Sudden Issues coming out of nowhere! Help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by pmjinla, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. pmjinla

    pmjinla New Friend

    12
    0
    Dec 9, 2014
    I am a senior in high school who is in his fifth year of playing the trumpet. As the marching band season ended, I have been having some new issues plaguing my playing :-(. These include an airy tone, using an excessive amount of mouthpiece pressure, trouble playing any note above 4th space E (I can play it easily, but for some reason it is a lot more difficult now), and trouble articulating notes above 4th space E clearly. My tone just seems to lack response, as if no matter how hard I try I cannot a clear buzz and beautiful tone. Are there any exercises, books, routines, etc. that I can do to try and get my "old chops" back? Thank you.
    PS- I practice for about 1-2 hours everyday, with equal amounts of rest per amount of time actually spent playing.
     
  2. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    5,242
    1,791
    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    try cleaning out your trumpet .. make sure you use a snake and visually inspect your water key corks( if applicable)
     
  3. pmjinla

    pmjinla New Friend

    12
    0
    Dec 9, 2014
    That is so ironic. I actually just gave my trumpet a bath about 30 minutes ago!:cool: I do clean my horn about twice a month, so I don't believe that is the problem.
     
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    5,242
    1,791
    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    clean: check ( you did use a snake, right?)
    cold weather dry or chapped lips?
    increased salt in your diet can really raise havoc on your playing... how's the diet
     
  5. pmjinla

    pmjinla New Friend

    12
    0
    Dec 9, 2014
    I do not go out of my way to eat salty foods, but I will try to be more cautious of that. Also the weather here is about 60 degrees F. It has been raining lately so I wouldn't say that it is dry. Whenever my lips get chapped I used Burt's Bees original.
     
  6. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    988
    262
    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    Hmm, we do seem to get a lot of threads like this. Here is the usual set of answers:

    You have been practicing too much and allowed yourself to get tired, or fatigued.

    You need to do more listening to recordings of great trumpeters.

    You need to get a private teacher.

    Unfortunately, nobody can "diagnose" your issue on this website. Getting with a good teacher or "skypeing" someone is really the only solution, the former being preferable.

    Edit: I'm assuming that, if you practice as much as you say you do (band doesn't count for practice time) you do have a teacher who is guiding you. Otherwise it's a crying shame that you put so much time into the horn and have no direction. And yes, I will say that because when I was in high school, I had no direction until I got a really top-level professional for a private teacher. Music is hardly ever a solo activity, and solving issues "DIY" or through YouTube tutorials just doesn't work in this craft. You really owe it to yourself to have one-on-one training to solve many issues.

    As for the "airy" sound, I am not sure what is causing it. It could be a number of physical issues, none of which I will discuss in order to force you to get a local teacher. However, my feelings about posts like this are fairly strong. Keep in mind that when I was your age I probably would have come here for help, so I'm not criticizing you or anyone, but trying to steer you in the right direction.

    Most of us here on TM are not full-time trumpet professionals, and as such, not every piece of advice is valid (just don't believe everything you read online!) However, one piece of advice is ALWAYS true, and that is that you will have better luck solving issues one-on-one with a private teacher. I had serious playing issues in 11th grade that caused me to almost quit. I had had my braces removed and could barely play, and I had a horrible sound, just full of air and everything you are mentioning. I thought it would just be a matter of time and everything would "fix" itself. Mind you, I never practiced then so you are a step ahead of me there. The issues were never resolved until I started studying with a world-renowned pedagogue with 40+ years of problem-solving experience. I cannot remember any of the advice I got on here, if I was looking for it, but it doesn't matter now because I am doing well thanks to my private teachers.

    Also, we need to be always trying to move forward. You don't want your "old chops" back, you want new ones with all the qualities of the old ones but none of the bad. Unfortunately, unless you injured yourself, "chops" don't usually just "go bad." They aren't fruits; they are highly trained and coordinated sets of muscles, and they behave according to patterns that have been established. It seems to me that the patterns in your chops are not very established. Yes, I will admit that sometimes things happen, like focal dystonia, but such things are not typical in amateur and student musicians and I do not suggest you consider these to be your problem. It seems the problem is simply a lack of fundamentals. Yes, that's almost ALWAYS the problem. You train your lips to do the same thing day after day, and the chance of a bizarre thing like a distorted tone becomes almost non-existent. Chris Martin, 1st chair with the Chicago Symphony, is most likely not going to wake up one day with a fuzzy tone. Sometimes he may have an "off" day, but only he will know because of the level that his playing is at. It's all at the foundation. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Get with a teacher and get those straight, and I think you will be golden.

    I hope this helps, at least a little.
     
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    5,242
    1,791
    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    It's been raining here in So Cal as well and in the 60's.. but the heater has been running so that dries out the air. As always, check with your instructor, but perhaps go out and do some running and get some exercise. It will help your wind and the therapy alone will get you out of your head ( seems to be common with us trumpeters). I would have my instructor/band director/ or best player I know, check out the instrument. You might have something going on ... never hurts to rule it out.
    Personally I never liked marching band .. always felt like I was over blowing and hated the mouthpiece bouncing around on my face. I am sure there is a whole science to doing that properly but I was never inspired to do much more then get through it and check out the cheerleaders and twirlers while I was in school. It still hurts my lips thinking about marching New York in the winter.
     
  8. pmjinla

    pmjinla New Friend

    12
    0
    Dec 9, 2014
    Thank you both for the well thought out responses. I am currently studying with a private teacher, and so far he has helped me improve. He says my main issue is that I am not taking full enough breaths. After we diagnosed the problem, it has been improving, but I know that I can be better because I have been in the past. I will put a lot more fundamentals in my daily practice routine. In fact, my teacher said the exact same thing. My horn is only about four years old so I don't believe there is anything wrong with it. I think I will go back and regularly play the First Studies in the Arbans book. I think the stress of being first chair in my school's concert band and lead trumpet in jazz big band has taken a toll on me. This year I have only really practiced the concert set music and not fundamentals. But the majority of my practice time is going to be fundamentals.
     
  9. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    988
    262
    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    Good to hear. You can take some rest and that will help. Christmas vacation? Don't play! I mean it, seriously, just rest.
     
  10. pmjinla

    pmjinla New Friend

    12
    0
    Dec 9, 2014
    I would but every time I take rest days I always feel very weak the next time I play. I will definetly tone it down a lot, but I probably will still play.:D
     

Share This Page