How do braces affect your playing?????


Active Member
I have got an appointment with the authodontist in a couple of weeks, and he says that i should have a brace :( I play the tenor horn and i don't know if having a brace will affect my playing(I don't want it to!) . Can anybody tell me their experiences with having a brace please???? help!!! :(

The Cornet King

Active Member

I'm a cornet player and about 5 years ago i had a brace.
The very first time i picked up my cornet after i had it fitted I couldnt (and i kid you not) play above a middle G(second line of the stave!!)

It was almost impossible, not forgetting incredibly painful. Over time it became easier but i feel that i lost 18 months of quality playing and practice because of it.
It also left indentations of the brace on your gum...needless to say playing was rather painful. There is a brace guard you can get that makes it less painful, but makes playing a hell of a lot harder than it already is.

At the end of the day, your health and your teeth should come first, and with a larger mouthpiece, that of a tenor horn it may be easier, however my experiences with a cornet were not good.

If there is any possible alternative, i urge you to choose it.
Unfortunately playing with a brace is not easy, and you have to make a choice.

I really do wish you all the best, and hope i have been of some use. Please don't hesitate to PM or e mail me if you have any questions or want to discuss anything about it.


Active Member
I'm sure the dentists won't like the early theme here but....

I know a girl played horn (15ish) she had a brace and it really held up her playing, she has to use a different embochure to play upper register and she's stuggled for a few years.

Another young lady a Flugel player has had braces on in the last month and she's really struggling, can't get any consistant notes and is finding it painful and hard all round.

I turned braces down when I was 15 because of my cornet playing, I can't say i regret it, or if i would have the other way round! I've got heaps out of my Music so it's all good, plus I didn't have especially bad teeth to start with (i have to say there a bit wonky now!)

It's a tough tough decision i wish you all the best which ever way you go.



Active Member

My dentist knows that I am a player and I have asked to have a removable one.I know that it would not be as effective but it is a compromise. I have had x-rays and that horrible wax thing and I am now waiting for his decision, but if it does come down to having a fixed one or none at all i won't have one because I seriously can't afford to loose that amount of playing time and practise, and to be honest, my teeth aren't really that bad, they don't bother me really!

Thankyou for your help :D


Active Member

As a dentist I can fully sympathise with your problem, and there are a couple of alternatives. If you PM me I'll give you my number and we can chat about it.

Rach x


When I was 15 I had a brace on top and bottom teeth.

For the first 2 months I really struggled with playing, especially where the inside of the gum contacted the top 2 front teeth. However after about 4 months I got used to it.

My orthodontist gave me some red wax which I placed over the wire of the top 2 front teeth and that sort of levelled it out for my embouchure.

I can honestly say that once I got used to it, my playing was not hindered. In fact in a sort of perverse way my lip became stronger because of it. It may be horses for courses but with a bit of care and sensible practice at first, (i.e. not over-exerting), you should be fine.

When it came to having it removed the same thing occurred. Having to learn all over again but I got back to normally relatively quickly.

The stupid thing about all I went through was that my wisdom teeth appeared a year and a half later completely destroyin my perfectly straight teeth and it was all a bit of a waste of time!



Active Member
I had a removable brace, and as long as I had it in the rest of the time, I was allowed to remove it while playing rugby, the cornet, and while sleeping! The dentist was very happy with my progress, and all turned out well!

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
I've been lucky enough to avoid the dental work. But a good mate of mine got himself braces, had so much trouble playing cornet, he changed to tuba "temporarily".

He is now finishing his B.Mus at the Qld Conservatorium on Tuba, and wants to play in the orchestras. Lucky duck!


Active Member
I had a brace for a while a couple of years back. I didn't like the thing, but I could still play alright (larger mouthpiece probably helped). Then when it was removed my teeth were right back where they were before! The dentist said to me "Right, well the only other thing we could try would be to break your jaw and move it back..." needless to say he didn't see my backside for dust!!


Staff member
Without my braces, my trousers fall down and I'm too embarassed to play anything :wink:

(Sorry - couldn't resist that one :oops: )


Active Member
1) Talk to Cornetgirl - (flugel) horn playing dentist extrordinaire. She's helped a lot of our players and some of the big names too, and unlike the majority of dentists can see the problem from the player's perspective and understands their precise needs.

2) There are a number of products which you can buy to fit over the brace to protect the inside of your lip. I found a couple on the IBEW part of Harrogate's website recently.



Active Member
I used to have a removable one for about a year or so. You are meant to be able to play with them, but it didn't work for me. I ended up just taking the damn thing out every rehearsal! :roll:


Active Member
k ill be the bearer of goood news then....i hope!!

i used to play the tenor horn when i had my braces on and it took a while to get used to them but i think i actually improved in stamina with them on!!

i then started cornet when i actually had my braces on and had a range up to about top D-easily!! when i had my brace off by then i had given up the horn and just did cornet and i had a few problems gettin used to it without the brace cos id never played cornet without a brace on!
i gradually got used to it but my range isnt as good as it was with the brace on!

id say dont worry about it i got myself in a bit of a state cos i had it put on just before my performance exam theng. so dont worry :)


ploughboy said:
I turned braces down when I was 15 because of my cornet playing, I can't say i regret it, or if i would have the other way round! I've got heaps out of my Music so it's all good, plus I didn't have especially bad teeth to start with (i have to say there a bit wonky now!)

Me too! My sister had braces though and found it hard to play french horn with them, but then her teacher found her a mouthpiece nearly the size of a tenor horn one and she found it a lot easier, but still has problems with stamina and range.
I played tenor horn (i say played, i mean i still do, well ish!) i found that despite a bit of pain at times, especially if it had just been fixed or tightened, it was fine most of the time. i was given sum sorta waxy stuff to put over the wirey bits when playing, this should help you.

i think cos you're playin horn u should be fine. i dont think i've suffered any lasting damage, although this would be up for dispute if you speak to people at Dronfield!

No worries! :D


I'll echo the advise to talk to cornetgirl, we had a rather lengthy thread on the topic here earlier in the year, you may want to look it up and read other's comments.

I just got mine off and it wasn't so bad, but mine was just on the bottom teeth. My experience with that is that the worst part was th little prongs that poke into your lip (and move about as your teeth move, so they always hit tender new flesh.) As someone said there are products to cover them, I made my own on the advise of one of our cornet players. I took a football mouthgaurd, cut a small piece out of it (just enough to cover the area I needed) flattened it out with a drinking glass, then fitted it. As my teeth moved, I re-heated it and re-fitted it a couple of times. Cost me all of $0.97


Whilst on Horn at school i had braces fitted to my upper teeth after some pleb head decided to knock one of my teeth out in Rugby and they never set right.

I Digress......... i moved to Tuba and then onto Percussion. Call it Promotion, that's what i did.

Cornet Cat

New Member
I've been lurking for awhile, but I always like to pass on what I've learned about having braces, so I've joined the group.

I'm an adult who has had braces for nearly two and a half years now. I have continued to play the top parts in brass band and 2nd trumpet in orchestras. While my playing (range, flexibility) has been affected, I have still done reasonably well.

What helped was taking it slowly at the beginning and using a book called, Braces and Brass, I will also be using this book when I get my braces off. I have found that having braces highlights any playing problems you already have. If you play properly, you should still be able to play if you don't develop bad habits.

A few specific comments:
The Braces and Brass book and other sources recommend a slightly puckered embouchure. This works quite well. This doesn’t mean the center should be tight, since it’s what vibrates. It means using the muscles around the lips to move the center a bit forward.

It’s also important to make sure that top and bottom teeth are lining up correctly. This varies for each person, of course·

If you’re having difficulty getting notes to speak, this is an indication that you’re relying on embouchure instead of air stream and support. One technique is to play quarter notes with no tongue, forcing the use of support to produce the sound. Also practice tongued passages without horn or mouthpiece to check your air flow.

When I first got braces I experimented with the Morgan bumper, the braceguard, teflon tape, wax, etc., but what works extremely well is something called Parafilm M, It's used in laboratories for sealing test tubes. It comes in a roll. What I do is cut it into squares, cut the squares in half, then fold it in thirds. The film is then stretched over my top teeth, so that the ends just fit snugly around the pointed eye tooth braces. Push it down so it seals above and below. The film should not touch gums or go around bottom of teeth. I use wax on my front lower teeth and upper sides for comfort.

For more advice check out · FAQ.html

Good luck!

Chicago Brass Band


I had braces a few years ago. I'm only 16 now, so I had them quite early.
I have to say, i was dreading the moment i first picked up my cornet again and started to play! It started off ok, and i thought i could play just as i could before, but then it didnt go quite as smoothly!
I also used the red wax stuff which did releave pain a little, but still hurt so i gave up on that one.
I put up with it for 2 months and then couldn't stick it anymore! I had them taken off! I would prefer to have slightly wonky teeth than to risk my music career.
I could still play reasonably well, but i couldnt produce a clear sound above top g. I mean it was there, but not a very good, there!
After having them off, it did take a while to get used to playing again, even after 2 months. I still don't think my sound is as good today as it was before my brace, but things change anyway, so it may not have anything to do with the brace. It's probably just me! :p

Anyway, best of luck whatever your decision is!

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