Practicing everyother day.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by nestbeast, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. nestbeast

    nestbeast Pianissimo User

    Jul 31, 2008
    Cultural black hole
    I have been playing trumpet for many, many years. I have always had difficulty building up the strenght in my emboucher corners so that I could play comfortably in the upper register. I am thinking about changing my practice habits so that I can get more time for my muscles to recuperate. I am going to start practicing every other day. I am playing correctly - at least I thnk so. I find that when I am well rested, I start to have an easier time with playing above the staff and my sound is richer, and fuller. Changing mouthpieces has made no difference but the longer rest period has.
    I would welcome any oberservations or comments on this.
    Thank you.
  2. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    I notice the same thing about practicing in the morning, about an hour after I actually wake up and have had a cup of coffee. This is the easiest time for me to play. Everything just feels effortless and I'm able to concentrate more on the music and techniques as opposed to how tired I feel.
  3. reedy

    reedy Piano User

    Jul 31, 2009
    Wiltshire, UK
    My teacher has given me a 2-2.30 hours but broken up into sections, with half hours rest in between so its more like a 5 hour practice with the breaks! and I do slurs every other day as a sperate section which worked really well to begin with but I dont think its quite for me, its working but not as well as I would like. I did it yesterday without much of a break, 5 mins max between sections and that worked much better I thought.

    Think of it like your going to the gym, you need to build up to that level were you can play for 5 hours every day.

    I think that rest is very important, make sure your resting as much as your playing, but yeah start off with every other day for a while, then do maybe 2 days one off etc then 3 days one off and just keep building up.
  4. nestbeast

    nestbeast Pianissimo User

    Jul 31, 2008
    Cultural black hole
    Thank you for your reply. I think that it finally comes down to "listening" to your body and finding a routine that will get you the results you seek. I wonder if Doc Severisen or Wayne Bergerion ever gets tired. Maybe just us mortals.
  5. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Rather than an every other day schedule may I suggest 2 different schedules. One day play low and slow stuff--the things you can do for hours on end without getting tired. The next do those exercises that you are doing to build your embouchure. Day one is about keeping the blood circulating and day 2 is about building muscle. Kind of like someone exercising their body concentrating on strength one day and speed the next.
  6. nestbeast

    nestbeast Pianissimo User

    Jul 31, 2008
    Cultural black hole
    Thank you. This is good advice and I will consider this type of routine. I took today off completely because my face was just so tired - it couldn't take any more. Tomorrow may be a low/slow day as you wisely suggested.
    Thank you much.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Actually this advice at the point I detailed in the quote (at least up to the point of 3 days off), and the others just above this post are very sound pieces of advice.

    Muscle is muscle, whether working out to build biceps in the gym (as noted above) or toning the lip muscles with practicing the trumpet. Muscle has "memory" for toning. This memory on average lasts ONLY 2 days. Therefore any toning that is done after a 2 day window will be starting over from the beginning once again.

    Another thing about muscle is as you fatigue the muscle, damage begins to set in. When do you fatigue? The time it takes to fatigue is different for different people, but the symptom you are looking for is the BEGINNING of loss of control to accurately attack a note. When you feel that this is happening, stop and rest. If you catch this early, then take 30 minutes or so to break and then come back and try it again with a goal to do the next session in 50-75% of the time or endurance as the previous level.

    Now if you fatigue and were late at resting OR WORSE, numbness or pain sets in, you have done damage to the muscle. If I were to get a serum CK level on you, I would likely see a rise in this muscle enzyme level indicating damage. With these series of events, STOP playing for 24 hours, then go back the next day at 50%-75% of the previous day.

    Fatigue symptoms and Pain is our friend. It lets you know when to back off before SIGNIFICANT damage is done. This is basic muscle physiology, and the lips obey these rules like any other muscle.
  8. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Personally, I feel that the coordination and mental focus go before my lips fatigue, it used to be different though.
  9. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    my thoughts..
    Private Lessons from a pro is probably the best option .. if you can't afford them or don't feel you can put in the practice time needed to justify the cost I would seek one who is willing to observe your playing and help you set up a practice routine.
    I don't know any trumpet players who need to take a day off in between practice days .. which is something to have in the back of your mind.
    assumming you're playing properly,
    Your practice routine could probably use some tweeking.
    You will see rest as much as you play here alot .... that is REALLY important
    it can mean 2 measures ... rest .. play 2 measures ... rest. It is huge. If you wait until you fatigue to rest you are toast. It is really hard to do if practice time is a premium. I started cheating on this because my practice time is limited and payed dearly .. raw lips ..
    The second thing is what you are playing for practice and in what order. If you start right out in the high resister you might be expediting fatigue.
    Can you let us know what your routine is?
    A trained instructor is the best option though
  10. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    Rest is really important. I find that, if I overdo my second practice session in the evening, I do not recuperate fully the next day for my long tones exercise which is my "muscle builder". The work-to-rest ratio is a real delicate balance. Sometimes I get it wrong and practice is crap. When I get right, I keep progressing.


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