Can too much practice damage your chops?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by eviln3d, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. eviln3d

    eviln3d Pianissimo User

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    A bit of background... My daughter is 14 and has been playing trumpet for 3 years... Now she is about to enroll in high school band and we were handed a sheet showing the time they will be working next year... In the summer it will be 8 hours a day 5 days a week, half of it marching the other 4 playing because it is too hot for them to be outside in the afternoon... I'm a bit concerned that playing for 4 hours could cause some permanent damage. At the moment I considering just telling her she can't be in band because it seems to me the band director is putting his desire to win trophies above the welfare of the kids. Even when I was in college we never played that long at one time... Am I missing something?
     
  2. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

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    No.
     
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    This is typically common for HS. She will not be actually playing all of this time. A great deal of the time is spent standing around waiting while others are moved to their correct positions, or waiting while other instruments play their parts. This occurs all over the country and I am not aware of any such damage. By the way, I was a band director years ago and we had all day rehearsals.

    Most kids have very sore chops the first few days, but by the end of the week most are in good shape. Chops will essentially stop buzzing and making a sound when they become too tired.

    When my son went to an honor band in 7th grade that lasted 12 hours each day for 2 days, I too was concerned that it would be excessive. Chops were sore, but his playing improved greatly.

    He recently joined the Auburn University Marching band. Want to talk about some grueling rehearsals- none with chop damage however.
     
  4. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

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    Thanks for the clarification; I stand corrected.
     
  5. JRgroove

    JRgroove Mezzo Piano User

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    My experience and that of my son who is currently in high school...

    The four hour times are not playing time but blocks of work time.

    They will work outside for 4 hours, which will include bits of playing. The inside four hour block will also include bits of playing but not constant playing.

    Especially early in the season, much of the time will be spent working on movement and form. It takes awhile to get used to holding an instrument in correct form while walking around including sideways and backwards.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Let us look at the possibilities:

    1) Your daughter practices a lot before the summer program and is in good shape to play the parts that she gets: she will be sore for the first couple of days and her embouchure will simply get stronger. It will be a very fun summer!
    2) Your daughter practices before the summer program, but not seriously - she gets parts too high for her previous capabilities: She will be forced to twist her face to "hit" the notes and embarrassed if she misses a lot of stuff. She will be behind the power curve, can develop bad habits (longer term problem), and have a "miserable time".
    3) Your daughter takes a practice break before summer, gets parts that are too hard and has a real ass demanding pro level volume and performance. I don't think that I need to predict anything here.

    My experience is that most young adults fall between #1 and 2.

    The gist of my message is that there IS a potential danger BUT that is strictly a function of your daughters chops compared to the expected job. If she takes the challenge seriously, goes in prepared, she matures at the same rate as her chops: a win-win situation!
     
  7. JRgroove

    JRgroove Mezzo Piano User

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    each year thousands of students go into the summer marching band workouts that have hardly touched their instrument since the end of school. I wouldn't be worried about it to much.
     
  8. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    If we thought there was any danger, we would say no. Summer band camps are pretty much a tradition. The kids will gripe and complain, but if offered the opportunity to not attend they quickly say they want to be there and wild horses couldn't keep them from attending. It will be one of the experiences she will fondly remember for the rest of her life including making friends that she may keep in contact with for the rest of her life. They develop a lot of discipline during this time, as well as improve musically.

    When my own son, a very good trumpet player, graduated high school and headed to college, he went to a university without a band. Great school and affordable (living at home). After a year he was asKing daily to go to another school with a band. Is costing me $16K more a year than the first university - just for the band experience. But that is how important it is to him.

    All this is to say your daughter will be fine. It will be an experience she will never forget - with nothing but positives.
     
  9. NFS_87

    NFS_87 Pianissimo User

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    Sounds exactly like the schedule I had in high school marching band. You would be surprised how little you can actually end up playing in 4 hours. We would meet as the whole band, do some warm-ups run over some of the songs then split up into individual instrument sections. Practice some more, meet back as the full band and play more songs. The band director would target individual sections during that to bring everyone onto the same page. Between the time splitting into individual sections and playing in individual sections with the whole band there were enough nice breaks in between playing no one suffered any ill effects.

    We also practiced outside in the heat of the day during band camp. It may seem the band director is wanting to push for trophies but his willingness to stop the outdoor practice during the heat of the day shows some restraint to me.

    Instead of telling your daughter she just can't be in band explain your concern and tell her that if she's find it too difficult you can re-think her involvement. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    Plus, I believe it was Maynard Ferguson to attributed his chops to the grueling conditions he played in while in a marching band. So there's that...
     
  10. JRgroove

    JRgroove Mezzo Piano User

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    Exactly :play:
     

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