Cold outdoors perfomance

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by GijsVis, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
    Hey all,

    The "Sinterklaas" (Dutch Santa Claus) season has started again in the Netherlands, which means lots of playing for us. Sinterklaas arrives in every village separately, everywhere in the style of the village (He came by chariot-style wagon in our Roman origin town), and there is almost everywere a brass band to welcome him with his songs. Now the problem is, it's just about 4 degrees Celcius out here (Just above freezing) and we are outside and playing all day in all the villages. Last year I got a massive pair of chapped lips and my hands and lips got sort of numb. Does anybody have any tips or experience on playing in a cold environment? Especially the lip part, because my endurance just seems to drop dramaticly.

    I tried gloves, but I found them to be way too big and clumsy for trumpet playing. The song I play by head, but a lot of people in our band don't, since it's just an annual thing, and they seem to have a lot of difficulty turning the sheets and keeping the booklet on the lyres, any tips on that?

    Thanks in advance,
    Adrian Vis
  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    1) Most important thing is to keep the valves warm. One idea is to get one of these pocket size hand warmers and clip them to the valve block with cableties.
    2) Get yourself a plastic mouthpiece for cold weather playing (Kellys, or one of the new Swiss Turbo thingies.
    3) Try and play with a scarf round your lower face
    4) Never face the wind, if at all possible!!

    BTW: 4° C is quite warm. Here in Austria, we've been playing Christmas gigs at -14° C...
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Four degrees Celsius? Many of us regularly rehearsed and played well under the freezing point in Marching Band. It is very unpleasant, as you know, but it is something we worked through. As I was a skinny kid, I suffered greatly from the cold. I have noticed that with my Schilke the valves would freeze pretty easily.

    Good luck!
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    When we were on parade and the weather turned bad, we'd jump straight to the Cavalry Regiment quick marches (played at 180-220 bpm). Kept us warm and got us back to base asap ;-)
  5. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    Another old trick is to be sure to breathe through your nose when you're trying to warm your horn with your breath. The increase in breath temperature over that produced when breathing through the mouth is slight, but every degree helps to warm the horn more quickly.
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    1. As for hand warmth, I suggest shooter's (firearms) mittens with the left hand fingerless except for thumb and the right hand as slip out for the 4 fingers. Mittens are always warmer than gloves.
    2. In WWII, the U.S. Navy had a felted wool cold weather mask that those assigned outside on the bridge or up on the tower of a submarine in frigid conditions wore. Similar are available in artic supply. You may have to enlarge a lip opening. Too, I can suggest you coat your face and lips with a thick cream or lanolin. In law enforcement to shield our identity, we had shrouds that also help. Too, I've got to wear ear muffs of some type. A high neck wool sweater adds comfort also.
    Wool socks and winter boots, yeah. Thermal underwear, of course.
    3. Stepped plastic tabs on the music make flipping or page turning easier

    So many cuss music in a lyre and IMO it is the pocket in the case has become worn from players putting the spring prongs in that pocket, when I suggest the sheet metal back should be placed in it, as means turning the lyre around in most instances. Thin paper music and winter wind are not friends!

    In Jackson NC USA, Saturday December 14, 2013 the Christmas parade will be held. Santa will arrive atop a fire engine and our put together ensemble of "Cleffers" ( senior players 50 yo plus ) will sit on a flat bed trailer (modified old cotton wagon) pulled by a tractor. thus we'll have our tabbed music on weighted stands and in Mylar sleeved notebooks.
  7. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Good suggestions, Ed. The cold bothers the crap out of me,too. Arther in the hands kicks up something fierce. I've gone to a Wedge Delrin cup to help mitigate the cold on the lips thing, with a stainless backbore set up. I've got a set of hunting gloves made of rag wool that leaves the tips open with thumb slits. They're flip mitten type. In high school I used one of those Johnnie hand warmers, stuck the mouth piece in the felt sack with it to keep it warm......Buck:oops:
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  8. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
    A plastic mouthpiece would be a convenient thing. Hadn't thought about that at all. I got myself sort of separated turtle neck which I can just wear under my clothes, which work great, since we don't really have a strict uniform, just a jacket.
    The wind can really beat you up I noticed, which is why we changed place a lot and keep on moving.

    I know it isn't that cold, but it's not a great playing environment either. The thing is that we play a song of a minute or two, and than do nothing for a minute or two, which leaves about no time to keep yourself and your horn warm.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have a look at hunting gloves as well.
  9. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    The post reminded me of Jan 19, 1971 when I was in HS. The temp was 16 F with strong wind, and we were the honor band for the Governor's inauguration. Had to stand outside for a long time before we began the parade route (our uniforms were probably designed for 45 degrees F). By the time we were in front of the reviewing stand, about 1/4 of the band had fallen out from the cold- many on live TV. They finally found us some warming areas when it ended- band was scattered all over the place. Remember the band director brought around kerosene for our valves which were freezing up before starting. Today they would probably have pressed charges for allowing such- we didn't think anything about it back then.
  10. BitLion

    BitLion New Friend

    Nov 13, 2013
    San Diego
    And I play in windy 13 degrees Celsius conditions in marching band and I thought it was cold...

    it must suck to play in -14 degrees celsius temperatures. The plastic mouthpiece tip is something I might touch on for next marching season!

    Also that scarf too.

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