In the band with braces?

Braces and Musical instruments? Do they mix? Can I still play? How does it work? These are very common and practical questions among our marching members with braces. So here are some tips and answers to help keep your notes flowing……

  • Woodwinds

Clarinet and Saxes

1. These instruments should give you the least problems in terms of adjusting and tone quality.

2. The biggest issue will be the extra condensation that forms and produces a “gurgly” sound. You will have to draw out the condensation from the reed more often.

3. Saxophone players who tend to bite through their bottom lip will need to use much more breath support to support tone quality.

Oboe and Bassoon

1. There should not be too many issues adjusting with these instruments, just a little extra practice.

2. Maintaining a good embouchure with plenty of breath support will help keep the tone quality.

3. Being reed instruments, there will most likely be more condensation forming. You will have to shake out your reed frequently to get rid of the “gurgly” sound.


1. It will take a few days to adjust to playing around the braces but you should be back to playing normally after a little practice.

2. You may end up with extra condensation, so you might have to clean out your head-joint more frequently.

3. You may want to try to use more breath support instead of lip plate pressure.

  • Brass

Trumpet and French Horns

1.  These are the instruments that are most affected by braces! There will be an adjustment period when the braces go on and also when the braces are removed. Just takes time, patience and extra practice.

2. If you play with a lot of mouthpiece pressure, this transition may be difficult. There is a positive though, this could be the opportunity  to learn how to play with a better technique: plenty of air, much more breath support, use more of your mouth corner muscles and by keeping your lips closed (or slightly rolled in) in an “Mmmm” position instead of mouthpiece pressure.

3. We will provide you with wax to apply on the braces but with too much pressure the braces will come through the wax.

4. We also have “mouth guard sleeves” that cover braces and wire that may help. They make the lip bulkier but may provided relief from the lip pressure on the braces. Just ask us for one.

5. There will also be an adjustment period when the braces are removed. The teeth feel smooth and slippery and you may apply too much pressure on the mouthpiece because the thickness of the braces is no longer there.

Trombone, Baritone and Tuba

1. You will have many of the same issue as with the trumpet, but because the mouthpiece is larger, the mouthpiece pressure is not as much of an issue.

2. It is really important the you use plenty of air and good breath support. Maintaining the “Mmmm” position and using your mouth corner muscles even more will definitely help.


We would suggest that you don’t have braces placed or removed right before a big concert or performance. You will have enough to worry about without the extra stress of adjusting and uncertainty of how it will affect your performance.

So just remember don’t get frustrated and give up, will a little extra practice and patience, you will be playing just like before!!

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