Burnout: Can you help me through it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Rainiac, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Rainiac

    Rainiac New Friend

    Apr 2, 2009
    Earth. For sure.
    Hello :)

    I was recently accepted into a music degree program for September. Twas no piece of cake. My practice time increased 300% in prep for the audition. As soon as it was over, I was spent. Completely burned out. I dreaded my trumpet. I wanted to have practiced, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I've been able to rationalize the lack of practice by thinking "how could I have time, I work six days a week. Practice when possible" but now August is almost over and I'm full of regret. My skills have slipped, and I'm very, very worried.

    Have any of you experienced burnout? How did you overcome it? Also, I'd really appreciate it if you guys could list some things to help get my chops back into shape. I feel like a moron, but I've got to use the time I have left now to repair what I can.

    Thank you all :)

  2. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Tough love coming:

    You had a college audition in early May. You crammed for it at the last minute (as evidenced by one of your posts here) and then stopped playing because of "burnout"? I don't buy it.

    Sounds like you just got lazy and decided it would be easier to take the summer off.

    Getting, and staying good on the trumpet requires practice, patience, dedication, practice, and practice. When you get to school you'll probably run into other students who spent more time practicing after being accepted into the music program than they did before. Be like them next summer.

    Unfortunately there are no quick short cuts for you.

    Practice as much as you can starting now and take your lumps with your professors when they beat you up because you found excuses not to practice this summer.
  3. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I know where you are coming from. From my college days on (starting 1980 or so) I was constantly working studying or playing every day and night of the week....it did not matter if it was a free rehearsal band or a high paying gig, I was getting my name out there playing my ass off. After a few years of this (I recon 20 years) with no down time for my self and little monetary rewards for my efforts due to small market/economy and otherwise I had to put the horn down for a while and try to make ends meet.I was fed up with it all and put the horn aside. I got caught up in other facets of the music biz and rarely touched my horn sadly....I let things slip and it took a while before I could face my horn again, but it kept calling me back. Now I am trying to balance things more and just playing for fun more than money or glory...
    Can you get your chops back? yes
    just like riding a bike the natural instinct is there ...this is the time to correct any nasty habits though...don't relearn your mistakes.
    Can you get your "drive" back....???
    well that is up to you and where you want to go....
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  4. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    The key word I see in your quote is this: "As soon as it was over..."

    If you want to be a trumpet player practice is NEVER over. Even seasoned pros have to pratice drills daily to keep sharp. You have to accept that practicing is something that you HAVE to do. Besides... there are lots of practice strategies. Steady, deliberate, daily practice works.

    Here is my "tough love":

    Change majors to something you will be interested in.... you can still play in ensembles and participate in everything going on but you do not have to major in music. If you don't like practicing then majoring in music is a bad decision. Even if you major in MusEd, you still have to practice and learn a zillion OTHER things. If you think practicing trumpet sucks, wait until you have to practice piano, or flute! If you want to be a performance major then you better learn to LOVE practice.

    My take on this is that you never really had a serious, dedicated practice routine... Last year you said this:
    So if you really burned the midnight oil with your "300%" effort (300% of what??) you may have fried you chops. Playing tpt is a physical thing. You cannot increase your workouts 300% suddenly and expect to maintain that new effort. Your practice time would be ineffective and your chops get more and more fried. MORE practice is not the answer... steady, but deliberate practice IS. Also, what do do when you are practicing? What are you playing. In May of this years you were here telling us that you didn't know scales & arpeggios and wanted a jazz solo that was "easy to memorize".

    If your chops are victims of over playing then you need to go see your trumpet teacher and spill the beans... take your butt whipping, but work with them to develop a program for your continued improvement.

    I'm on your side... don't be mad because I am not blowing sunshine & lavendar up your butt!

    It is common wisdom that dedicated practice (not raw talent) is what separates the Good from the Great... some people speculate that it takes 10,000 hrs of practice to really get there. At your previous pace, that would take 30 years. Even at your "300% pace" (3hrs face time?) it takes TEN YEARS to rack up that much time. Read this book... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122523991308478311.html

    Then align your daily activities with your global goals.

    One of my past teachers, Don Jacoby, recomended focused but short practice sessions throught the day rather than a marathon session that just grinds you down.
    Here is what he would tell you... without all the cussing!
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  5. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    If you are already an accomplished player, don't stress out, just start playing again. Most of what you will have lost will be endurance, and that will come back over time.
    Everyone is different, some players have to play/practice everyday to maintain their chops, some can play erratically and not miss a beat. I have known players who practiced every single day, 2-3 hours or more, and eventually burned out and quit because they hit a wall and couldn't seem to improve. Of course, I also know pros who practice every day and are quite happy with their career (well, maybe not their income).
    One size does not fit all.
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Rainiac, the hardest thing to do sometimes is to get our trumpet out of the case and on our face and start our routine. It's like treading water sometimes, those tonguing, slurring, scale and arpeggio exercise that provide our vitamins--but after a while it turns into swimming and we get more and more graceful and even those boring old exercises become exercises in making music. Then we start looking forward to practicing and the music we can learn.

    Even on the days you don't want to, tough it out--the days you want to will come in time.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Buy a trumpet stand, put it with your trumpet in a location that you walk by many times during the day (next to the toilet?). Pick it up every time that you walk by and do something with it.

    Just for the record, what you describe makes you a third trumpeter at best. A "natural first trumpet player" is always in competition with himself, the "natural second trumpeter" is trying to beat the first. A "third trumpeter" accepts his fate. The best sections are made up of three FIRST trumpeters. They are also the ones getting the opportunities.

    Stop whining and just get serious with the horn. The only valid excuses are medically related. Ed Lees posts here at TM show how you deal with that. Look them up. There may be some inspiration for you too!

  8. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I wish I had been given all this fabulous advice - and your opportunity at the same age.
    Don't waste that opportunity - you'll end up being a comeback player with unachievable,
    unrealised aspirations, and dawdle into old age not knowing what an opportunity was
    lost to you. Ask the comebackers here on TM, very many of are in that place.

    Take the advice, it is well intentioned, get your act together because now you know
    how hard it CAN be, and be the trumpeter you are capable of being - it must be true
    they recognised that at the audition and they weren't second guessing over the
    internet - they saw the live player. Come on - off your arse and get into it.

    Do I sound like your father? Good. What a fine bloke.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Amen! I became an effective (and affective) third trumpeter because I attacked the musical challenges of my part; the section; the orchestra and conductor.

    When I moved to Germany I was asked to play first a lot (no problem), second a lot (no problem) and occasionally third (fun!).
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  10. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Practice really should be a compulsion by now ... I use to love summers because I could practice like crazy and come back to school playing so much better than I left in the spring .... If I missed a day I would feel bad ... if I only practiced an hour.. I would feel bad ...
    I think it is an addiction ...
    There is probably more going on here ... part of growing up and making choices ... find your passion and go with it

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