How to stop Regressing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetSaiyan777, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. TrumpetSaiyan777

    TrumpetSaiyan777 New Friend

    Dec 4, 2011
    So I've been practicing for a Jazz piece that I was moved up to 1st Trumpet on in my school and it's been going very well at first. Thing is, the next day I practice and I'm nowhere near hitting the high notes I was perfectly capable of playing yesterday and I have no idea why. It's frustrating me beyond belief and I feel like I'm about to explode with frustration, I feel like I'm regressing and I have no idea why. A high D has never given me trouble before, and now it's really tearing me down.

    I'm discouraged beyond belief, and I won't have another lesson until next month, any help or ideas? :bash:
  2. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Oh boy, do I know...

    1) You're trying too hard
    When you focus on the notes and not the music, you'll cause tension which can prevent the high notes from flying out. You're also likely thinking too much about your embouchure -- trust your air and the music.

    2) You're playing too much
    When you play high notes each day, it causes havok if you're not accustomed to it. It can result in swollen lips, burnt out muscles, andmore.

    3) You're distracted
    Now that you're worried about hitting the pitches, you're not thinking about hearing them in your mind. Visualization is a might ally, and when you don't focus on the internal pitch, things can go wrong.

    I say these things because I had the same issue when I was on 1st trumpet last semester. I suggest the following, from my experience:

    - Don't blow your brains out each day: Playing mp long tones in the upper range (without over squeezing) can help your air control. Blaring them can wear out your chops when done in excess.
    - Give your lips time to heal: When we play, our lips naturally swell. Massage your lips, ice them, drink plenty of water, and make sure they have time to properly heal for playing the next day.
    - Do a proper warmup in the morning: Doing a light, but complete warmup in the morning can help coordinate your lips and air, and prevent development of poor habits.
    - Hear the notes inside: Practice hearing what you're about to play in your head, before playing it. Your brain and muscles are linked subconsciously, as well as consciously.
    - Have the air work: Make sure you're not forcing or squeezing notes out with your lips, and that enough air is behind the note to support it.

    Best of luck. I'm sure more will have things to say about this, and perhaps there will be debate on my points -- however, I have found them to be invaluable.

    Also read this:
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  3. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Hmm Band directors again? It sounds like a simple case of overtraining there are a number of thread on here at the moment about this "tone is getting progresively worse" what to do after destroying my lips at band camp" all with good advice for people in your situation. We can all mash our lips up a bit for that exta range or endurance etc. tumpet playing has to be a marathon not a sprint, you are hopfully in it for life. Don't kill yourself for a high school sprint because your band director is ove pushing you. I am just using high school as a term I don't quite get the American system, if you aren't a high schooler please don't take offense
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Mark and Corny have nailed it but here's another educated guess you can pretty much bet the farm on:

    TrumpetSaiyan777 is using a huge mouthpiece to blow the jazz first trumpet chair. Guaranteed.

    This is why I'm always harping on you young cats to stop playing hero and get the mouthpiece designed for the job. These kids who are serious about the instrument are always chasing the twin rainbows of big sound in upper register on a too large of a piece.

    I used to do this too back in '72. I had a great High F. Yeah great.

    For five minutes...
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    what did you do all summer??

    The strength and endurance you have now was built over the last 6 months.
  6. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I'm not going to assume that you're squeezing or not, using mpc pressure or not, but I will say that I've used ice for swelling/over playing all of twice in my 40 years of playing. Be VERY careful with that. A little goes a very long way.

    The Power of Rest.

    and sleep!

  7. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    One thing that my teacher always tells me when he pulls out some whacky, technical, or range challenging music is that "they're just dots on the page". Don't get so caught up in trying to play high that you lose your musicality, your balance, tone, tuning, articulation, style and all the rest that makes playing music on the trumpet so amazing and challenging. Don't have a one eyed perspective on this.

    And also, if your band director is wrecking you, stop. Take it down the octave or even move down from lead. It's doing you as much good as being whacked with a hammer on the lips.

    Also, another thing my teacher has taught me well, is you want to feel tired after this kind of thing. Not sore. Make sure you aren't doing yourself more harm than good.
  8. TrumpetSaiyan777

    TrumpetSaiyan777 New Friend

    Dec 4, 2011
    I've been practicing all summer long, and effectively too. My range is usually at about a Double A, and I'm just really frustrated and confused how I can go so far downhill in one day and still be regressing the way I am right now. High C's are extremely weak, and sometimes I can't even play a high D these past few days.

    And much thanks for the great help from everyone, I really appreciate it. I've been taking more breaks and still no good after last Thursday. Over the past few days I've been practicing on the comfortable range and trying to rest, and warming down after every practice session. To be honest, still nothing has changed and it's scary wondering if I can ever get out of this huge breakdown.

    Oh, and I'm a 16 year-old in my last year of High school and I definitely want to keep playing even past college. I've never really had anything like this happen and that's why I'm so lost right now. Thanks again for the help everyone, any more suggestions and help would be great!
  9. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Give it time pal. If as most of us seem to agree you have over trained it will take a while for the muscles to recover, compare it with say a Hamstring or a quad for an athlete they train for weeks after such an injury before they are back to their peak. It sounds as though what you are doing is right phiysicaly. Just don't get tense and change your technique.

    If I can give you an example from my own experience. Not long before an exam iIhad a very heavy chest cold, couldn't get wind through the horn properly. I had to take the exam so inadvertantly I began using a bit of pressure on the face to get me through. Just after my exam my range collapsed and I almost had to go to the begining just to reduce the pressure, it took a good three weeks of playing with the instrument literally held in my finger tips but I got there and by the second week I was almost at peak again.

    Keep at it will come

  10. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    Again: What mouthpiece????

    This is like not knowing if you're at the plate with a whiffle bat or a 32oz Louisville Slugger.

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