Many clients visit my shop and I witness a problem again and again, loose seating of the mouthpiece into the receiver. Are we so conscious of little scratches on the mouthpiece shank that we no longer fully insert the mouthpiece? Or is there another reason I am unaware of? I would bet over half of the players who walk in here insert the mouthpiece by pushing it gently straight into the receiver without twisting. What is the source of misinformation regarding proper mouthpiece fit and seating?
The mouthpiece taper originally began as a machine tool component, part of a spindle and tail stock in a lathe. Most lathes use a tapered modular system to date, though many are larger. The idea is very simple, two precisely ground male and female tapers mate together with maximum surface contact (friction) to transfer energy to the tool component and/or part to be machined. If you were to gently place a tapered chuck into the spindle of my lathe and turn it on, it would likely fly out and hurt someone or at least cause a dangerous situation. This is why lathes often require drawbars, which is a simple screw system that pulls the two tapers together until they lock in place. Considerable force is exerted by a drawbar ensuring maximum contact.
The same should be true in trumpets and mouthpieces. The purpose of the tapered mouthpiece shank and receiver is to mate the two surfaces together until they lock solid. This ensures the mouthpiece will not fall out, but more importantly that energy is transferred rather than lost. I was working with someone last week who had just finished playing a horn and he handed it to me to oil a valve, the mouthpiece fell to the floor. In 26 years of playing trumpet, this has never happened to me personally because I was taught (by my Dad) to twist the mouthpiece clockwise (gently) into the receiver. This technique is also common in machine tool use and requires removal the exact opposite, by twisting counter-clockwise while pulling gently.
If someone out there is teaching a different method, please consider the previous. Or, if you know another way that works, let us know! Either way, keep in mind that tapered mouthpieces and shanks have been around since the 1860's and they work great when mated properly, with gentle force and a twisting motion. A loose mouthpiece will most certainly rob the standing wave of energy and in extreme circumstances make the horn unplayable. Try it for yourself!
On to electric cars, which have been around since the 1890's and for which I have had a sincere fascination with since childhood. Did you know that Jenatzy's electric car broke the land speed record hitting 65mph in 1899? Yep, that was 112 years ago and look at people rushing to buy little toyota and nissan toys that do basically the same thing, run on pure electricity. People tend to think I'm against little cars and the prius specifically, but that simply isn't true. I think it's great that so many people buy them, drive them and love them. They have a specific purpose and the market has responded to this need.
I personally believe Americans would be wise to spend money with companies that re-invest and spend in the USA. A trade deficit does nothing to employ your kids down the road, nor does it help curtail the 3,476 overburdened government programs you may or may not believe are necessary to care for all the people in our country. I'm all for helping people (I go out of my way to help people all the time) so why not strengthen local economies and buy from companies that employ people who live next door? I'm just sayin'...
Back to electric, my dream car would be built with my own two hands, but if I were to buy a new car today I would check out the Chevy volt (too bad it looks like a toyota) and the Tesla "S" or the Aptera.