Practical Suggestions to Improve Your Trombone Playing #17

TromboneShould players who have braces continue to play everyday? Most orthodontists agree that playing does not effect the structure of the teeth significantly unless there is prolonged pressure placed against the lips and teeth by the mouthpiece. In many cases, although there may be a temporary disruption in the quality of the sound, the actual wearing of braces causes players to build a stronger facial and surrounding lip muscles because the mouthpiece pressure cannot be used to control the sound. A trick that works well for most students with braces is to make a simple pad of clear plastic wrap. Cue a piece of plastic about three inches by two and one-half inches. Then, fold length-wise the plastic an approximate width that matches the length of your teeth. Place the folded pad over the braces. You can add or take plastic off to suit your own needs. When trying to solve mouthpiece pressure problems, examine first the left hand position. Most pressure problems are caused by tension in the left and right arms, imbalance of the trombone, and a “death-grip” by the left hand. All cause restriction of the vibrating lips. Work for natural curves of the left arm similar to those seen in dancers in ballet. Also check to see that the angle of the trombone is slightly down, in most cases, or slightly up for those you have a severe underbite. In every instance, the head should not duck down too far.