Mind over metal

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by wnaus, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. wnaus

    wnaus Pianissimo User

    Dec 4, 2008
    You may think you're in control of playing the trumpet but check this out.
    Over the years I've been told that playing the trumpet is 98% mental and 2% physical. It took me years to believe this, but now I do. Your mind effects what you do and how you perform on many subtle levels. When it comes to trumpet playing, any emotional or psychological issues will manifest itself in a closed throat. If your throat is closed, forget about playing trumpet. My advise is watch the Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras. This is what it looks and sounds like to perform with an open throat. Only the strong will survive the trumpet!
    Welcome to Wayne Naus' World
  2. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Now the question is, is only the strong will survive playing the trumpet, or will only the strong be able to survive dealing with trumpet players? (once again, metal vs. mental)
  3. Sparks

    Sparks New Friend

    Jan 2, 2009
    Rochester, MN
    OH YEA, I definitely agree trumpet is much more mental. People do much better with a good attitude, taking a break if really frustrated. It's like, if people think the notes are high, they naturally tense up, close off their throat, clench their face, etc weird stuff.

    It's funny, I find raising my eyebrows a little when playing high seems to work as a placebo effect for opening myself up.
  4. wnaus

    wnaus Pianissimo User

    Dec 4, 2008
    That is a different issue.
  5. trumpet_man

    trumpet_man Piano User

    Jan 17, 2008
    trumpet is, however, one of the most physical instruments (though you there are instruments that need more air). I do believe though that it's quite physical. The reason I say this is because you must physically build up the muscles in your chops.
  6. wnaus

    wnaus Pianissimo User

    Dec 4, 2008
    I make my claim given the assumption that you have sufficiently developed the physical ability necessary to play the trumpet. Once you have developed this ability, it's 98% mental. The challenge is to stop thinking and get out of your own way.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Except for the VERY extreme stuff, the trumpet is not so physical. I think it is 98% mental from day one. Don't forget that as a beginner the motivation to practice is also mental. As we develop habits, the urge to practice is not a problem, but the urge to practice what we are not good at takes energy too. Once we are good, the mental part is the consummate concentration that lets us ignore things that could distract.

    The metal (including the mouthpiece) is inert and does not change from day to day. Essentially EVERYTHING is the player.

    Part of the lesson to be learned here is NOT to get caught up with things that limit our mental part. DEPENDENCIES like warm ups or downs can put doubt in our mindset, messing up the performance before it even gets started!

    Great thread Wayne!
  8. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008
    This is so true! As I have said before: the brain is our most powerfull tool but can also be our biggest enemy.
    An example: I have seen trumpetplayers that have great confidence but are on a lower level get further than trumpetplayers that are on a higher level but do not believe in them selfs.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  9. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

    Nov 27, 2008
    Manchester, England
    I am not sure I agree that trumpet playing is 98% mental, although I am a mere beginner so my opinion cannot be worth a great deal.

    I can however compare it with other arts that I have some experience of that are said to be 98% mental and it just isnt true with those. The truth is they only become 98% mental after a lifetime of study during which they are 98% hard work.

    Example Japanese Archery, The idea is that after many many years of hard meditative practice, you can attain a state where you lose yourself in the "IT" that shoots, effectively becoming 98% mental.

    The reality is months and years of drawing the bow without shooting further than 3 feet, perfecting the method without "practicing", becoming one with the bow and the release. Perfecting the style. This can add up to 10 or 20 years of repetitious mundane and back breaking work.

    Correlating this to trumpet, I see many years of hard work before being in a position to "make it mental". I also see very few other instruments that require such work and dedication, developing the chops controlling the breathing and improving the technique simply to have access to the the higher notes.

    I have considered attending piano practice and telling the students studying that instrument, "Oh no your not allowed to hit those higher keys for several years yet". Does a guitarist have to wait before he is allowed to pluck or strum the higher strings?.


    I subject myself to a regime of hard practice trying to perfect my playing simply to have access to the range of the instrument, while a beginner pianist simply presses any key he wants, and it sounds perfectly.

    Right now for me its 98% hard work, and will be for the forseeable future.

    Can the trumpet ever be 98% mental for me?, maybe so after 98% of my remaining life has been expended practicing.

    Personally, relishing a challenge, I wouldnt have it any other way.

    So praise the lord and pass the Arban.

  10. wnaus

    wnaus Pianissimo User

    Dec 4, 2008
    Some nice ideas Brian,thanks for the reply. You might be missing my point a little. What I'm saying is that after you have developed the physical stamina to play the trumpet it then becomes more of a mental game than a physical one. Any activity that involves a mind/body discipline, ie. music,sports, eventually requires your mind to control the body.The problem is that any mental issues(stress)you might be dealing with can have a big effect on your performance. Your mind is so strong that it can be affecting you in ways you're not even aware. For me it usually translates into a closed throat,not good for playing trumpet! Many players are guilty of "muscling" the trumpet into doing what they want it to do, rather than playing smart. Why won't it do what you want it to do? Possibly because you are not relaxed mentally or physically.
    Good luck
    Welcome to Wayne Naus' World
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009

Share This Page