Mental Problems

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by VetPsychWars, May 29, 2012.

  1. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    I have a weird problem and I am at a loss as to how to fix it.

    I have a variety of horns I can play. They all play well for me, though they don't all sound the same.

    I can play any of them for practice for a long time at a stretch... 45 minutes to 60 minutes, sometimes longer, play a little, rest a little, and so forth.

    The instant I try to play any music... any music... I lose endurance. I can just barely get through a two-hour community band rehearsal, and I don't always make it all of the way through the concert.

    This has been going on for a while; in fact, during my senior year of high school, I had similar problems, where I had never had them before.

    So, there's obviously something I'm doing differently when I'm playing music. I'm putting in a lot of extra effort for some reason. But so far I haven't found a way to stop that.

    If anyone has any ideas (yeah, get a teacher, blah blah, there's not exactly a large number of them here in Milwaukee), I'd be wanting to hear them.


  2. Pat S

    Pat S Piano User

    Jan 28, 2012
    San Antonio
    Do you over-practice and blow out your chops in the few days before an event?
  3. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Do you lose endurance in a different venue? If you practice alone in smaller rooms you probably don't blow as hard and so won't tire as quickly there. Do you drink enough water where you are detecting your issues?

    Just some thoughts, I used to have worse endurance compared to today but before I used to overblow all the time. Our show runs for three hours now with no breaks (but small pauses every 3 songs or so, and a few hornless numbers) and that's proving no problem so long as I don't overblow.

  4. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Nope. That's just a symptom. Any time I play music versus exercise, I change what I'm doing and use a lot of effort, thereby wearing myself out.

    I practice in a large storage room.

    It's definitely related to music versus exercises. Maybe I'm thinking it doesn't matter so much how the exercises sound instead of the music? Whatever it is, I need to learn to stop doing it!

  5. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    Also... There are other trumpet players that might blow harder than is efficient to play their parts. I have much more endurance playing by nyself or playing a job where I am the only trumpet with a sax or two, maybe a trombone... The point is, I hear my part well enough that I only push it when warranted to get the sound i want. That's a lot different from playing with people that have less "finesse" in their arsenal. It tires you out quicker to compensate for the higher threshold of sound.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    your "symptom" is actually quite common.

    It could be a variety of things, but the odds are that your breathing is off in ensemble. That often is an issue with a conductor that does not conduct the inhale but can also be the player not taking the cue. I watch my students in their bands. It is amazing how the phrasing goes south when it is not as diligently practiced as much as the notes.

    This is also a common issue with "free blowing" horn and mouthpiece combinations. When there is audible competition, we do not hear ourselves as well (especially with dark sounding horns.....) and we play harder - our "practiced" breathing is no longer adequate.

    When you practice by yourself, you start and stop the sound when YOU want to. There is no rhythmic tension. The same applies to a predictable metronome.

    So, that is my analysis. What do we do about it?

    1) put breathing marks in your sheet music - ALL OF THEM. Stick to them.
    2) use your brightest sounding horn and mouthpiece for a while. You will hear yourself better and play less loudly.
    3) get a hearing test. This is no joke. I get my ears regularly cleaned by an ENT doc. About 20 years ago I was having issues understanding people when I didn't have visible contact. The problem was me cleaning my own ears with Q-tips and pushing the cerumen deeper into the ear canal. Talk about waxing eloquently........... The doc pulled out the plug (I had no idea how big my ear canal was.......) and I have been sold on the concept ever since.
    4) get the conductor to really polish the start of a piece giving the initial breath enough room
    5) use at least a whole bar to suck up enough air
    6) when the band is playing loudly, point your bell at the stand and get more reflected back to your ears.
    7) Google my circle of breath and learn where the top of the circle is, learn NOT to inhale, hold air in and then start playing. Exhale(play) starts immediately after you have filled up - not out of round circle!
    8) find a duet buddy and practice the techniques mentioned in an easier venue.
  7. fuzzyhaze

    fuzzyhaze Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 22, 2009
    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK
    This is a great thread! It's a truly useful one that relates to the difference between home practise and playing out there, with other people. I'm not going to suggest any 'remedies' I wouldn't be so bold! But, I can totally relate to this. Being able to do stuff in my work outs but somehow not being able to transfer them across to the playing (with others) situation and loss of stamina etc. Thankyou very much for bringing this up!
  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I'll ad that playing with an ensemble at a dictated tempo and dynamics can be quite a bit different than personal practice, even on the same music. When you play at your own volume and pace (with breaks when you need them), it's easier. The ensemble is the same yardstick I use to evaluate a horn, too. What seems like a great horn in my practice room can end up being a bear to play well in an ensemble. The proof is in the pudding.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    The concept of playing with others is the very rationale why I prefer to tutor in groups of four rather than individually, viz I am not tutoring soloists, I'm tutoring future members of an ensenble, band or orchestra. Needless to say, they then share equally the cost of each session which divided is 1/4th what I'd charge individually. So far I don't have any problem with addressing individual issues and as I do the others learn of these. Another advantage I find is it develops a competition between them as relys on their home practice.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    IMO, there is always the stress of actual performance. Also it may help to develop and extend your practice sessions and rests to concur with the timing of performance schedules ... and beyond. I love a composer / arranger who shifts the prima around to allow rest for a section.

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