Hit the Ceiling? Come back help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ccNochops, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

    Sep 30, 2006
    White Marsh, VA
    Okay, back in September I started this return and I'm feeling I've hit a ceiling lately & can't seem to punch through. All you Come back players, did you/are you struggling to rise back to former "glory" or am I being too hard on myself too soon? I started on the Holton and now have moved to a 700S Getzen. Range to a "c" is usable, but not everyday. If I miss a day practice (I'm in a Clarke book & a community concert band) it's like I haven't played in weeks, or so it seems. I'm working at 30-45 minutes a day.....I still don't have any endurance, meaning 3 or 4 measures of 16th note slurs and I'm hunting for a breath. Chops are jello after 20-30 minutes of practice. Reading music has kinda got stuck, I know what to play but can't seem to focus longer than a couple of measures before I'm lost. If I know what it sounds like, I can cheat & play it, but to sight read it....whoa. Is this something I'll grow out of eventually or do I get to remember what it used to be, but never again? More time? More practice? Time to find a teacher? This shouldn't be so alien to me, I was a half way decent horn player before a 28 year lay off, I feel like I'm close but no cigar. :dontknow: ...chuck
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    The fastest way to get better is to get a good teacher and don't go cheap.

    Because, no matter how hard or long you are practicing, if you have poor mechanics and technique that "ceiling" will not give an inch.

    For me, one lesson with Manny put me farther "down the road" than weeks, maybe months of trying to correct problems on my own.

    my 2c,

  3. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Greg has a point that I can't argue with this much is true.

    But look at your post and maybe with an objective eye you'll see what I see.

    You are trying to focus on too many things at once. High notes, endurance, air support. It's too much! You'll go nowhere with such broad focus.

    IMHO you should decide; right now; this very moment which of those things is the most important to you. Then work on that one thing until it's manageable. Then select another issue your having and again work on it until it's manageable.

    Once these things are manageabel you can then work on more then 1 at a time but for right now I'd just stick to working on them individually.

    Greg's suggestion is another way to resolve what I've suggested.

    It's up to you; but whatever you do...... Stick with it!! The rewards far out-weigh any downsides!

    My .02,
  4. 11thchair

    11thchair Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2005
    Evansville In
    I had a simialr layoff. Difference though - I was not any good in high school (11th chair is a clue). After month's of no significant progress, I did the lesson trip for a while. Teacher and I hit a rif. But I was practicing, doing segments of practicing - not all at once. Paid attention to the big guys at concerts, watched with binoculars how their chops moved and set up - talked to them after concerts. Range in HS was barely a G on top of the staff. Now I play an octave above that. I play 2 hr concerts, practice 1 hr a day (would do more but there is work and family). Took a while to be comfortable on a mouthpiece - the Stork VM6 works best for me - but everyone is different.

    So the suggestion to get help seems to make sense to me. Get the embechure and approach going the right way before you develop bad habits.
  5. Cotton

    Cotton New Friend

    Feb 14, 2007
    NW Ohio
    I just started back after a longer layoff than you had. The endurance is pretty good,and I really haven't even thought about upper register yet. The reading is almost totally gone. Like you, if I know what it sounds like I can play it. I played first chair three out of four years in high school, so I feel your pain. I haven't been back long enough to offer any advice, although the others here make perfect sense. Just wanted to let you know I support you brother!
  6. andredub

    andredub Pianissimo User

    Oct 16, 2005
    No Chops,
    This is a tough thing, and probobly pretty stressful. Yes it takes time, but after this long I would recommend really making sure your fundamentals are in order. Its easy to remember what you used to be able to do, and your mind will compromise many basics to be able to play higher, or do wider jumps etcetc. Keeping that in mind, make sure you take the time to check over embouchure (without making it a habit. If things are going bad, I overworry about my chops and nothing gets better!), ensuring that air is whats driving the playing, and not movement of the lips and jaw, and that when you breath you arnt doing something like pulling your lips out or twisting. These are just examples, but take time to re-solidify basic things. You'll feel it when it clicks into place over time.
    One thing that Ed Carroll gives us up here is the Bai Lin studies. I've personally experienced how they help when you havnt practiced and are getting back into playing. Prof Carroll has us use our air, crescendoing and glissing as you go up instead of pushing with the arms and pulling away with your air. After a very short time you'll realize that everything from low to high has become much easier, and gets you moving the horn and chops way less. Its worth the $20, and I'd give it a go.

    (Bai Lin - Flexibility studies is the name)
    Good luck, im sure it'll all come back, these things are simple but magic if done right!

  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    The Clark book is killing you softly with it's song.

    Switch to long tones. Get Earl Irons, "Lip Flexibilities." Play that book for a year.
    If you want to play fancy music get a double tonguing book.
    Do one or two double-triple tongue exercises in between the lip flexibilities and long tones. Progress slowly.
    When you see a fermatta in the Irons book take a breath and play it as long as you can.
    Relax. You have plenty of life left to practice the Carnival of Venice.

    One more thing to irritate people. Look up "Maggio Method" on the internet and read everything you can. Make a choice on which embouchure you want to use and stick with it.

    Find a teacher. Change teachers every year just because you can.
  8. barato

    barato New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Somewhere in Ohio
    The problem with starting to play again after a long break is that you forgot how to play. Now this is the time to go correct your playing technique and style before your bad old habits come back. Focus one thing at a time, and take your time. If you rush and do bad, you will get no where. With time you will build a better foundation and the ceiling will begin to give way. I personally like the idea of lessons, because someone else is showing their opinion and can talk to you on how to fix your problems. Alot of practice doesn't make perfect, but instead what you do with the time you have makes perfect.
    Good Luck and Happy Playing,
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    the mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.............?
    Remember, endurance is not just physical strength. It is the product of well trained habits, short and medium term muscle memory AND training. Why do the chops get tired? Because they produce lactic acid when strained and that is your enemy when you are not in shape! Check out this link: ifis-spots. Be patient - you will get there!
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Find a good teacher to guide you through this.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007

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