How much practice is too much?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    I had an audition about a week ago for a Marine Band about a week ago and I passed. He congratulated me, and I was very happy, but I was hoping to score high enough to get into The Commandant's Own Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. He said the only thing I needed to improve was my range. He said everyone there must have a solid high E minimum.

    I'm willing to anything to get to that point, and when I have another audition for The Commandant's Own in a few weeks I want to go in knowing I did everything I could to improve. I've been doing about 2-3 hours of playing a day, mainly extended scales, lip slurs, lip trills, and some tough brass charts to improve endurance. I can post a video of me playing to make sure it's not an embochure issue going on if people will watch it.

    At the end of my practices my lips aren't really in pain, I just stop when my tone gets bad and I feel like I'm not being very productive anymore. I don't think it's a major pressure issue, I've been told my neck gets more tense than it needs to be, and before I play my lips need to be more wet than most people's and sometimes catch myself licking the mouthpiece (yuck). So what are some exercises to focus my aperture and get a solid response? How much mouthpiece buzzing should I do? I am not in school right now, just work. I usually practice when I wake up then go to work, but if I need to have 2 practice sessions a day, one in the morning and one late at night I will because I have a practice mute and a laptop with SmartMusic, where I can read hundreds of charts.

    If after my second audition I've done all I can and still don't make it into The Commandant's Own, but gave it all I've got I'll be alright with it I think. I've never been a solid lead player, but he said my sight reading and scales were very good. Any tips?
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Long tones loud. Long tones soft. Long tones crescendo. Long tones decrescendo. Study most of the high note guys, Bill Chase, Maynard, Cat Anderson to name a few and they will tell you that long tones are a key component to developing the upper register. Now if you are really serious, go buy a 10 ft section of flexible PVC tubing 3/8 I.D.. Keep it in your car, put your mpc in it, and do long tones and lip slurs on this hose trumpet when you can't play your real trumpet. Any other changes this close would hinder your chances (mpc/embouchure/trumpet) of making it. Enjoy and good luck!
  3. Matthew

    Matthew New Friend

    Feb 10, 2013
    Depending on when you have to preform you should practice until your lips get rubbery
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    As far as I can tell, hoping for a real change of range on the horizon of a few weeks is a pipe dream (no pun intended). Your best shot is probably to read about optimal breathing and body use and apply these principles. That will only unlock range that, in fact, is already there but it could be enough. If you practice too much in the high register, you can initially bring adverse results on the short term, such practice requires recovery. On the long term (months, years) progress will happen if you don't beat yourself up. If you really want to have the notes on that one day for the audition, you could try a different mouthpiece but that also could very well be a recipe for disaster. There is no shortcut.
  5. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    Here are some videos I posted of my warmup. I apologize for any missed notes, I have to be somewhere and didn't check, hopefully I'm not posting anything too embarrassing :)

    I've noticed sometimes my tone gets fuzzy near the top, any ideas on how to fix this?

    Bb - YouTube

    C - YouTube

    E - YouTube
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  6. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    The only comment that I would have for you after watching your video is maybe you are not using as much breath support as you could. I hear things thinning out as you go up and not keeping that really nice dark tone. The key to playing high if everything else is right is simply air.
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    As always I reccomend a private instructor ... a good one .. if you are going to spend 3 hours a day doing something you want to get the most bang for you practice minutes.
    still here are some suggestions.
    Use a metronome.
    Get the mouthpiece off of your face in between each passage ... rest as much as you practice is a good montra.
    Use a metronome ... Claude Gordon use to say lift your fingers high and press down hard ... it helps with precision and dexterity.
    I would definitely include tonguing exercises ... my take is they improve register, tone, and alot of good stuff. Things like Arban's pg 125 ... I play them as slow as I need to to be able to tag every note ( these are interval jumps )
    use a metronome
    Tongue one set of Clarke Characteristic Studies each day ... with a metronome.
    Include some sight reading and a trumpet piece to work on each day.
    Thanks for posting
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    You are practicing too much when you start loosing accuracy and control. [Period]
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I was watching your abdomen... When you executed good control your upper abdomen (stomach) was tight... when you fizzled on a note, prior to starting that phrase, you abdomen was relaxed. So my advice is related to concentrating on your breathing. Take your first breath as a deep, full one when doing these exercises. Lift your shoulders up as you inhale, then after you inhale, relax your shoulders, then tighten your upper abdomen (stomach area) and play. Let me know how that works out.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Yep, I totally agree, and my advice above should work through this.

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