Earplugs and playing

drummingman

New Member
I'm considering taking up horn or baritone, but need to wear earplugs as I find bands a big too loud. Do any other blowers wear plugs(and I wear ACS moulded ones) can you play OK? Many thanks
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I'm considering taking up horn or baritone, but need to wear earplugs as I find bands a big too loud. Do any other blowers wear plugs(and I wear ACS moulded ones) can you play OK? Many thanks
As it happens I’m on-line and do know people who wear ear plugs whilst playing. I might also have suffered some hearing loss but aren’t certain of the cause (Brass Banding or due to something(s) else). Bands are variable on their sound output and some seats are better protected than others. I don’t like to be sat near some drummers ‘cause they’re too loud for me (plugs in when that happens) and being sat in front of a Bass Trombone Bell would encourage me to have some ear plugs in my case ready for use.

Baritone is perhaps a bit un-loved. However I would prefer to play a Baritone Horn to a Tenor Horn and/or a Flugelhorn. The Baritone has more in common with the Trombones and Euphoniums whereas the other Horns, to my mind, look towards the Cornet Section.
 
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J. Jericho

New Member
Even with musician's earplugs, the sound changes, and you have to figure out how to judge your timbre. Recording yourself when you practice can help you correlate what you hear to what the audience hears. BTW - This works for playing in general, too; you'd be surprised what the audience hears, compared to what you hear behind the bell. Nevertheless, if overall volume in the room is a concern (and it should be, if you value your hearing) you might consider earplugs. Decibel meters are affordable and can help you with this decision. Besides, it's illuminating to discover the sources of noise around you every day; what you thought of as quiet might not be.
 

Mello

Active Member
Without delving into H&S which these days seems to overrule everything. I am just glad I never had to wear them whilst playing .

I do know that recent H&S regulations have messed up what I considered the balance - and tuning, of many bands where the rules are strictly applied. Take the Army brass band as an example...when the Cornets (back & front rows) are playing into baffle boards on one side of the band , & Troms into Baffle boards on the other, the distortion & balance starts to affect the ensemble sound .

Add to that, the wearing of earplugs by the musicians and you can imagine how difficult things can be to blend. A musical directors nightmare. I have to confess , I break the rules when teaching , and ask the players NOT to wear them during my 121 lessons so they can really hear themselves.- the same as I hear them... I just wouldn't dream of wearing them myself when teaching .

Many amateur bands are choosing not to wear them, but I wonder how long it will be before contest rules make them compulsory ( to avoid future damage claims or prosecution ? ) .
I shudder to think what will happen ....maybe everyone will be using Silent Brass systems thru a general mixing desk fed thru a speaker into the adjudicators box. !! On the other hand..... How many more court cases will there be - claiming compensation for ear damage. ...... I dont have any answers , I just know H&S taken to extremes could change the sounds of our bands (albeit inadvertently ). Food for thought maybe. ...maybe not. I guess disclaimers may be a way round it ...I just dont know...do you ?
 

drummingman

New Member
I've been in bands where we bave to screen the drums off due to noise but then the director asks to remove them because he can't hear the drums... You can't have it all.... Or screen the trombones off but then the director says "can you play louder, I can't hear you".. Thats the point!!
 

CousinJack

New Member
It's not seen as out of the ordinary for professionals or students to wear ear protection, and if you have good protection designed for musicians it won't affect your playing (once you get used to it of course). Most seats in the band aren't really affected by direct loud sounds, but some seats are known for being in the firing line. Principal cornets players are often deafened by soprano cornet players, likewise 2nd baritones deafened by bass trombonists, or a tuba player may have a particularly cutting bit of percussion in an ear. Sound screens can be used to remedy this, I know Tom Hutchinson of Cory band has a sound screen behind him to protect him from Steve Stewart's playing, and a tuba player in an old band had a sound screen in front of the woodblock in Dan Price's Darkwood. Pros and cons to sound screens and ear protection, it sounds like ear protection is more what you're after. I say go for it because, as said, it's quickly becoming the norm in student and professional environments and won't ruin your playing if you get a good set and if you get used to them.
 

Mello

Active Member
I've been in bands where we bave to screen the drums off due to noise but then the director asks to remove them because he can't hear the drums... You can't have it all.... Or screen the trombones off but then the director says "can you play louder, I can't hear you".. Thats the point!!
As you say, If the MD cant hear the drums and hardly the Troms , neither can the audience ....or adjudicators !
I played regularly for 3yrs with a Radio Band , recording stuff for such progs as Nightride. The percussion was always screened off , watching the MD thru the window.. However, the balancing was done on the mixer in the sound room....the studio sound was rarely balanced , but when played back , ( mixed of course) it was perfect.
Thats my point ...the Baffles /screening & earplugs used by the players spoil it for a live audience, unless of course as with big bands with players miked up, the sound being corrected as it happens by a mixing desk situated in the audience area.....As the James Last band does. Its interesting to see the techies constantly moving the sliders up and down the desk to compensate.
 
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