A "fighting the trumpet" day

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bwanabass, May 10, 2014.

  1. Bwanabass

    Bwanabass Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 20, 2013
    Syracuse, NY
    Have you had days like this? I am having one today. I just feel really tight, like I'm fighting with the horn, and it sounds like it too. Really airy sound, everything over top-space E sounds and feels totally pinched. So frustrating, this is, and I was really just blowing long tones and some lip slurs to warm up.

    I have gigs coming up at the end if this month, and days like these make me incredibly nervous. Anyway, I'm just venting, really. Some days my chops feel great and I sound good, and occasionally, on days like these, I feel like selling every ounce of brass I have and crawling back into trumpeter hibernation. I must persevere!

    Does anyone else experience this on occasion? How do you work through it?
  2. Shifty

    Shifty Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2013
    Phoenix AZ
    “Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins.” — Dizzy Gillespie
  3. Bay Area Brass

    Bay Area Brass Piano User

    Mar 2, 2007
    San Francisco
    Bwanabass, sounds like your chops may be a little tight or stiff from playing a lot the previous day or so. When that happens for me, I practice mostly lighter relaxed stuff just to get the air flowing and your chops looser again. Clarke studies helps with that-practiced very softly. Playing some lyrical etudes at pp also works for me-soft pedal tones may help too. If you do this and stay away from heavy playing for a day or so you should bounce back nicely.
  4. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    go play golf today.. and come back and try again tomorrow!
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I like jiarby's suggestion to take a day off. It may be that you have over-practiced, or not delegated enough time for the basics.
  6. Bwanabass

    Bwanabass Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 20, 2013
    Syracuse, NY
    Thanks for the feedback, and especially that quote! I decided to go for a haircut and now I'm going to mow the lawn. To be continued!
  7. Dean_0

    Dean_0 Piano User

    Jan 21, 2013
    Do you guy's have days like this ?

    YES more than i like to admit ,but what i when i feel tight ,pinched etc. is : Very softly toot around below the staff for a while resting often ,concentrate on my breath ,am i getting a good bubble of air ? try not to force it ,relax ?

    After a while i get outr one of my trumpet hymn books and play a few easy songs that have no high stuff in them ,just relax and enjoy the music ,if after a couple tunes i still don't like what i feel or hear ? i go watch tv or go outside ,Practice over for the day .:noway:

    The good news is usually this only happens for a day , the next day I'm better .

    Not sure why it happens ,could be lot's of things , to much salt ,not enough rest , or just a bad attitude :D .

  8. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Rest is an under appreciated factor in trumpet playing. I mean.. we all know that rest is good, but when we are actually resting we feel like we are slacking and that we should be practicing. So, often enough we slip in some playing on mostly cooked chops when rest would be more beneficial. Resting feels passive and weak... practicing is active and makes us feel like we are getting something done.

    The solution is to budget some rest and recovery. Rest is not something that accidentally happens when you are not practicing. Plan for it. Give yourself permission to not practice.

    Sometimes I have to set a timer and say "No trumpet for 2 hours"... and sure enough I am unconsciously reaching for the horn in 20 minutes and have to consciously put it back down. Really good practice takes alot of mental brain power and concentration. When the brain is cooked your chops can sound cooked too. You have to rest your brain too.

    When you come back from your day off (or couple hours off) you will feel fresher and your brain will engage better.
  9. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Bwanabass,
    Everyone has had these situations. They can come from at least four sources:
    1. The horn/mouthpiece is clogged with gunk or something.
    Remedy? Give the horn (and especially the mouthpiece) a good cleaning.
    2. Your mind is bothered with other issues.
    Remedy? Practice past it. Don't let other thoughts get in. In a word, Focus! Will you enjoy making your brain behave, NO!! But playing under any circumstance is required if you are to maintain a level of competency.
    3. Something is flawed in your approach and you don't know what it is.
    Remedy? Go back to the basics. Sit up straight, when you play make sure you project, make sure you are mechanically firing on all cylinders. To help with this, read the Documents; The Basics Sheet, Circle of Breath, and Ray of Power.
    Days like you just described are pesky but short lived if you stick with it and follow good mechanics
    4. A combination of the above.
    Remedy? tackle one aspect at a time.
    Hope this helps
  10. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    My two cents FWIW - Pedal tones and perseverance usually work for me. Pedal tones usually limber things up, albeit temporarily. Sticking with what I set out to do usually ends with my playing working itself out by the end of the session. When all else fails, I just pack it up and realize that tomorrow's another day, and when tomorrow rolls around, things are back to being as expected. Notice I didn't say "back to normal", because setbacks and difficulties are all part of normal.

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