Biting,possible solutions,& the best student mouthpiece made?

Hi Mr. Friedland,

I am a high school clarinetist in Houston. I seem to have problems with my teeth when I play. After practicing for an hour or so, my bottom teeth would move inward and my upper teeth outward (because I use a single lip embouchure), making my overbite worse. My teeth (especially the bottom front ones that press against the reed when I’m playing) would hurt. I do not have “rolling lip” problems and do not get “reed prints” after I practice, so I can’t think of anything that I could change to make this situation better. Just recently I found out that my friends use floral tape to cover their bottom teeth when they play so it wouldn’t hurt. Does that help? Could you help me out?

My dear friend:
You are biting a completely understandable problem. I would not worry about it. I would practise less, especially stopping before it starts to hurt, then testing everything to see exactly where it hurts.
I would not resort to covering the teeth yet as that may not solve the problem but mask it.
I really would have to see you play.
When I can do this, I usually can fix things almost immediately.
What stength reed do you use? What kind?
Makes a big difference. And of course, do you have a reasonably good mouthpiece? What facing?
By reasonably good, I mean Van Doren, or Selmer.
They really have the most experience in making mouthpieces for young people.
There is one other mouthpiece which plays beautifully and is very inexpensive. Clark Fobes, the “Debut”.
That may be the best student mouthpiece made. (I have 4, and wonder sometimes why I am not playing on it.—-Yes, they all play almost exactly the same.)

best, sherman friedland


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