One mouthpiece for life?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Despot, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Despot

    Despot Member

    Here's a thought......

    Talking to a respected trumpet teacher, he mentioned how he normally starts trumpet students on 7C (because that's what the instrument probably came with), and later moves them to something like a 3C. Much farther down the road, to something like a 1.25C or something aound the "1's". He increases the mouthpieces size over a very long period of time, deepening and widening as the student is able.

    However, in the brass band world the "one mouthpiece for life" attitude seems to prevail. (Bit of a generalisation, but you know what I mean!).

    I have to wonder is there merit to starting someone on a relatively shallow mouthpiece, let them gain a resonable range and a bit of experience, then graduate to a more "classic" cornet mouthpiece? Tone might be sarcificed a little initially, but we're taking a long term view here?
  2. axelo

    axelo Member

    Just a thought. You might not have thought of it yet since it's in an early stage, but...

    How are the pieces meant to be displayed for others? Are everyone gonna be able to listen to them during the competition and not only the judges? I thinks that pretty much the thing with this, that you can listen, watch and learn from all the others! :biggrin:
  3. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    If a teacher is saying what mouthpiece a student plays on, regardless of how a mouthpiece might suit a student's chops, then I would suggest that they are not helping that student a great deal.

    There is no such thing as a "beginner" mouthpiece size. Many of the top level trumpet players play on equipment that is very similar to the "beginner" size of 7C - somehow I don't see Allen Vizzutti, Arturo Sandoval or Jens Lindemann as beginners.

    Yes, most beginner instruments come with a mouthpiece that is around the 7C size, but that might be the ideal mouthpiece for your chops - only time will tell. Changing mouthpieces is not something that should be based on ability but on whether the mouthpiece is working for the player.

    When it comes to what size people should be playing on - if it sounds how you wish it to, if you have the range that you wish to have, if you can achieve a good level of flexibility - it is quite possible that you are playing on the right size of mouthpiece already and that there is no need to embark upon a mouthpiece safari in order to find that "perfect" mouthpiece.

    When I am teaching I encourage students to produce the most beautiful tone possible. Range is something that comes with time and the correct approach to playing - it is not something I feel should be "fixed" by a mouthpiece change. The "high register" mouthpieces you can find (just ask any trumpeter, most of us have a few in the ex-mouthpieces pile - we have all been there, done that) do not help produce a good tone, nor do they assist in flexibility or any other aspects of good playing. There are going to be some people who can play on these mouthpieces and for them they will work (by work I mean that they sound fantastic on them and have excellent control), but for most people they are not going to help in any way.

    Extremes of mouthpieces are generally not a good idea for any player. If you go too large you can find a good tone, but other aspects of playing will suffer. If you go too small you might be able to play higher, but you will sound less than good. Working with a good teacher/consultant can help guide you in the direction of a mouthpiece that will help you achieve what you want.
  4. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    IMHO quite often literal begginers find themselves on the wrong instrument, let alone mouthpiece.

    Can't remember when, but i started on cornet, couldnt get a note out, tried horn, couldnt get a note out, eventually moved on to bari/euph where although i had a decent sound over the years i still couldnt play high regardless of how many mouthpieces i've wasted money on or how much practice i did!

    Eventually it seems i have managed to find 'my' instrument but its taken a while and lots of faffing about.

    Spose the next stage is to start heading up the band again, maybe i'll get my chance on Sop one day ;)
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member


    Are you still on that tuba mouthpiece? Sometime mentioned to me the other day how much they admired your sound, which brought your mouthpiece choice to mind.
  6. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    Fraid so...quite criminal i know! but still brings a smile to many faces :biggrin:

    I used a Schilke 60 for ages and wanted but couldnt find anything bigger. Was larking around in the bandroom one day and 'found' my current mouthpiece under a bass seat and strangely it fitted the shank without any alterations required.

    Have been using it for over a year and seems to be working. I did try the old Schilke a few rehearsals back but it felt like blowing through a Mcdonalds straw.

    Maybe i'm destined for bass rather than my hopeful prediction of Soprano?
  7. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Welcome to the gang!! :biggrin:

    Re: the point about getting on a wrong instrument, I always fancied a pop at being a euph player. However the band I started with had full euphs and baris, and the only spare instrument was an Eb bass. So I've been on Tuba ever since.

    Not that I've ever got THAT good at it.

    That said - I'd love a pop at bass trombone someday too. That sounds like fun!!

    I could follow Jimbo's lead and stay on my Tuba mouthpiece....
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
  8. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    What have i started...:-?

    Unleashed a whole new world of bass trombone hopefuls! :clap: :clap: :clap:
  9. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Actually, that poses a good question. A slight aside, but still in topic.

    How do you know what instrument a learner will be suited to?

    I've always played bass but you never know, I could be a genius soprano player in waiting who's just missed my calling. (It could happen... honest....) But how would I know?

    I understand there are certain facial structures characteristics which affect the embouchoure and lend themselves well to playing a high or low instrument. What sort of things would a teacher look for to decide?

    Obviously the pupil's affection for/aversion to certian instruments would also be a major factor, but what else would affect the choice?

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