desparate    12:09 on Sunday, August 12, 2007          

(1 point)
Posted by miss_scarlett

i've been playing the flute for about three years, and i [had] an extremely mature tone for someone my age [going into high school], always first chair... blah, etc...

however, i got braces [palatus expander and all] a week ago... and i can't even get a sound out of my flute. i can't feel air moving through the flute and the tone is worse than when i started! and my embochure [sp.?] sucks.

flute is extremely important to me and i was wondering if any one had any suggestions as to how i could play again. i've tried loosening my bottom lip and everything, and people tell me it will get better... but i'm really getting worried, as i can't even figure out what's wrong at this point! help!

Re: desparate    18:26 on Sunday, August 12, 2007          

(491 points)
Posted by Zevang

I'd advise you to calm down a little and think that this is a new beginning. I'm sure the braces you have now changed your embouchure in all aspects.
What you must do, IMHO, is to practice as you were a beginner. Mostly, be patient. It's normal that tooth treatment interfere with the flute playing, but it does not prevent you from playing from now on.

good luck

Re: desparate    21:23 on Sunday, August 12, 2007          

(94 points)
Posted by piccolo1991

I suggest playing lots...and lots of long tone exercises. Trevor Wye has a great Tone book. Play things very slow...feel what makes a good tone difference. Also, looking in a mirror while you play can keep you from tightening up too much. Moyse has a book for tone developement thru interpretation too. The trevor wye is simple though. I think simple is good when doing long tones. Start low. Good full low notes can help to produce great high notes...thru overtones Good luck. It really sucks. A lot of my students have to go thru that too. I always feel for them!

Re: desparate    16:52 on Tuesday, August 21, 2007          

(471 points)
Posted by leighthesim

if you have just got a retainer take it out when you practise then place it strait back in when your done tis as easy as that if you have got train tracks(then ones you can't take in and out) then just practise as if just starting again, the first thing you do when you practise should be to find your embourture and get as cleaner sound as you can out of it

Re: desparate    22:29 on Tuesday, August 21, 2007          

(2 points)
Posted by equinezen85

I had braces for about 3.5 years and in the beginning it killed my flute playing. I couldn't get any tone out of it and was so discouraged. I wish I could tell you exactly how I overcame it but to tell you the truth, I just adapted. I kept practicing and adjusting my mouth, my lips, the embouchure plate until I found a way that worked for me. In fact, when I got my braces off, I had to re-adapt to playing without them and it was almost as bad as when I first got them on. If your band teacher is a good person, he/she will understand that you are experiencing technical difficulties that are beyond your immediate control. I know this response is a bit late but hopefully you don't need any more advice! Good luck!

Re: desparate    08:28 on Saturday, August 25, 2007          

(115 points)

calm down and play easy stuff really well until you get me, I had braces for almost two years and it killed my flute playing a little...but i worked hard at it and at the end it was worth it!

Re: desparate    21:16 on Saturday, August 25, 2007          

(10 points)
Posted by elysemelon

I had braces for about 2 years, and all I can say is that when they came off my playing was so much better than before. While you have braces, work a lot on slow pieces, easy things to adjust to. I recommend that when you tongue notes, tongue them in front of the expander behind your top teeth. At first, your lips will need to adjust to going over the braces, and you'll get a lot of cuts on the inside of your lips. But as long as you practice and keep your moral up, you should be better in time. When you get your braces off, you'll probably be able to play more clearly than ever.

Re: desparate    11:55 on Sunday, August 26, 2007          

(1545 points)
Posted by Flutist06

This will probably sound rather unorthodox in today's society, but you also have the option of having those braces removed in order to preserve your playing. I chose a similar route. I have an overbite that the orthodontists wanted to do surgery on to fix before I had braces, but it would have left my bottom lip numb for a year, and possibly much, much longer (which just won't do for a flute player), so I refused to let them do any of the major dental work that most folks have simply because I wasn't going to risk my playing. That road's not for everyone, but I have no regrets about it...Just something to think about.

Re: desparate    08:30 on Tuesday, August 28, 2007          

(587 points)
Posted by Dennis

I have a similar problem Chris. I have decided against braces due to my playing. Being this far along in your lessons/skills doesn't make getting braces seem like a wonderful or even profitable (assuming you want to become a stage musician) adventure. I would rather keep my inherited teeth than straighten them all and possibly take years to relearn what I've already learned. No thanks!


Re: desparate    08:49 on Tuesday, August 28, 2007          

(94 points)
Posted by piccolo1991

Forgot to add this...what about invisalign? My dentist was able to do it for the same price as normal braces...and I could take them out when I played. I had to leave them in some when I practiced, but it wasn't that bad. (I had regular braces as a kid and had to adjust to playing with wisdom teeth made me have to get braces again as an adult. I refused to go thru that again). If you don't know, invisalign are clear...completely clear...braces that go on like a invisable outling of your teeth. You have to take them off when you eat and brush your teeth...and for me when I performed. They were great! Hurt the same as your teeth are tender for a while, but much better for your playing. I strongly recommend them!!!


Opps...had forgotten origional topic since people kept posting about not getting them at all. If you already have them...long tones! But, for people who maybe in the same situation...the above could apply to you!

Re: desparate    08:55 on Tuesday, August 28, 2007          

(252 points)
Posted by tim

I also had braces when I was in high school. I remember not even being able to make a sound on the flute. I had to really concentrate on my focus to get a clear sound, and once I achieved that, it was time to get the braces tightened and I was back to square one. I guess some good came out of it in that I was forced to do all kinds of embouchure gymnastics which has helped out in the long run.


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