Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by garmeth, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. garmeth

    garmeth New Friend

    Dec 4, 2010
    Lately, well actually for 6 months or so now my lips feel very sore after even the least intensity of playing. I can play low long tones at pianisimo and my lips will still hurt (I can feel them for hours and even in the next day). Originially I thought this was just due to marching band where I had a solo which was a sustained High C at Fortisimo that I was basicially required to play 20+ times a week. I also played very very loud (too loud to be honest but still with acceptable tone) throughout practice. I thought this soreness would go away at the start of concert band. It hasn't. I'm now playing 3rd part in jazz band ( thank god ) and 2nd part in concert. Recently I've been disapointed with my playing so I've tried to create a practice session that goes > Long tones from G in the staff chromatically down to a low G which takes about 10 minutes

    > Tounging exercises (single tounge) so I do alot of the "first studies" in the Arban book

    > One of the Lip slur or maybe two exercises of lip slurs in the Arbans book depending on how im feeling

    >Rest (till my lips fill less sore but still sore)

    >Then I try to work on music

    I told myself I probably needed to take a day away from trumpet to get the soreness to go away and I did. The next day I start playing longtones and then on the first few notes of the tonguing exercise my lips start to hurt again (this pain btw is at the corners and going down to my chin muscle area). Then I tried to eliminate pressure from my playing, which for the most part, I now play without any pressure for all of my notes at least until a high B. Still when I play that high I use very minimal pressure. I'm also trying to play soft as possible. Still soreness.

    Do any of you have any suggestions to get rid of this pain?

    If it means anything I have very big lips and my range has been at a standstill of a high D- weak F area for about a year.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    One thing you didn't mention was what type of warm-up you do. Some do, some don't. I look at it as an athletic event. If you are the type that should be warming up and aren't you could be fatiguing early and trying to compensate with excessive pressure or other bad habits, especially if you have to play above the staff frequently. Only you and your teacher can hash this out. Also noted you don't seem to do any pedal tone work (notes below low F#). I believe this will help with flexibility. These notes aren't "there", you have to make them be there. I play all the way down to C1, that's 3 octaves below middle C. Hope this helps and welcome to the forum.:thumbsup:
  3. rivnut

    rivnut Pianissimo User

    Oct 27, 2010
    I was thinking about this kind of issue as well. Remembering back to HS concert and jazz band. People tend to forget that for the student player, there are two different things going on. One, you are learning to play the instrument and Two, you are faced with a very full plate of ongoing performances through the year. Most of us here know very well what it's like to set through a very full night of concert band offerings. The night ends with a lot of very rubber lips in the brass section. I don't know about the woodwinds. When you are up against it like that, it is natural to fall back on many dangerous practices just to get you through and to top it off, you really push yourself beyond what might be reasonable just because it's expected. It's exactly the same as a person jumping into a heavy construction job without the proper time to prepare and still they are expected to put out and earn their pay. You could easily end up with a sore back or some other injury. As you are asking for comment, I can only say, look at trumpet playing as a long term affair. Take a good look at your embourcher and the rest of your equipment. There is no sense hurting yourself.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Many times things that we notice become "self fulfilling". I can't speak for you, but can for many players that I have worked with. If they know that it is going to hurt - before they even start playing - it will! Your post makes me think that this could be a major factor as you have mentioned no real things like blisters, inflammation...............

    As far as stillstand on range, it happens and can be due to many things - like your breathing not getting better. I am always surprised at how many focus on the embouchure as the silver bullet for range and endurance. It simply is not.

    Trumpet is a wind instrument where we BLOW not to SUCK. If your range is stagnant/weak, you do not have the breath support for more OR are using too much pressure and are clamping off the lips.

    If you have a medical issue (inflammation while playing) see a doctor. It could be an allergy.
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Here is an excerpt from John Stork's Dr. Mouthpiece section of his website. It concurs with Rowuk's statement concerning breath and pressure.

    One issue that we will not be visiting here is teeth formation and dental occlusions. We will, for the most part, be narrowing our scope to the 3 categories above and how they affect inner diameter selection. However, I will say that I have personally witnessed players with the most severe dental issues, in terms of teeth sticking out at wild angles, play with the greatest of ease. I was lucky enough to learn the phrase from one such player, "If you can feel your teeth, you're using too much pressure." Consequently, it has been my experience over the years that most dental concerns can be ameliorated by establishing the right "balance of resistance" for a given player. Briefly, if the internal volume of the mouthpiece / equipment set-up is too great for a given player, he will be blowing harder than he should to try to create velocity. The harder any player has to blow, the greater the odds of having to use pressure to maintain the aperture. Adjusting this balance and educating a player on how to manipulate the air in an efficient manner has been a time tested solution for individuals with this type of problem. Perhaps this will be the focus of some later issue, but not today
    Here's the link:
    New Page 1
  6. btomcik

    btomcik New Friend

    Sep 27, 2005
    Sounds like your chops and facial muscles are just overfatigued. Time to take a break. Use your Christmas break at school to rest for a week - no playing. See what that does for you. You'll never improve range with sore chops and muscles in pain.
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Its intresting that you can recall a time (last six months) that you've noticed this phenomenon.
    Ask yourself: What have you changed? What new stuff did you add shortly before this time?
    Also, watch Alison Balsom, Tine Helseth and Raphael Mendez on Youtube.
    Watch their faces very closely. It almost looks like they are calm and expressionless, right? This is how you want your face to look when you play. Many trumpet players have the look of straining and pushing that can only be correlated with a lack of dietary fiber.
    With that said, please read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment.
    In addition, you've probably gotten into the habit of "expecting" it to hurt so it does.
    Make your face look like those on Youtube.
    Please, no eating the mouthpiece and be sure to read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment.
    Hope this helps and Good luck
  8. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    First, you should be more clear --- it doesn't sound like your lips are in pain, but rather the muscles surrounding them. This could be due to improper breath support (as Rowuk has suggested) or a lack in endurance (which you have expressed in another post) or more likely, BOTH.

    Removing pressure has probably exacerbated the problem instead of helped it, as you are required to use more breath support or muscle involvement in order to play the same notes you did with mouthpiece pressure, except now without. I do not suggest that it is bad that you are not using as much pressure, but I do suspect that you are really replacing it with more muscle engagement.

    This soreness you mention, coupled with the fact you play the high C very much and have a range that can peak so high and yet cause so much soreness suggests to me that you MUST work on using more breathe support, and work on that until the soreness begins to reduce. And then do it some more! :lol:

    It really does seem that this is the issue. Your muscles hurt because they're working. In order for them to not hurt, don't make them work as hard. Solution? Air.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    getting proper nutrition? Muscles need lots of protein to rebuild, along with hydration and rest. Anyways -- that is just a thought ---- I remember back in the day when I was young --- and I didn't like eating a proper diet ---- but you actually need good nutrition, and good hydration.

Share This Page