The (Almost) Silent Lifesaver
I’ll keep this one short. This week has seen me staying first with my parents, and now with my in-laws, and times like these are a special reminder of the value of one of my most important trumpet accessories, my practice mute. Sometimes I wonder how I made it so long without owning one. As a student, I used a borrowed Shastock “Wispa” mute for Fisher Tull’s Three Bagatelles, but I’d be hard pressed to recommend anyone actually use one of those as a practice mute in the modern era. It was not until I had begun graduate school, around ten years ago, that I finally decided to pick up a practice mute for myself. I found a Wallace Collection practice mute (now sold under the name of its designer, Jürgen Voigt), for sale, used, on an Internet forum, and picked it up on a whim. Many of my days started with classes and rehearsals, continued with work at a part-time job, and concluded with practicing comfortably in my apartment as late as 2:00 am with nary a complaint from the neighbors. In the years since, this mute has been invaluable when traveling and staying in hotels or other people’s homes, in my own apartments during the night, and backstage when quiet is essential. I have tried many other brands over the years, but this one remains my favorite, with the Bremner “SshhMute” a close second. The Wallace/Voigt is very slightly louder, but still sufficiently quiet, and feels marginally less restrictive than the still free-blowing Bremner. These are my top recommendations for anyone in need of a trumpet practice mute.
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