My Face Hurts !!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ric232, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    Ok, so I've been on the comeback trail for about a year now. I play with my church brass ensemble. Not surprisingly, I continue to struggle with endurance. We just got new music to practice for the upcoming easter season. The first piece (The Lamb), is not at all difficult, but it's 116 bars (incl. repeats) with 22 bars of rest. Not really that long but it's a struggle for me to get through. It's not so much that my lips give out, but the sides of my face start to hurt. I'm sure it means too much tension, but if I relax my face any more, I can't make a sound. It's frustrating because my sound and technique are as good or better than they were 25 years ago. I've been playing from my Lutheran hymnal (Rowuk's suggestion). Maybe I just need to be patient.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  2. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    I've been a little bit the same but am working to evolve my embouchure from a smile to more of a pucker, I'm not there yet but It certainly has eased that ache in the cheekbone area. I wouldn't change your emboucher without a teacher knowing and helping you. Other than that keep at it. I'm not trying to give you an answer but be encouraging and to let you know your not alone


    tedh1951 likes this.
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    You probably should expect some new muscle work - I guess you've got to the point, on your comeback trail, where you notice variations in tone that you can deliberately change like say, lipping-up, by slightly adjusting tension and angles and all that stuff, to change the sound. Yes, you may be doing it sub-consciously but I'm guessing that you are now really causing many more muscles in your face to enter the game - it gets better with practice.

    If you get a chance, have a listen to primary school kids just getting their instruments for the first time - their sound is very wooden. I think you must be a long way on from that and your face is telling you how much it enjoys the greater effort (knowledge/experience on your part.

    Andrew's suggestion that you chat to your tutor is the best advice you can receive - but the advice isn't much good to you if you don't involve that tutor - the concept Distance Learning works a treat, but not for trumpeters.
  4. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    If you have a web cam I would be glad to take a look at you. The first session is free.
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I am on comeback trail after 7 yrs off (and 15 months back at it), and probably bout your age (45) -- my sound and tech is also so much better (maybe more patient). I can play about 3 hrs a day with 5 min breaks between each song or exercise.
    just keep building and practicing -- i found long tones (as long as you can hold them with good sound) -- at least until your face hurts -- and then rest -- and keep repeating over and over --- TIME --- it will get better --- I don't think there are any shortcuts
    play and be happy,
  6. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    Thanks. I'm not expecting to find a shortcut. I just keep thinking I must be doing something wrong. But I won't know for sure until I see a teacher.
  7. jason_boddie

    jason_boddie Piano User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    I have found longtones, pedal tones, and lip slurs to be helpful with endurance.

    As for the "face hurting". First, that just sounds funny. Secondly, the only time that has ever happened to me, and oddly enough I refered to it the same way, was when I was trying out a huge "cereal bowl" of a mouthpiece.

    Have you recently changed pieces?
  8. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    No. Good point, though.
  9. Back at it

    Back at it Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2010
    Western, NY
    The face hurting is very interesting. Like others above me I suggest a teacher or tutor for awhile. Bringing the corners in a smidgeon may ease tension in the cheeks. Do you use a large diameter mouthpiece?
  10. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    I agree with this.

    How much practice do you do? If you have a regular performance on weekends that last for an our then try to get in at least an hour of practice per day during the week.

    I practice in my car during lunch for 45 minutes, and then in the evenings after dinner/before bed for another 45 minutes and that's barely enough to keep me "in shape".

    In the case of a comeback player more (practice) is better. Regular meetings with a good teacher will help to ensure that you're using your practice time wisely...

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