HBM – Matching Students to Proper Instrument

Matching Students to Instruments; Assembling Instruments;

Holding Positions

Handouts = Facial Characteristics.docx; Altered Mouthpiece.bmp (me only)

Test #1 is through Embouchure and Mouthpiece Placement

  1. First – why people choose to play brass
    1. Thrill of sound production
    1. Certain personality types lean toward it
    1. Non-musical reasons (parents played, in the attic, TV personality, shiny)
  • Particular brass instrument
    • Personality type – instrument and/or music; shapes personality?
    • Physical size
  • Tuba needs large lung capacity
  • Longer arms needed for trombone (slide extenders) and trumpet
    • Cost
    • Good ear
    • Instrument already owned by family
    • Arkadelphia schools – all students try most instruments
  • Facial characteristics
    • Some lead to successful brass playing, others away from it
    • Tooth structure, muscle fiber, lip size
    • Good features
  • Devoid of bad features
  • Four strong and even front teeth, the more square and flat the better – braces thin lips for tpt and horn
    • Neutral features
  • small overbite, ¼” or less – can compensate for it
  • small under bite, ¼” or less – usually better range, worse tone
  • crooked teeth, but not to an extreme
  • dislocated incisor (front center teeth) forces player to play off center (no problem)
    • Bad features
  • teeth
    • corner of any tooth protruding tends to cut lip, perhaps dentist can help
    • Extreme spacing of front teeth
    • Overbite, which cannot be compensated, not a good foundation
    • Single front tooth sticking out cuts lip
    • Overcrowded teeth often cause crooked teeth
    • Very crooked teeth, often causes cut and bruised lips, disturb air flow
    • Inward slanted teeth
    • Extremely protruding jaw requires more practice
  • Lips
    • Upper lip which is short (see gums when smiling)and must stretch to cover upper teeth usually stretched beyond a position of strength
    • Very stiff lips
    •  Not determined by size
    •  No easy range
    •  Slow response, air heard before tone, note start hard
    •  Very impure sound
    • Fleshy part of upper lip which hangs down excessively
    • Hidden flap on upper lip
  • Solutions to dental problems
    • Braces- which can cause other problems – more on this later
    • Bent mouthpieces or cushion rim on mouthpiece
Altered Mouthpiece
    • Sharp edge on tooth because tooth is twisted can cut lip; dentist can take the sharp edge off with a grinding wheel
    • Facial structure is more critical on high brass than on low brass – smaller mouthpiece, greater tension, faster lip vibrations
    • Thin lips tend to move successful on high brass
    • Features which usually work better on low brass
      • Lips
        • Heavier thicker lips
        • Short upper lip shows when student smiles
        • Hidden layer of flesh
        • Some response problems in lips
      • Teeth – open bite
      • Muscle texture some students will require 3 times as much effort to play high brass

Rule: Let the student try it before you make a judgment- many students overcome seemingly extreme physical disadvantages if they have the talent and the desire