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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Playing with multiple mouthpieces - Am I doing myself harm?
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Zandit75
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« on: Nov 21, 2017, 05:44PM »

I'm playing a Shires Bass Trom in an Australian Brass band, and until recently, I've been solely using a Schilke 59 MP.
I've started getting into some solo work recently, and picked up a copy of Rimski Korsakoff's Concerto, which I played way way back in college.
I've only been playing the Shires since Easter, so I've avoided playing much of the high register since it's never been my strong point, and I've been really enjoying the added low register.
I thought I'd try the old mp from my previous Besson Bb/F trom which was a Dennis Wick 4BL(Maybe an AL, I can't really remember). It certainly helped get the higher notes, but they still need some work.
Last night, I was playing through some of these solos using the DW, roughly 30-45mins, then a break for about an hour, followed by Band practice which went for slightly over 2hrs. I switched back to the Schilke for band practice.
Early in during practice I struggled a little with one piece that had a lot of long notes though it, which I put down to too much playing earlier in the night in the higher register. Even later during the night, I found I was splitting quite a few notes, mostly around the middle A's and G's, some times D's.
I'm still putting this down to too much playing for the one day, but is there any harm to switching around between MP's like I am doing, or is this pretty common?
For reference, I normally practice 4-5 times a week for about 30-45mins, plus have the 2hr band practice, plus occasional outings with the band over the weekends.
Any advice would be appreciated.

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Jhereg

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« Reply #1 on: Nov 21, 2017, 08:50PM »

Hey there,

Not sure how helpful this will be for you but hopefully can give some perspective so you can consider what you'd like to do.

To give you an idea of where this advice is coming from, I've just spent the past five years playing a small bore (size 6.5 and 7 mouthpieces). For about ten years before that I exclusively played a large bore (size 5 mpc) and now I'm trying to get used to large bore again but would still like to be able to play the small (settled on a 6.5 mpc). And now I've been asked to play bass trombone in an upcoming concert (size 1.5 mpc). So I understand many of the annoyances of switching around both mouthpieces and horns.

It sounds like you're switching between a 1 and a 4. Though you're doing a lot of playing, as long as you're adjusting as needed I suspect you're unlikely to "harm" yourself. The only way I think you could do that would be by pressing too hard or otherwise putting unnecessary strain on your lip/mouth muscles.

When you practice, make sure you are aware of any changes that you need to make when using different mouthpieces. Do you need more/less pressure? Where is the center of the pitch/airstream within the mouthpiece? How does the horn respond best? Get used to both mouthpieces through spending quality time on both. This will help you to adjust to the differences, and build muscle memories for when you're using one or the other.

You know already that a smaller mouthpiece cup will help you in the high range, while a larger one will be more of a struggle up there. Ideally, you want it to not matter which mouthpiece you're using, right? You want to be able to hit the same notes on both (and if that's not possible/comfortable for you, you want to find that out so you can move on with your life). So through practice, and making adjustments yourself, find out what you need to do in order to get the best sound out of either one. Then choose to continue switching back and forth, or choose one mouthpiece that works best overall. Either choice is acceptable.

Hope that helps a little. I'm going to be adjusting to a giant 1.5 cup after the Thanksgiving holiday over here so I totally feel you. The struggle is real! :-P
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 21, 2017, 09:53PM »

You're playing a bass trombone, use a bass trombone mouthpiece. Keep practicing man, you'll get it.
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 22, 2017, 12:47AM »

The Rimski Korsakoff is a tenor piece, correct? Are you trying to play tenor parts on a bass trombone. Generally, while bass trombone parts can sometimes be written fairly high, it rarely is for a long period of time. It can be very taxing to play a bass in the upper register for long periods of time. Bass trombones are really not optimized for that type of playing.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 22, 2017, 01:40AM »

Mmh... Different things come to mind. First ask yourself why you are changing. If it's just to get higher notes, don't do it and use a tenor for tenor pieces. But I will say this : plenty of people double on several instruments using different mouthpieces on each. If some play tuba and bass and tenor and/or alto, eupho, bass trumpet, sackbuts (not mentioning those who double on trumpet!) with vastly different mouthpieces, hard to see how it can't be done or it would "necessarily mess up your embouchure" (I've heard that a lot).

However, keep in mind that different mouthpieces don't just sound different, they change the way you play, by requiring or encouraging certain things instead of others. That can be a good thing when playing a different instruments (I.e. Making you blow and play in the appropriate manner on each horn and helping your body "know" which instrument you're playing / avoiding to have the reflex of blowing in your tenor sackbut the same way you'd blow in your modern bass, for example). But conversely it can confuse you if you use several different mouthpieces on the same horn, because then you're playing the same horn with different sound concepts and ways of blowing. If you try to play with two quite different mouthpieces without also having a quite different approach,  and while trying to get the same sound, just having more high notes, that's when you get into trouble.

I do have a "real" bass mouthpiece, as well as a very deep and open but much narrower 5g-rimmed mouthpiece,which I use for lighter repertoire (Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, etc), stuff written with 3 tenors in mind and/or smaller orchestras, and I think it works great. But you have to spend time on both while always, always having a clear, distinct sound concept on each, being aware of the differences in playing it brings and keeping a clear mental separation between the two in every aspect. And I don't choose which I use based on the range or high notes I have to play, but on the sound and style I want.
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 22, 2017, 06:55AM »

I've been playing multiple brass instruments for years.  I play Bass and Tenor bone, Euphonium (with a bass bone size MP), and Tuba (I occasionally pick up trumpet to play taps for veterans functions as well).  I do better and have a preference for larger mouthpieces and have never been much of a lead player.  I don't think that playing on multiple mouthpiece sizes hurts me, but I do think you need to choose what is going to be your primary and concentrate on that.  I don't think there is enough practice time in the day to be a great lead Trombonist and a Great Bass player.  I'm sure there are a few exemplary players out there who will prove me wrong.  To me the key is to be very aware of playing each mouthpiece correctly, without excessive pressure, and when switching from one horn to another I need to do a complete and thorough warm up on the new mouthpiece (with a break before actually starting on the new instrument).  I can't like some people switch within a single playing session very well. 
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 22, 2017, 08:29AM »

The Rimnsky-Korsakov has a high F in the cadenza. If you can play that on a Schilke 59, you are the man.
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 22, 2017, 09:17AM »

The Rimnsky-Korsakov has a high F in the cadenza. If you can play that on a Schilke 59, you are the man.

It does??
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 22, 2017, 09:19AM »

The Rimnsky-Korsakov has a high F in the cadenza. If you can play that on a Schilke 59, you are the man.

?
Not in the original cadenza, it doesn't. Highest note is Bb4 in the first movement. Neither the first or second cadenza goes higher than F4
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 22, 2017, 09:43AM »

Only ways I can see that affecting ones playing is if 1) pressure changes leave a mark/cause a bruise or the like or 2) one starts to use technique needed for one mouthpiece/horn on another mouthpiece/horn where the same techniques might not apply.

I can definitely say Iíve felt the second one when going from small bore (which Iíve been practicing almost daily for a while lately) to large bore (which I pull out periodically for 3rd bone and bass stuff). High range mechanics, jaw and air usage change pretty drastically between the two, but I think itís just practice that changes habits over time.
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 22, 2017, 02:23PM »

?
Not in the original cadenza, it doesn't. Highest note is Bb4 in the first movement. Neither the first or second cadenza goes higher than F4

The one I have had since HS (1970s) does. Not sure what version that is. It's hiding in a closet somewhere.
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 22, 2017, 03:24PM »

If you have a well developed embouchure you can learn how to do it safely. You need time with all mouthpieces. I can play mouthpieces from the size of a Bach 12C on small tenor to a Hammond 20BL on bass trombone and as long as the rim is comfortable I can play all sizes in between. I'm beginning to have problems with smaller pieces than a 12C and larger than a 20BL. Articulation as well as sound are more difficult when outside my mouthpiece comfort zone. I guess all need to experiment and decide for them self when they are ready to do it. If you decide to keep the same rim on all mouthpieces and can make that work then do that instead. Personally I don't think that is the best solution for me so I switch a lot and this works. It didn't at first but I have learned to adopt fast.

/Tom  
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« Reply #12 on: Nov 22, 2017, 03:25PM »

The one I have had since HS (1970s) does. Not sure what version that is. It's hiding in a closet somewhere.

I'm very curious to see that! Every edition I've ever seen has this cadenza :

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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 22, 2017, 03:40PM »

I'm very curious to see that! Every edition I've ever seen has this cadenza :


Yeah, but don't let him see since he won't share the wagenseil etc

let him use his scholarly skills to find it

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« Reply #14 on: Nov 22, 2017, 03:58PM »

Yeah, but don't let him see since he won't share the wagenseil etc

let him use his scholarly skills to find it

 Evil

Nice one  :-P

Don't have the Wagenseil though. Wish I had.
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 22, 2017, 04:05PM »

Thanks for all the responses guys. most appreciated!
In regards to the version of the concerto I'm playing, this is it - https://www.8notes.com/members/9296.asp?ftype=pdf
The link I found here on TBF, that was shared by a member a number of years ago. It's identical to the version I played in college.
The few comments I've seen about different cadenza's would explain why I've seen so many different versions of the piece on Youtube!

Some clarification on what I'm trying to achieve, Yes, I'm mainly a Bass Trombonist, and any solo competitions I may enter into will be playing Bass Trom solos, but looking to be more flexible in the band to cover the other players if they can't be at a playout, and not lose my lip within the first piece!
There are four trom players in our band, one of which is 84yo, and he is looking to step away soon. The other two were originally Bass Trom players, who have stepped up to fill the first and second trom parts. All three of us play in very similar ways, and quite often we mix up the parts for some variety.

From what most of you have said, it will come down to more practice, paying attention to what my mouth is doing with each mp, and more practice!

I've come across a comparison chart for the different mp's available, looks like there is quite a difference between the two that I have, based on the range of sizes available between what I have.

Please continue with more suggestions, I'm wide open to more information!!
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« Reply #16 on: Nov 22, 2017, 07:54PM »

Nice one  :-P

Don't have the Wagenseil though. Wish I had.

aw dang. I thought it was. The L Mozart then? I thought there was one you had copies of the autograph score of.
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 22, 2017, 08:12PM »

There's nothing wrong with using the two mouthpieces sizes you mentioned, however if you're using both on the same bass trombone don't expect the tenor piece to give you any advantage... it's not a tenor and it's not going to play like one. 
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 22, 2017, 08:57PM »

There's nothing wrong with using the two mouthpieces sizes you mentioned, however if you're using both on the same bass trombone don't expect the tenor piece to give you any advantage... it's not a tenor and it's not going to play like one. 

Can you elaborate on this please Doug? Are your talking sound, range, playability or something different?
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« Reply #19 on: Nov 22, 2017, 09:28PM »

Taking it to an extreme, would you put a trumpet mouthpiece in a tenor trombone and expect to play trumpet parts?

A tenor mouthpiece in a bass trombone is an acoustical mismatch and will only make you work harder, not easier.
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