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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mbtpter227, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. mbtpter227

    mbtpter227 New Friend

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    Feb 3, 2007
    So-Cal
    Hey Manny.

    I was wondering if you could give me some advice.

    I am a junior in high school, playing first chair in the top wind orchestra as well as lead for the jazz band. Both happen very early in the day for me (7AM), each group rehearsal lasting for an hour with an hour school period between the two.

    I have pretty solid chops. Nothing too impressive in the upper register but I am confident in my reading and musical abilities (I still have much to learn, of course). I feel comfortable playing a D above a high C in public playing. My wind ensemble repitoire frequents this area.

    I try to practice regularly each day (I do have a private teacher, but am unavailable to see him for the next couple weeks).

    Here's the problem. Playing wise I start my school week pretty strong, but by thursday my chops start dying on me. I end up needing to work harder for those higher notes and it feels so much more tight.

    What should I do in order to prevent this?

    Also, what are some good tips for warming down? I play a few notes under low C, but I don't feel that it's sufficient..

    Thanks for the help :D
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sep 29, 2004
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    I don't know what to tell you.

    I have no idea as to how you play irrespective of whether you can hit a high D. You may play with a corrupted embouchure. You may have wrong ideas about breathing. You may be playing with an undue anount of pressure.

    All i can tell you is to play much lighter but I don't know how that's going to go over with your band director. 7 am is a bit ridiculous in my book but it's not my program.

    I don't warm down, ever, so, I'm not an authority about it. You may be looking at getting up ridiculously early and going to but at 9 in order to let your face get to normal before you play. How's that grab you? That's really an extraordinary circumstance and I don't have an answer without knowing how you play and what concepts you've been taught.

    ML
     
  3. mbtpter227

    mbtpter227 New Friend

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    Feb 3, 2007
    So-Cal
    Hmm I guess it is difficult to help an individual's playing over the net.

    Thanks anyway and sorry for the trouble.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you need to do a little more investigation. You say that by Thursday you are "tight". Does this mean Monday loose, Tuesday worse, Wednesday, worser, Thursday dead. Or does it mean great guns until Thursday morning?

    If your daily program is reasonable (not playing until you have wasted yourself), it could be as simple as lack of sleep the night before. Trumpet is a physical activity and reflects the condition of your body. Even as an invincible teenager with almost infinite energy, your playing is probably mirroring some other state...............
    Suggestion: write out your entire weekly schedule. Then try a week of going to bed an hour earlier-every day-even on the weekend. See if your playing picks up.

    Objective self analysis is a blessing and curse that every serious musician needs to learn.

    As far as the 7:00 AM band rehearsal, I can sympathize with the band director. They all too often have to bend over backwards to keep the program alive and successful. I am sure this was not his preference, rather a necessity because SPORTS steals the time after school!

    Can you tell that I have 4 children??????????????
     
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Northern New York
    After reading your post through several times, I had an epiphany of sorts. What do you practice and how do you pracice when you practice? Do you balance your playing and practice softer lower things or work on getting that high D to center and sound full by constantly playing it over and over again?

    What I mean is this: if the wind ensemble/jazz ensemble parts are placing range demands on you constantly, and all you practice is that stuff (not saying you should ignore it), then your chops never get "balanced". Spend a good deal of time on scale studies like Clarke 5th study or even back up to Clake 2nd study. Play them softly; practice exactly the opposite of the demands that are being placed upon you for a while. Again, I'm not telling you to ignore your responsibilities with the wind ensemble or jazz book, but to balance out your playing by working the other stuff, too.
     
  6. AZ_Brad

    AZ_Brad New Friend

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    Jan 18, 2007
    Peoria, AZ
    I think I have an understanding of your question, but I'm not certain I have an answer. Your lips are like any other muscle in your body. I go to the gym 3x per week for heavy weight training, and either ride or race an off-road motorcycle on Saturday. Guess what my best/strongest day at the gym is? Monday. Why? My muscles have had time to recover! Weight lifting does one main thing; it tears the muscle fibers down, and your body's natural healing process allow those fibers to rebuild. When they do, they come back just a little bit stronger.
    I don't see Trumpet playing differently. (right or wrong) If your "performing" in a couple band activities, and then practicing at night, you are going to have some fade! I have only a few logical suggestions:
    1) Think about your volume and pressure when in your band sessions. Most younger players blow louder than necessary. Excessive pressure will cause premature fatigue and swelling of your lips.

    2) When you are practicing, play as softly as possible, and stay out of the higher registers! Since you are the lead player, you can have the other players reduce the volume too, so you won't have to compensate!
     
  7. mbtpter227

    mbtpter227 New Friend

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    Feb 3, 2007
    So-Cal
    It's been a long couple of days, so sorry about not posting back.

    On friday I arrived to class early (around 6:50) and took out my trumpet and began playing a few soft notes in the middle in the staff. My lips weren't responding as well as I'd like them to, so I kept at it, warming them up slowly. Turns out my director ended up being late by about ten minutes, giving me ample time to get my lips pretty loose, and everything was pretty good for rehearsal! So the trick is later in the week to pay more attention to my warming up and allowing much more time for it.

    In my practicing at home the only time I venture into the higher registers is during my scales. Otherwise I'm in the Arban's book or in an etude. I make sure to rest as much as possible and only play if my lips feel up for it.

    I read somewhere in this forum that for lower dynamics the bell should be below the stand, and in sections where more trumpet is called for to raise the bell over the stand so you don't work as hard. The trumpet section has been putting this to good use!
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    When playing trumpet, being a pain in the neck can do more damage to those in front of you that being a pain in the @ss. Keeping that bell down can make you friends!
     

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