How do you get out of a slump?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetMonk, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

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    Slump...being that one is bogged down from a dull daily routine.

    Play some new exercises, from a completely different book. Put down your old practice routine and develop a "new" one.

    All the suggestions above are great.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    A slump can have three causes that I know of. It can be physio-skeletal (over/under-use), physical (a dirty mouthpiece or instrument) or psychological. With the psychological we enter the wonderful world of cognitive distortions.

    Take a baseball player who hits the ball three times out of ten, who suddenly goes on a hot streak and starts hitting the ball eight times out of ten. Since baseball players keep statistics, our baseball player’s mind tells him something like: “Wait a sec’—I’m a .300 hitter, not an .800 hitter!” and he will unconsciously adjust, “go into a slump” until his batting average gets back to the .300 range.

    Beware of those voices that tell you “I’ll/You’ll never amount to anything.” They can cause slumps too.

    Good luck!
     
  3. punkster

    punkster New Friend

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    Lots of good suggestions here related to taking a break. If I could just add my own preference, the break should involve some sort of physical activity to really help clear the mind and body. Go for a walk or a run if you are able, play (walk) a round of golf, go swimming, or go skiing, snowshoeing, or skating in the winter. Just get out there. Physical conditioning is a huge plue for brass players.
     
  4. crazyandy88

    crazyandy88 Pianissimo User

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    Slumps suck...I find that reading an inspiring TM post can bring me out of a slump. Sometimes someone will word something a little different and it may click.
     
  5. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    "Beware of those voices that tell you “I’ll/You’ll never amount to anything.” They can cause slumps too"

    What if those kinds of voices are always in your head when you are surrounded by better players and know that if your not as good as them or equal in a non popular high school band how could you possibly have a shot at making a career as a trumpet player?
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    In 1965 Martin Seligman performed some experiments with dogs.

    Group A could learn to push a button to prevent an electric shock.
    Group B had the same button, but got shocked whenever their partner in the A group did, no matter what the group B dog did.
    Group C got no shocks at all.

    The B group where helpless, and they learned helplessness. When moved into the A group they didn't even try.

    From that experience Seligman came up with the concept of learned helplessness; that we learn to be pessimistic, and he has devoted his life to what he calls "Positive Psychology." See if your library has the book Learned Optimism, published by Knopf.

    There is nothing "wrong" in thinking we'll never amount to anything, but it is not "true" that we won't amount to anything.

    Seligman came up with what he calls ABCDE: Adversity; Belief; Consequences; Disputation; Energization. A scenerio:

    Adversity--last chair in a bad band.
    Belief--"I'll never be any good!"
    Consequences--don't practice and don't care.
    Disputation--"If I practiced more, I would be better."
    Energization--More practice, a teacher, and as improvement is noted, more desire to practice--it becomes fun in its own right, because it is me against the trumpet, me against music, and those other people don't count!

    That could be your story. I know it was mine, and my trumpet playing has taken me to Europe, Asia, and South America.

    Have fun, and be energized!
     
  7. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    My story starts in 6th grade when I first learn to play the trumpet and start slightly better then everyone else.

    7th grade I go into honors band for 7th + 8th graders and am 2nd chair out of like 8-10 trumpets and the one above me is an 8th grader.

    8th grade honors band 1st chair

    9th grade Jazz band 3rd part 5th chair out of 9 and the trumpets above me are not too much better (Range/Endurance and probably experience they are after 1-2 chairs up) except for the one senior that started in like 3rd grade with the trumpet and is insanely good and is the reason that I'm troubled and frustrated that I can't be as good as someone like that if I want to get into a career with the trumpet. His tone range and musical knowledge is insane and he is good at guitar, piano, and drums a decent bit too. After playing for the full jazz band practice at the end he plays his solo and does the nice high C above the staff at the end with one hand perfect, clean, and loud when my range isnt that great. He says he took no private lessons.

    I set a goal to be as good as him by my Junior year and if not least as good as him my senior year. I'm looking into private lessons now and maybe my view will change then but right now it seems like there is no way to get up there. Maybe the goal is half of the problem too.

    I have made it to your last step before...and it works for a while until I go back to this senior and look at how far away I am from his level.

    (Also this stuff sounds pretty in depth so is a 15 year old kid like me going to be able to understand it and go through the book if my library does have it?)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Take the broad view--don't give up on yourself! You are comparing yourself to someone who seems a natural talent; has been playing three times as long as you--and if you work your fanny off not just with the goal, but the expectation to be as good or better in another three years you can do it!

    And yes, if you can read at the sixth grade level you can handle the book.
     
  9. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    Jul 3, 2009
    Thanks for the support :-)
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The senior will be gone at the end of the school year. One thing that I have learned is that OPPORTUNITY is what lets us develop. Opportunity is not something that we can always control. You can work your tail off, if someone is better, well that is the way it is, it doesn't mean that you have no chance. It just means that you need to take this opportunity of not HAVING to lead the section to get your chops and chorus abilities together. If you work on improving DAILY, it is not a problem. IF your practice is just face time, then you are not hungry enough!!!!! Once you are in the hot seat, you will not have the time to work out other issues that crop up.

    A goal of "beating" or being "better" than another musician will always be frustrating. This is not sports. A jazz band NEEDS lead players, screech players, chorus players and worker bees. They are all equally important and you can't measure their effectiveness individually, rather only in the whole section sound. Summer is here. Scales, intervals, chorus licks and play them all extremely softly. That will also build good playing habits that will aid your high note playing. It is not possible to bang your way into a lead trumpet chair. You get there with countless infinitely small steps!
     

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