Hit the Ceiling? Come back help!

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

  1. Brad

    Brad New Friend

    Nov 23, 2004
    I took twenty years off and now I have been playing again for about five years. Here are some things that have heped me:

    Find a teacher, this gives you a short term goal to learn specific things before your next lesson. It also give you an organized plan to get better. Thirdly, it gives you an objective set of ears that can help you set priorities on what areas need the most work.

    After a teacher the second most helpful item was to play with other people. I play as much as I can with a community band, church orchestra, brass quintet and two big bands. The better the group you are playing with the faster you will improve.

    The bad news for me is I have to work a lot harder to get improvement than I did in high school, so the last important thing for me to learn was patience with myself and to determine that I will practice whenever I can.

  2. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY


    I laid off for 25 years, and been back at it for roughly a year. When I practice, I rest before becoming fatigued. I don't know you if you play 20 mins straight with little or no rest. If I did, I would be tuckered out depending on what it is. Clarke 1st Studies in the low register at a pp dynamic won't wear me out like other exercies.

    During daily practice, I use Eric Bolvin's "The Arban's Method" as a lesson guide. I like it a lot. A whole lot. I also have no teacher. It'll take you through Arban's over a year and quarter if you stick to a lesson a week.

    For each "lesson," Eric has, oh, maybe 6 sections out of Arban's. I'll rest in between until I feel rested and ready to resume practicing.

    Many of the exercises, I find quite taxing, like the interval studies on p. 125 for example. I'll play though 1/2 of it, rest, then resume.

    Sometimes, I'll rest more often. Basically, I rest whenever I feel my self beginning to become fatigued. When I was a kid, I did not do so. I played through it. Badly.

    During concert band rehearsals, endurance isn't a stumbling block though I do play mostly 2nd and 3rd, and 1st on only a couple of tunes. And we're not blowing for 20 min stretches with no rests.

    2 rehearsals ago we worked on "Poet and Peasant," "Light Cavalry," and "Mannin Veen" pretty much straight for 90 minutes resting only when there were "rests." The director said, "if you're tired, you should be."

    I mention that because there was a time I thought I should be able to practice at home for 20 to 30 mins at a time with little resting in between and be fresh as a daisy.

    It ain't so for me.

    I practice sensibly. Eric's primer helps a ton in that respect. Rest before I become taxed, and play when I feel refreshed and ready to go.

    Since I can hold up my end during rehearsal, I figure there must be some adequecy to my endurance. I hope it improves and that a couple of years from now, I'll notice it.

    To compare my endurance to a pro is unfair. I have noticed improvement over the last year in the endurance department. It comes by the inch for sure.

    As far as reading goes, I too am very rusty, and I began playing trumpet after high school. So no 8 years of playing from 5th grade on for me.

    It's improving. The kids, good high-school players, in concert band, can and do read circles around me. Hope to shout they should. I keep at it knowing there's no quick fix. Sensible practice working for a great sound, improvement in the fundamentals department (I can't recommend Eric Bolvin's primer enough), and wood shedding the concert band parts seems to take care of all that can be taken care of at this stage.

    Good Luck,

    Richard Oliver
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2007
  3. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    No Chops;

    I can't add much to what has been written, except to say that I have hit that "ceiling" also. I stayed at that ceiling until I found a teacher too.

    In my opinion, getting a teacher is probably the most important thing right now. Somebody posted to "don't go cheap" with a teacher (or words to that effect....I am way to lazy today to go back and see who it was). I have to second that too.

    Don't get too worked up about which method book to use. Let your teacher guide you on that. My teacher has had me work out of Clarke's, Arban, and currently Schlossberg.

    Another thing. My teacher just does not work on my range at all. We have worked on tone quality, breathing, tonguing, musical interpretation, site reading, etc. But NOT range developement. Funny thing is, in my lesson last night in one of the flexibility exercises I hit a high E (above the staff). In my prime at the age of 18, I couldn't hit and hold that note! So be patient. The range will come as the fundamentals get better, and your confidence grows.

    Just be aware that we all hit those ceilings. You have just hit one. You will hit others, just as I have. We aren't kids anymore. We have to work a bit harder and longer than when we were 18.
  4. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

    Sep 30, 2006
    White Marsh, VA
    This is undoubtably the best trumpet section I've ever been in, thanx for this thread, it has helped alot. I got to believe that this time around is harder for me, tougher mentally than I thought it would be. Having played well before has lead me down a path where when I was young I said, "wish I could play that well" down now to "I used to play like that, how come not now?" It's brutal to watch other players ripping along and then knowing I should be there, but I'm not. I have to remember that I got to the last memory of playing after 12 years of practice, not just 6 months. Tough, tough, tough. I'm gonna take a little bit outta everybody's advice here and apply it to the horn, not gonna quit, gonna make this ceiling fall and climb up to the next level. Good to see others out there having been there and others out there with me, working at it too. Still here guys, got practice tonight in the band, thanx again for the support.......chuck :play:
  5. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Chuck some more advice; easier said then done.

    One thing my teacher (Alex Yates) had to beat into me.

    Don't mourn the past! I used to be a 1st chair trumpet player until I laid the horn down. I would say to her, "Yeah but I used to be able to...."

    It takes some time but you'll see; I bet you'll be a better player today then you were then. I know that I'm 100 times the musician that I used to be. My technical playing ability is still not what it was when I was a kid, but my tone, phrasing, and playing in general is better then it ever was.

    It just takes time!

    Keep after it! :-)

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