I'm sorry if I'm bothering you all with my complaining, but this is really upsetting me.
I've been playing trombone for 4 years, and am now a freshman in high school. In 7th grade, I got braces and my tone did turn crappy, but I had never noticed it until now, two years later, seeing the first trombonist and realizing, "Wow. I suck." I don't know if my tone just always sounded bad or not, but I really would like to improve.
My tone is very scratchy sounding, a little breathy at times. When I get around the F (still in the staff), it gets a little better until I try to hit a high D or E, and then it sounds forced, or just not quite there. Which leads me to my next point. I have a very limited range, and it bothers me.
I have looked up how to improve tone and range many times, but I think I've tried like...everything. And nothing helps. I think I have very short breath as well, but I think I've had that even before playing trombone. I just cant breathe out a lot of air.
And my braces dont hurt or anything, but I'm sincerely hoping that they are the cause, because I really love playing trombone, and I would hate to hear that I can never learn to even play decently because of something that I may not be able to change. So please, if anybody can help? Because I already lost all confidence in myself, to be honest. Please and thank you. ^^
Braces do make it a little more challenging to play this fantastic instrument.
To help improve tone quality, I suggest doing a decent amount of Long tone exercises. The Remmington is an excellent place to start, and doing it starting from middle Bb (Top of the bass stave) right down to low E (1 ledger line below the bass stave) at Crochet (Quarter note) = 50 bpm will help stabilise the tone quality and help to clear any of the crust that may be bugging your sound. Always have a solid good quality sound concept in your head (imagine what you want to sound like, and find out the most natural way to get that sound)
Slow slurrs will also help to develop the tone quality which you are aiming for. Do them at all dynamics, the remmington book again has some great exercises, and also Charlie Vernons Singing approach to trombone has some great exercises.
Remember also while playing with braces, to be aware of Mouthpiece pressure. PLease ensure that you arent pushing the mouthpiece onto your face. this can cause irrepairable scar tissue on the soft fleshy part of your lip which will in the long term prevent you from making the best quality sound possible. Think about blowing your lips onto the mouthpiece with a BIG SIGH BREATHE.
Nothing should ever be forced when playing. always think of a free open relaxed easy sound!
Don't try to play too high yet either with braces. stay in the mid to low register where things are easiest, and learn to make the best sound there tension free, then and only then move into the upper register taking the same concepts from low to high.