Physical Fitness and Playing Trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    What did he say that you have to work on?

    Liad Bar-EL
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    He gave me three things to work on:

    1.) Air
    2.) Air
    3.) Air

    Basically, he said that my chops setup was ok, but that I just wasn't making good use of my air, and further described to me what a lot of players do (me!) as they ascend into the upper register - they choke off their own air, thus becoming counter productive to what it is that they are trying to accomplish.

    He further went on to do one of the best explanations of the diaphram's role in breathing and playing trumpet that I have ever heard.

    The main thrust of what we are working on are my range and endurance maladies when I'm playing in the rock band, but I'm also going to get some other books that I no longer have because I had to give them all back when I left the army - they were always issued to me.

    He also gave me a book written by one of his influential teachers, the late Don Jacoby. Since the lesson lasted well over an hour, and he gave me the book plus some Jazz Ambassador CDs, I tipped him 100% of what his lesson rate was, which I thought was low anyway.

    I was working on some stuff last night, namely getting a big, full, natural breath, and I was amazed at how much more air I was allowing myself to use. Of course, this isn't going to give me extreme upper register capabilities overnight, but I do think that it is going to drastically improve my playing on the gig.

    I'll keep everyone posted.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Oh yeah, another thing, (how could I forget!?) we talked about tongue position and the use of syllables to change air speed, as well as working on the mind set that notes don’t get higher, they get further away.

    A lot of this stuff is stuff that I have either heard or read over the years, but taken in the context of watching someone using those concepts and playing clear, controlled, musical, full sounding double register passages, it gives me a lot more confidence in taking that approach. Something else that makes me feel very good about the course of action that I have pursued is that Jack is a downstream player too, whereas many of the guys that I know that are able to play effectively in that register are upstream players. So, if there is anyone out there that thinks that they are going to have a rough time with range because they play downstream, take heart!

    I’m going to continue to work systematically on the concepts and exercises that he gave me, and I’ll check in after a month or so to reevaluate and see if I’m making any progress.
  4. bandman $$$

    bandman $$$ New Friend

    Dec 4, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I'm going to make this simple -- GO GET A PHYSICAL!!! Allow a doctor you trust to give you an answer about your physical endurance problems, and your overall shape.

    I played 3-4 hour jobs for years. As time went on I stopped playing in the 8-piece "because I was getting older". I didn't have the endurance. I ignored the other problems that were obvious. I also ignored the fact that I was playing better than I have ever played. Why didn't I ask, "why is my body giving out on me?"

    On Feb 18th of this year I had a massive heart attack at age 46. All the signs and symptoms were there, not to mention a family history. I have since had several surgeries, the latest being on Wednesday of this week. I still play, but now it is hard to keep my body doing anything because I let my medical problems get too far.

    From the questions you are asking, and from your age (you are at that time of your life when you start to realize you are not 18 anymore), I suggest you go in and get checked out. You might get an exercise prescription, you might get put on a diet, and you might bet told it's all in your head. But if you go in you will get the answers you want from a medical expert, and you might find there is a reason for your fatigue.

    Take it from someone who didn't listen to his body -- it would have all been much easier to have gone to the doctor and had this taken care of prior to a heart attack and serious medical problems that have resulted from that attack.

    Good luck to you!
  5. Herbie van Tetering

    Herbie van Tetering New Friend

    Aug 7, 2010
    Let me first say I really like your thread. I have also been combining this and discovered a few things in terms of health. General excercises work best: pull up excercise, excercise your stomach muscles, cardio excercise on the walker, row for half an hour etc. Aside from that, power plate help excercise the facial muscles and swimming is good for cardiovascular fitness, endurance and general strength.

    So that is it: general muscular excercises, power plate excercises and swimming.

    Thing to watch out for: a good fitness instructor told me one should never lift more than about two thirds ones own weight. Then you can also use keep embouchure fit support tools like the P.E.T.E. and the A.P.E., from Warburton, these combine good excercises to help with zero pressure, power and stamina.
  6. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    I have recently started with a new teacher of significant accomplishment. And, he too goes on-and-on about the use of air and tongue. I now finally "get it" and understand both "why" and "how" but it has been a VERY rough road of discovery.

    I think there may be a couple of things going on. Doc Severensin (in his materclass posted on Youtube), Bud Brisbois (Canadian Air Force Fitness Book), Claude Gordon (Vigorous Stepping) all discuss the importance of physical fitness in playing the trumpet. All these things are important for developing and maintaining lung power. The more, the better. Then there is chop strength and endurance. In order to be an efficient player, chop strength and endurance can only obtained by playing to increase your skill as much as you can. The pencil exercise and other forms of resistive exercises will work your chops but the gains will be useless unless you can coordinate your tongue and air. I think you probably have these skills or you would not have had so much success to date. It probably really does all boil down to some basic fitness which can easily be obtained with a regular program that does not last long i.e., 15 to 20 minutes each day "a la Bud Brisbois". Then there is pure time on the face with the horn. My teacher would say that it has to happen to increase your strength and endurance. He says he definately has to increase his time with the horn on the face in the months/weeks leading up to a big concert where he does both Hyden and Hummel. Time with horn is completely up to you and has to be a labour of love. :-)

    By the way, I play the darbuk well enough to "gig" arabic weddings and it is very much like a mistress. I have learned to let her collect dust in the closet. Unfortunately, when I do gig my hands get so swollen that last time I hip-checked the bartender and threw my hands in his ice container afterwards. We can't win ;-)

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012

Share This Page