Lip Care question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by garmeth, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. garmeth

    garmeth New Friend

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    So when I'm practicing I now use the system where I play like 20 minutes , or a set period of time and then allow for rest and then I repeat. When my lips start to get really tired my articulations, usually starting at about an F on the staff, start to become really really bad and the more fatigue I continue to accumulate the more delay there is between the time when I tongue and the time where tone starts to produce and my lips buzz. Eventually it escalates to the point of I can't tongue high notes mainly above an A above the staff at all and just air comes out. So I have 4 questions concerning this issue.


    - If I want to get better is it ok to practice in this lip condition?

    - Since my articulations start to suffer and my range dies out what can I still practice at this state of bad lip strength? As in, should I try to work on things more demanding like double tounging or take it easy and practice lyrical stuff and long tones? I would also like to add that lower notes still have my same tone quality even when I'm tired. I don't sound like a train wreck, but I just can't play high well.

    - Is the goal of a long practice session to make your lips sore? Should my lips feel sore at the end of a PRODUCTIVE practice session?

    - Is there a limit and a point where I can damage my lips?
     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    No

    Nothing. It is time to put the horn down at this point.

    The goal of a long practice session is to make it through a series of performance tasks to achieve improvement and advancement without losing accuracy or feeling sore. If the session is productive, there should be no sore feeling. If the session is destructive, there is loss of control and the sore feeling follows. It takes appropriate rehearsal technique to build up to achieving this amount of stamina.

    Yes, and you have reached that point.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Lips are primarily muscle. They therefore obay the rules of muscle physiology. The first sign of musle strain is fatigue, or loosing control of notes. As muscle strain progresses, fiber breakdown begins and strain progresses to further muscle tear. If we are lucky, time heals and the edema (swelling) resolves. But if luck fails us OR we continue to damage more muscle, little guys known as fibroblasts start repairing damage. Fibroblasts do not lay down replacement muscle, they lay down scar. Scared muscle does not function as smoothly as units as the original muscle bundles. The process continues and spirals into chaos.

    Medscape: Medscape Access
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  4. Brad-K

    Brad-K Piano User

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    Great reply gmonady, but I'm still not calling you "Doc." There is only one Doc in the trumpet world...and, sorry to say, you ain't him.;-)
     
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Here too is an exerpt from O.J.s Trumpet Page. Individuals such as rowuk quote from these pages from time to time:

    Dealing with Embouchure Malaises, Lip Pain, and Playing Injuries

    Players are largely unaware of how their chops feel until they stop working properly or begin to hurt. When a player notes a difference in the strong, familiar, secure, comfortable embouchure sensations he has always enjoyed in the past, the cause is a change in his playing mechanics. Most players can't believe their chop problem could be caused by something so simple--so obvious. But such changes can occur from mindless playing, bad habits, chronic muscle fatigue, lip swelling and bruising, or from an underlying medical or dental condition which has caused a player to defer to pain or weakness... Brass players have a wonderful built in alarm system which can alert them to mechanical problems and chop injuries: chronic fatigue, stiffness, swelling, and pain--and in that order. The first three are early warning signs. The fourth should be considered a kick in the tush to get your attention. If you are suffering from all four at the same time and for an extended period of time, you probably have a playing injury.

    Without a doubt, chronic, recurring lip pain is an indication of damage to the lip. Players have to understand, once the pain becomes chronic, the ball has been set into motion for a serious, debilitating lip injury. They also have to understand that "fixing" the lip is not going to be easy. While resting the lip and allowing it to heal is essential, returning to playing with the same flawed mechanics which caused the damage in the first place will only cause a player to re-injure himself. Correcting one's own playing mechanics, which have always operated at a subconscious level, is a very lengthy, frustrating, and frightening project. But it's something that only the player can do himself. Only a player knows how his lip feels and how his embouchure responds in playing, and only a player can calibrate the muscle systems which comprise his personal embouchure mechanism...
     
  6. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

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    Stop practicing BEFORE you can hear it in your sound.. so you never get stretched too far. Then you also recover faster.
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I understand... Nor do I want to play like Doc... Don't missuderstand my response. Doc is one of the greatest, both as a trumpet player and an entertainer. He is a role model for many, and a far greater player than I am at this point in my career... AND as to the point of this thread... talk about building endurance. Doc excels here once again.

    But I personally strive to play with my own style and my own sound, and therefore do not even want to be confused with that Doc.
     
  8. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Great advice by gmonady.

    Let me add that it might help if you break up your practice time into small increments of 10 to 15 minutes each. You may get better results from four 15-minute sessions, than a single 60-minute session.

    Another way of looking at it ... Whenever I put the horn down when practicing, I always have some fuel left in the tank.

    Mike
     
  9. garmeth

    garmeth New Friend

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    Dec 4, 2010
    Damn..... So I shouldn't even be a little tired when doing lip slurs??
     
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Tired yes. Exhausted no.

    Mike
     

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