Four days ago I wrote about how I thought I had finally gotten through the mouthpiece fiasco. I was wrong. Monday morning’s practice was pretty bad and at my band rehearsal that evening I could barely play. I would have chalked this up to a random bad day except that Tuesday and Wednesday were just as bad if not worse. I’m playing the horn to have fun and enjoy making music. I haven’t had much fun during the past six weeks. Yesterday morning I was practicing and I was so frustrated that I felt like throwing the horn through the window.
I’ve been using my Laskey mouthpiece since the end of September. I went back to the Moosewood for a day or two here and there because I was struggling so much with the Laskey but I have been, for almost the whole time, sticking with it. I know that using the Moosewood at all during this time was not a good idea but it’s very hard to keep sticking with something that’s not working.
Yesterday afternoon I took the Moosewood out again and made a decision to stick with it no matter what. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and mine has been telling me to use the Moosewood for weeks now. I’ve been sticking with the Laskey because it is ‘supposed’ to be a better mouthpiece for my Otto horn with it’s bowl shaped cup and I promised Scott Bacon that I wouldn’t change back to the Moosewood until I saw him at my next lesson. Well, I’ve broken my promise but ironically he called me today to ask about the mouthpiece problem and, after I went through telling him about all the trouble I’ve been having, he told me to switch back to the Moosewood. (I didn’t mention that I had already done that the day before.) What a relief. I feel like a huge load has been taken off my shoulders.
As I expected, I played very well – ‘very well’ meaning that I was happy with the way I was playing – yesterday afternoon and today. It’s so nice to just pick up the horn, especially since it’s a brand new horn, and just enjoy playing. I expect that I will experience a set back in a week or so but I am just going to have to get through it.
One thought on “Mouthpieces again”
Oh Tina, I feel your pain!!!! I have had MANY similar days in the last 5 years; the ups and downs were so disheartening with no good answers as to why I was struggling with little apparent progress…came SO close to smashing my Conn 8D to the floor (would have put it through the window, but then I’d have a busted horn AND window!!!)
All that frustration is what drove me to explore the embouchure change….so my new quest is to find the embouchure setting that gives me the results that I want and locking that down, rather than trying to strengthen what has turned out to be an improper setting for the last 5 years.
I’m beginning to think it is more about finesse than strength; that’s how an accomplished hornist can “make it look so easy” (same for any discipline)… So I am concentrating on a more relaxed embouchure instead of trying to “muscle” every note. So far I have seen some improvement in tone, range and endurance… I’ll keep you posted Jonathan