When to Upgrade Your Student's Brass Instrument Mouthpiece


When do I need to find a new mouthpiece?


Trombone student After a student has learned how to make a sound on their new brass instrument, and make it consistently, their next focus is on improving that sound. Since sound starts with the mouthpiece, your first upgrade should logically be the mouthpiece. But when and how do you find the right one? Use these tips to understand the process and help you student take their fist steps to expanding their sound and skills.

The beginner mouthpiece is chosen for its small diameter, which affects how much of the embouchure is supported. As students develop embouchure muscles after 1-2 years, a wider diameter mouthpiece can support advanced sound.

As students develop, a wider diameter mouthpiece supports advanced sound by allowing more room for the aperture to buzz, enhancing the player's ability to support their embouchure.

And if none of that makes sense, think of it like like any sport you engage in. Swim instructors use a variety of floatation tools to help support their swim students as they develop the skills need to float and swim. If an advanced swimmer tried to continue swimming using these beginner tools, they would get in the way of a more elegant backstroke, or diminish the speed of an otherwise flawless crawl stroke. 

Now that we are on the same page, here is one more thing to think about. The mouthpiece and your student create all the sound. The instrument just amplifies it. Your student will continue wanting to play if they love their sound, and they feel the gratification of improvement. Moving past the beginner mouthpiece will greatly assist in the growth and development of your musician's sound.


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What Next?

"I understand, but I know nothing about brass instruments. How do I choose the right one?" You and your student might not be trombone experts, but you know when you hear good sound. Starting the process with finding some professional trombone artist recordings will provide your student new sounds to aspire to. Once they know what they want to sound like. The rest is easy. Find some great sound inspirations here for Trumpet and Trombone.

Here are some tips to follow:

  • Make marginal size changes - not big leaps! We suggest these sizes for Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba
  • For Trombone, S or L in a Denis Wick mouthpiece size relates to Small bore or Large bore. If you are not introducing a new trombone in addition to the mouthpiece, make sure you searching for S options (other brands might notate this differently).
  • Go into the process with a plan so that each mouthpiece is tested the same way. We suggest  you follow these steps.


See how Denis Wick artist Christopher Bill does a mouthpiece trial between the Denis Wick Heritage and Classic Mouthpieces.






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