I have to start all over again.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by thaibo93, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Creaphis

    Creaphis New Friend

    Dec 21, 2009
    I'd just like to pop in here to sympathize, and to share a personal observation: to have your musical tastes develop in sync with the development of your physical ability as a player is a luxury that you never know you have until you lose it. I'm another one of these "starting over" stories, and the only things I'm able to play right now are things I no longer have much interest in playing. It's a difficult situation.
  2. thaibo93

    thaibo93 New Friend

    Oct 5, 2009
    Well Rowuk, you are half right. I DID REALLY screw up on my solo. Yes it was very bad. I had to test off the Hummel concerto, and it was just bits and pieces of it. So yes I did screw up, badly. I tired out half way through it and I was quite nervous. But as far as being lazy, I have to disagree. My conductor knows me as one of the most hardworking trumpets in the band. Of course, I can always practice more but I KNOW that I worked very hard to get where I am.

    I have actually thought that my fatigue problems came from not practicing enough, so...I practiced more. This helped my playing a whole lot, but my range and fatigue issues seemed to remain. My director and I have had several discussions about my range and my fatigue issues, and so I feel that he moved me down because my range sucks. Now as far as FIXING my range and fatigue problems, both my director and his "assistant" dude agreed that it was pressure holding me back. When I asked him why he moved me down, he said that he didn't want to put stress on me to play high notes in order to efficiently put time into playing with less pressure.

    And although I DO whine a lot:D I just want to learn some ways to practice more EFFICIENTLY. I know in the end, you can only blame so much on technique and bad teaching. Don't worry, other things in life have taught me that the best way to get better is just to practice more. But extra help would be appreciated. :-)
  3. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    With all due respect, there is no "half right" here. You screwed up a solo which led to your "demotion" and although it may not be due to being lazy, it is surely an issue of neglecting a part of your playing that might have prevented this from happening, and that includes what Bill Adam would attribute to 90% of successful brassmanship: mental. If you're getting fatigued halfway through a solo of something you practiced more of, your head is getting in the way of your success. Perhaps the handwriting was on the wall when you were missing some higher notes at rehearsal and you found your shirtsleeve with your chops, trumpet hanging down between your legs, shaking your head wondering "why me, why now." I've been there, and when the brain stops doing it's job you might as well be playing tuba. ;-)

    And sorry, a 1C and you're getting tired? That's a big DOOH! Get a 3C or so and work low to get high. Consider some relaxation techniques, deep breathing, tension reducers that are causing your chops to contract more than they should (and a 1C will force your chops to do more compression than otherwise in the upper register).

    Want to play lead? Watch a video of Lynn Nicholson playing on YouTube: you've never seen a more relaxed approach. You may not like or want his sound, but you can't argue with a double C that looks like a low one.

    Good luck and happy holidaze,
  4. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    I read once that the great Louis Armstrong played with too much pressure during his earlier years and it began to cause him trouble. If I recall, he amended his ways and learned to play with less pressure and the rest is history.

    Don't know if the story is true, but others may know the history of Louis Armstrong better and may chime in with the rest of the story.

    Best wishes,

  5. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    Louis Armstrong played with so much pressure that his lip BURST open while he was in France. This almost did his career in. So yes, he did amend his ways after that.

    There really is no such thing as playing without pressure, and a man who tells you that it is possible is a liar. A 1C mouthpiece is gigantic for any player, but it really is a monster for a student.

    I'd suggest finding a new trumpet teacher, one who will actually teach you to play trumpet more efficiently. I had an embouchure change for similar reasons. It was the very first lesson I ever had with a teacher back in high school. However, from that everything found its place again.
  6. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I have to disagree that a 1C is gigantic -- depending on one's philosophy of mouthpiece usage and where it fits in the overall scheme of playing the trumpet, the 1C (or others of similar size) may be the correct size and all smaller mouthpieces are simply way too small for proper playing. :-)

    Personally, I would never advise anybody I can't see and hear about what size mouthpiece they should be using other than to tell them to go to a music store and try as many as they can, of different rim shapes and cup depths and throat openings until they find one which allows them to play with the least amount of pressure with the best tone at soft as well as loud volumes, and not to worry about range at all.

    Range will come when the player has mastered control of the breath and when the player works in a conscientious manner with daily practice routines which incorporate exercises which slowly and gradually expand the range.

    Laziness isn't necessarily the cause of poor playing -- practicing too much can be just as bad as not practicing enough, and using a mouthpiece/trumpet combination which doesn't fit the player properly can virtually ensure that a person never plays his/her best.

    One more point to keep in mind is that many teachers approach their teaching with the attitude "this worked for me and so it will obviously work for you" -- that kind of teacher shouldn't be allowed to teach, in my opinion. A good teacher, in my opinion, will be armed with many different approaches and will experiment along with the student to help that student find the right combination of factors and music which will allow that student to become the trumpet player he/she wants to be. And if it involves playing on a 1C then that's fine. If it involves playing on a 10-1/2-C, that's fine, too.
  7. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    It has been my experience that most chops, articulation, and endurance problems are really air problems. I would suggest that you find a good trumpet teacher who can guide you through the fundamentals of sound and breath support (Wind and Song?). If you let us know your general location you are sure to get some good referrals from the pros on this forum.
  8. Masterwannabe

    Masterwannabe Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 11, 2009
    The move down sounds kind of drastic to me. If you really do have a pressure issue and I would think most young players do, the old adage of practice, practice, practice should be the first place to start. I have a granddaughter learning to play and we have had difficulty trying to find a teacher or her (she has to settle for what I can teach her on occasional visits) but she has managed to be sitting 2nd chair 1st trumpet in her high school band (she is in the 9th grade).

    I think the best single thing one can do to improve their playing is to play as soft as they can for their entire practice session. I am going thru this process myself as up until a year and a half ago I only played very occasionally. I am now playing twice a week in two groups and every Sunday at church. I try to practice at least 1 hour a day and have just recently taken up this philosophy of soft practice, in the last month it has made a quite noticeable difference, especially in slurs.

    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    there is no half right here and the solo was not the reason for your "demotion". No band director would move a player from first to third because of one event. There is a much bigger picture here that you are apparently missing.

    Lazy does not mean that you play too little. Lazy means that you are not working on the things that are good for you. It means that you take the easy way out when confronted with challenges. There is something fundemental that your director is looking for that you obviously don't presently have. We only have your description of the situation so it makes little sense to make big guesses. I suspect if you start playing a lot more long tones, scales and slurs as well as easy tunes, you could get your playing into shape and increase your chances of moving up.

    Moving a player from first to third shows that the director has little confidence for the short term. That impression is basically your "reputation". You need to convey the impression of "solid" and that means basic skills have to be 100%.
  10. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    Thank you very much for the "Louis Armstrong" information. I knew that something occurred in his life due to "pressure issues" and he had to make corrections in "lessening" the pressure used. I enjoy watching and listening to Louis Armstrong in his performances on YouTube. He was quite the performer.

    Best wishes,


Share This Page