I believe I have ran into a problem.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Snuggles, May 3, 2009.

  1. Snuggles

    Snuggles New Friend

    May 3, 2009
    So, I have band auditions tuesday at my high school and the trumpet section is pretty competetive at my school(in skill, we are all friends :p) Anyway, I was practicing for a good part of the day today due to my stubborness of wanting everything be perfect and I think I might have blown out my embouchure. A few minutes earlier I was playing through my piece and I could not sustain tones for a long period of time or hit any notes above C on the second ledger line and the notes below it sound out of tune. How bad do you think my injury is? It's not to the extent of pain, just to where my performance suffers to an extent. Maybe the muscles are just tired?

    Think It will be good by tuesday? I want to do well so I can stay in my higher band. I have a concert tomorrow night as well if that adds to the problem.

    Thanks in advance guys!
  2. SteveB

    SteveB Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 15, 2008
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    If I were you, I would lay back on playing and give it a rest until your auditions on Tuesday to allow your embouchure to recover.

    And unless you're playing first chair in tomorrow night's concert, you might want to "Milli Vanilli" your parts to aid with the healing process.
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    You have an overuse injury. You may be fine tomorrow. Then again, it may take longer.

    If you have a private teacher, let him know, so he/she can guide you through this. It might also be good to let your band director know as well.

    The general approach is to take it easy for the next day or so. Maybe longer, if necessary. For example, stop playing for now. Then tomorrow, start by playing some soft, low long tones (C below the staff to low F#). If it is still hard to play, then stop. Try again in an hour or so. Repeat the process of few times. But don't push yourself until your lips are feeling better.

    There are other measures, which may help a little. These include staying hydrated with non-alcoholic-non-caffeinated liquids, eating reasonable meals, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, ice, and massage.

    The 'Milli Vanilli" suggestion is not a bad idea, if you can swing it.

    Best of luck with this.
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  4. Snuggles

    Snuggles New Friend

    May 3, 2009
    Alright guys, thanks for the suggestions.

    I'll let my chops rest and then hope for the best, I'll also "fake" most if not all of my concert depending on how I feel tomorrow.
  5. aerotim13

    aerotim13 New Friend

    Apr 24, 2009
    Rolla, Missouri
    sometimes i've spent a few weeks practicing real hard every day, and it starts to feel like i just get worse and worse until i pick up the horn and i can't do barely anything, and i'm like, "what gives? i practice all the time?" Then after I just leave it completely alone for a day or two it's loads better
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    the key to success is NOT stretching the envelope right before a concert or auditions. Preparation is a long term goal. I would not lay off. I would play very quiet long tones and easy tunes in the staff (also pianissimo). Changing a routine in a major way right before auditions is not sensible. Laying off will not help your consistency TOMORROW.

    Playing trumpet is not multiple choice. You can't cram musicality right before an important gig. If you went into overload, you just will have to accept that there will be a couple days of pain. Don't aggrevate it by beating yourself up more.

    We really can't quantify your problem. We haven't heard you play, don't know how you played before you overdid it and can only guess why you didn't notice that your chops were getting tired.

    One thing is critical though, don't go into the audition whining. Walk in like NOTHING has happened. Push any questions or doubts out of your head. A professional attitude is the best recipe for placing well. You can't change history, so grin and bear it.
  7. westyz61

    westyz61 New Friend

    Hear hear Rowuk! All worthwhile results are from a long term regime, with effective rest periods. Playing trumpet is very physical and as such must be treated as any other physical exercise. A basic understanding of how muscles work will help, and a useful article can be found at:

    Breaking It Down: Physiology, Running and Recovery | Active.com

    It has a lot of technical stuff in there, but you will get the general idea. I find my chops feel best after a day off, BUT only after several solid days of sensible practice.

    So, Snuggles, it sounds like your chops were swollen, no biggy, rest should help, also ice, like a sporting injury, should recover the next day.I'm not saying you haven't, but plan a long way ahead, build your practice towards the day, rest when tired. I find when I get tired I have to be more careful not to neglect the key thoughts regarding support, pressure, etc., all the things your teacher probably nags about. Get this stuff right and you can concentrate on and enjoy the music!

    Good luck (tomorrow?)
  8. Fluffy615

    Fluffy615 Piano User

    Nov 30, 2006
    New Jersey
    Rowuk makes a good point, we have never heard you play. We don't know anything about you. Given that, I know something that has helped me in similar situations. First of all is rest. If you can take a day off do it. When you first pick up your horn play the quitest second line G that you can and hold it for 4-8 beats. Rest and repeat as many times as you want to. This helps to focus your embochure. Next play the same G, you can use a little more volume, but keep it no more than MF, hold for 2 beats and lip bend down to F# and back. Lip bending means to slur down the half step to F#, no fingers. It might sound weird. Try doing that Chromatically all the way down to low F#. Play the G to F# sharp normally first, than with the lip bend. This way the note is in your ear. This has helped me a great deal. I hope it helps, good luck.
  9. aerotim13

    aerotim13 New Friend

    Apr 24, 2009
    Rolla, Missouri
    This is something I need to remember for myself more often.
  10. Snuggles

    Snuggles New Friend

    May 3, 2009
    Just to answer a few "up in the air" questions in this thread about me personally.

    My playing skill is all state at best and I'm a sucker for technique so I really pay attention to it. I think yesterday I just played to much and something absent mindedly was not "refined" (as in I may have used to much pressure. Who knows?)
    Today though everything is good. I did a quick run through of my stuff. Its pretty darn good, I just have to have better breathing points as the piece has no rests at all and no breath marks in the music.. I'll just have to sneak some in if anything.

    Thanks again though folks.


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