Off the horn 3 days....

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by schleiman, May 25, 2011.

  1. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

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    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Hi there everybody, I recently had a death in the family and was forced to take 3 days off from the horn, I tried to squeeze in time, but there just wasn't any to spare with so much going on with family. Anyway, yesterday I picked up the horn and it seemed that ALL of my embochoure strength had gone, and I fatigued very quickly. I immediately stopped playing for the day. Today isn't fairing much better, and my sound is very stuffy. I'm going to take it easy again, but my question is have any of you had this happen? Will everything come back within a week you think? I usually practice 2-3 hours a day 7 days a week, so my chops were pretty strong, but now they feel very tired. Thanks for any input, hope you are all well!
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I think that a lot of that depens on where you are as a player and how developed your embouchure is. I'm at a point where I can take a week off, and the first day back will be rough, the second day will be better but the strength will be down, and days 3-5 I dial things back in. Then again, I've got almost 30 years behind the horn, so while I'm not a fantastic player, my chops don't really forget what they are supposed to do in such a short amount of time.

    Trumpet is a jealous mistress and makes you pay for it if you don't give her enough attention! Haha!

    I suggest doing a bunch of the following:

    Take one day where all you really work on is soft long tones in the staff
    Take the next day and do a lot of articulation in the staff - lots of single and double tonguing exercises

    Put away the books - focus on what's going on between you and the mouthpiece and work to get that relaxed focus back into your sound.

    You should be back to normal in a couple of days.

    To add a thought onto this, if you can't take 3 days off without having a chops meltdown, maybe you need to rethink your approach because while I can see you losing a bit of strength and a focus, it shouldn't cause the kind of problems you are describing.
     
  3. leftmid7

    leftmid7 Mezzo Piano User

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    I can't take even a day off. I just went to Chicago for 3 days and had bought a cheap pocket trumpet to throw in my carry-on, and got in 15min here and there with a practice mute in the hotel room.

    If you want to stay 'up' you just have to do it.

    I will be taking that thing with me whenever I travel now, it did the trick.
     
  4. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

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    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for the advice trickg, I've just played for the last hour and a half and things are coming back, sound is clearing up, I might have just not given myself enough time to wake up because I was so excited to play uninterrupted today. I think after a couple more days I will be just fine. I just panicked as we all do when our sound starts to suck. But thanks for the encouragement. Long tones and pedals were my warm up today along with some flexibility Schlossberg's and ppp clarke studies. Just had to wake the chops up a bit, but they remember, they just need their coffee! Thanks again.
     
  5. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    Jul 19, 2010
    I'm still a relative newbie (1+ yr playing) but something seems fishy. For starters, 2 - 3 hrs a day 7 days a week seems wrong. The body just doesn't work that way. It needs rest periods for muscles to heal, mind/body memory to stick, etc. And it's not like playing trumpet is some kind of "special" activity that is completely different from other physical activities.

    Second, I can't imagine if you're an accomplished player, which it sounds like you are, that three days would effect you that much. Compared to running for example, just considering the amount of physical activity involved, playing trumpet is trivial. And yet taking three days off running, for someone who runs let's say several miles a day, would not be that big a deal.

    With all due respect, maybe we're just being a little too sensitive here.
     
  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    If you play without much tension, you will not suffer greatly with a few days off. Important, after even a one-day break or actually even w/o a break, is to go slowly at the start of your session. Warm up with ppp long tones, and gentle low register lip flexibility exercises.

    If you play with lots of tension then each day away will cost you. Best to work on less tension and more efficiency.

    Also, many of us are constantly srtiving for the hgh register. One needs to spend an equal or longer time working in the lower register, and cultivating a relaxed approach. Focusing up top is not a good balanced approach.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  7. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

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    Jul 13, 2009
    If you have been practicing as much as you say your are consistently you shouldn't have a problem. I never really seen any player have trouble coming back to the horn from taking less than a week off. The problems probably stem farther than the 3 days you took off.

    How long you have been playing and what your practice consist of will help us out.
     
  8. leftmid7

    leftmid7 Mezzo Piano User

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Usually only takes a day or 2 if you resume regular practice sched. Don't sweat it.
     
  9. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Maryland
    Hi Satchmo. There are a lot of variables here. In short, I think 2 to 3 hours a day can be reasonable. But it depends on the person, and where they're at in their development. In addition, it also depends on what they're practicing and how they're practicing for these 2 to 3 hours.

    We're probably comparing apples to oranges here. Running involves muscle building and aerobic endurance. Trumpet playing involves muscle toning and muscle memory.
     
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Baltimore/DC
    There was a time when I was in my 20s and in my first Army band assignment where if I wanted to stay in top form, I couldn't even take a single day off - at the very least I'd do a good comprehensive warmup. Suffice it to say, I've got other fish to fry than worrying about whether or not my chops are in top form. This isn't to say that I don't care, but rather to say for my current gig, if I'm at 90%, it's good enough.

    These days I try to not take too much time off, although I will take some time off if I have a strenuous gig and I abuse my chops. A few weeks ago I had a gig like that and was off the horn for a couple of days to give my chops some time to recover, but it took me about a week back on the horn before things started to feel right. This last gig I only took 1 day off and was right back on the next day after that. Even still, things were not as focused and centered. Like I said above, the trumpet is a jealous mistress and makes you pay for it if you don't give it the kind of attention it needs!

    Note: as I was typing the above, the horn was/is in my lap - I was taking a short break in the middle of my warmup. :-)
     

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