Trumpet Leadpipes and Beginners

I use trumpet leadpipes with my students.  With my older students, I use it to help improve tone, breath control, flexibility, and range.  I do not use the leadpipe with the students who come to me with tight, welded-shut jaws.  Instead, we focus on concepts that help them use less physical force.  I’ve found the leadpipes to be almost equivalent to a “silver bullet” during those few weeks of the beginner year.  After teaching concepts of posture, breathing, and the other basics that lead into mouthpiece placement–that first time we touch the mouthpiece to the face, I have found it remarkable how much easier it is for the young students to transition from releasing air into a straw, to air into the mouthpiece with no vibration, THEN air into the mouthpiece on the leadpipe.  In almost every case, there was a certain level of instant success.  Breaking away from the concept that we “make” the lips buzz or vibrate and the vibrating is caused by the air moving through the lips has resulted in a major improvement in our success rate, especially when we worked with the mouthpiece and leadpipe ONLY prior to attempting to produce a tone on the instrument.  The students were much less anxious and more relaxed/confident while holding the leadpipe/mouthpiece without the trumpet.

There are two excellent YouTube videos by John Harbaugh (Central Washington University) that, using data from a 1973 edition of Scientific American, explain the physics behind this concept in precise detail.

Video 1:

Video 2:

There is more information on my website: if you click Product Info > The Leadpipe Project.  (  After discovering that even “raw brass” leadpipes are often well over $100.00 each, I spent about a year working with trumpet manufacturers developing relationships provided me to opportunity to purchase new, completely finished, high-quality leadpipes for my students at a very affordable price.

Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts regarding using leadpipes for instruction.  When and how do you use them?  For what reasons? What do you perceive as pros and cons?