Endurance issues

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by USMCTrumpeter, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. USMCTrumpeter

    USMCTrumpeter New Friend

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    Severn, MD
    So this week, I've rediscovered a major problem in my playing. I don't seem to have the ability to play through an entire etude. By the time I get to the end, I'm blowing, but no sound is coming out. It's just like, all the sudden, I realize I'm about to crash and burn, and a few bars later - game over. I believe it must be happening in my breaths, with a small amount of tension being added each time I play. It's one of those things I feel like I should be able to just fix immediately, but I can't seem to get it together.

    Overall, this problem has heally had a toll on my confidence level. I'm to the point where I don't feel like there's anything positive about my playing. What makes it even worse is that next week I'm supposed to be recieving a new P3 Monette that I've been waiting on for over a year, and now, I'm just really not all that excited about it due to the lack of motivation I'm experiencing.

    Does anyone out there have any suggestions about how to overcome this problem?

    What do you guys do to get excited about playing again when you're in a slump?
     
  2. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

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    Generally when I find that my playing is suffering, and not improving w/practice I take time off of the horn. Usually it is 2-3 days to let my lips and applicable muscles rest. Then when I get back in to it, I do long tones, clark studies etc... just basic fundamental trumpet stuff, nothing fancy.

    I also focus on my breathing, and remind myself to use less pressure.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    This has happened to a couple of my students in the last 30 years. What we did:
    !!!!!!!!stop all rehearsals/normal practice for a week!!!!!!!!!
    Day 1: an hours (or more if you can stand it) worth of soft long tones in the medium to low register. I generally prefer starting soft, crescendo to mf and then back to soft. Take a break between each tone. Take a FULL breath before each tone play until you run out of air. IMPORTANT: use only a breath attack-no tongue
    Day 2: the same as day one except crescendo to f. If you get through this, your chops are not the problem
    Day 3: add easy slurs if Day 2 worked out. I use the Irons book. Still no tonguing
    Day 4: add Clarke, very softly with as many repeats as possible, by now your confidence should be back.
    Day 5-7: start other etudes, but not the ones that you were having trouble with. Play them very softly. You should be able to get through with no problem.
    Week 2: start to play more loudly, backing off on the volume if you get tired. Add tonguing.
    It is important to reduce the various factors of playing like tonguing and loud/high to get started again. Sometimes our brain gets a short circuit and wants something that our playing doesn't provide (intonation, tone color......). Find that stable base first and then add slowly. Only one student ever got stuck on the Days 1 and 2 for 2 weeks before we could advance. I haven't lost one yet.
    I use this programm every summer just to get back to the basics.
     
  4. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel


    That's one of the major key components in this matter!

    Your arm muscles are stronger than your lip muscles and your lips will fail every time when your arm muscles take over. Soon, your mouth piece receiver will widen up so much that it will fail you also.

    Try this. Balance the horn on the edges of your hand (first finger long ways and thumb while using the other fingers to balance the horn and keep it from tipping). See what your range is. You should be able to go up to a high C without gripping the horn.

    You will also hear that your sound will be more "free" and open.

    I use to play with pressure until I got tooth problems. My ignorance of pressure or rather of being able to play without pressure was a major influence in my trumpet career. Presently, pressure is not an issue and neither are high notes.

    When Rich Szabo was coaching me on high notes, he said that he can play a double high C just as easily as the staff C and I believe it because no pressure works.

    Concerning building up your confidence, get a good teacher.

    Liad Bar-EL
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  5. USMCTrumpeter

    USMCTrumpeter New Friend

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    First of all, thank you all for your input.

    I'm a student at a really great music school (with really awesome trumpet professors) and I would like to think that my teacher has a positive effect on my confidence level, but the truth is, it's just the opposite. I feel like every time I pick up the horn in front of him, it's just another dissappointment (to him). Maybe it's a dissappointment because he feels like I have the potential to be playing better than I am, or maybe I'm just nuts, but he's a very hard person to read, and I know I'm already pretty hard on myself, so I end up with double the beating every lesson. I know that I play trumpet for me, not my teacher, but I really don't get very much positive feedback.

    As for the endurance issue, I decided to video tape myself playing through a lyrical etude, and wow! That was an eye opener. I could see my embochure tightening and starting to pull back (smiling) when I started to get tired. There were other things, like as I got lower down the page, I would lean forward and start to close in on the trumpet. I think that being more aware of these problems, and perhaps considering some of the above mentioned advice, I should be able to overcome this in time. It's just so hard to nnot feel like my world is ending when I have issues with my playing!!

    Thanks again for all your input, and for taking the time to write.
     
  6. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

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    Hey dude, I know it is easy to say "relax" when I'm not the one involved, but RELAX.

    The more pissed off I get at my playing, the more I tense up, and the worse my playing gets. It is like it is a downward spiral towards the toilet bowl drain.




     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    USMCT:
    see if you can get a lesson or two from someone good outside of the school. Like with medical condition, a second opinion can sometimes save you a lot of pain.
    Another tactic would be to try and get to know your teacher on a personal level. It is amazing how different people can be when they are away from work. Invite him over for a pizza or beer or whatever - you may just get what you need! When I was at the Navy School of Music in Virginia Beach many years ago, I had a similar, not optimally productive situation. I met with my teacher privately (pizza and beer) and he got me transferred to another teacher. No bad feelings or stress. We are still friends today.
    I am also pretty tough on my students during lessons. I feel that they are there to learn and that my time is worth something. I am not a paid babysitter. If they come unprepared, the first time I let them know that this will not happen again, I then try and have a productive hour with them. If it happens a second time, I send them home and practice myself. They can call me up to 5 minutes before the lesson and cancel (things do happen in life where you occasionally just can't get the job done). When they realize that an ineffective lesson wastes both of our time, they prepare themselves differently. I haven't lost a student because of this yet!
    Changing any facet of your playing takes time and determination. If you have embouchure issues (smiling), you will need outside help. Bring the video to your lesson, maybe your teacher can help. Always start slowly and softly.
     
  8. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

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    Ok USMCT:

    Now that I know that you are in a music school it sounds like you are in your first year for things like this would not normally happen in the second year but everything is possible.

    The best advice I could give at this time is to spend extra time on your lessons and make them perfect for it sounds like your lessons are not so great from the reactions of your teacher.

    As others have said you have to get to know your teacher and I don't mean via pizzas but through playing your horn, how he plays his horn and understand fully what he wants from you. I don't know how you two are communicating during your lessons but it appears that you don't understand him. He is listening to you play and his message to you does not seem to get across because it does not appear to be coming through your horn.

    You have to be a good listener and to try like hell to do what he says at the very moment he says it during the lesson. I have had a lot of different teachers during high school and it came to be that we ended up just playing duets in our lessons and I was paying for it. When I auditioned for a scholarship at Oberlin College, the trumpet teacher told me a few things to do during my playing which I did immediately and this made him surprised and happy for I showed him that I have potential to learn from him. This is what you have to do with your teacher. Do what he says and show him that he is successful via your success otherwise you are both going to be disappointed.

    When B. Adelstein changed my mpc to a Bach 1.5 C from a 7C, I was in the practice room from 6 – 8 hours a day trying to get use to it. When others heard me in the practice rooms on how I progressed, I was invited to play first chair in the Oberlin Orchestra. What I am saying is that you have to blow to make it work and know how to make it work. Closing in on your horn with all your Marine muscles isn't going to do it for you. IMO, more mental training will help you more than muscle training at this point. Keep telling yourself that you are going to make it work and that you are going to be successful in implementing what your teacher has said to you.

    Keep a positive attitude!!!!

    Ask your teacher if you could bring in a little tape recorder to tape your lessons so that you will not miss anything and then go over it in your practice room. Tell him you want a fail safe method to succeed in your lessons. You might find that there will be some things that you forgot in your lessons and or some things that you might understand more after practicing it more in the practice room and make it even better. You wan to make it perfect!

    I don't think that your teacher has the time to see videos nor the time for pizzas. His time is value to him and also to you for you to learn what he is trying to teach you. He is hard on you and you should appreciate this so that you will learn more. If he were soft and friendly how would you feel about overcoming major problems that you have in your playing? Also, don't forget, you're in the Marines and you are suppose to be the first ones in to disable and destroy the enemy in the quickest way possible (don't quite remember the actual wording on this from the Marines). Ignorance is your enemy, excessive pressure is your enemy, tension is your enemy, etc, etc, etc.

    Listen to other students and ask them how they do this or how they have over come that and then try it out to see if it works.

    In summary, listen to what your teacher says. Remember what your teacher says. Work on and succeed in performing what your teacher says. Try to be better than him.

    Good luck,

    Liad Bar-EL
     
  9. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

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    Rather than take our remote opinions from our leather padded high back arm chairs without having to hear/see you play over time, IMO, the shortest route to success in your case would be to find and enlisted a good chop doctor in your area or in an area you are willing to drive to. Be willing to spend a couple of hundred of dollars for the whole day to fix your problem.

    The sooner, the better.

    Lay off your horn for at least 24 hours and more if you can before you see him/her.

    My exercise coach who has a masters in this field said that during exercise, the muscles retain an acid substance (forgot the exact name) that makes your muscles hurt after the exercises and it takes 24 hours for this substance to withdraw from your muscles.

    This could be part of the problem that you are having in not letting your chops rest enough. Try 15 min. on and 15 off and see how that works.

    In the mean time, stop pushing that horn into your face soldier. That's an order!! :-)

    Good luck,

    Liad Bar-EL
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2006
  10. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

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    I believe it's called lactic acid.

    Trax
     

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