Getting Back Into Trumpet After 7 Years

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by skyliner33, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. skyliner33

    skyliner33 New Friend

    Mar 8, 2015
    I am curious if anyone on this site has, or has had, my same situation. I am 24, and have not played trumpet seriously since I was 17. I played for 7 years, all the way from middle, to high school. I was a very serious player during this time, and was in a competitive marching band in high school.

    Part of why I stopped playing after graduating high school was because I had chronic embouchure issues. I developed a terrible habit when I was in 7th grade, and could never correct it. I began raising my trumpet up high, like parallel with the ground, but did not adjust my head angle accordingly. This caused me to rely too much on my bottom lip for support. That issue got less severe over time, but my embouchure was forever flawed nonetheless. I also started to shift my bottom jaw somewhat to the right, which caused my aperture, and airstream to be misaligned with the mouthpiece, and, consequently, the rest of the horn.

    I was able to mitigate the issues throughout the remainder of my school years, though never able to correct them because of the amount of time, and effort I assumed it would take to fully relearn the trumpet with the proper embouchure. I was wildly inconsistent as well (specifically my range). Like, every day was a wildcard in terms of how I would perform. Some days I could play well above a C above the staff with no tonal issues, and other days I could barely manage a G above the staff. Needless to say, this was incredibly frustrating, and demoralizing to me, and very confusing to my instructors and peers.

    Sorry for the huge novel, but I am curious as to what approach you all think I should take to relearning the horn. I have picked it up every now and then over the last 7 years, and I can get back into shape pretty quickly, but all of the same problems still arise. I want to completely relearn the trumpet the correct way, because I have no impediments to doing so at this time.

    Thanks for any advice.
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  2. Newell Post

    Newell Post Piano User

    Mar 31, 2014
    Silicon Valley
    Welcome back, Skyliner, from a guy who didn't play for 30 years.

    The fact that you mostly stayed away from the trumpet for 7 years might actually be a good thing. This way, you can start over from scratch and try to master things the right way. Also, you are now more mature and disciplined, and you don't need to worry about a bunch of marching band stuff that doesn't apply in any other realm.

    My advice is to find a good teacher and say: "Here's my problem." (Just as you described it above.) "I want to go back to the absolute beginning and start over and get it right this time."

    I don't care if you start by just playing the C scale, provided you do it with a good "by the book" embouchure, intonation, and breath. Keep doing that until your teacher says, "OK. That's good. Now, let's try the D scale." Then, after a reasonable period of time, find a community band or small group you can play in without any pressure.

    ..and while you are at it, read "Zen in the Art of Archery" by Eugen Herrigel. That may sound wacky, but just try it. It's a short book. You'll understand.
    RRVancil likes this.
  3. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi Skyliner33,
    Welcome to TM.

    I think the best advice has been given, go find a good teacher to get it right first time, and then get back playing with a group. I was like Newell Post above, off the horn for over 20+ years. When I started back, I still had a good range, and found my current teacher when I joined the local Community Band. I am still learning, still taking regular lessons, and now play with 4 Bands. What ever your problem is, find a face to face teacher to help you, and save valuable time.

    Establish a regular Daily routine - stick with it, Enjoy and have fun!.
  4. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Welcome to TM, skyliner33! Best wishes on your comeback to the trumpet. Like you, my embouchure was not what is should have been when I graduated from high school: it is now. You have received good advice concerning instruction and involvement. I would simply add that there is a great deal of good information available these days that can be helpful for a comeback trumpet player. You might be interested in checking out this website: Hickman Music Editions. I have no association with David Hickman, but he has been around for a while and has a good reputation, as far as I know. I have found some of his literature to be helpful.

  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    welcome --- I had a 10 year break in one practice session, but otherwise have always played the trumpet since 5th grade --------------------you can do it, just time, patience, and perserverance
  6. mhendricks

    mhendricks Pianissimo User

  7. Kevin Whiting

    Kevin Whiting Piano User

    Apr 13, 2013
    Greendale, WI.

    I was basically in the same boat, but waited 30 years.

    I was a pressure (huge pressure) player in HS. I had no private (trumpet) teacher, so I didn't know any better.

    When I started playing again, I still have no teacher and developed the pressure habit again. Now I have a teacher, and that pressure habit is a tough habit to break.

    As stated earlier in this post - do yourself a favor and get a teacher. Get the correct habits right out of the gate!!

  8. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    Like Mr. Kevin, I was a pressure player at first. Unlike Mr. Kevin, I worked with a really good trumpeter who had to quit because of diabetic complications, but between braces and his advice, was able to break the pressure habit. I then played on and off for three years after high school, barely touched my horn, got back to it last year.

    Get an instructor, get a Clarke's Tech book and an Arban's and you'll be good to go.
  9. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Welcome to TM!

    Lots of comeback players here. I played for 20+ years, off for 10+ years, back at it for 8 years.

    Great advice already given.

    1) Find a good teacher, at least to get things started.

    2) Establish a daily practice routine.

  10. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    All good info above. If you know you've got bad habits, then by all means get yourself a good instructor. I'm on my third comeback at age 65, myself, playing at church, with my wife's alumni group, and a small concert band:oops:

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