Can Quality and Student Mute Share the Same Sentence?


mute army"Is a trumpet or trombone mute more than it's shape?" Logically the answer is yes. However in the manufacturing world, it is a bit more of a gray area. Low-priced student mutes have become as numerous as flavors of ice cream these days. So how do you define quality? How do you differentiate between mute functioned and mute shaped?


Quality mutes are crucial for musicians to avoid cracked notes, instability, and poor sound production. We want our students to have fun and feel confident about what they are doing. When mute shopping, there are some good indicators that will point towards quality and great support options for your student. Consider this when looking for a mute.

Is it durable? Student mutes are generally made out of metal or a synthetic material (usually plastic). What is the quality of the materials? Is the plastic lightweight and easily crushed? Are there seams that connect the mute together? What does the cork look like? Remember that beginner mutes will get dropped on floors frequently, and shoved in backpacks and lockers next to heavy books and other cases. If the mute incorporates a seam holding it together, you have a very vulnerable point in the mute that, if synthetic, is usually the first point of deterioration in the mute. That is, unless the cork goes first. Synthetic corks or synthetic-mix corks will crumble in a short period of time. Mute cork has a very specific size and thickness so that the mute functions properly in the bell of the instrument. When one cork goes, you will have to source a new mute cork from the manufacturer or a repair shop that will hopefully have access to mute cork.


Does the manufacturer make other mutes? What other mutes does the manufacturer make? How well do they communicate them? What resources do they provide for their players about their mutes? If a manufacturer is passionate about what they do,  they can't help but share the good news. Look for manufacturers who make more than one or two different mutes, offer resources to support and educate about their product, and attract testimonials from other musicians concerning the quality of their mutes. 


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Do not be fooled by price. Quality is not defined by price. Just because a mute is more expensive than the others, does not equate to the quality of the mute. Use the above criteria, as well as the help of your band director or private teacher to ensure the mute you come home with will support your favorite musician for many years to come.


Synthetic Mute Selling Points


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