Practice Mutes, Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by tpcornet12, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    During the week I work away and have to live in a flat. As it is quite closely knit I don't feel I can practice as normal so I use a practice mute.... all the time.

    I always thought that it was good for your sound and intonation but I've heard that it may not be very good for your playing after all.

    Any thoughts?.... how can it have a negative affect on your playing?
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I can sympathize with you as I live in a flat where sound travels like shockwaves (as it feels with my neighbours sometimes). You will get a lot of varying opinion on this subject, but the benefits of practice mutes are ...
    (1) allows you to blow more freely as opposed to having to restrict expression in this environment.
    (2) great for articulation and producing clean notes.

    The downside of practice mutes ...
    (1) cannot substitute open playing for development of tone quality and can actually make it worse if over-used.
    (2) not all practice mutes play in tune across the full range of the instrument and care must be taken not to force the natural tendency to compensate and correct intonation. Try and buy one that seems consistently in tune so the effort is minimal.
  3. the_special_one

    the_special_one New Member

    have you thought about silent brass?
  4. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    I use both.

    A practise mute some of the time, and normal playing some of the time.

    When i used to live in a shared house as a Stewed Ant i used to use a practise mute all the time - and i also found that my tone was not so great - i could play loud with no problems, but quiet playing was not so good, i lost a bit of volume range. To push the boundaries in both direction you need to play both open and closed. Can you go to band early and do some practise open there? Can you play at work if you stay late?

    Wick practise mutes are superb. Also a big fan of the Mannie Kleiin Shh mutes by Humes and Berg - although they are louder.
  5. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    "Can you go to band early and do some practise open there? Can you play at work if you stay late?"

    Unfortunately I can't rehearse with band too often at the moment because of work. I had to take a day off work last week just to go to band! It was worth it though as it was the first proper rehearsal on Gothic Dances and Gary Cutt took it and he is a bit of a hero of mine!!

    I think that if you play with a practice mute, in your mind your forced to play in tune when it's not that easy - I find it therefore helps with intonation when you come to play open!!!?

    I could play at work I suppose, it might bother one or two people but hey ho!!! maybe I will anyway.
  6. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Use the Silent Brass Mute
  7. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    Could you tell me more about "Silent Brass"? cheers
  8. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    You plug in the silent brass mutes, as they have an electric system thingy with them. You have a set of headphones, so that although other people can hardly hear what you are playing, your sound is pretty much normal through the headphones. I dont know if that makes much sense to read :rolleyes: hmm ... anyway, they are quite alot more expensive than normal practice mutes, but they're suppossed to be very good, and im planning on getting one for uni in september. Hope that helps a bit!

    (ooh, and sorry about the job this aftie Tim...)
  9. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    Hi Lizzie
    Cheers for that advice I'll look into it and it did make sense...
    No probs with the job - we soldiered on. You would probably be glad you missed it as we had to play in Black shirts.... can you believe it.... in this weather???:frown: