Newbie Endurance

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Doctor Wes, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Doctor Wes

    Doctor Wes New Friend

    Aug 16, 2009
    I'm a comeback player of 65 with a Blessing C trumpet and a Bach 7C mpc. I've been at it for over four months without noticeable improvement; I think I'm stuck. Arban's exercises routinely reach G and A, and fatigue sets in quickly. I can't get to the point that I can practice without becoming overly tired right away.

    I wonder whether my chops are unable to recover and build between practice sessions. I've read suggestions for alternating light and heavy days, but I haven't found worthwhile exercises that qualify as light for me.

    I attempt intervals, scales and slurs in Arban. Rich Willey's new Scale Force book looks useful, because it's possible to choose exercises within any range of interest.

    I would appreciate suggestions about how to get past this impasse. Would I be better off practicing only on alternate days for a while?

  2. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA

    There are many more experienced people that will answer your question after I do, but since I'm going through a comeback phase myself, I thought I'd share what I've learned. I started my "comeback" about 9 mos ago. I'm already playing as well or better than I did 25 yrs ago except for endurance. I practice 6-7 days per week, usually 2 or 3 sessions per day. Each session is 10 - 30 mins. More recently, I've been focusing on playing very, very soft long tones and slurs using as little pressure as possible on my lips. Try playing the tones while holding the horn with one hand only. Tone quality can be ugly at first when trying this but it gets better. You may hear about "zero pressure" but it's not possible so don't get carried away with this. This has definitely helped my endurance but I have a long way to go. Search the forum for discussions about learning to play with efficiency and a tight aperature. It's good that your mouthpiece is not too large. While a Bach 1 1/2C or similar will sound great and give you great flexibility and fewer cracked notes, it will wear you out much more quickly. Stick with 3C or smaller. Also, be sure to rest while you are practicing. It's better to rest and give yourself a chance to play more exercises with good quality that try to push yourself through them w/o rest and let quality suffer. It's like someone who is weight training. They rest between sets and if necessary, they reduce the weight in later sets in order to ensure that they can continue to use proper form rather than use poor form and heavier weights. I know you did not mention age but I bet you're thinking about it. Forget it. It won't be an issue. Just be disciplined and patient.

    By the way, you're not a "newbie." Big difference between and a newbie and a comeback player.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Hi Wes, and welcome. Ric gave you some great advice.

    I'm also a comeback player, and picked up the trumpet again about a year ago. I also practice for 30-60 minutes 6-7 days a week, which I break up into 10-15 minute segments (long tones, lyrical studies, clarke technical studies, scales and jazz patterns, other music).

    I play with a small jazz combo once or twice a month. But even after a year, I'm still not back to where I was 20 years ago. For me, I think it's partly due to bad habits, which I was able to compensate for when I was younger, and which I'm trying to identify and unlearn. I also think my recovery time is longer, now that I'm in my 40's. I found a good teacher about 6 months ago, which has definitely helped.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is possible to travel from Washington DC to New York by going south. It just takes longer and you at one time will probably get wet!

    It is impossible to seriously guesstimate what your problem is. All that is available is conjecture - 5 minutes face to face could solve that.

    I do not believe that your problem is pressure. I suspect that your breath support is not good and you are "muscling" too much. Another possibility is the C trumpet. If your ears want to hear the notes one step down like a Bb trumpet, your brain will set your chops under tremendous tension. The same would go if the intonation of the Blessing is dodgy. Also the tone of the C may be different than your concept - if the horn sounds real bright, it is a lot of work to veil the sound to compensate for the brilliance. Another possibility is that the tuning slide of the C is too far out causing you to lip up everything. Try pushing the tuning slide in further and relaxing more!

    Suggestions? Borrow a decent Bb trumpet for a couple of weeks, get a professional lesson to get a real evaluation about what your face is doing.
    4 months of doing the right things will always produce SOME type of results.
    In your case, day on day off makes no sense in my opinion.
  5. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    Rowuk once said that progess cant be measured in weeks and days. Its months and years. I find that true. Maybe your not focusing on the right thing. Also get a tuner to see if you are playing in tune. Once you know what a in tune note sounds like you can ussally have your tunning slide in or out a little bit to much and still be in tune.
  6. DDLips

    DDLips New Friend

    May 29, 2007
    I AM a newbie, less than 3 years at the horn. I found after I got myself to the gym my air improved greatly thus my endurance also got better. I am not a kid either. This is my first instrument and I am 55. I am loving every minute of it. Good luck. Also the "rest as much as you play" is a very helpful strategy. I always have a tendancy to play too long when I am doing well and then the next day my playing is terrible. Figure out when you have had enough for the day before it's too late. It is a fine line to stay in front of. That philosophy has greatly enhanced my progress.
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    This is a tough one. Here's what I would do (and have done). Get hold of a good University trumpet professor and take a couple of lessons. Think of it as a tune up on your skills. Also, when you go, take paper and pencil and write down the important advice. Then take it home and work on it. We all need a little tune up from time to time.
    Good luck
  8. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Four months is not a long time, and the G´s and A´s
    that you play in the Arban exercises probably are the
    highest you can play. Maybe you should play things
    that are 1 or 2 notes lower, i.e. that stays on the
    staff, and develop your endurance with them.

    Have patience; given proper time, things will most
    likely go well. I can´t see that you should be able
    to perform better than you do after such a short while!:-)
  9. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    I am also a comeback player of about 5 months. I own a student-quality Bb cornet and a Yamaha professional C trumpet. When I started lessons in August my teacher immediately took me off the C trumpet and I haven't played it since. I can't wait to get back to it, but based on his advice I'm being patient: Bb cornet only for now. I don't fully understand why he recommended this but I'm taking it on faith for the time being.

    Also remember that when you are playing G's and A's on your C trumpet, the effort is equivalent to A's and B's on a Bb trumpet. It's only a step but when you are playing near your upper limit that single step really can tire you out a lot quicker. B is a pretty high note for someone who has only been playing a few months.

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