Professor Corno: About your Mouthpiece Choice
This question recently came in through the contact page and was passed on to Prof. Corno:
What’s the best way to pick out a mouthpiece? I’m a student looking for a comfortable mouthpiece that will help me in the high range, and also to help me play louder, while keeping a good tone.
Picking out a mouthpiece is a great topic but it is potentially a surprisingly divisive one as well. A lot of teachers and players out there, truth be told, know very little about the topic but cover up their lack of practical knowledge very well.
Brand X mouthpieces won’t cut it. Low quality control brands of the past won’t cut it. It is your most important investment in horn playing. Get a good one! A good mouthpiece costs more than $35.
A trumpet player that has gone on record on the topic is Jens Lindemann. One big point in the video “On Choosing a Trumpet Mouthpiece to Suit Your Embouchure” is that you really can and probably should use something smaller than the “traditional” “orchestral” type mouthpiece. His comments are pretty easy to translate to horn in a video that may be viewed here.
His main starting statement in the video is that “90% of trumpet players out there play a mouthpiece that is too big.” This is also probably true on horn as well.
To continue that thought I would say that you need to think outside of the box and go into some testing of your own with an open mind. But to offer a bit of direction similar to that heard in the video just linked, speaking generally the “real man” big mouthpieces seen commonly in years gone by are falling out of favor. They can work fine for a very strong player with very strong chops, but for the average mere mortal just don’t cut it, be willing to try something smaller. This is especially clear if you have listeners who are familiar with the horn hear the mouthpieces in question back to back out in a room. Some mouthpieces have fuzzy articulations and are harder to play on too. Why work so hard? Consider all the options you can.