How do I play before 9pm?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by thecruxofthebiscuit, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. thecruxofthebiscuit

    thecruxofthebiscuit New Friend

    Nov 26, 2014
    Hi there,

    I've been playing for about 2 months now, and I'm reasonably happy with my progress. My sound is really coming along, and, on a good day, I have a clean, loud high c, although I'm not comfortable playing actual music up there.

    What I feel has really been setting me back, though, is my inability to play at reasonable hours. It seems that I can only play at my best after about 9:00pm, although the later, the better. My lips just don't function properly before then. My notes are less well defined, and my lower and upper range are inconsistent. I'm cautious about eating salty foods before bed, and I drink plenty of water alas, to no avail.

    Because of my temperamental chops, I only really practice at these times, as it's much more enjoyable, and I feel like I'm actually making progress. My private lessons are always before noon, and I really struggle to play anything like I do in the evening.

    My teacher had warned against the psychological block that I'm developing against morning practice, but it really does feel physical: my lips simply to dry and awkward before the evening.

    I know that it's something that improves with time, but is there any advice for a beginning player who wants to develop some consistency?
  2. Ufachotchin

    Ufachotchin Pianissimo User

    May 19, 2014
    Youngstown, Ohio, USA
    I have the same problems. I, too, have morning lessons and often find it difficult to play at that time. Avoiding salt and staying hydrated is good. Keep up with that. Also, use a good moisturizer (carmax is always good and there's a brand for musicians called "chopsaver"). But what I have found most effective is a good, long warmup consisting of lipslurs, long tones, and pedal tones. You can even try buzzing en route to the lesson to start the blood flowing.
    Best of Luck,
    Nick DiGiacomo
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Sorry to hear about your problem. I had a similar problem when I started my comeback about 8 years ago. I practiced in the evenings after work during the week. On the weekends, when I had more time, I just couldn't get my chops to function earlier in the day, especially in the morning.

    For me, I suspect part of it was psychological. But I think it was physical, too. For example, if I was playing late on a Friday night, it makes sense that I would still be tired early Saturday morning. But regardless of the cause, here's what I did to try to fix things.

    1) I kept of log of all of my playing. I would log what music I played along with what my chops felt like before and afterwards. This helped me understand more about what was helping or hurting my chops.

    2) I stopped playing late at night and forced myself to play early in the morning and then again in the afternoon. After a little while, playing early in the day was not a problem. I still do the bulk of my practice early in the day, usually before work.

    Also, I don't want to take things on a tangent. But the OP also talked about salt and hydration. In an otherwise healthy person, it is unlikely that these measures will have any effect. If someone thinks otherwise, that's fine, of course. It won't hurt. But medically speaking, in an otherwise healthy person, it's unlikely to provide any benefit either.

  4. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Question for Mike, in the OP's behalf. I believe rowuk writes frequently about the negative effect of tea on his embouchure. Might coffee have a similar effect, particularly for those with high sensitivity to the effects of caffeine?

  5. thecruxofthebiscuit

    thecruxofthebiscuit New Friend

    Nov 26, 2014
    I do tend to drink tea before my lessons, but also sometimes drink tea before practising at home, and I don't think that it causes much harm, although I'll try avoiding tea before my lessons, and see if that helps.
  6. thecruxofthebiscuit

    thecruxofthebiscuit New Friend

    Nov 26, 2014
    Thank you.

    When I have the time, I try to fit in a 15-20min warm-up before my lessons, and that does somewhat help me get more out of the lessons.

    Also, I've very recently started using Carmex, and, at the moment, I'm trying to work out when and when not to use it to best aid my playing.
  7. thecruxofthebiscuit

    thecruxofthebiscuit New Friend

    Nov 26, 2014
    That may well be the best thing for it...
  8. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Hey Jim. Just to clarify, my reply was about water and sodium. In a healthy person, you're body does a pretty good job keeping these in balance.

    I'm not familiar with Rowuk's thoughts on tea. But with respect to playing the trumpet, how our body responds to various foods/substances would be an interesting topic. This could include caffeine, like Jim suggested, as well as sugar, alcohol, dairy products, etc.

  9. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

    Aug 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    T E A ???
    I'm Southern.
    TEA is a requirement.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There are a couple of things that come to mind for morning problems. The first is quality of sleep - do you snore or have sleep apnea? The next thing would be diet. Do you eat late and with high sodium? That will affect morning hydration. The same would apply to breakfast. High salt? Black tea? Coffee makes me nervous but doesn't affect the pliability of MY lips. Mileage may vary.

    Tension also comes to mind. If our sleep is not truly restful, we need MUCH longer to get started. Take a month with no TV after 9:00 PM (read a book or do something else relaxing) and see what happens to your sleep. On the weekend, take a long shower AFTER breakfast and then practice.

    Lastly, a daily routine in the morning consisting of long tones, lipslurs and easy tunes could be enough to ignite your AM playing.

    Good luck and if you do try anything, please report back!

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