Less is more??

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by NYCO10, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. NYCO10

    NYCO10 Pianissimo User

    Feb 20, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Hi guys, i have missed 3 days of practice (not intentionally!) and is some what a record (bad of course!) for how long i left the horn in the case for! i picked it up for a quick 15 mins today and noticed how much better my chops felt. I hit a high F with the biggest fatest sound ive ever played! (my usual range is a High E with a struggle) also my tone was alot more relaxed and every aspect in my playing was better. so is this really a case of less is more?? or that generally push myself too hard in practice? have you guys ever experienced this?

    Thanks NYCO10
  2. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Rest is just as important as to how much you play. When we rest that is when your muscles have time to recoop and grow stronger. Just don't put rest higher in importance than proper training. A good balance of the two is advised
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    The feeling and the sound were fleeting situations. You need to establish a "balanced" practice routine.
    I use to practice waaaaay too much and didn't have a routine which ment some areas got overlooked. Think like a body builder in a gym. Make sure to exercise all the major areas.
    Here's Wynton's advice on practicing: Notice that the quality of the practice is more important than quantity of practice
    Three hours will allow you to cover all aspects of playing, but 45-60 minutes is enough for one sitting. The quality of the practice is more important than the length of time it takes.

    Practice has several basic objectives: sound, slurring, tonguing (single, double, triple), phrasing. The Arban book [Arban's Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (Cornet), published by Carl Fischer, 192.] is set up that way.

    Try to get as rich and pure a sound as you can -- an "unbrassy" sound, the kind with no metal in it. Louis Armstrong is a good example. His sound is really bright, but not brassy. It has a core that is warm. During the first 15-20 minutes play long tones, soft, from second line G down to low G. For the next 30-45 minutes work with pages 5 and 6 in the Max Schlossberg book [M. Baron, publisher], varying the dynamics and the tempos. Try to play through every slur, getting an even, round sound on every note, and getting over the breaks in the instrument. Also, exercises 59 and 60 in the Schlossberg book are good to strengthen your lips.

    Take a break.

    Use the Second Study (page 8) in the Herbert L. Clarke Technical Studies [Carl Fischer]. Work on velocity, with a metronome, in major and minor keys. Slur some, tongue some, and double tongue some. Also work on the "kah" syllable. Go straight up the scale, starting with the middle C (exercise 32). In the Arban book there is a series of exercises to work on your single tongue attack. Number 19 on 28 is especially good. Try to get a nice round attack with some "pop" in it.

    Then you can open an etude book. Theo Charlier: Etudes Transcendantes [Leduc] is good for advanced players, or the Arban book for others. Do some double/triple tonguing exercises. That's another hour on tonguing.

    Take a break.

    Now deal a little more with slurring, but not too much; you don't want to kill yourself. Work out of a book like Advanced Lip Flexibilities [Charles Colin, author and publisher]. Then do some phrasing exercises out of the Arban book.

    Finally, play some characteristic studies from Arban, or etudes from Charlier or Schlossberg. When you play these etudes, or any exercise, always go straight through without a stop the first time. Then go back and practice the places you had difficulty. Play everything -- no matter how trivial or trite it might be -- with dynamics and sound and musical expression.
  4. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    I suspect that what we have here can be mimicked in concept with the difference between a good weekend golfer and a pro. Yes the weekender can often hit some massive shots, sink some long long puts, drop under par for a round or three - but the pro does it always. I'm thinkin' that it's much the same with trumpeteers. :dontknow:
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    3 days off means at least 2 weeks getting consistent again.

    I never take notes on the highest notes that I can "hit". I practice so that I can play the parts that are given to me the way they were meant to be played. My daily routine takes me to g above high c. Anything above that is only of interest when I have a gig coming up where I need it. Then I practice that with the type of tone that will be required.

    When I take off a day or two, high notes are NEVER a part of getting back into shape. They are too destructive.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  6. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I have haven't had the horn away from my face for more than 2 days in a row in over 3 years, but clearly you had been playing high notes in practice far too much. I'm going to bet that that 3 days you took off only took your swelling down, which could have been accomplished in far less rest than half a week. When you say "E with a struggle," what are you struggling for? I've wrestled with this for years, but my most productive sessions with the horn are when I practice pp, use discretion and rest, albeit somewhat less than 3 days. Go ahead, test your limits, but you shouldn't struggle with something that should be physically balanced and fun.

    I know it's hard to do when frustrated, but you've got to put it down if you're doing a routine that finds you struggling for anything. Stop, step back from the horn. Nothing to see here, folks, step AWAY from the horn!

  7. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008

    I like the analogy.

    To the OP, get back to us in a week or so and let us know how your range, endurance, tone quality, etc. are doing.

    The saying "If you want to build a tower you must firsk create a solid foundation" applies here.

    Real success won't be gained by NOT playing.
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    It never took me 2 weeks to get consistent again after taking 1-3 days off. Maybe 2-4 days, but never 2 weeks. Robin, the wording and tone of your posts sometimes makes it seem like if you think that if it's a rule for you personnally, then it's a rule for everyone. Not so - not by a long shot.

    But, I agree with everyone who says that balance between practice and rest is important. I read posts from kids entering college that seem to think that practicing trumpet is some kind of endurance activity where they need to work up to practicing 6-8 hours a day. Often those kids will push it and push it, with the end result that they spend too much time breaking their chops down with not enough time letting them recover. I'm an advocate of playing every day to maintain consistency, but there were times when I was doing it full time where I was playing so much, that rather than beating myself up with a practice sessions on an off days such as a weekends, I'd limit it to doing a warm-up routine, coving the basics of technique.

    It was enough to keep things going while also giving my chops a chance to rest. Keep in mind that this might be after a day where I played two full ceremonies plus a concert at the end of the day, and I had no choice but to keep going even though my chops were getting tired and needed the break.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think it is merely our definitions of consistent that differ. Of course I can play gigs so that the other players don't notice within a couple of days. That is not what I mean by consistent. The first two weeks of gigging are MUCH more work after some days off. Consistent for me is when I have the freedom from the mechanical part to invest more in the artistic part. That is 2 weeks, easy.

    In the case of many that ASK the question, it even takes longer because the established habit base is not strong.
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Ok, I see what you are getting at, but still - two weeks? It's quite likely that I've never been at the same place as a player you are, so maybe I was just never at a place where I would be able to note that kind of a fine-tuned difference. I definitely noticed after a couple of days off though, and it lasted for a few days. Brass quintet rehearsals after a couple of days off were a major chore due to my chops having lost their fine tuning. The same thing applied if I came off of a spell of playing a lot of hard, loud jobs such as a string of big band rehearsals and concerts, or a lot of parades and ceremonies. It took a few days for my chops to settle down to a softer, more refined style of playing, but I don't recall that it ever took more than a few days.

Share This Page