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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, October 6, 2008


The PMC Quick Note is a weekly service provided to all area directors.  It is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest.  The weekly Quick Note contains helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues!

What To Do For Students With Braces by Jim Donaldson
Note:  This is a wonderful in-depth article on dealing with braces.  Click to view the full version or read through the highlights below.

Q: Now that I have braces, what do I do?   A: First, adjust your attitude.

You come home with braces. They feel funny in your mouth and your teeth hurt. You've heard the terrible rumors. You can't imagine playing the trumpet with your mouth the way it is. Your teeth just hurt too much. A couple of days later, the hurting has decreased--or maybe you've just gotten used to it--and you open up the case and put the mouthpiece in the horn. You raise your horn to your lips. The mouthpiece sits on your chops like you've never done this before. You take a breath, rather tentative, tongue a note, and blow. The sound is awful. You sounded better in sixth grade (sixth graders: think fourth grade). It just feels so weird. Everything feels different and weird. You play a few more notes, all low. They all sound bad. You try to go a bit higher, the buzz stops altogether, no sound comes out, and it hurts. You are first chair, but the guy on the other end can do better than you now, and he plays with the mouthpiece over near his left earlobe. You play a few more notes and then try a higher one again. Same thing happens, and it is starting to hurt. You can feel the braces start to dig into the back of your chops. Try one more time. No sound. Pain. You put your horn back in the case, shut it, and go jump off a bridge.

That is how it feels, but stop before you get to the bridge.

Don't get discouraged. Keep reminding yourself that others have done it, and so can you. In fact, it seems to Eric Bolvin and trumpet teachers everywhere that nearly every kid gets braces at some point. So be positive and be patient, but be realistic. This is a major trauma, but you are up to it. It is going to take some time for you to return to your best, but you can do it.

Here are some suggestions:

For more helpful suggestions on dealing with braces, read the full-article version.  PMC would like to thank Jim Donaldson for his permission to include this material in our weekly Quick Note.

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center

Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


(417) 882-7000
Bob Hopkins, Mike Brown, and Jeromy Pope
  Springfield North (417) 862-2700 Burl Williams
  Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts
  Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades, Scott Frederickson, and Zach Houser
  Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp and Dick Murdock
  Broken Arrow (918) 770-6827 Tiffany Mickle and Mark VanVranken
If you would like to submit material, make changes or corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Eric Matzat.