Frustration, Irritation and Despair

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Aspiring Trumpeter, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Aspiring Trumpeter

    Aspiring Trumpeter New Friend

    Oct 2, 2005
    Hi Everybody,
    I'm a high school senior and have been practicing every chance I get since I started to take trumpet seriously (midway through 10th grade), and normally have no problems and enjoy it very much, but sometimes, more and more lately, I just get frustrated and really down because it feels like I'm getting no where and all of my efforts are futile.
    I have dreams and asperations of someday becoming one the great players that go down in history, but sometimes it almost seems pointless, as most great players I've heard of fell in love with the instument when they first touched it.
    So I was wondering whether any of the amazing players in this forum have ever felt like this and if anyone has any ideas on a technique that might help or something I would like to hear it. I love music more than anything else in my life right now, but I just don't know if I've got what it takes.
  2. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    I am not one of the amazing players but when I was your age I was. I practiced alot and remember the state you are now in. You need to keep pushing, in music you reach stages where you get stuck. As you continue to strive one day you go over an unseen hump and you go to the next level, you may have experienced this in the past few years. Nothing can replace persistance! It will happen, as a young person it is natural to feel frustated as you work at something and it doesn't happen quickly. It will.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I am not one of those players either, but I can relate to your frustration because I have been there too. I also agree with Mendez that often times you will go long periods where nothing seems to change, then all of a sudden something will just click and you breeze past previous obstructions as if they weren't even there.

    I had a major breakthough like that playing drums last weekend and those are the days that your excitement and passion about learning the instrument returns with vigor.
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Change is healthy.

    Change something.

  5. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    Get a different practice book, play left handed, try to improvise for 15 minutes with the 3rd valve down the whole time.Practice at a different time of day, in a different room, in a different building. Get recording of a trumpet player you've never heard of and see what he was doing, try to to play in that style. And finally listen to Led Zeppelin # 1 Loud. :-)
  6. Beau Kemp

    Beau Kemp New Friend

    Oct 28, 2005
    I was the same way in college, and ended up putting down the horn for 7 years. Don't do that...I wish I hadn't.
    First of all, what area are you "stuck" in? My first guess is range, but you could be having problems with technique, sight reading, tone, etc or all of the above.
    First, be honest with yourself about which area you are "stuck" on. You need to figure out if you are obsessing over a specific area so much that you neglect the other important stuff. Sometimes working hard on one aspect of the horn will lead to advancements in other areas naturally.
    Second, get private lessons with an experienced trumpeter and tell them how you feel. Chances are they have gone through the same thing and can help you out.
  7. BradHarrison

    BradHarrison Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    The trumpet is hard. I love the instrument but it's never been particularly easy for me. My passion far outweighs my talent but my abilities have steadily prgressed all the same.

    I've had more than my fair share of frustrating days too. The days when you want to throw the instrument. Sometimes I'm having trouble playing the notes on the page. Either my fingers or chops just won't do what I want them to do. Other days my chops are behaving just fine but I'll be playing jazz and for some reason I just can't get in the groove well enough to play something interesting. You're not alone.

    There are a few things I do when I'm feeling that way.

    1. If you don't have to play, don't. If I'm having trouble playing and I don't have to play(no concert, lesson, etc.) I'll simply put the horn away. Sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for the rest of the day. If at all possible I'll take a break away from music and hit it again later. Often that's enough to reset mentally or physically.

    2. Do something less complicated but still productive. If things aren't working and I'm frustrated there are things I can do that aren't difficult that are still good for me as a trumpet player. I'll work on Jim Thompson's buzzing book or the Walter White Long Tones CD. I can kill an hour of practicing with those two things. It's not strenuous, I can't hurt myself, and my chops are stronger for it. You don't have to play Carnival of Venice and Clifford solos all the time to be a better trumpet player.

    3. Transcribe. If you're a jazz player you need to transcribe, and you probably don't do it enough(no one does). Take a break from playing and just transcribe. That way you're working on ear training and your helping your jazz playing without playing the horn much(or at all).

    4. I agree with the guys above about change. Change is good. Get a new method book, try a new solo, get a new routine. If you don't have a teacher, get one. If you've been with the same teacher for a while and he doesn't seem to be helping, try someone new.

    Try to keep in mind that progress often happens in plateaus. Just because you've been stuck at the same level of playing for a little while doesn't mean the work you're doing now won't serve you in the future. Keep plugging away and your work will pay off.
  8. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    When ML says change he means it, he's one of the 'greats'.

    Even us mediocre players know what it takes...most, however, are not prepared.

    If you haven't got a good teacher get one.

    If you're not practicing enough then do more.

    If you're not practing effectively then learn how to.

    Progress is actually a result of what we do and how effectively we do it. Excellence (genius) is still 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration..that hasn't changed since Einstein said it!!

    Just my take on it.



    PS Personally, I love the idea of playing Led Zeppelin #1 loud...'Good times, bad times you know I've had my share......'
  9. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    When we do the same thing for a while the mind starts getting bored.

    We pay less attention to the details and to what is really coming out of the horn. We hear partly what we think it should sound like.

    We need to keep things fresh to always keep our head in the game. Without that then nothing really can improve.

    Manny already told you to change. I am telling you why so you won't stagnate again in a few weeks.

    Yes we have to work on some things for a long time. Those things that we use in contests... But the main thrust of your practice can and should change to keep it interesting.
  10. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    Hi pops, I can be seen driving around town with a pencil in my mouth. :-)

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