Interesting Fatigue Issue

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by usamablackbelt, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. usamablackbelt

    usamablackbelt New Friend

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    Jun 2, 2010
    Hey, so this is my first post, so let me give some background, then my issue.

    I've been playing for about 10 years now, have a Strad, and use one of those interchangable Warburton's for my mouthpiece. I have a range up to C, sometimes up to Eb (above the staff).

    Anyway, I've been encorperating Caruso exercises into my routine when I play. I make a conscious effort to not use too much mouthpiece pressure, to stay relaxed, and take very deep breaths. However, instead of getting that numb, flabby feeling in my lips, they just straight up stop vibrating. I won't even be exhausted (I think) and they'll just stop. I've tried increasing air flow, making sure my mouth is open, and all that, but it doesn't really change that. Keep in mind this happens to notes I can actually hit (usually D) and has no effect on my overall stamina.

    Do you guys have any ideas? I feel like it's been stopping me for a bit.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It sounds to me like you just have weak chops. There is no definition in the vibrating area when using little mouthpiece pressure if the muscles are not doing their thing.

    Does more pressure help? (try it)

    Pressure is a legitimate stage in every trumpeters development.

    The second thing that comes to mind is the use of a too shallow mouthpiece (and weak chops). Then it is very possible that the lips bottom out and stop vibrating. A deeper mouthpiece or more chop control would be the answer here.
     
  3. usamablackbelt

    usamablackbelt New Friend

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    Jun 2, 2010
    Thanks Rowuk. How much pressure then is healthy? I know using all pressure is a horrible idea. And, as always, I guess practice will give me stronger chops? :p
     
  4. Kima

    Kima New Friend

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    This was interesting, because the problem you describe seems very similar to mine, - difference being that Iam a comeback player with less than 9 months back on the horn.... I am blaming this on lactic acid as it feels somewhat similar to other exercise experience I have had. -At some point my lips will stiffen abruptly and with little "warning", something I have thought would pass by itself after a few more months of practice. -

    Then I get a little "disturbed" by the fact that both you and other players state that your range (after 10 years?) is up to Eb above the staff.
    Well mine (or so I thought) after only 9 months of comeback playing is G above the staff.
    Maybe my problem is that I'm pushing too much, too fast? (How patient does one have to be with this instrument..?!) - Most music I want to play, requires this range, even if it is not technically demanding (I am not by any means very good technically).
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Pressure is NOT a horrible idea. It may not be "best choice" but it works for most every player regardless of their standing. Even the finest professionals have to use pressure when the day is too long.

    My stand is to do what works and then think about making it better. Do NOT sacrifice music for some theory that low pressure is better. You do not get an award for low right arm strength when playing. What is rated is what comes out of the bell.

    Once we are playing reliably, we add more intense things like lipslurs to strengthen the chops. The pressure then generally goes away WITHOUT thinking about it.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Lactic acid is NOT applicable to our embouchures. Patience is ALWAYS balanced by how much you need vs how much you invest. Intelligent practice produces results which then keep the patience factor down. Dumb practice habits increase the amount of patience that you and your teacher need.
     
  7. Kima

    Kima New Friend

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    Really? - That was how I have thought about always, - also when I was a playing as a kid.
    (Probably kept too much company wtih athletes, then, and wanted to compare!:D)
     
  8. usamablackbelt

    usamablackbelt New Friend

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    Jun 2, 2010
    Kima, keep in mind that I don't usually keep a rigorous practice schedule. I usually play heavily in the fall and moderately every other time. I'm also only 20, so I didn't even know how to practice until 10th grade or so. I actually consider my Eb not bad considering how much I heavily practice. If I practiced way more (and was at a music school instead of an engineering school) then I'd probably be way better. I hope that explains my less-than-desirable range. :p

    I'll try using more pressure and see if that does anything. Thanks for the input Rowuk. I really appreciate your help, guys. :)
     
  9. Kima

    Kima New Friend

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    Then you have plenty of time to reach the G and even higher! :-) I was just concerned that it should take me as many years to get my chops in shape - and I am more than twice your age so I don't have all the time in the world!....

    When I started playing as a kid, I had a somewhat similar experience to yours, I had played for 3- 4 years before a "proper" teacher came along.

    Good luck with your practice!

    I just looked up this article, suggesting it is: http://www.trumpetguild.org/pdf/2000journal/0003purs.pdf. But I may have got the concept mixed up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Lactic acid may not be applicable to the lips themselves, but it's certainly applicable to the face muscles that can and do get sore after a long, blow-out night on a gig.

    Pressure - it's an interesting topic when it comes to the horn. I find that if I'm doing a lot of hard, loud playing, I'll get to a point where I'm using pressure just to get my ebouchure to speak. That's usually the result of blowing my aperture and focus out by blowing too hard and too loud and not getting my chops back in order between gigs. When that happens I need to get back in the practice room and consciously think about using less pressure and getting my chops to focus again.

    Having said all of that, a certain amount of pressure is required for me to play in my upper register, which incidentally is much the same as yours.

    I think that a lot of players get side tracked doing exercises that while may be good intentioned, can actually be a detriment to their chops if not approached the right way and care isn't taken to maintain good chops focus. I think that in trying to muscle your way around certain types of exercises, the aperture and focus gets blown out. It's always a delicate balance. My opinion and worthless 2ยข of course.
     

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