Choosing and playing a mouthpiece ultimately is a personal decision. What works for others might not work for you; what works for you might not work for others.
Here are some helpful tips for young players who are in search for the Holy Grail of mouthpieces.
Research Key Factors
There are incredible mouthpieces available on the market today. You may want to pick out a few that are similar to your own but made by different manufacturers. Factors to consider are rim shape, cup depth, and throat size. Each of these components come in different sizes and shapes that combine to produce a different sound and feeling.
I have been performing on some variation of a 3C throughout my career. The 3C has a medium cup depth and medium wide rim and is used for all-around playing.
I strongly encourage you to go through this process with your private teacher or band director. Having an expert set of ears is important to help assess and narrow down your choices. Become curious and ask as many questions as you can about “what” you should choose and “why.”
Make sure that when you are trying new mouthpieces, you are playing on fresh chops. I would recommend warming up on your current mouthpiece, which allows you to have a consistent baseline. Make sure you don’t rush the process. Relax and proceed to the new mouthpieces.
Play Consistent Passages
Use a consistent set of basics (scales, slurs, articulations) and musical passages to play on every mouthpiece. Every time you play a new mouthpiece, go back to your original mouthpiece and play the same basics and musical passages. Keep repeating this process until you can omit one.
The best places to try new mouthpieces are music education conferences or conventions for your specific instrument such as the International Trumpet Guild or National Trumpet Competition.
Remember there’s a mouthpiece out there that works for you. The mouthpiece you choose will help create your signature sound.