Increasing range and stamina for player with braces?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by madmattm, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. madmattm

    madmattm New Friend

    Jun 13, 2009
    Hi I've had braces few a few months and am now getting used to them but stamina and range are both still big problems. I can play for long stretches of time but with breaks - in short, I can't play more than a few bars of a piece without becoming out of breath.

    Any ideas on how to improve my stamina?

    I am more worried about stamina rather than range at the moment.

    Thankyou :-)
  2. sjk

    sjk New Friend

    Apr 10, 2008
    Are you out of air and need to breath, or do you feel like you have too much air left in your lungs and can't get it all out?

    If your problem is the first notion, then just breath in an appropriate place and continue playing.
    If you can do that and your problem seems more like the second idea, then you need to work on exhaling more air as you play and not holding the air back with tension, normally caused by the tongue and throat. A couple things to help this are playing lyrical studies as beautifully as you can, try to sound like you are singing them, no large gaps between notes. Mouthpiece buzzing and leadpipe buzzing may also help.
  3. madmattm

    madmattm New Friend

    Jun 13, 2009
    Hi sjk,

    Even if I take another breath, it feels as though my chops have gone and I can breathe in as deep as I can and I can hardly play an E on the stave and my sound is terrible. Also, when I'm playing, my sound is bad and you can hear a lot of air escaping through my lips sometimes. :dontknow:


  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    I can't tell you that my solution is absolute, but, it has worked for several of my students with braces.

    Before taking a deep breath, exhaust as much air from your lungs as you can force out. This will get rid of the majority of the carbon dioxide in your lungs. The higher the concentration of CO2 in your lungs, the sooner you have to grab a new breath. Take in a deep breath and start to play any low tone, C below the staff works well. This low tone should be played as softly as you possibly can without allowing the intonation or the volume to vary. The principle is that you will be controlling your breathing and playing with total control, with minimal lip pressure. This will develope muscle in your chops that will soon allow you to play comfortably up to most any REASONABLE note just above the staff.

  5. madmattm

    madmattm New Friend

    Jun 13, 2009
    Thanks oldlou :-)
    i will try that tomorrow :-)
  6. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    When I had braces, I used while teflon plumbers tape over the front four brackets, top and bottom. I took a longer piece, folded it over a couple times and trimmed it to the right size. It won't solve all your problems, but it might make it a lot less painful and it works far better than wax or anything else I've ever seen.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Defining "stamina" is an important thing here.

    When a student gets braces, the entire geometry of the embouchure changes. This, like any embouchure change will take time and comes easiest when the player plays long tones and slurs VERY softly of course with the big breath we should always be taking. You just need to spend MORE time playing with LESS impact.
    Our brain/ears have expectations when we play and because of the new situation, they don't get what they are used to, so we compensate.

    The "light" pressure that worked before also now results in pain.

    There are several things that one can use to insulate the lips from the brackets:
    teflon tape
    chewing gum

    The most important thing however is to get the expectations in line with reality. During the time that you are rebuilding, you need to avoid things that would waste your face.

    This is simply the price trumpeters pay for keeping dentists fed. When I was young my dentist said tht I would have to stop playing trumpet for 2 years. I got up out of the chair and told my parents that we can go home. I would not accept the braces or any dentist that said something like that. My teeth are still crooked but in great shape (I found another dentist). I have range, endurance, a good job, a lovely wife, 4 (grown up) kids and no psychological issues due to the non-perfect geometry. I question the PAIN that kids are put through in the name of cosmetics.

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