Embouchure Overuse Syndrome (to Rowuk)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by cvayda, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. cvayda

    cvayda Pianissimo User

    Jun 9, 2008
    OK, so it's 3.5 months, how's that? :-)
    So I took 2 full weeks off at the end of Sept.
    Then for the next 6 weeks stayed within the staff, just doing octave jump control, 1-3-5-8 stuff, and long tones.
    Then I began working into my regular practice routine, trying to slowly get back into more range.
    Practice an hour to 1.5 hrs.
    Things are sometimes good, other times not.
    The pin-point control was gone, over/under shooting, notes-to-notes weren't seamless, lip trills very inconsistent, felt like the aperture was too open, seemed to be working harder than ever before, didn't feel and good/healthy feedback/resistance from the horn.
    Things have slowly been improving, like 2 steps forward, 1 back.
    I push the range each day until 3 strikes, then call it a day.
    I keep at it but it's frustrating, hoping that tomorrow will be just a notch better.
    So let me ask a dumb question.
    Over the last 1-2 yrs, I have noticed I cannot sing as good as I used to.
    It feels like my throat is restricted and I can't give the air it needs to permit the vocal chords to resonante.
    I was concerned so I went oa ENT doctor to check it out.
    I was theorizing if I can't sing like I used to, couldn't that affect how I play?
    I thought for sure he would find something (like scar tissue), but instead he said everything is normal.
    Yet, I can't sing/bellow like I used to.
    It almost feels like my wind pipe is smaller.
    So the question is: If I'm having trouble singing for whatever reason, would I not also have trouble playing for the very same reason?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Two steps forward, one back, that is about normal, even for me.....

    You do mention the first thing that makes sense though : not singing as well and a restricted feeling for the windpipe. To me this sounds like a classic case of really sucky body use. Tension of the upper body is learned and often comes with a change of job, or even something as simple as a new chair at our diesk that changes our seated posture.

    If the tension of your body is inconsistent, how could you factor that in to a practice session?

    Please try something for me. Change the time that you take a shower (or take a second one) to right before your practice session. Do this for a whole week, then come back and report what you notice. Also make sure that your chair is set very low to minimise hanging your head to read. We are looking for sources of tension. If you drive a lot, make sure that your seat is set so that your head is against the headrest (over your spine) and not hanging in free space at the cost of your upper back and shoulder muscles.
  3. BustedChops

    BustedChops Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 1, 2011
    Don't put it down for a week, just play less. Try the Harrelson adjustable gap kits if you must tinker.
  4. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    Just theorizing here, but is it possible that there is a "fallback" technique that gets used after a long while that allows the proper technique to atrophy from disuse? It could be that proper technique hasn't been in use for a good long while and has gone unnoticed. In which case, once the fallback fails, it all goes to Hell. Just a thought.
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    First question: How many years ago did you believe you could sing well?

    Second question: How old are you now?

    Third question: What is an "oa ENT doctor"?

    The ear, nose, and throat MD specialist is an otolaryngologist.

    Other than musical knowledge and appreciation, I know of no corollary between singing and playing a wind instrument.

    When I was young I could sing well enough to be selected for several groups in high school and college and in several church choirs. I've even soloed in a few of the latter. Well, now they hold an opening for me in our local church choir, if I show for rehearsal on Thursday evenings, and that is even though now my voice frequently cracks as I'm 78 1/2 yo.
  6. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    How about a common denominator such as breathing?
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Breathing is a common denominator to everything in life. Not to be argumentative. Singing has nothing to do with the trumpet embouchure in this instance.
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    However, breathing does fuel the embouchure.
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Without it, we ALL share one thing in common - Death.
  10. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    Not-death makes singing easier, yes?

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