Space between teeth and embouchure

Hello sir

I just read your article “Movable Teeth, And A Suggestion”. I was very interested in the article because I have what they called parted front teeth.. that is, I cannot completely bite.

I became really concerned lately about my open bites because I started to take private lessons and my teacher commented that I have really good sound (“you sound like a clarinet”). That’s when I became very concerned about my open bites; my opinion is that because of the open bite, I cannot have a stable sound (I have to bite more than I would need to if I had normal bite) and adequate technique. My mom is really concerned about my teeth too, but her suggestion was to quit playing clarinet. I said no way, and this argument is staling still (it began 2 years ago). I really want to start on braces to fix my bites, but I also heard from rumors that braces will REALLY hinder your playing.

So the question is: does open biting matter when I’m playing clarinet? I read your article several times, but it seems to me that even if you had lost several of your teeth, you at least had a complete bite. Would open biting mette rfor playing my clarinet correctly? I’m assuming you at least had three student who were suffering from the open bite during your decades of profession in clarinet.

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HBO:
Many thanks for your interesting letter concerning your embouchure and the fact that you have what is a space or spaces between your front teeth.I have had many students who were suffering, but none from “open bites” as you say. First and foremost, that does not matter. What does matter is that your teacher says that you have a nice sound. This means that indeed you can play with your teeth the way they are. There are many fine players who have the same configuration as do you and play the clarinet beautifully. Straight “together”teeth do not play the clarinet. You play the clarinet.
As far as braces are concerned, from the moment you have them in place you will have problems playing and your dentist will most probably suggest that you stop playing, as your mother has as well.
All of us are different and we learn to fit our differences to the instrument, whatever the configuration of the front teeth.
It remains entirely within your own desires as to what you achieve on the instrument. You want healthy teeth, which are not necessarily straight.
Good luck.
Sherman

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