Comeback player, stages of development, and embrochure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Podzol, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Podzol

    Podzol New Friend

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    May 16, 2011
    Central PA
    Hello!
    I was a self taught player in HS and didn't really touch my horn until about 20 years later when my kid began showing interest. I suppose that story is fairly common.

    Since, I have been playing with some regularity and some lessons here and there. Happy to say that I'm getting much better. I am in a community band now and some of the players are excellent, so they serve as inspiration and motivation. Over the past 6 years or so, I feel that I have developed in the following ways:
    • fingering and sightreading
    • range (I can now hit g sitting on the top line reliably and a and b-flat after warm up and before I get too tired) (don't laugh kids- playing high has always been hard for me. Each new note is a mountain it seems!)
    • tone
    • intonation
    • double and triple tonguing
    • relying less on pressure

    The band takes a two month break after the Fourth of July hoopla. During that break, I took it upon myself to work on my endurance so when the band plays that show stopper at the end of the concert, I can play the last 8 bars that are usually pretty high in my range. For the first month off, I worked very hard every day. In short bursts of about 5-15 minutes, probably playing a total of 1-1.5 hours a day. About half my time was spent with long tones and the Earl B. Irons books the exercises 5-8. Once I was thoroughly warmed up, I worked on some higher stuff like arrangements of baroque fanfares and some jazz transcriptions that had significant components above the staff.

    After a month of that my range and endurance improved. I didn't have that pinched sound so much. I was quite pleased. I even began to work on vibrato, it started to come naturally through my diaphragm and I am working on controlling it more. I don't know if this is an accepted method or not. I know lots of folks who shake their horn a wee bit.

    Any how, I noticed a raised whitish ring on my lips exactly where the mouthpiece touches. Sort of like a thickening of the skin, not callus, not blister, I hope it isn't a scar. It doesn't hurt or feel bruised. I took a week off, and it was still there, now 3 weeks later and it's still there and just as prominent! I may not have noticed it before, so I don't know how long it has been there.

    I need to start up playing again since band starts up on the 11th (about 2 weeks from this post), and I am not certain what to do about my chops. My occasional instructor laughed and said it looks as if I was practicing enough, but I am not certain this is in the realm of normal.

    Picking up my horn over the past couple of days, I can tell that I haven't played in 3 weeks, but I seem to have retained the new-found range, but my embouchure feels, well - loose - for lack of a better word. Maybe it's that I am not squeezing the horn against my face any more, but I feel like my connection to the horn is not as solid as it was. My tone feels kind of floaty or fluid, and has a little bit of a life of it's own. It's not the vibrato, I think it's the relationship between my face and the horn (ie - embouchure). I can't tell if it's a good or bad thing yet.

    Sorry for the rambling nature of things in the post here, but I was wondering if any one had similar experiences with bursts of playing and development, or perhaps if someone could steer me into a better direction if I am doing things incorrectly.

    Thanks so much!
    Blake
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Dayton, Ohio
    Blake, I have the same mark... I call it a love tattoo. It's the most honorable mark a trumpet player could have. Wear it with pride my friend, wear it with pride!

    Welcome to TM. (the other doctor appears to agree as well, as you got a like from the good doctor from Maryland)
     
  3. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Lip Bump?

    I have not been on the comeback trail as long as you have, Blake, but I have to wonder if that lip ring you have developed is a good thing, even though I respect gmonady's opinion. When you touch your lips in the raised area do you notice a decreased level of sensitivity? You will probably get much more informed responses then this one, but I have to wonder if you have developed some sort of callus. Might a visit to a dermatologist be in order? Best wishes to you in sorting this out.
    Jim
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to TM, Blake! I agree that those marks are a badge of honor, and unless you are a lip model for fashion ads, shouldn't cause any problems.
     
  5. Podzol

    Podzol New Friend

    7
    4
    May 16, 2011
    Central PA
    Hi Folks,
    Thanks for the quick and thoughtful comments. I'll keep my eye on my badge of honor and report to a doctor if they become less sensitive or more so. I just had a slew of allergy tests including metals and oils nothing popped up, so I don't think that's an issue. In the meanwhile, I will wear my mark with pride. It might be a thickening of the dermis resultant from the combination of contact and vibration. I suppose that might stimulate growth.

    I wonder if any of the MDs on board here have any imaging of trumpet players' chops. That might be interesting- though I am not a radiologist and would have no idea what I was looking at. Aren't the lips a mix of fatty tissue and muscle? Is the tissue restructured or redistributed differently in players of various playing habits? Those types of tissue change in athletes, and so it seems possible.

    Indeed, my lip modeling days have passed/ This is good because now I can spend more time playing trumpet.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Re: Lip Bump?

    When we use areas of our bodies over and over again on a regular basis, the body's surface tends to react to this. Ask any guitar player about their finger tips, and they will let you know their finger pads have thickened. So using the lip repeatively will lead to the same reaction. In fact, if you do not develope this reaction, I would have to question as to whether you are playing your trumpet enough... Jim... Jim... You out there Jim... You getting this?

    Here is what eMedicine says about Calluses:
    Calluses are painless raised areas of thicken tissue often considered desirable for some activities (eg, gymnastics, weightlifting). The callus is no more than a local thickening of skin, characterized by accelerated keratinization and a reduced rate of desquamation. Expression of cornification-related molecules, including involucrin, filaggrin, caspase 14, and calcium-sensing receptor... Therefore, calluses are proposed to form as a result of hyperproliferation and incomplete differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes and increased expression of adhesion molecules.[SUP][
    [/SUP]
    So rather than see a dermatologist, come on down to Dayton OH and pay me a visit. I will give you a clinical diagnosis for free, then we can play a couple of tunes together on our horns just for therapy's sake. A lot less expensive than seeing a dermatologist, and likely a lot more fun.
     
  7. Podzol

    Podzol New Friend

    7
    4
    May 16, 2011
    Central PA
    Thanks for the reassurance, gmonady. If I pass through Dayton, I'll take you up on the offer!
    Blake (in PA)
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Dayton, Ohio
    [
    [​IMG]



    Yes, but in the lip, less fat and more connective tissue. See illustration above. S = surface; M = muscle; OM = oral mucosa; V = very mad... which is what Kingtrumpet was when I cut this portion of his lip off to desplay to our TM members. It was easier to hold him down once that dart gun was deployed.

    Yes, the more you use it the more surface tissue AND muscle mass will be developed.

    Not true unless you are dead. You are still able to model. So yes, keep playing your trumpet and be a role model for us all.
     
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Dayton, Ohio
    Where in PA do you live? My band comes to Pittsburgh to play once a month. We were just there this past weekend. If you are in the area, I will PM you our schedule as we are working on finalizing the next three months with the agent that books us in Pittsburgh. So that way, I can come to you. Wow, a doctor that makes house calls. There's a dying art.
     
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Re: Lip Bump?

    We lose our hair, we lose our memory, but at least we hold onto our squam. :thumbsup:
     

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