I finally made a mouthpiece decision Tuesday to use the Laskey. After stupidly switching back and forth over the last few weeks I realized that I had to stop doing that and pick one and just deal with it. I picked the Laskey because I trust that Scott Bacon is right that it is the better mouthpiece for the Otto horn. I had trouble switching because I really liked my Moosewood mouthpiece. Of course that begs the question of why switch in the first place. When I was corresponding with Andrew Joy, who uses Otto horns exclusively, he told me to switch to a cup shaped mouthpiece for these horns. I mentioned this to Scott and he agreed that the Laskey mouthpiece was better for the Otto horn. The mistake that he and I both made was switching mouthpieces at the same time I got the horn. It would have been better to play the horn for a couple of months before making a mouthpiece change.
Using the Laskey this week has been frustrating. I’ve got this wonderful new horn and I can’t play it worth a damn. The first 20 minutes of practice goes quite well but then, even with a half hour break, my playing goes downhill fast. I lose my high range and notes get gurgly. I don’t just miss attacks, the entire note sounds bad. Why is it that when good things happen – e.g. my new horn – bad things always have to happen as well? And it isn’t limited to the mouthpiece change.
Yesterday while eating a sandwich I bit the inside of my lower lip. Ouch. I have a band concert tomorrow. Yikes. And then this morning while eating toast I did it again. Double ouch. I tested whether I could play earlier today and there’s no way. Not only did it hurt, I was concerned that if I tried to play through it I would inevitably change my embouchure to deal with the pain. I am really hoping that I can play tomorrow. I play 4th horn and rarely do I get to play a solo. I’ve got a nice one in Raiders of the Lost Ark. If my lip still hurts tomorrow I’m going to have to decide if I want to try to play or pass the solo off to the 3rd horn. Low notes are not hurting as much so the 4th horn off beats should not be a problem.
It seems that playing the horn is always two steps forward and one step back. At least it isn’t one step forward and two steps back though some days it sure seems like it.