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Wed, Jan. 9th, 2008, 08:19 pm
goaskfrog: any tips on playing french horn with braces?

Hallo there! (another one sees the spotlight)
I played the flute from 4th to 7th grade; at that point the band needed some french horns so I switched for 8th grade. I'm now in 9th grade. (Funny thing is, now I'm in marching band and they need flutes....)
The thing is, I have braces and playing is... not easy with them (even after a year and a half.) (Especially high notes.) I think my mouth has permanent indenations.
I tried using paper strips between my teeth and my gums.... it was quite exciting flossing the paper out of my braces.

Has anyone a tip? Or fourteen? Or should I just await getting my braces off?
thanks eternal for any answers on this subject!

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)

Wax over your braces, maybe?

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)

I have never played with braces, but for the longest time, my front tooth was chipped and it cut into my lip when I played too much and too high. Eventually it stopped bothering me (now it's fixed), but the thing they had be try was denture wax. Put it over the metal of the braces and let it form to braces and it'll keep it from cutting. It's hard to play with and makes your mouth feel stuffy, but it's one way to keep from cutting your lip. Otherwise, I would just suggest playing until it stops cutting (it took 3 years for mine to stop cutting as often).

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 05:17 am (UTC)

my brass-playing friends who had braces used wax or plastic strips which clipped on to the front of their braces.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)

There's really very little you can do about braces and wind playing. Wax helped me somewhat. However, this will teach you how to play with less pressure which can be hard to learn. Keep at it. There'll be an awkward two days once you get them off but playing will be so much easier after that.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)

I'm a fellow convert from flute and marching band member! I had braces last year and, while I never had a huge issue with them, I remember using wax on them when it felt like they were cutting the inside of my mouth. I think that I got the wax from my orthodontist, and your orthodontist might have tips for you if you haven't tried them yet.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 06:06 am (UTC)

woww i dont feel so alone cos i switched from flute to mellophone for the marching season this year and now im going to play french horn for the concert season. fortunately i didnt have breaces then haha

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 09:04 am (UTC)

I'm also suggesting wax!

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)

Yeah, here's another vote for the wax. You get it from your orthodontist already cut into little strips. I always used half of such a strip just pressed onto my braces so it'd cover all the sharp bits. Sometimes if you play a lot it will get pushed in such a way that the braces poke through and start cutting you again; you just have to pinch it back together.

Definitely feel your pain, as I played for a couple of years with braces and didn't discover the wax method until a few months in. But then I played better than ever before! Go figure.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)

Wax again. In fact, unless you've brought it up to him before, I imagine your orthodontist will immediately hand it to you! Keep it up with braces - and when they come off, the metamorphasis will be amazing!

Wax saved me, and I started in braces - hang in there.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)

I used Morgan Bumpers. They worked very well for me. I used to keep them in a small pill box and wash them at night.

Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)

Seconded. I had a point in time where my braces were constantly cutting into my lips, and I almost had to temporarily quit because of the pain, but these bumpers saved me.

Wed, Jan. 16th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)

Me too!

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)

I actually learned how to play the horn on braces. I had braces for bnearly 4 years. My teacher actually found braces to be an advantage, because you have to support the mouthpiece on pure muscle (to prevent tearing up the inside of your lip instead of putting pressure on your teeth, which I guess is a bad habit that some players have.
So yeah. Wax, and swish some salt water around in your mouth everynight so the cuts on your mouth don't get infected.

As far as range issues go, When I got my braces off it was defiantly easier to play in the upper range. But, use this time with your braces to really build up a strong embouchure, and work on your lower range. A strong mouth can overcome any restrictions posed by braces.

hope that made sense.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)

Ask your orthodontist. Wax is used commonly, but I had a friend who was given small plastic strips or a little mouthpiece thing to help. Your orthodontist probably has wax, if nothing else, to give you.

I played with braces for a long time, but you do get more used to it if you just keep playing through the pain.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)

As much as this is going to suck to hear, I'd recommend that you wait until your braces come off. If you keep forcing it, you'll build up a ton of scar tissue inside your lips and they will loose their flexibility, so that when your braces finally do come off you won't be able to play very well ever again. Just have patience, and all will be well :)

Fri, Jul. 27th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
Victoria Metcalfe

Well, I just got mine. I'm expected to be able to play well for school this year; Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham; and I can't play high notes at all. I can't wait til my braces come off, because I HAVE to play for school. And I have to play well; I can't simply fake it.
The braces aren't cutting my lips... They're just hurting and I can't play correctly. It feels like I'm getting smacked in the face with a brick when I attempt to play. Repeatedly. I just don't know what to do that will help me!

Sat, Jan. 19th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)

thanks so much to everyone who replied! I have some wax... somewhere... so I'll try that.
sorry for the late response; school's been kind of insane lately.

glad to hear that there are other flute-horn converts!

Mon, Jan. 11th, 2016 11:37 pm (UTC)
Jay Frost: Mouthguard

Hi! I'm a french horn player in braces for the second time! I was also in braces during my freshman year of HS (I'm a junior). Right now, I am using a thin mouthguard for my playing. I just got it so it's taking some time to adjust. It's called the SISU mouthguard. There are three different sizes. I am using a small size because my braces are only on my top row and they're not all the way back. It's about $20. There's also the option of making your own mouthguard. How to do that, I have no clue lol.

Hope this helps :)