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Tip #1 – Video – More Improv Stuff
Tip #2 – Ron’s Mouthpiece Thoughts
Searching for the right Mouthpiece
My first few tips were to get students to familiarize themselves with triads and scales and inflections which you can go back to for reference. …….See tips 9/20,/9/27, and 10/04. I will elaborate an continue in the next few But this week I would like to talk about mouthpiece decisions. Over the Years I had studied with so called high note mouthpiece gurus like Roy Stevens, Jerome Callet, Carmine Caruso. Frank Zottola. William Vacchiano and Ed Troydle were two classical greats that knew alot about mouthpieces buttThe one guy that I feel was a local teacher from Pelham, NY named Lenny Samela.a former Vaudville trumpeter. I studied with Lenny on top of a music store in New Rochelle, New York from the ages 8-13.
When I reached age 21 after attending 4 years of a Conservatory for Jazz, Lenny took me under his wing again to change my embouchure. I was considered a downstream player .while I put my jazz studies on hold I took that time to Visit Roy Stevens, Jerome Callet, Bill Ratzenberger at Jet-tone in Fairfield CT. My change was so drastic that it took a number of years , but after studying with those so called Gurus the only teachers that I could give my credit to were Lenny Samela and uncharacteristically William Vacchiano who is considered the greatest Classical teacher in the world. Lenny Samela had the most common sense approach to high notes and mouthpiece placement. Vacchiano possessed an uncanny knowledge of the inner workings of the mouthpiece and how to find the right mouthpiece for each student.
My personal experience and take on this is that young students should play with a 50/50 mouthpiece placement on the lips. Each student is different, so some may place the mouthpiece higher and some may place it lower on the lip or embouchure. Let’s get one thing straight!” There is no one dream mouthpiece that is going to make anyone play better overnight. Because the body goes through changes every day. Some players carry 6 different mouthpieces with them all the time . the combo, the high note, the classical shallow and deeper mouthpiece. Where does it all end? The only type of change I agree with is the screw rim mouthpiece where you can interchange the depth of the mouthpiece by changing the cups for depth and sound yet keeping the same rim so your muscles are not affected by the change. Mr Vacchiano always told me that it takes about 6 months to break in a mouthpiece where you feel it is part of you. That made so much sense to me because it quelled my yearning to always change. Believe me It will drive you crazy.
The mouthpiece must enable a student or accomplished player to do his job so comfortably and consistently as possible. So I hope this helped to give you some insight on mouthpieces. The below quote is something that stayed with me and will forever….
“IF you have a problem with your feet, you change your shoes; if you have a problem with your eyes, you get different glasses. Why should the lips be different? If someone is playing on the wrong mouthpiece he will never know the difference. If you give the student a mouthpiece that doesn’t fir him properly, you may hinder his career”