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Caruso and mutes (mouthpieces, horns?)

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Joined: 30 Nov 2019
Posts: 47
Location: Greater Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:25 am    Post subject: Caruso and mutes (mouthpieces, horns?) Reply with quote

Been thinking about a PH comment in another thread, that the calisthenics are meant to be played un-muted. Interested to learn more (especially being one of the former city apartment dwellers about to be in a suburban house where I can make some noise.)

If you could choose, would you ever do any calisthenics muted, or with other equipment changes, to be sure your mechanics were consistent as equipment changed?

I recall hearing Caruso recommended keeping the same mouthpiece rim but had less concern about switching out cup depth. Outside of the Caruso world I've heard of people planning out a warmup across the different equipment they expect to play in the near or even indefinite future. (Especially if making a big switch, like piccolo vs. Bb or C rotary.)

As an apartment dweller I was generally stuck with Harmon at best, sometimes practice mutes. When mechanics felt pretty well stable, I just got to rehearsals and performances early to warm up and get calibrated to being a little freer with air without the resistance. When I started chipping away at Flexus though I was in a practice mute only apartment and was pretty much just playing by feel - identified some embouchure things that I started to fix, but once I was able to play outside the apartment I hit some surprises in how things sounded with my new half-formed habits.
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Bill Adam/Carmine Caruso Forum Moderator

Joined: 26 Nov 2001
Posts: 5638
Location: Bloomington Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every time you change from one horn to another, change to a different mothpiece, put a mute in, etc. you change the balance. Carmine said this was "setting up a moving target," and we all know that it is much harder to learn to hit a moving target. Caruso practice (IMO most all practice) should be done on the mouthpiece/horn set up you use most...your "money gear."

Carmine also said that if you wanted to be equally adept on two different mouthpieces, different instruments, etc. you would need to spend additional and equal time on both mouthpieces, all of the instruments, etc. He also said that if you played a gig with a bunch of muted playing, a session mostly on flugelhorn, or a differently pitched trumpet than your main horn you should end your playing on the mouthpiece and horn you consider to be your home set up. In this way you reorient yourself and aren't twisted when you start your next session.

My experience bears this out.
Bach trumpet artist-clinician
Professor of Jazz Studies, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Faculty Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshops since 1976
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