Switching from cornet to baritone?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Cornet23, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    I've been a cornet player for 12 years, but due to my atrocious ability to improve my high register (believe me, I HAVE tried) I can't hold lead positions in bands. It's frustrating because I know my skills, bar high notes, are up there.. as they should be after such a long time, but I just can't seem to get my high register to improve.

    So I was wondering whether moving to baritone might help. I don't want anything to big, so thought that might be a good compromise. Would it be easier for me to improve my register with a bigger mouthpiece? When I played tuba, I could get three octaves, and on my cornet I struggle with even two, with the top notes always sounding squeezed and forced.

    Does anyone think this is a good idea? And how long do you think it will take for me to get my lip comfortable with the new mouthpiece size?
  2. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Any reason for skipping past the tenor horn? Mouthpiece isn't that much bigger, yet the instrument might allow you to get those higher registers.
  3. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    Being honest, and this is probably random and unfair, I really don't like the TH as an instrument! I can't even explain why!
  4. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Fair comment I suppose, I myself am not too keen on bagpipes, so a bit unlikely to find me trying to make some sort of intelligent sounds out of a set.
    However I have had a go, not in band and just for fun, on a tenor and found it quite an OK instrument.
  5. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    I was planning on borrowing a baritone from band to see how I go with it, so I suppose I could borrow a TH and try that out! I'm probably ruling it out for no reason!
  6. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I made that transition a number of years ago and found the baritone part very interesting and hard work. There's generally only one player on each baritone part and rests are few and far between. Personally, I was happy to go back to cornet after a year or so but maybe the change in embouchure will work for you and make your playing experience more enjoyable. I wish you the best of luck.
  7. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Same here - though I think the seeds of my dislike for it were sown when it became the first instrument I played in a brass band. At junior level, the horn parts were all um-chuck, um-chuck off-beats and I detested it. So much so that I left the band and didn't return for years.

    Then, I returned, and the band was constantly told "keep it down, I can't hear the horns". Years later, having left to go to university, I returned to band and we were told "keep it down, don't you know the horns are playing?". Then, recently, I returned to band after a break and we are regularly told "hey, the horns are playing, keep it down".

    What in Christ's name is wrong with the horns? Have they some respiratory illness that prevents them blowing the bloomin' instrument?
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Horn is definitely a more natural change of mouthpiece for a cornet player. There's something of a break point in the mouthpiece spectrum between horn and baritone; I tend to think of horn mouthpieces as being the largest of the small and baritone mouthpieces as being the smallest of the large, if that makes sense to people. But if the OP's played tuba before, then they presumably won't get too badly disturbed by a larger mouthpiece.
  9. Cornet23

    Cornet23 Member

    Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting the tenor horn. I can't explain why I ruled it out. I really didn't think I liked it. But I had a go on one last night and wow.. I love it. That'll teach me to randomly get ideas stuck in my head about things. I have borrowed an instrument from a friend, which is only a student instrument so obviously it isn't as good as it could be, but even so I think I sound better on it than I do on my cornet.. and CERTAINLY better than I did on the tuba.

    There's no seats free on TH at band, but hopefully the difference is small enough to mean I can practice horn at home and still sit on 3rd cornet at band. Well, I don't have much choice anyway really! But yeah, thanks! My high register is notably better on the horn already after only about an hour of playing! I'll keep going with it.
  10. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Having played everything at some point except sop and BBb bass, my best advice to anyone considering a change would be to try everything first and see what feels right on your chops, rather than randomly picking an instrument you think might work.

    And Dave, interesting point about mouthpiece sizes, but I actually find it easier to switch from baritone to horn than from bari to euph.... (maybe just because I'm an awkward b*gger, lol)

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