Welcome to the blog devoted to brass playing and classical music. A blog by two brass teachers: Matt Hurley and Doug Battson.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Braces, Trumpet and Trombone

I have a student that has been taking with me for awhile and he's finally starting to really get a lot of the concepts that we've been talking about. He got braces last year and has been struggling some, but has improved his tone and range since getting them.

His band directors are constantly giving him grief about little embouchure problems. Which is fine in my book, except that this is a guy who is a perfectionist to begin with and is now dealing with whatever stigma is attached to having the braces.

Earlier in the year I had him blow on an old trombone mouthpiece because I wanted him to get a feel for getting the "buzz" going in the chops without overtaxing his trumpet chops. It worked and really helped focus in on getting a good "buzz."

School is back in session and he's now realizing that the pieces that he had been playing were short. He doesn't quite have the endurance that he needs to achieve the kind of results that he is used to.

His solution: switch to trombone.

My concerns with this plan is that I don't think he's going to have the appropriate air support to play a low brass intrument. Sure, he could develop that over time, but air support was one of the things we had been working on a lot over the last year or so on trumpet. While he had made significant progress, I don't think he's going to be happy with the results of making the switch.

I have set up a session with this student with Doug to determine the feasibility of him making the switch and am interested to hear what others might have to say on the subject.