As I have blogged about before, I used to be a one mouthpiece guy and I thought that any short-comings were due purely to a lack of experience or practice. I have been trying a lot of different mouthpieces lately and have learned how different my sound and technique is with each one. Therefore, the mouthpiece, and how it matches your physique and playing style, needs to be carefully considered for each brass player. For me, I have pretty full lips, so I needed a mouthpiece cup diameter (trombone mouthpiece) that would accommodate them. I learned that the greater the width of the rim, the better endurance you would have (the longer you could play), and the thinner the rim, the better the flexibility you would have. There are many other factors, such as the depth and shape of the cup, which affects articulation and the tone. Additionally, there is the size of the throat and the shape of the backbore. For me, the best fit was the Stork T2 standard (similar to a Bach 7C, except the Bach has less "bite", i.e., a more rounded rim). While I am still getting used to the Stork's rather thin rim and the sharp bite, I am finding that the cup allows for a full, dark sound while still allowing for quick/sharp articulation. Additionally, the upper register on the trombone is enabled while the lower register is not impeded. Further, while the throat/bore hole is rather small, there is not much back pressure and this might be because of the shape of the cup, which is more funnel than "C" shaped. So what am I saying? Try a stork mouthpiece? Sure. What I am really saying is that you might want to try other mouthpieces and see if they help your playing a bit. Every little bit helps. For educators, do not buy the "every student should start on a Bach 6 1/2 AL crap." Everyone is different. Have a few different mouthpieces around and see what enables the student or what he/she prefers. Let's take some advice from our trumpet friends and become knowledgable and inquisitive about our mouthpieces. Diagram below from trombone.org/articles/library/mouthpiecemed2-gloss.asp
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.