Bad Days

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bear, May 2, 2005.

  1. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Hello good folxs,
    I hope all is well with everyone. I was reading through some replies and some people mentioned bad days and what not. So anyways, the wuestion is: How often to people have bad playing days and why do you think that is?

    In my own personal expeirecnce I've found that a daily routine/warmup works wonders. Everyday that I wake up and do it, I play great. The days that I skip, I suck. I've heard some people mention weather changes affecting them, yadda, yadda...


  2. loweredsixth

    loweredsixth Pianissimo User

    Mar 11, 2005
    Fresno, California, USA
    I have a so-called "bad day" when I've skipped practicing the day before, or when I've had a unusually tiring gig the night before.

    What I've found out is that I will feel bad at first (airy tone, inflexible chops, messy attacks, etc.) but by breathing deep, relaxing, and playing softly I can turn a "bad" day into a "normal" day. I just have to "play through" it.

    Very rarely now do I just call it quits for the day and hope things are better the next day (this is what I used to do!)
  3. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    One of the great band directors in Texas once said to a class I was watching him teach "Great musicians don't have good days and bad days, they have good days and great days." It still remains one of my favorite quotes today.
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Fatigue is something that will bring on a bad day of playing for me. So with that said, good night! :-)
  5. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Not having your focus in gear will cause a very bad day!
  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    I have talked about this with a couple of my teachers, in the past, as well as a number of top level pro players and the concensus has been that bad days are just part of playing - the body cannot keep up the extremely high levels of concentration and performance all the time. The solution is to work hard enough that your bad days are better than everybody else's good days :D
    I have heard some world class players give performances on their bad days, I have known that they were having a bad day purely because I know how they usually sound and the fact that I knew the music that they were playing - to the general public in the audience, they were still awesome.

    I have yet to come across anybody who says that they don't get some days that are better than others.
  7. joey

    joey Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2003
    I think we can all agree that bad days are part of playing. The reason is simple: our bodies and minds are not the same every day. Some days are better; some are worse.

    As frustrating as it might be, I find practice more beneficial on the bad days. On a good day, everything's already working like you expect. Learning how to deal with bad days and have no one know you're having one takes some work. This is what professionals do.

    Consider how many performances someone in an orchestra gives every year. Or someone out on a road band. Or playing on Broadway. As a professional, you WILL be performing on your bad days. Hopefully, you'll be the only one who knows which ones are the bad ones.

    Joey Tartell
  8. bnbtrpt

    bnbtrpt Pianissimo User

    Nov 3, 2003
    Yeah, the odds are against us.
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003
    No one said it would be easy Dylan! Love the effort on your part! Give em hell! ;-)
  10. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    This bad days thread has several related parts including embouchure, pressure, working on range, and normal off days.

    If your lips feel sore or tired the next day then you bruised them and there is some swelling present. That kind of soreness can only come from excessive mouthpiece pressure. What is normal and acceptable mouthpiece pressure for compressed lips (cushioned) is too much for flattened chops. You would be amazed at how many players set their chops and then unset (thin the lips and spread the embouchure) as they take a breath.

    I would say that if you bruise your lips on a daily basis then the setting is spread. You can only play when mouthpiece pressure flattens them enough so that they are touching. Also I've seen many players start a session right and distort the lips as they breathe.

    Others have bad days because they learned to rely on the swelling to FORM the embouchure. This is different in that they tend to learn a setup. If I play this long then tomorrow will be good. There is a window of work because a certain amount of swelling is needed to play. They usually have a lip flap or mouthpiece ring that they need to keep pumped in order to play. A really hard day hurts their playing for a couple of days. However a couple of days off and they are at a loss to play also.

    Let me assure you that a properly trained and formed embouchure requires NO set routine. It is nice to have a warmup but you should be able to play with no ill effects without one. Also taking a day or two off should only affect your sound for a couple of minutes at your next playing session. And playing a really hard day should be taken care of by a warm down that day. The next day should not suffer at all.

    Working past a bad day. A bad day is mental part of the time and the other times it is due to strain a day or two before. They are both cured the same way. Play a second line g over and over until it sounds good. Then play a simple melody. Mary had a little lamb would do. Play this over until the tone phrasing and tonguing are right. Play a c scale tongue each note 4 times. Do the scale until it is right.

    Why so simple a workout over and over. Because IT IS MENTAL. Use your head to think about playing without worrying about notes. As 'Jake' used to say 'Where's your head?'

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