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High Brass

The difference between playing the tuba and sousaphone is all about getting a more powerful sound on the sousaphone, I would go for more attack on the notes getting more of a bass trombone rasp than more mellow soft tuba sound. In the bands that I'm in, you are on your own with the bass line, so it has to be loud and stand-out. But in the traditional brass band you would play with a more rich, deeper tone to blend with the other tuba’s as well as the band. I also think the way the sousaphone is designed also forward facing also helps to make you sound louder. People ask me.

How can I play the tuba/sousaphone louder? Basically, you need to put more air through the instrument. You don't want to blow this air faster, but you want a lot more of it. It takes a while to get correct, but you will become very good and consistent at it once you get the hang of it. There is no denying that having greater lung capacity is an advantage for playing larger tubas/sousaphones i.e. Bb’s than Eb’s. Dedicating some time to daily training can assist with increasing your lung capacity.

The ideal approach would be to adopt an exercise habit like swimming or jogging. If this is not feasible, you might want to try deep breathing practice called "abdominal breathing." If you practice breathing by using your abdominal muscles to fully exhale to the bottom of your abdomen, you will boost your lung capacity while also increasing control of
your breath.

At the end of the day, each approach has its uses. Sousaphones are great for playing
outdoors, and not so much a concert tuba since the sound goes up, not out. Same with the opposite – a sousaphone is too directional and thus is a bad choice for indoor playing as opposed to a concert tuba.

Also, as you get older, you appreciate sousaphones for outdoor gigs especially as they are way easier to carry around and set up. Along with the health problems playing Tuba on a “march” by the weight of the instrument pulling forward, pulling on your lower back! One day I would like to see more Sousaphones playing in the UK brass band scene. Not just because they look cooler but to help in terms of the health of Tuba players in UK banding. I’m all for a bit of modernization in the UK brass band scene. It seems there is a shortage of players who can actually still carry a Bb Bass on a march.

Many talented brass players have problems in high note playing which seem inexplicable. Often there is no obvious reason. These days the general standard of teaching and playing sophistication at a professional level is at an all-time high, but there are, of course, many amateurs who have not had access to the best teaching.

If there is one thing most brass players dread, it’s giving a lesson to a beginner.  No, it's not because we don’t want to see the next generation enjoying music the way we do, but it's because we have NO CLUE how to fill 30 minutes of time for a student that may or may not have her horn correctly assembled.

Heritage and HeavyTop Mouthpiece

Mouthpiece trials can be a dangerous sport! While we don’t suggest wearing a helmet, there are some steps you can take that will protect the sensitive area of your lips and muscles from damage. Follow the steps below and you should be able to walk out of your trial session unscathed and hopefully with a new mouthpiece!

Are you a musician? Your New Year's resolution might include practice disciplines, range goals, technique goals, career goals, etc. Resolution planning can be tricky; too easy and you feel like you cheated, too lofty and half-way through the year you feel like a failure. If only there was one thing that you could resolve to do that would keep you busy the whole year while improving everything. And there is!

A manufacturer's website is probably one of your first visits when you search for a new mouthpiece. You want to know how they are made, the mouthpiece specifications, and what those specifications will do for you. Though it is not with the intent to mislead or harm you, most manufacturers will not include these 3 facts about their provided information that can impact your choice.

1. Diameter, depth, throat, and rim width measurements are not universal between brands

Think of your brass instrument mouthpiece rim. Is it totally flat? No! There is some curve to it, some contour. The measurement you are seeing is gained from specific curve points on the mouthpiece. No two manufactures are measuring from the same points on the curve so comparing these data points between brands is not a science. rather it is a place to start. Solution? When you research your next mouthpiece, start with the measurement you are looking for and try a range of 2-3 mouthpieces. You will have a greater chance of success in finding the diameter you are looking for.


2. CNC Machining does not equate to consistent manufacturing.

Getting the first sound on your trumpet is not the hardest part. The hardship comes when  you try to recreate that sound and make it better each time! The Mouthpiece makes a big difference in how successful a beginner a beginner, student, or professional makes sound. In this interview, Denis Wick artist Chris O'Hara explains what makes a quality beginner mouthpiece, and how to get your student set up on their new mouthpiece.

How I became a Mute Maker, By Denis Wick

My  long-suffering wife said,  “You’re just never satisfied!”. Many a true word is spoken in exasperation. I had tentatively suggested, in about 1969, that somebody ought to design mutes that actually played in tune and worked in every register. We had been recording film music with Bernard Herrmann, who had  helped to make all those Hitchcock films such a success. He was contemptuous of the old fibre mutes that I and my  LSO trombone section were using. He called them  "psychological mutes” and we knew what he meant.


As every teacher knows, a good tone on any brass instrument needs a properly set-up embouchure; a good teacher will spare no effort to ensure that the student's embouchure is as efficient as possible. These days one may assume that the young player will have a reasonable instrument and a sensible mouthpiece. To this one must add what many teachers would regard as the most important of all - good breath control.