Chop building excercises? Please!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by julie_white16, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. julie_white16

    julie_white16 New Friend

    Aug 17, 2010
    Hey, I have pretty much lost my chops due to not playing for about two months (i know, dumb move) and am now a couple weeks away from starting college. I'm pretty certain that my face will not last through the three hour practise sessions, or the two hour class. I used to have a pretty good amount of endurance while playing; i could still shriek out a high C after a couple hours (with breaks), but couldn't even think of going any higher.

    Are there any excercises that could help me build up my chops again and prevent them from tiring so quickly before school starts? I'm starting to feel a bit desperate. Thanks!


    My regular range is from a low F to a high Eb. The only time my upper register fails is when my lips are exhausted, or in this case out of shape. Also, I am by no means a pro. The only education i have had in music was highschool band classes.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There are no shortcuts. I guess you have proved to yourself how important the horn is!

    I recommend that you use your previous routine. At least that is probably a bit in your head.

    Before anybody piles on with "great advice", this player had no more than a high C before (indication of bad habits) and has taken a couple of months off (indication of attitude). The only solution is to start playing again and take your lumps.

    If you are studying music, your prof will have much more important things to say.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Edit - never mind. Just get back on the horn and practice. That's the only way to get your chops back.
  4. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Join a marching band. ;) That's a good way to build your chops fast. Just don't overdo it. If you're tired, don't over-force yourself. Somehow I doubt you're doing that, though.

    Once upon a time I read somewhere if you do 3 short (say, 20 minutes), hard practice sessions a day your chops will build up very well. However, definitely do NOT neglect soft practicing. I think plenty of both loud and soft playing are important in building your chops. Once you start playing in multiple ensembles in your college however, the ensemble playing will hopefully suffice for your "loud" practicing so you can focus on the soft stuff in the practice room.

    Honestly, in general I think it is very useful to split up your practice sessions in the day so you don't spend the second half of your long practice session struggling with endurance. I wish I did it more; it takes me more dedication and planning to do it that way for sure. Or, you could make an extra long practice session, then rest frequently to either listen to music (such as great trumpet players!) or do homework.

    EDIT: I'm aware that stuff like use of air and body use according to rowuk might be better answers, though of course figuring this out is often complicated and takes time. I'm just suggesting an easy way to build up your chops reasonably fast.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Are you serious or are you kidding? Marching and playing has always been one of the single most detrimental things to my chops and always did more harm than good.
  6. RandyTx

    RandyTx Pianissimo User

    Mar 26, 2010
    Central Texas
    Get out Clarke, Irons, Schlossberg, etc. and get to work. There is no shortcut that I'm aware of.
  7. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Print that reply out and tape it to your trumpet case.

    If you were an athlete and took a few months off and got soft/lazy it would take a while to get back into shape for a race. Same concept here.

    Embrace this as an opportunity to increase your focus on basics and build a strong(er) foundation for your college career.
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    julie white,
    sorry to tell you--- practice,rest, practice,rest, practice, ---long tones, and rest in between. I took a 7 yr hiatus (I'm 45), but back at it for 21 months --- but got to tell you the first 5 - 6 months were difficult -- chopwise, and mentally being prepared to do the work.
    I've worked up to 3 hr+ practice - but I am old ---
    the good news is at 20 something--- YOU should bounce back quicker ---- and a low F# to high C is nothing to be ashamed of.
  9. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Okay, I shouldn't assume that marching band helps everybody. It does help some people, though. If you're relatively "upstream" (if such a thing exists), marching band shouldn't be that detrimental. And, as long as you don't blow your chops out very often, the frequent high notes (this is assuming you're a 1st trumpet, not 2nd/3rd) gets you a lot of "practice" in the upper register. Nothing helps build my upper register better, on a short-term basis, than playing high a lot. (and I DON'T make a separate high-playing embouchure; I stay flexible between all ranges) Of course, you could play a lot of high notes in the practice room and you'll get basically the same effect... it's something I don't do enough of. I finished 2 years of college doing marching, took 4 years off, and now I'm back... and my chops are still not where they used to be (I'm not doing marching band this year), though my tone is quite a bit better (though I think the main reason for this is my practicing is more efficient than ever).
  10. jongorrie

    jongorrie Pianissimo User

    May 9, 2010
    Rest as much as you practise. After long breaks, I tend to play through CG Physical Approach - 1 lesson per day. Works wonders :)

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