Hurt Embouchure...badly

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by shakes, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. shakes

    shakes New Friend

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    Oct 10, 2009
    Okay, I did something very stupid a long while ago as a sophmore in college (I'm 26 now). Looking back I wonder how I could make such a foolish mistake.

    I've always known when to stop when I got tired. If things were getting sore I put the horn down.

    I was playing lead in a lab band in college. I was not intending to be the lead player. But the original lead player stepped down and I was the next best thing.

    Things were fine for the first 3 months. My range actually increased because I was playing high notes so often. I was spitting out E's though my F's and G's were squeeky and well, not really that usable.

    So one day in class I was fraking and getting a lot of sloppy attacks on my high notes.

    Angry, as soon as class was over I headed up to the practice room and pounded away at my face. I played my lines over and over until I realized my face felt pretty sore. I was thinking why the hell did I do that?

    The next day I continued the pounding I couldn't make it through a chart in jazz band. My ego did not allow myself to just taking things down, I wanted to play all the notes. I was really hurting afterwards. My face felt stiff and painful.

    It was so bad I just couldn't recover. I had to find a replacement for the jazz concert as well. I was able to get a grad student to read my stuff thank god.

    I took 3 years off from playing. I tried playing again but only felt pain. Everything I play is a tad flat because I can't get a tight enough embouchure. I waited another 2 years and things just didn't improve.

    I play a lot of piano as a substitute.

    What my real question is how do I know if things are permanent? Do people recover from these types of injuries? I realize the muscles that control the embouchure are delicate. I mean what are my chances here?
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Not permanent, but habits are what get instant recall.
    If you are REALLY interested, you will need to develop new habits. That means you start in the staff, softly, playing long tones, easy slurs and easy tunes. Resist the urge for high and loud. Build a solid foundation with that for 1 or better, 2 months then start to expand - slowly and softly. Take a year of 2nd /3rd trumpet stuff to keep from going back to "dumb".

    Watch out for pressure on the upper lip. That is most likely a big part of your problem.

    The regenerative powers of the human body are nothing short of MIRACULOUS. The brains storage powers surrounding bad habits is also one of the most powerful aspects of our being. That is why it is so important to have a guardian angel as a teacher during the formative years!
     
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    If you actually did tear muscle tissue, you might have to adjust your mouthpiece placement,to a position that feels comfortable and doesn't hurt.
     
  4. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    What were you playing that caused you to feel pain again? I agree with Rowuk about habits and recall, and the need to start back very slowly. I realize this is easier said than done, and is something I continue to struggle with as a comeback player.
     
  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    You are not alone when it come to hurt lips.
    Great little story:
    Rafeal Mendez once had his lip hurt so bad that he had to stop playing. As the story goes, Mendez was standing by a door getting ready to play and a tuba player (who was late) swung open the door smacking mendez in the mouth. Mendez continued to play but the area where the door hit him on the lip kept getting more infected. He eventually went to Mexico where a physician took a hot piece of metal and burned the infection(which was from the lip up to the bottom of the nose) out.
    The physician said to Mendez "Its gonna look ugly but its nothing. It will heal and you will be back to playing in time"
    Mendez was then given a mirror and saw that the doctor had burned a hole into his lip and up to the nose. The hole was big enough to put a cigarette in it.
    Well needless to say, Mendez was horrified and sure that his trumpet days were over.
    As the wound healed, Mendez got with his father (the person who taught him trumpet to begin with) and his father agreed to help him under two conditions;
    "You play what I tell you and when I tell you"
    Mendez's father started him out buzzing on a mouthpiece.
    Of course Mendez was pissed at his father's instruction and didn't like the SLOW pace. However, this recipe of "slow and easy" worked.
    With that said, Rowuk recommends:
    If you are REALLY interested, you will need to develop new habits. That means you start in the staff, softly, playing long tones, easy slurs and easy tunes. Resist the urge for high and loud. Build a solid foundation with that for 1 or better, 2 months then start to expand - slowly and softly. Take a year of 2nd /3rd trumpet stuff to keep from going back to "dumb".
    I'd listen to rowuk. It won't come overnight just like it didn't for Mendez. But, if you work soft, easy and resist the urge to hit the gas peddle, it will come back.
    Good luck
     
  6. shakes

    shakes New Friend

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    Oct 10, 2009
    Any kind of playing causes pain.

    If I play at or above tuning C things hurt more so. Plus those notes around C (A# up to D) are pretty flat. Playing above D is a no no for me.

    Though if at a low C is somewhat relaxing.

    I'm not sure if muscles are torn. But I know my lips are perfectly fine. Very healthy, no bruising or splitting.

    It's very difficult to hold back. I desperately want to "check" to see if I can sneak out the E's I used to. But I know I can't, so to I know I need to resist any urge to do so.
     
  7. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    IMHO, I still think it's more likely a question of planning your comeback slowly and addressing bad habits.

    But since you mentioned it, maybe it's worth considering whether or not you more permanently damaged something. FWIW, even if you did tear a muscle, it doesn't mean that surgery is necessarily the best option (or the only option) for you. Also the rehab after surgery will take months to years.

    There are a couple people out there on TM (or maybe TH) that had "the surgery" to remove scar tissue from a torn muscle sheath in their lip. I also know that Wayne Cameron (www.WayneCameron.com), a trumpet teacher in the Baltimore area, had the surgery, and is happy to talk about it with others.
     
  8. shakes

    shakes New Friend

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    Oct 10, 2009
    Cool, thanks.
     

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