HELP! I'm having a chop crisis and the concert is tomorrow!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Rainiac, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Rainiac

    Rainiac New Friend

    Apr 2, 2009
    Earth. For sure.
    Tomorrow night I have the solo part in Tiger of San Pedro, which isn't very difficult stylistically, and doesn't go above what to me is HIGH A. I've had the solo music for under a week and I haven't even performed it in front of our school jazz band, and now at home practicing I'm having embouchure trouble. My notes sound fuzzy and the tone isn't very good, which is abnormal. Also, my range has been pathetic over the last two days. Is there any advice anyone can give me for getting over this quickly? :-(
  2. trumpet_man

    trumpet_man Piano User

    Jan 17, 2008
    For me, which it may vary from person to person, I am always glad to have awful chops the day before a concert, that means that the next day they'll be great. Now, if I had incredible chops the day before a concert, then I'd be worried, but maybe that is only how it works for me. However, it sounds to me as though you'll have great chops tomorrow. Keep me updated.
  3. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    That song is great. The second trumpet player handed the solo off to me because she wasn't comfortable with improvising and I absolutely tore it up. Very fun tune. Does your band usually improvise their solos or play the written ones?

    Concerning your recent embouchure troubles - give us more information. Are you tired? Did you warm up well today? How long have you been playing today?

    Worst case scenario, put the horn away for either the entire day or at least for a few hours. Then, take it out again either tomorrow or later tonight and go straight back to ground. If you're getting a double buzz or some other weird sounds in your pitch, take out the mouthpiece and work on focusing the sound. Get a single, pure pitch out of your mouthpiece. Then do something nice, slow, easy, and, most importantly, QUIETLY, that will let you concentrate on your tone. I prefer Chicowitz flow studies. Make sure everything sounds pure and free. This tends to help. What usually doesn't help me is banging away at improving my tone on days where something goes weird when my head's frazzled or all over the place. Back off and give yourself some time to regroup, then approach things nice, slow, and controlledly. (Is that a word)?

    I hope this helps. I've been in your shoes before, pal.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    It sounds like a case of nerves, try to relax , play some soft long tones to get clean sound and put the horn away ,and get plenty of rest. Think of yourself as the baddest trumpet player in the building and play with confidence .
  5. RAK

    RAK Piano User

    Jul 23, 2009
    Kettle Falls, Washington
    same here trumpet man! Before a concert having bad lips is a sign that lips will be good the next day!
  6. HSOtrumpet1

    HSOtrumpet1 Pianissimo User

    Nov 28, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  7. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    aha. WWRS, what would rowuk say. people dont have bad days, unless there is some kind of inconsistency in routine. just stop playin bro. not much else you can do. drink some cold water and chill out. i know i shouldnt, but if you were blowin your chops and they hurt, i take aspirin. not the best idea, but it makes me feel better. take it easy man.
  8. HSOtrumpet1

    HSOtrumpet1 Pianissimo User

    Nov 28, 2008
    Since your lips aren't feeling good and you can't play the piece well, take a break. To get your lips started on feeling better tommorow, though, play this exercise below, and then put the horn away. I made it up and it works for me. I based it off of Allen Vizzutti's "Response Rejuvenation" excersize, which is basically a warm down.

    Anyway -- Play your starting pitch, a "c" just below the staff, for 4 counts. At about mezzo piano. Wait 4 counts. Then play the note lower as a whole note. Wait 4 counts. Go as low as you can step by step with whole notes and alternating 4 beat rests, and then alternate between your lowest note as a whole note, and a 4 beat rest twenty times.

    Important things about that exercise:

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  9. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    I have never heard it called that, is it in one of his books?
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    First of all, slow down. If you have a gig tomorrow and haven't had time to properly prepare, you have two possibilities: let someone else play, or simplify.

    NO ONE can make me believe that anybody needs to hang themselves. Don't play what is written for the solo, play something similar, but better in tune with that which you CAN play.

    It is not a chop crisis, and here is where the flame starts:
    When we get into situations over our heads, the weak in character start looking for excuses. That is stupid, because it doesn't help and we get the reputation as being undependable. I really hate excuses!

    Those that have strong characters either fight to win or wimp out in time that someone else gets a fair chance.

    If you are just getting to this thing today, you should have your head ripped off. A solo DEMANDS our attention. The rest of the band counts on the player. If they let the band down because of LAZY, then I guess we know what comes next. If you, on the other hand have been playing well it all of this week, then just put it away and play other things. Look at it again at the gig when you are up to play it.

    So what is important? Make a decision to play or find someone to cover. If it is too tough, simplify. A solo in jazz can (should) be tailored to the player. No one asked Miles to play triple F and no one demanded that Maynard Ferguson stay in the staff.

    Who is at fault is insignificant. The audience and band have expectations.

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