Initial Attack Anxiety

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tylertrumpet, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. tylertrumpet

    tylertrumpet New Friend

    Jan 5, 2010
    South Dakota
    Hey. I recently joined and I want to get your opinion and something that has been plagueing me for a while now. But first, a brief background on me: I am a senior in college and I am working on my senior recital. (playing Torelli conerto in D on picc., haydn mvnt 1, arban Fantasie Brilliante Theme and Variations, and Flor Peeters Sonata. The last three all on Bb trumpet.) I consider myself an experienced player and take my instrument seriously. Recently, about the last 6 months or so, I have been plagued with what i consider an initial attack anxiety. When I put the horn up to my face I feel uncomfortable and anxious. I breath in, and then feel choked up. Like my tounge wont fire, and I end up holding in my breath for a few seconds until i splurt out a sound. I think I am getting caught up in the mechanics rather than relaxing and just playing. Can anyone offer up any information the attack? Any exercises to overcome the choking feelings and help my attacks? Thanks!
  2. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Sounds like the problem is in your head, so there may be some ways to deal with it that have nothing to do with trumpet technique. Maybe that should be your first stop.

    However, one way to make anxiety go away is to become so good at something that you'll always feel you have a margin. The studies on emission of Merri Franquin's method were praised by Pierre Thibaud, Maurice Andre and Guy Touvron. Perhaps you can give it a try. Take that with a grain of salt, I'm an amateur who never had to deal with any difficulty comparable to the stuff you routinely practice.

    Quote from Maurice Andre: "the great method which I practiced with M. Barthélémy, that of Merri Franquin. Yes, the method .. the question of soft and loud attacks, all kinds of tonguing. He stuffed me full of these tonguing exercises, pianissimo without forcing the high register or the low. You know, looking back I look on Franquin's method as one of the best."
  3. tylertrumpet

    tylertrumpet New Friend

    Jan 5, 2010
    South Dakota
    Yeah I definitely realize a bunch of it is in my head. I've been looking at some other posts and think i might try going with the breath attack route, and then add the tongue.
  4. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Just a thought - don't breathe too early - just in time works for me, otherwise I tense up very quickly - breathe in and play.
  5. Bixel

    Bixel Pianissimo User

    Jan 1, 2010
    ...and in between breathe out really deeply!

    When anxious one often breathes on a too high "air tank level".
    So unloading the air tank consciously might be a help sometimes - and aids resolving tensions.

  6. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    You may want to tap your feet before your entrance........use your feet almost like a conducters baton. You may also want to subdivide you last foot tap......on the last tap, tap 2 eighths beats with your foot(as compared to the quaters your were tapping before). This sort of winds you up before your entrance as compared to coming in cold.
  7. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    Along with tapping your foot, swallow
  8. peteb

    peteb New Friend

    Dec 16, 2009
    Greeley, CO
    In order to become better at something, we have to practice it. Thus, practice first attacks. Tap your foot, subdivide, breathe, and play the first note or two of each piece. Do this for all of the entrances in the pieces.
    Another idea I got from my undergrad teacher is to play a pick-up note to the first attack, (ie. if the first pitch is a C, play a G pick-up). That way you get used to it not being a first attack and you can just play. The problem is you have to keep the same mind set while dropping the pick-up.
    Just some thoughts...
  9. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    I've been in your situation and appreciate how painful it can be.

    For a start, here is a respected program on dealing with anxiety:
    Midwest Center - Home

  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown

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