Question on building up and long rest periods

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rviser, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    I'm wondering if there's any validity to something I've noticed. I usually don't take days off, I'm either playing nightly gigs that are pretty hard on me, or I'm practicing on the days in between. The more I play w. out rest days the more my lips seem to swell and make it harder on me to perform at the same level as when I'm fresh from a day off. However, sometimes things come up that require me to be away from the horn for anywhere from 3-5 days, not very often and when they do occur, it's usually after 3-4 week periods of brutal playing. Sometimes when I come back after these 3-5 days off the horn, I swear my overall performance and power feels better, as if my level has gone up a notch. I'm wondering if, while it feels to me that I'm just bashing my lips for 3-4 weeks at a time and not getting much better, if these 3-5 days off actually allow my lips to rest, and they are building back stronger from all the playing, while they are in a rested state?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    A lot of things happen when you step back and take measure. from what you post, you haven't understood the message that your body is giving you.

    The are very few days when I don't play at all simply because I am having fun. Some of those days are only long tones, lip slurs and easy tunes - no technical studies or range builders. Even on the heavy days, I generally do not beat myself up. I don't know what is "Brutal Playing" for you. It sounds like you know better. In that case, you just have to start playing smarter. No break will help you medium term if it is followed by "dumb".

    3-5 days off can be bridged with the pencil exercize.
  3. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Yeah, it's kinda one of those things where I don't have much choice. My gigs are 4 hours and these guys don't understand what it's like to be a brass player. They expect me to solo on every song all the while playing over their amped instruments. Just one of these gigs leaves me feeling gassed out then I come back and do it all over again the next night, sometimes 4 nights in a row. If I listened to what my lips told me, I'd be playing about one gig, resting a day or two, playing another gig, resting a day or two....I just don't have that luxury and I wouldn't want to be sitting at home even if I did. Another player once told me "Those gigs may feel like they're tearing you down, but they really are building you up", kinda goes along with what I've noticed, just have to incorporate some "recharge time" every now and then.
  4. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    Sounds like your WORKING HARD and not HAVING FUN:dontknow:
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Your lips feel beat up because they are,you can't compete with instruments that are amplified. Try playing at a sane volume, if that's not loud enough,ask for your own mike and amp,trying to play over amplified instruments will damage your chops.
  6. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Oh I'm definitely having fun, there's no question ;-) I just anticipate this band going from a few gigs a week to touring a lot and I'm trying to get myself to the point where I could play 4 or 5 nights in a row, and be ready to go again after a day off/light day. That's pretty much where my main focus is on my playing right now
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A fun project is to research magazines devoted to marathon running or bicycling: very often they will have have routines for preparation for an event. Sprints one day, intense shorter than goal distance another, days of comfortable yet long distance. Adapt these kinds of training techniques to your own practice. In the end we are looking to develop endurance and strength, and these extreme forms have developed some interesting approaches.

    Have fun!
  8. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    I like the way you think Vulgano. Obviously, when I started playing these gigs, I wasn't ready for them. They were killing me and I wouldn't make it. The endurance thing has without a doubt come a long way, but I still would like to be a little stronger longer. Keeping in mind that I really needed to be playing these gigs, my strategy has been to incorporate days off to recover, then have several days of smart practicing to build up (of course tapering off so I'm fresh the day of a gig). In doing this, my hopes are that the days of smart practicing will build me up more than I'm tearing down w. the gigs, and eventually it will all catch up.
  9. jongorrie

    jongorrie Pianissimo User

    May 9, 2010
    I may be able to shed some light on this for you. Firstly, when it comes to weight training, or working out in the gym, most trainers will tell you to take days off in between working muscle groups. The reason for this is that it is in the rest periods that the muscles build up, and become stronger. The same principle can be applied to brass playing. This ties in with what you are saying about your lips feeling better/stronger after 3 - 5 days off.

    Although taking every 2nd day off might be impractical for you (an many other brass players), we can often alternate between 1 heavy day of playing, and 1 light day. Which over time, may help your overall endurance/range/power and so on.

    I think Claude Gordon put it best: "rest as much as you play." :-)
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    When I was, I normally only practiced playing 20 minutes and then rested the same, totalling a 3 hour session, as meant I only played 1 hour and 40 minutes in that duration. Then with a 2 hour nap I would have been good to go for a 2 hour gig broken only with a 15 minute break. If I were to perform again, it would be just 1 or 2 solos at church or elsewhere, or just a sit-in jammin' for a few.

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