Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Thanks for chiming in Mike. Your input is worth much more than 2 cents.:-) I think your further clarification the nervous control and the involvement of additional facial muscles sheds a lot more light on this complex issue.
  2. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    This thread has turned out to be a really good one!

    Some of you answering have tried to shed some true light over
    the original questions about lip muscles and stomach muscles.

    The more serious attempts to provide facts have come from

    * SpiritDCI08, who has tried to shed more light upon white/red
    muscle fibre (although maybe the colors have been exchanged).

    * TrumpetMD, who has shed more light upon the question about
    facial muscles concearning growth, flexibility, memory, recovery
    etc. Also the questions about stomach and rib muscles were
    treated in a very informative way.

    * MTROSTER, who had some very informative, additional things to
    contribute with regarding how the nervous control and aging affects
    our ability to play well.

    * Gaucho Viejo, who had his own experience regarding overall fitness
    to share with us.

    As I see it, real attempts have been made by you to put some facts
    into the discussion, i.e. hardcore facts about muscle work, development,
    control etc, and this is what is needed to raise us readers into a higher
    level of understanding! Thank you!!

    The pedagogic tips and ideas from rowuk are as usual worth a million!
    We who spend a lot of time in here can´t avoid to recognize them.

    For many players at the earlier stages of playing, the approach of keeping
    the questions minimal is probably the right one. Your experience as a teacher
    tells you so, Robin, and others, including myself, believe so too.

    * However, could it be that players at higher level sometimes are helped
    by actively working on stomach muscle work, breathing techniques etc.?
    Players like Maynard Ferguson have written articles about Yoga breathing
    etc., and suggesting to them that they should keep their questions to a
    minimal and not think so much most certainly would make them raise an
    eyebrow or two!
    I used to be a classical singer. I started taking singing lessons while still
    playing trumpet, and the breathing method/strategy I used when singing
    was the same as when playing trumpet. My first singing teacher let me use
    this breathing technique instead of directing me, and my development was
    really bad. Since he gave me no breathing directions (he kept the questions
    to a minimal!) my development suffered!
    My next singing teacher told me exactly how to use my stomach
    muscles, and my development speeded up a million times! I developed into
    a fairly good tenor, and I have earned some money by singing too.
    This is a story from real life and a part of my experience.
    I still think that the first teacher kept the questions minimal because he
    didn´t have the answers, and that didn´t help me a bit.

    * About your anal joke, Robin: since you are a person that know so
    much, people trust what you say. As you know, also I turn to you when
    looking for answers. The signal that a person who has an analytical mind
    or approach to things has an anal personality isn´t a very good signal to
    send. It can cause people to be affraid to ask their questions, and that is
    not what we need in here!
    You yourself are an engineer. You´re probably well paid to be analytical.
    By studying the world around us with an analytical mind, we can draw the
    conclusions we call facts.
    By thinking analytically about facts, we can decide how to use them to
    our benefits.

    When Reinhardt invented his Pivot system, he was being very analytical
    indeed. Does this mean that he had an anal personality? Should he maybe
    have kept his mouth shut??
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  3. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    Sorry, I think I need to retake anatomy :-(
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I'll stand by my statement. The key is not in the semantics, it is in how you handle your curiosity which is not the same as analytical.

    I'll have to admit being very anal at times - especially here at TM.

    When I practice, I do not watch my face muscles in the mirror or pay special attention to my body use. Those things, and many of the other mechanical things are trained with dedicated exercizes that "talk to me". When I am making music, all of that is behind me. I am playing for the moment. All of the necessary habits have been built by repetition of low impact exercizes involving my whole body. The chance of something going wrong is low so I can focus on what is important.

    That is my message, get that no-brainer routine and stick with it. The brilliant and talented may be able to take liberties with analysis. The rest of us just need to keep plugging away. Get a mentor and let them do the thinking.

    For what it is worth, that is also why I bought a Monette. They are my "trumpet gurus". They have guided many of my decisions.
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    A friend who is a world class physician and a trumpet player in a local symphony describes the lips as mostly "soft tissue". Soft tissue is not muscle and does not react to exercise and stretching the same way as muscle does. The best thing for tired lips is rest, cold compresses and anti-inflamatory drugs like Ibuprofen. Stretching, warm downs, more playing of any type is not helping the soft tissue, in his opinion.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  6. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    Thank you all for all your input :-)
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  7. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    That´s a very informative statement, gzent! Of course, most of us
    know that the lip muscle fibres don´t reach all the way up to the
    "surface", i.e. the red part of our lips. This red part is something else,
    and an interresting question is: how thick is this layer of soft tissue?

    Robin, again we may be talking about different things, while actually
    agreing more than is obvious! Let me tell you a beautiful story from
    real life:

    Our house is at the end of a park. This time of year the leaves have
    not yet fallen from the trees, and the park is bursting with colors of
    green, yellow, orange, red and brown!!
    Me and my wife often take walks in this park, and when we do so I
    never think about my leg muscles or how to bend my knees while
    walking. The beautiful experience of seing the park is all that fills
    our minds!
    And yet, in order to be able to enjoy these walks, I often work out.
    I don´t want my physical state to stop me from getting the beautiful
    experience, and when I exercise my legs, I´m very concious and
    analytical about how I do this and what exercises that will get me to
    the physical goal that in turn can take me to the Beauty goal.

    So now to the analogies:

    1) Yes, I agree! Just as I don´t think about my legs when taking my walk,
    in this same way do I not think about muscles when playing MUSIC, especially
    not when performing!

    2) Yes, obviously also you think that "target exercising" is of importance, and
    that it could be a good way of practising sometimes to focus on one special
    thing. Maybe the only thing we argue about is whether some exercises could
    also be of a more "high impact" kind, and whether some exercises also could
    be done off the horn. I think we agree about all but these two questions when
    it come to exercising (the stretching discussion can still develop, I think!).

    No matter who´s right or wrong: there are many players that do some exercising
    - not only the overall fitness type - off the horn, like breathing techniques,
    pencil exercises etc., and my reason for keeping a discussion about this alive is
    the wish that methods shall keep developing.

    So whaddya tink?:-)
  8. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Well, just approach these things like an experiemnt, I say.

    If a targetted, "non-music" exercise used only in practice allows you to
    perform better, then why not do it? If it doesn't do any good forget it.
  9. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Exactly my point!!:-)

    And also: the more "allowed" this will be,
    the more inclined will everyone be to try
    things and come up with new experiences,
    beneficial to others!
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    FWIW, the term "soft tissue" can be used to represent muscle, connective tissue (including tendons and ligaments), fatty tissue, and the like. So technically, muslces are included in the definition of "soft tissue".

    I think your physician-friend make a good point. It sounds like your friend was trying to emphasize the unique nature of many facial muscles, when compared to typical skeletal muscles This is something that was touched on in this thread.

    Care of the fatty tissue that is supported by the underlying lip muscles is important. The thickness of the fatty layer will vary. But I think that the muscular control of this fatty tissue is what really enables us to play the trumpet.

    I agree that rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories are probably the best approachs for tired lips. And I think that doing exercises when you should rest is a bad idea. But I think there is a roll for stretching, warm-ups/downs, and non-musical exercises. For example, I think many of us find lip-flapping and Clarke #1 (played softly and below the staff) to be theraputic at times. Also, I think all of these therapies would apply whether we're talking about lip muscle, fatty tissue, or both.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009

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