Longstanding difficulties

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DISHOA, May 22, 2011.


    DISHOA New Friend

    Mar 31, 2010
    Hi, all trumpet players and fans.
    I've got a serious problem. I've been playing trumpet for about 12 years. Until six year of my career everything was fine. Then I broke my right hand in a elbow and couldn't play for about year because of it. From this point I've started to play with to much pressure. And I've started to feel much tension in my kneck muscles. We were trying to reduce the tension with my teacher doing soft long notes, soft slurs, breathe control techniques like deep breathing and such. But I think, from that point my trumpet play wasn't changed so much, although my techer says something else. I can hardly hit two-lined C and when I play around G one-lined above the staff I can feel the tension in my neck. I have to relax for about two bars, then muscles in my neck become again usable and I can play.

    I'm really frustrated from students playing for about five years and play very relaxed and can hit higher notes notes than me without pressure. When I ask for their secret they often say: "I don't know how I'm doing it, I don't exercise so much, not even every day." I don't really get it. I play every day for about hour and I've got still this issues. I'm trying to take a deep breathe a than play with relaxed soft tone, but it always happned around F or G one-lined. I'll be glad if somebody could help me. Thank you.
  2. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    As soon as you mentioned your neck muscles I wondered what your posture is like. You could be pushing your head forward too much.

    Since you weren't playing for about a year, upon your return you may have used pressure to play the higher range you were able to play before without giving yourself time to recover your former condition, and that's turned into a difficult habit to overcome. I can't imagine your injury directly contributing to this, apart from stopping you from playing for a long time.

    I hope you get better and more insightful advice than my offering, but my suggestions are to investigate some relaxing yet strengthening exercises like yoga or tai chi (and they help your posture), and to consider going back to basics (which you may already be doing) such as described by Greg Spence in his "Mystery to Mastery" book and videos ( Greg Spence - www.mysterytomastery.com )

    Good luck.


    oh, and perhaps look at this thread:
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    So what has changed between the time you were playing fine for 6 years ago and now? We know you broke your right hand and elbow. Has this affected the angle at which you hold your horn to your mouth. If this were the case, you old embouchure may be "fighting" new alpha/beta angles. This is suggested as it appears you are holding your head differently to meet your trumpet half way - neck muscle strain. This in itself can effect airway dynamics.

    So if your elbow/hand anatomy is hindering you this must first be corrected.

    OR did anything happen during this time, such as dental work, motor vehicle injury leading to cervical spinal injury...?

    Helping you without details or seeing you play is going to be more difficult. If you have a video of you playing, this may be very helpful in terms of the great individuals that post on this site to provide you with the best possible feedback.

    DISHOA New Friend

    Mar 31, 2010
    Well, maybe I didn't express it properly. The elbow has nothing to do with it. There's nothing wrong with holding my trumpet I think. The problem was the time spend without the trumpet. I've started to play as soon as I could hold the trumpet again. But without playing the trumpet for a year it was for me difficult to play the same things as before the accident. So it led to using to much pressure, i think. And now, I can't get rid of this habit.
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Ahh Hah, in that case it appears you started on a too vigerous comeback routine. Back of practice time by 50%. Warm up by whole tones for 5-10 minutes, and once you start loosing control in your upper range, stop and wait until the next day to continue. Give this 1-2 weeks and let us know how you are doing.
  6. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

    Jun 4, 2010

    DISHOA New Friend

    Mar 31, 2010
    Thanks for replies!
    I try to play long soft tones with minimal pressure, relax, try not to push too hard. I hope there will be some progress.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Here is something I do with professionals that get into a rut:
    Take a 20 minute hot bath - no books or music, just you and the tub RELAXING. Get out, dry off and then play for 20-30 minutes. Any difference? Try that 2 or 3 times in the next week.

    Change your practice time (yeah, get up 30 minutes earlier and just play real soft long tones or really easy tunes - like out of the hymn book).

    Change the order of your life.

    Many of us play trumpet with whatever time is "leftover". That subconciously puts a value on that time...............................

    If you have been practicing an hour, take a half hour walk first then play. The next day, the other way around.

    Play 10 high Cs before sitting down for dinner (squeak them out if you have to - just do it!). The next day 10 low Gs.

    On the weekend, leave the horn out of the case in the living room and just blow a couple of notes every time that you walk by.

    Forget practicing for a whole week - just play fun tunes any chance that you get.

    I think that you know what I am getting at. You are very concious of everything that you can't do. By mixing your life up, you will give yourself a chance to discover what you CAN. Only by wiping out the current path to destruction can you surprise yourself.

    Try this for a while (like a couple of weeks or even better a month - with no fixed performance goals) and then post back. Success is measured in months and years not days.
  9. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    That is a profound thought. If playing is important, it gets its own dedicated time. Leftover time will be for other things.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Like eating broccoli

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