Facial Fatigue

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Matthew Cruice, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Matthew Cruice

    Matthew Cruice New Friend

    Sep 13, 2015
    For some reason, my endurance has seemed to plummet over the last couple of weeks, and I don't know how. I've recently (past few days) tried to minimize the mouthpiece pressure I use, but otherwise, I've been playing pretty much the same way I always have. I mostly play straight through songs and skip fundamentals, although that's what I've been doing for the last year or so and my endurance hasn't taken a hit until now (I'm trying to give fundamentals more priority now). I also typically do all my practicing in one long session.

    I'm not feeling the fatigue in the center of my lips, which is good, but I'm feeling it heavily in the corners of my mouth and especially the facial muscles like in the cheek area. It's at the point that my face feels worn out consistently day after day, even after taking a day off of playing. Even after doing just a 10 minute warm-up of flow studies I already feel like I don't have a strong high C in me anymore.

    Do I just really need to stop playing for several days, use ice, play long tones, or what?

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Has the weather changed dramatically? How about the amount that you sleep? Your diet?

    If I am "strained", I take a couple of aspirins or Ibuprofen. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. That would at least tell you if it was strain. If yes, take a couple of days off and do something special for yourself instead.
  3. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

    Mar 31, 2014
    Silicon Valley
    Try this....

    1. Take one day off (completely) from playing.
    2. Try two sets per day: one set for fundamentals and the other for playing musically
    3. For the "fundamental" set, try:
    ....a. Warm up without straining
    ....b. Play about 5 minutes of fundamentals (I use Mitchell, but any of the usual suspects are OK)
    ....c. Then rest AT LEAST 5 minutes (I use a kitchen timer to actually time the rest periods)
    ....d. Repeat 3b and 3c for about 45 minutes
    4. For the "musical" set, try:
    ....a. Don't over strain
    ....b. Rest between pieces for at least the same amount of time you play

    "I mostly play straight through songs and skip fundamentals". That's not the best idea for many people. The rests are as important as the playing for building and maintaining range and stamina. You need to fatigue the muscles and then give them time to recover, in repeated cycles.

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