Playing hard vs. an injury

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rviser, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

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    Dec 26, 2008
    I was wondering, as far as injuring yourself from playing incorrectly for whatever reason, how do you know the difference between an injury and just playing too hard? And, if you're not injuring yourself, are you still building and getting stronger? For example, an athlete can go out and train hard and be sore the next day or two, much like I feel the night after a long 4 hour gig. That athlete hasn't injured himself, and in fact, a lot of times people say, if you're not getting sore from your workout, you're not working hard enough. I'm obviously not injuring myself, because as I take a day off and then come back, I feel stronger each week. But it got me thinking, for those of us that can't hit a double c while resting the horn on our pinky fingers w. absolutely no pressure at all, is it hurting us in the long run to use pressure to get the job done, or will our lips eventually get so strong from playing all the time that we can gradually become more and more efficient and not have to rely on muscling the horn so much??
     
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    rviser asks:
    But it got me thinking, for those of us that can't hit a double c while resting the horn on our pinky fingers w. absolutely no pressure at all, is it hurting us in the long run to use pressure to get the job done, or will our lips eventually get so strong from playing all the time that we can gradually become more and more efficient and not have to rely on muscling the horn so much??
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    Basically the whole zero pressure thing is a bunch of BS. So what if some guy can play a double high C on a trumpet hung by a string. There's also a 50 foot python in Indonesia that weighs around a thousand pounds. Are either of these the norm? Well NO!
    You never escape the demon, you learn to control it. Pending you aren't using excessive pressure already, when you go into the stratosphere, add just a little more pressure and you'll see what I mean. The main thing in playing up there is mental, not physical.
    If you watch Clark Terry's DVD on How to Play the Trumpet, you can see he uses a little pressure when he needs to go up. I don't know of any trumpet players that use no pressure.
    Just be sure to use the right muscles, mental focus(the big factor), learn how to relax and watch Urban Agnes' videos on breathing. Also, Maynard has quite a bit of stuff that's worth reading. I've been playing in the statosphere for almost 35 years and I use a little extra pressure(NOT A LOT!!) when I'm up there and I'm still going strong.
    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Levittown , NY
    While I don't use zero pressure,I do use minimal pressure. I use less pressure playing a double C than most use an octave lower. The danger of using excessive pressure is lost of sound,endurance,range,and flexibility,plus you could hurt your lips and teeth. I knew one guy who used so much pressure that he had to have all his horns braces re-enforced.
    So if you can ,try using only as much pressure as you can get away with, while still performing what you have to do. Playing without excessive pressure is as much a mental exercise, as it is a mechanical one. Practice softly using almost no pressure,and on the gig see how long you can go before you start pressing ,then see if you can go further . This takes time but it can be done. Unlike athletic exercising ,the no pain no gain mentality doesn't work for trumpet playing. If your lips are sore and hurt at the end of a gig you're doing something wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think common sense will provide the best results. Far better than any calculator about practice time and pressure.

    It is clear that on hard gig days we do not need hard practice routines. It is also clear that if I am overworked, that I will be tired - the solution: a break.

    If we listen to our bodies we get more than enough feedback about what should be next. Nobody from the outside can give us better info.

    An obsession with pressure is VERY counterproductive. We need it from time to time and we know when that is.

    Don't forget, proper trumpet playing requires fine motor skills. Treating the face to calisthenics does NOT build power in a musical way.
     
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Sorry but if you listen to your body and it tells you the gigs are too hard,so now you're going to take rest, you won't get too many call backs.Resting is nice if you have the time sit home.The best way to keep working night after night is to not beat up your lip.Work on your approach to practicing the trumpet and try to eliminate habits,such as too pressure.The thing a lot of people don't realize is if you use too much pressure in the upper register, you probably use too pressure in all registers,so you never give your lips a chance to get the blood flow back.What causes sore and bruised lips is playing incorrectly,if you're playing correctly your lips shouldn't hurt after a gig.
     
  6. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

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    Dec 26, 2008
    There's so many factors involved. One is that I play over loud amped instruments and sadly, it's to the point that I know if I can't hear myself playing, then I'm probably at an appropriate volume to project to the audience. I'm ok with that while playing hornlines, punches, etc. But when it comes time to solo, well, it's just not much fun if you can't hear yourself. I've definitely noticed that when we play in live rooms (ex: all concrete floors and walls, playing towards a big brick building outside, etc) I can hear myself MUCH better and the coincidence is that I almost ALWAYS play better and last longer in these environments. I do think that I probably play too hard at my gigs due to this. A month or so ago I got turned onto practicing VERY quietly, doing a lot of Clarke's studies and lip slurs as soft as I could while still maintaining tone. What I found was that I could slur higher/easier and I could do the Clarke's studies very fluidly and higher than if I was playing at the volume I'd normally practiced them at before. I could also practice MUCH longer. Shortly after doing this for several weeks I felt like I was playing really strong at my gigs, had one of my best weeks ever, and felt like I was on to something. Two days later I got a cold sore on my inner lower lip that caused me to sit out for five days!! I came back to my Thursday night gig and was fresh from the rest and for the first 30 minutes or so was playing insanely well. I felt stronger and I hit an F# above high C loud and clear, which I've never done before. However, the time off the horn caught up to me pretty quick and endurance was pretty crappy. I took the next night off, practiced quietly/intelligently for 3 days, then had 4 nights in a row and again was very displeased with how I played. Even my Friday night gig that is in one of those really live rooms, where I've been really pleased with how I play since we started, wasn't up to par at all. I probably should have rested up more, but I practiced the next 4 days, which brings us to today, and I'm already kinda feeling like it's gonna be another rough week. Do you think it was those 5 days off that are killing me right now? Rowuk I've seen where you've said something like 1 day off takes 2 days to bounce back, 2=4, something like that. 5 days is a long time when you're trying to maintain the level of playing I'm shooting for. 4 hour gigs 4 nights in a row playing over loud instruments is tough on a fella!!
     
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Clarksburg, WV
    Al sez:
    Sorry but if you listen to your body and it tells you the gigs are too hard,so now you're going to take rest, you won't get too many call backs.Resting is nice if you have the time sit home.The best way to keep working night after night is to not beat up your lip.
    -----
    Al is right. Unfortunately we all have to learn this the hard way if the goal is playing every night.
    When you start out doing gigs professionally, some gigs will totally kick your butt mentally and physically. You'll literally be tired the next day. To survive, you must learn how to conserve and not beat yourself up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  8. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

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    Dec 26, 2008
    Do you think that I'm probably overdoing it at these gigs and this could be one of the reasons I'm not progressing as fast as I should be?
     
  9. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

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    I feel for you! I've often had consecutive nights of hard playing: funk band followed by big band, then another big band, next morning brass quintet. As I've gotten older, I've worked hard at backing off... sounds like something odd to work hard on, but as more than one pro has told me, learning to relax while playing is one of the hardest lessons to learn but by far the most important.

    I've had the good fortune to sit next to some fantastic lead players, and over a 3-4 hour gig, you don't get harder playing than what these guys / gals do right next to me. I not only work on patterning my sound after them, but also their ease of getting to that sound. I'll watch how they breath (deep but easy), how they place the mpc on their chops (without concern or worry). Even they couldn't last all night if they blew as much air as they "seem" to, or pushed the horn against their faces all night. That's what led to me to a wiser use of the tongue and to find a more supple, vibrant chopset. Over the last few months I'm a work in progress but I have way fewer problems.

    I hope you find your own way.

    ed
     
  10. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

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    Dec 26, 2008
    Thanks for all the help guys. I played my gig last night and just tried to really focus on playing softly, like I do when I play Clarke's studies. I held the horn lightly so that, even when I couldn't hear myself, I could still keep from pressing too hard. I kept more focus on pressure than on actual volume. I didn't play anywhere near as full of pizzaz or aggressive as I normally like, but my range was there and I was still playing well by the end of the night. I think my problem is I normally play way too hard and it starts a chain reaction that just gets worse as the week progresses, causing me to have to take days off to heal
     

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