    My range is slowly getting there but my main problem is the TONE!! I have a raspy fuzzy sound like when you blow your lip out and you have nothing left at the end of a performance. On a positive note, I'm not schedule to play any major performances but my church is looking for me to start playing at the worship services. Another good thing is that I can drop octives to keep within my range ability for the time being.

    I had to go back to trumpet rather then the flugel horn since I play a 6c on the trumpet and still have the standard 7c for the flugel. The 6c is more comfortable. I've check to see what sizes the local store had for a flugel horn and they only carried the standard 7c. Would any who posted suggest me try a 5c or 3c for the flugel or just ride it out with the trumpet for now. "I really like the flugel sound".

    I'm really encouraged about the two posts that said my tone will improve even more that before I had braces. I was always consceince of my tone and thought it was fairly good but now I'm anxious to see what the next level might be.

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