Practice equals a worse player?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by degree210, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. degree210

    degree210 New Friend

    Nov 23, 2008
    Why is it that when I spend my life in the practice room playing my trumpet, I get worse as a player? I spend at least 3 hours on my instrument a day and do everything my teacher tells me to do: I warm up, practice, warm down. Every time I practice :dontknow:
    I try not to overblow myself, but the next day I am always stiff the next morning. My teacher has me doing everything from modes of the major scales to modes of minors, arpeggios, lip slurs from the Stamp book, Clark studies, everything. Every part of my playing is addressed. If one part of my playing is suffering in theory I could just work on that more, but that simply never works for me...

    My teacher said I need to play more centered to my horn, and I will ask him this too but what does that mean and how do you do it without it hurting other parts of your playing? Whenever I try to play more centered it kills my flexibility and I can't do any lip slurs cleanly... it causes my lips to tighten and the more I try and practice the worse my tone, flexibility, control get... :-(
  2. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    take a day or two off! You will come back with a fresh perspective, fresh chops, and probably a nice centered tone.

    You may be over fatigued... I think 3 hrs a day of fundamental practice is alot and you may just be a little cooked.
  3. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    Relax. Just wait till your lesson, tell the teacher your frustrations. You left us with enough info to see a problem but not be knowledgeable to do anything about it. The internet is a HORRIBLE place for this kind of thing. You have a teacher, why not use them?

    But, to me, it sounds like you are pushing it too far.
  4. Adrianbyrne

    Adrianbyrne Pianissimo User

    Aug 18, 2010
    Oakville, Ontario
    Yes I agree, maybe 3hrs is too much. I know it is hard to back off when you are frustrated, but sometimes it is the best thing for your playing.:D
  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Your teachers comment to play more centered in the horn tells me that you are playing with too much tension in the lips and pressure, trying to muscle the notes rather letting the horn resonate at its natural frequency.

    Try putting the horn to a completly relaxed face and practicing blow starts, like sighing into the horn allowing the airflow to form the aperture. The first exercises in Carmine Caruso's "Musical calesthenics for Brass" are good for this.

    This has done wonders for my tone, range and endurance.

    Regards, Stuart.
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Degree210, your trying to hard. Try to back down by 180Degrees.
  7. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    Indeed, Allen Vizzutti endorses the relaxed embouchure approach. He's talked about in his clinic how the air should not have to be 'pushed' as such. Just as stumac said, you should sigh into the horn, just ride the airstream, and let it 'do its thing'. Make sure you have a relaxed centre of the lips with comfortably firm corners - only as much as necessary. You shouldn't be tensing them actively.

    You'll be able to feel when you are doing these things. The horn will light up and bodily tension is released, thus creating purity of tone.

    And don't practice so much at once! If you aren't already, break your slog up into two or three smaller sessions so you don't bust your chops. You want to build muscle, not destroy it.
  8. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Great advice already given.

    1) You're probably playing too much or too hard. Limit you practice time to 60 minutes, 90 minutes, or whatever length allows you to be fresh the next day. Also, break up your practice sessions.

    2) Talk about this with your teacher.

  9. shooter

    shooter Piano User

    Jan 12, 2007
    If I understand you correctly, you have your sessions in the morning. My lips get a little puffy from sleeping. Might just need to take in some coffee, water, and a good breakfast. Another thing that helps me for morning playing is stretching my lips out. It'll look funny if you do it in public but I open my mouth as wide as I can like I'm eating a triple cheeseburger, then do a monkey like face (protude the lips OUT as far as possible). I do this in the shower and while I'm driving to church. By the time I start playing, I'm good to go. Hope this helps some.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  10. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    I've been taught to do a good warm up in the morning (not too long) and save my hard practice til later, when the body warms up better, is hydrated, alert, and energy from food is flowing.
    I also agree with previous comments about overdoing it. It's not unlikely that this is the case, so I suggest mentioning it to your teacher. At the least, you may need to divide the three hours more. If you're doing three one hour sessions, do four 45 minute sessions instead, or perhaps increase resting time between (or both)

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