I remember when I was researching online, many orthodontists, dentists, students and parents said that after a while their patient or child adjusted well to the braces and could continue playing their woodwind instrument. However from making excessive research on this, I decided that I would be able to adjust. I wanted to write this article, which is 5 years late, on how metal braces did not allow me to play my flute to a high standard. If you are playing flute as a hobby, then sacrificing 18-24 months will be absolutely fine. However, if you are a professional musician, having numerous music exams, playing in an orchestra, auditioning or planning on going to university, I strongly advise any other possible options.
The embouchure has to change due to the metal braces and your sound and tone will change dramatically. When you begin playing there will be a fuzzy sound, and there will be a much more airy sound. This was extremely off putting, and I truly wish someone had warned me of it before I had got traditional braces. But, I hope this article helps anyone who plays the flute, in order for them to make a good decision, and not have to have them removed straight after having them on! Long story short, I got braces when I was 14. However, at the time I had an important flute exam which I took very seriously. The cutting of the gums, affect on the tongue and crowding of metal caused my sound to stray away from my warm and sweeter tone.
My warning is to really emphasise that getting metal braces will affect your sound! I’m not sure whether after getting them off if it will take a significantly longer time to adjust back to your original embouchure. However, my word of advice is to get metal braces when you are younger. Therefore it won’t be as much of an issue when you begin your music exams.