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How come mouthpieces play/feel so different at rehearsal?



 
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stanton
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:50 pm    Post subject: How come mouthpieces play/feel so different at rehearsal? Reply with quote

I've got a few mouthpieces of similar rim size and shape and feel good.... in the practice room... But then I go to rehearsal with one of my two concert bands (65 and 100 players respectively) and it just isn't the same. Mouthpieces that feel and sound good in the practice room feel "stuffed" in a large group. They just don't play the same and I'm frustrated.

It may be important to note that I've (mostly) recovered from a serious bout of focal dystonia. It took 8 years to play decently again, but never like it was. And every now and again something weird happens to my chops; the formation changes and creates a need to find a mouthpiece that better fits the way my chops form in that moment (yeah, I know it's strange, but that's the way it is). I really don't want to get into the mouthpiece chasing thing and can be happy, playing quite well with one mouthpiece until I suffer another chop change, then 'wham'... It's a struggle again .

I won't go into the specifics of what I'm testing now, but after tomorrow night's rehearsal I can be more specific. My bag has 4 similiarly sized mouthpieces and one specific one that's working right now as I practice at home. I'm going to try to stick with that one and will report back after rehearsal.

Does anyone else feel that the moutpiece that works terrifically in the practice room lets you down when you pull it out for an actual rehearsal?
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting... I do find that when I am playing in a large group I obviously can't hear myself as well and am a little less sure of pitch. I believe I'm playing the same, but can't be sure. I wonder if you could ask seatmates what they make of your playing? Maybe they can comment on what they can hear. Alternately, you could try out several mouthpieces on them before rehearsal.

A few more questions: is the practice room/rehearsal divergence new, or have you always felt this way? If you switch to a mouthpiece in rehearsal that you weren't using in practice do you experience any difference?
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pinstriper
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Golfers know this phenomenon intimately well.

Thing is, you CAN buy a better game. That new putter ? They all go down, or nearly so. The new driver ? Solid draw down the gut, with roll. Iron shots all launch solid, land like a butterfly with sore feet, 15 feet past the pin and suck back.

Except...once the credit card bill comes in for that purchase. Then all your new clubs play the same as your old ones. Over the top, double cross pull hook ? Yep. It's still there. Leaving the putts short right at the jaws ? Yeah, you still do that. New iron set ? Wow that 7 is sweet, but why do you still hit the 4 iron thin ?

As the french say "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose".
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is really an issue of different perceptions in different environments. You're playing the same in both environments and the mouthpiece is working the same in both environments. The problem is simply that it sounds different to you and, therefore, feels different to you as you try to play it to match your environment.

The primary issue is the volume level of your environment. Of course, the volume level is much higher in rehearsal than it is in practice so you will have a natural tendency to over blow to try to keep up with your environment. That tendency creates an entirely different feel which throws you off.

We all tend to evaluate how we're doing on the basis of how we sound to ourselves. You're going to sound different to yourself in different environments. You just have to trust your best sound in practice and try to duplicate it in rehearsal.
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JVL
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello
if i were you, i'd put a cotton ball or such thing in one ear, to be aware of my internal sensations and sound.
if you feel comfortable, then it could be probably the environment that alterates your perceptions vs in your practice room.
if not, could it be caused by some stress ?
best
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of initial thoughts: first, you're probably not playing the same in both settings - practice room chops aren't pushed the same way you push/project in an ensemble-from volume, tone/projection, articulation quality, timing, and pitch adjustments. So physically different.

Then the apsect of an honest opinion of mouthpiece choice - it's not uncommon for players (I notice with my students) choose a mouthpiece that sounds good from their end in a small room (practice room) but when you listen from the front end (in a larger space or in ensembles) lacks in quality: core of tone, blending ability, articulation clarity, etc... This is then compounded or challenged by instrument choice as well. I love my sound on a Bach 1 or 1.5 C in my basement but found over time that I can't sustain that for very long, especially in large ensemble settings.

IMO a large part of why we keep seeking lessons regardless of our progress/accomplishments - have that set of ears out front that help us identify those weaknesses.
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I performed with Stanton a couple hundred times over the last 20 years. Band, orchestra, and other genres not even counting the rehearsals.
Before his focal dystonia, he was one helluva good trumpet player.
Stanton, I know this feeling. There were times I felt my sound was constricted and stuffy, no matter what mouthpiece I used.
I believe - as been stated - it can be caused by the environment you are in. I don't know what bands you are in, but if the rooms are smallish for the number of band members, it is likely the culprit and could be causing you to force the sound which will give your still sensitive embouchure fits.
Trust your gut. You always had a splendid and in tune sound.
You'll work this out.
Rich T.


Last edited by Vin DiBona on Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have found, in my own playing, that 98% of issues in performance are due to overblowing. I have never found the equipment thing to be the problem... For me it's user error.

The stage/pit/venue always sounds different from the tiny rooms in which we normally practice, and often stage volume is very loud. In order to get the feedback we are used to, we overblow. Then we can't hit the notes, our sound goes to heck, and our endurance is shot.

I keep a note on my stand/tablet that says - "80%!" That is there to remind me to only play 80% of max on stage. That keeps me in line.

Anyway, that's just my experience. Good luck to you!
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Craig Swartz
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turkle wrote:
I have found, in my own playing, that 98% of issues in performance are due to overblowing. I have never found the equipment thing to be the problem... For me it's user error.

The stage/pit/venue always sounds different from the tiny rooms in which we normally practice, and often stage volume is very loud. In order to get the feedback we are used to, we overblow. Then we can't hit the notes, our sound goes to heck, and our endurance is shot.

I keep a note on my stand/tablet that says - "80%!" That is there to remind me to only play 80% of max on stage. That keeps me in line.

Anyway, that's just my experience. Good luck to you!

I'd have to agree with this.

For some time I needed to play with a practice mute at times. I would always force to try to hear from the muted horn what I expected to hear normally and it did a number on my playing. When I started using a Silent Brass with the electronics I didn't overdo things and got back to "normal". I find it interesting, though, that you apparently like the sound in a small room better than in a larger one where there is likely more ambient resonance and reverberation. FWIW- you might try the Silent Brass deal and adjust the reverb and "room" to something you feel is correct. Good luck.
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stanton
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vin DiBona wrote:
I performed with Stanton a couple hundred times over the last 20 years. Band, orchestra, and other genres. I'd guess we've done a couple hundred performances together, not even counting the rehearsals.
Before his focal dystonia, he was one helluva good trumpet player.
Stanton, I know this feeling. There were times I felt my sound was constricted and stuffy, no matter what mouthpiece I used.
I believe - as been stated - it can be caused by the environment you are in. I don't know what bands you are in, but if the rooms are smallish for the number of band members, it is likely the culprit and could be causing you to force the sound which will give your still sensitive embouchure fits.
Trust your gut. You always had a splendid and in tune sound.
You'll work this out.
Rich T.


Hey Rich! Good to hear from you.

Bands currently: Northshore Concert Band. Des Plaines band (similar to MPCB).

The situation may be a bit more complex still; a matter of finding the right mouthpiece for a new (to me) horn. But still, I'm frustrated because what I think would be great overall doesn't work so well when I really have to "let it out" in rehearsal or performance. I recenly bought a 1980 Bach 37 as it seemed to have more core in the sound than my 1973 37. The '80 plays a little tigher than the '73 but really like the sound I'm getting. Reminds me a bit of your sound. But I want to get the new 37 sorted out without going too far away from the size of the 66's that I've been playing.

What is it about smaller rimmed mouthpiece that blow so differently than the identical mouthpiece one rim size larger? I like the feel of my GR65C* and also the Yamaha Hagstom and the Schilke Symphonic M3's, but they seem to back up when played what seems to be the correct volume for the blend. And why is the Schilke Symphonic D3 (same rim as M3) blowing so much more open?

I'll have more to report tomorrow after tonight's rehearsal. I've got 4 relatively similar mouthpieces and hopefully I can plug the first one in and see if I can get it (my body) to cooperate. While years ago I liked trying different mouthpieces, but I've grown to hate the chase. Any advice would be welcome.
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Bach C 229 w Charlie Melk custom work
Getzen Eterna Cornet, Crappy old Yamaha 3valve Eb
Stanton Kramer "Signature" Mouthpiece
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stanton
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:17 am    Post subject: Follow up after rehearsal Reply with quote

I wanted to come back to provide some feedback after last night's rehearsal (Northshore Concert Band- 100 members).

I took 4 mouthpieces and ended up testing 3. They were (in no particular order) GR66X, Bach 1.5C (CNC lettering), Schilke Symphonic D3, Monette B4s. All have very similar rim sizes though the D3 has a slightly smaller diameter.

I actually warmed up mostly on the D3 with some 1.5c mixed in for comparison before we got started playing. When the actual rehearsal started I first plugged in the Bach 1.5c. It performed reasonably well with reasonable effort required. I didn't get any sense of air backup. Sound was good with good blend with my neighbors. Attack accuracy wasn't an issue.

Next I briefly went to the Schilke D3. I liked the smaller rim but the sound didn't quite have the brillance and presence I was looking for though it played reasonable well. It didn't take long to go back to the 1.5c.

After the band took a short break I played the last 20 minutes on the Monette B4s. I had tried it briefly a few weeks ago and didn't really give it much attention. I had practiced with it a bit at home as I tested mouthpieces and it kept coming up a finalist. I have to say I've never been a Monette fanboy and got a few of their mouthpieces with Evanston Band was selling them off cheap. This was one. To be honest, in the latter part of the rehearsal I didn't have anything challenging or high to play or test but was quite impressed at the way it blended and blew. I think it needs more exploration.

I didn't really know what a B4s was so called up Monette and found that the rim was a copy of Lew Soloff's Mt Veron 3c. We were in the ballpark. I actually have a restored Mt. Vernon 3c to compare it with and can tell you that the rim on the B4s is more comfortable than the genuine Mt. Vernon 3C in my collection.

So last night I'd have to give the 1.5c and the B4s a partial draw, largely because I didn't play the Monette nearly as long or in as challenging music as the Bach. I did not give the GR66X any play time last night.

Fast forward to today... I brought home my Schilke B1 and GR66M (the same original GR we bought together years ago, Rich) setup and played it side by side with the Bach 37 and the aforementioned mouthpieces. The Schilke B1/66M seems to be a killer combination. A little tighter core than the Bach whereas the Bach has a decent core, but that "halo of overtones' that Vince Cichowicz would talk about. I did some quick side by side recordings with my iPhone and recognized that the Monette seemed (by a hair) to give me the cleanest attacks, one of my personal weaknesses that I've been working on.

Tonight will be a torture test of sorts as the amount of playing will be more rigorous as I'll be playing mostly 1st trumpet/cor throughout the rehearsal with some arrangements that are simply unrelenting with little rest. Stay tuned.
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Bach C 229 w Charlie Melk custom work
Getzen Eterna Cornet, Crappy old Yamaha 3valve Eb
Stanton Kramer "Signature" Mouthpiece
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hose
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I allow myself I can jump through the same multiple mpc hoops that you are doing. Many of us have done this. I've figured out that for me, it's a matter of different focus and concentration from playing alone to "blending in" with a group. Alone, my single concentration is what is coming out of the bell. When I move to a group, all kinds of interference intrudes and breaks up that single focus of concentration. If there's just a hint of stress (not nervousness) that further complicates the mix. Constantly changing mpcs during any playing session is a recipe for confused chops. Been down that road for years. We are not alone. Pick one mpc that's in the ball park for you and use it for a while. Doesn't make any difference which one. You're getting no place now by using multiple mpcs. In the interest of total disclosure, my post is the pot calling the kettle black.
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