Random Days

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by skankin'dan, May 16, 2007.

  1. skankin'dan

    skankin'dan Pianissimo User

    Mar 14, 2007
    Here's a phenominon (or however one spells it)....

    Normally my playing is fine, good range for experience etc. etc.
    Yet there are just random days where I just play suck, my range is diminished like a whole octave, I'll be playing then all of the sudden all just comes out is air, just bad news the whole...

    I know you can't crawl into my head, but any explanations/ theories on how to solve this?:dontknow:
  2. Khora

    Khora Piano User

    Sep 17, 2006
    New York
    There are lots of reasons things can fall apart like that, and mostly it is because we are distracted - big math test coming up, 20 page paper due next week and haven't picked a topic yet, the rent is due and the bank account is empty - or we are overtired / under-nourished.

    The important things to do when it happens are:
    Make sure you are hydrated. If you've been living on caffeine for a couple of days, drink a lot of plain water!

    Think about what you've eaten - too much salt can make your lips swell, and then they don't respond as well. Not enough protein can mess with your ability to focus.

    How much sleep have you been getting - really good sleep? Playing trumpet is physically demanding, and you can only push your body for so long before it rebels - at any age!

    Play in front of a mirror for a while and look at your shoulders and neck. If there is a lot of tension there, playing well will be tough.

    Did your practice routine get messed up for a few days in a row? Lots of performances but no personal practice time? If so, spend the day working on really basic materials - Clarke studies at a slow tempo (slurred and tongued), no real range workout, easy tonguing on one octave scales. Play for a short time, rest, play, rest if you can work it into your day. 20 minutes of REALLY focused practicing on something easy can turn things around faster than anything else I do.

    Revisit a song or etude you can play really well, and just enjoy making some music - don't think about what you are physically doing. Just let yourself have fun with it.

    The best solution sometimes is to put the horn down, think of all the times you've played successfully, and then just play without analyzing anything at all. Hear the music in your head and play it.

    Hang in there - it happens. Don't obsess about everything that isn't working - just fix one small thing at a time.
  3. tromj

    tromj Piano User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    Khora's advice is spot on. And since she has seen me on a number of days where I am experiencing your exact feelings, I know she knows whereof she speaks.
    But Sandy, who in their right minds would subsist on coffee alone? Surely one must have a danish on the side?

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I guess when you have played for a long time, random bad days don't come so often. The amount of "bad days" doesn't necessarily go down, you just know what you did the last couple of days that caused the problem.

    Beating your chops up will make your playing inconsistent. Irregular sleep, eating, playing schedule too. A big meal a couple of hours before you have to play will drain the energy available for playing. On heavy concert days, I eat noodles with a moderate amount of sauce. The starch in the noodles is easily digested and does not drain my system like MEAT does. That stuff comes AFTER the concert (which is also not good because then you sleep on the full stomach.........)

    So we prescribe: regular eating and enough sleep. You can practice a lot without beating up your face. There is no need to practice until you drop - it doesn't help. The huge difference that you cite could also be bad breathing habits. The BIG RELAXED BREATH needs to be the #1 priority. Do not make high range studies the the first or last thing that you practice during the day - try and play easy middle and low register stuff to get prepared first. Consistency of playing has to be earned and that is not a 4 week course - you invest a lifetime!
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Take a good look at the last 24-48 hours. Anything out of the ordinary? Swimming, working out, strange foods, parties, excessive and/or extreme playing, yard work etc. Sometimes something weird a couple of days earlier will impact our playing.
  6. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    I've noticed that the day following a couple days off from work my playing isn't up to its normally undistinguished standards.

    I spend those days off practicing a good deal more than I usually do. Double the time would be my guess. Not in one stretch, but you get the picture.

    I'm guilty as sin when in comes to coffee.

    Someone mentioned salt too.

    Oooh, frozen el-cheapo pizza for dinner last night.
  7. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    Jun 1, 2006
    It's called being human...

    no one plays at the exact same level everyday of the year... no one...

    The difference between great players and regular ones is that the great ones are so good that even though they might be having a bad day you can't tell.

    And even then, sometimes you can tell...

    Accept them and they will go away faster than if you really worry about them. Sure there are things you can do to reduce the number of them or make them not as drastic but they will never go away completely.

    That all being said, if the difference in your range is a whole octave on your "bad" days it sounds like you have some "fundamental" problems/things to work on. There shouldn't be that big of a discrepency between "good" and "bad" days.

    If you just blow and blow and nothing but air comes out, you need to work on basics of sound production. Even on a "bad day" you should be able to play a good sounding whole note....


Share This Page