Bad practice - need some love

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by steve_proto, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. steve_proto

    steve_proto New Friend

    Nov 13, 2010
    Oxford, UK
    Just did my trumpet practice....and it was awful!

    I did my warmups and they gave me no inkling as to what was going to come next.

    After warmups I moved on to the Arban for some long notes exercises - and I didn't even make it through the first one before my lip started feeling tired. I carried on.

    Then I went on to a few high note exercises and everything above a G was hard. I was working my diaphragm and trying to keep the pressure off my lips but notes would just get strangled.

    I thought about throwing in the towel there and then but decided to keep going. After all, even if it sounded (and felt) terrible, it was still doing me some good - right?

    Then on to some lip slurs - something Im normally quite good at and you know what. I could only do it for about 10 seconds before the notes got strangled again and turned to air.

    I finally gave up after about 30 minutes. Sometimes it doesn't even feel worth getting your trumpet out of its case.

  2. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    Yep, some days are just like that.
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Probably more good comes from such days than we realize. Everyone has down days.

    There are two philosophies regarding how to handle such a practice that starts off badly. One group says "play through it," trying to focus on what you need to do differently. The other philosophy is "take a break and come back to it." Sometimes there is just something going on (or more likely not going on) between our brain and sensory/motor neurons. Take a break. Get some exercise. Do something completely unrelated to music and then come back to it in an hour or so. The goal is just do not give up for the day. Come back to it.

    Many folks often feel a great rehearsal the day before a performance brings a let down for the performance and the reverse- really lousy rehearsal signals a good performance (probably worries the members so they concentrate better at the performance).

    Which philosophy should you follow? Try each and see which works best for you.
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  4. Shifty

    Shifty Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2013
    Phoenix AZ
    Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet: "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."
    coolerdave likes this.
  5. PiGuy_314

    PiGuy_314 Pianissimo User

    Oct 12, 2013
    I think everybody has days like that. One day in jazz band I literally could not play a note. Lips wouldn't buzz. All I got was air. After half an hour, I still couldn't get a sound above C in the staff. It's like it just shut down when I hit the C#. I tried a different horn, to make sure it wasn't that, and got the same result.
    Came back a day later and I was phenomenal.

    I just throw up my hands and say, "Okay."

    What else can ya do? :dontknow:

  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    This is where you should have stopped. When you loose control, you set yourself up for lip strain, and that makes then an even harder recovery. You don't continue a race on a strained ankle, you don't continue playing on strained muscle. Muscle is muscle is muscle, whether its on your lip, on your ankle, within your heart, or surrounding your arteries. Muscle is muscle is muscle.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Not sure I totally agree with that. We have had some pretty interesting pics of horns made into lamps. That is a real looser.
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    You know Noah, I use to. But since I started applying the principles of muscle physiology I have taught to my medical students now going on eight years, I haven't had one bad day over this time span. That physiology stuff actually works when you really understand it.
  9. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    Hi Steve! I too spend much of my time in "trumpet purgatory". My approach is this: 1) I realize that bad days expose my weaknesses and give me great ideas for practice in the days/weeks/months that follow 2) I cut my practice a little short so I can come back another day well rested 3) I try to make up for the decreased practice time by listening to some great trumpet players or or other great musicians 4) I realize that I'm not the only trumpet player in "trumpet purgatory". Don't lose heart! By the way, I visited your lovely country last fall and I hope to visit again soon.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Please, please, please, do not practice philosophy, practice physiology. That is what will work best for you. The doctor has spoken.

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