Survival advice needed

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by VetPsychWars, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

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    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    So, here's the situation. I'm a comeback player and I just joined the community band. I had thought that I was strong enough to play third parts but the reality is that I'm not. However, I'm in, so I need to make the best of it.

    I have rehearsals every Sunday and then performance on 8 November. The music isn't especially difficult but I'm a little tense because I'm used to school rehearsals where you play together every day instead of only once a week. I can play exercises for an hour, but a two hour rehearsal is just killing me. Switched to a wider, deeper mouthpiece, which is helping a little, and I have my GR66M for the one piece that's high, if I need it (which I'm not sure I do).

    So far I'm playing as much as I can about every other day, but short of that, any advice you can give me to get in shape quickly would be appreciated. Since I made a commitment, I want to see it through and not give up.

    Thanks.

    Tom
     
  2. edcon1981

    edcon1981 Mezzo Forte User

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Central Jersey
    hey. i too am a comeback player, i got involved in an alumni drum and bugle corps through a guy at work. i was extremely nervous because after i told them what my experience was they immediately gave me the first soprano bugle (equal to first trumpet, soprano bugle = trumpet in g) part. i haven't been involved in a band in eight years. i was nervous as anything once i tried playing their music, i felt there was no way i could do it; i actually asked to be bumped down to second. they said i could do it, and they had faith. so i started practicing more, went from 3/4 - 1 hr three times a week to every day. got a couple "remedial" books to retrain myself, and after four months it all came back.

    and play softer!!! schwab hit the nail on the head. if there's a decent trumpet section, trust me... someone else will pick up the slack. the softer you play the better control you have and the longer you can play. i do this at every rehearsal, and guess what: i let the other guys play their hearts out and tire themselves out early; after two hours it's my time to shine (our rehearsals last four hours at least). when everyone else is good and tired the drum major now has a chance to see what i'm capable of. this actually enabled me to be assigned a solo; me, a guy who has been involved with this band for a mere four months being given a solo over guys that have been involved for over ten years.

    just practice, and practice softly.
     
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Heart of Dixie
    Here's another suggestion for a quick fix - make sure you play with good breath support. Play with plenty of air, letting it do some of the work for you. Trying to "muscle" the horn for a couple hours without good breath support will wear you out fast. That, and not playing too loudly as suggested earlier should help you get through it. Keep practicing as much as you can, though - that will do you the most good in the long run.
     
  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    In addition to the above, as an elderly 'comebacker' I was told by my private instructor who is pricipal trumpet in our local symphony orchestra, to play very low tones as softly and as long and consistantly in both intonation and volume as possible to build lip muscle and decrease my bad habit of using too much mouthpiece pressure. I have been back on my horn for about four years and am playing principal trumpet in one relatively large community concert band and utility trumpet in another. I practice in about 15 minute segments with about equal rest periods for a total playing time of about two hours daily. I have no interest in playing anything above a trumpet high C, because that is as high as any of the charts I have been given are written. Currently, I am having zero problems with that high C, found in at least three arrangements.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  5. edcon1981

    edcon1981 Mezzo Forte User

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    Central Jersey
    i wish my music stopped at high c, we have a couple high d's in majority of our marches. those are a pain... i can only hit those with the bugle and a "step up" method (you know, working your way up). my bundy, forget it. my olds i can barely squeak it out. old lou, any hints on trying to get those extreme high notes out a little easier?
     
  6. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I'm not Lou, but practicing them regularly is the only way to get comfortable playing them. I've never had a good upper range, but I've been working on it and it's getting easier, more familiar. Last night at a rehearsal, we played a Bb concert tuning note and I played the nicest, mf, in-tune, high C from a cold start. Dead-on, and it suprised me that I could do it that easily. Why? Because I've been working the upper register lately. When you get a pretty good E above high C, the high C becomes pretty easy and doesn't scare you any more. At first, just a few minutes of high-range practice may wear you out, but if you keep at it, over time you will gain more endurance, which allows more practice time up there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  7. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    I agree with Dale, but, in my case the upper register required that I learn to not constrict my throat and just let the air flow freely. I was using too much mouthpiece pressure and that, along with the general tensing of my entire ancient body was causing me to constrict my throat, which partially closed off my windpipe.



    OLDLOU>>
     
  8. Darthsunshine

    Darthsunshine Mezzo Forte User

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    Seattle, WA
    Ahhh... this is my problem too. I never really realized it was my problem until recently (After reading some posts on TM). I'm trying to overcom it by warming up with some easy long tones, keeping good air support, taking pressure off my lips, and playing at a lower volume. Takes a lot of discipline though, and if I have to play for any length of time the old bad habits come right back as my chops grow tired. I guess it's sort of like a golf swing; it's something one always needs to be working on :D
     
  9. kadleck

    kadleck Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Tom -

    That is key! The tendency is to over blow when things around us are loud. Try to keep the volume down, at least at first.

    Tony
     
  10. edcon1981

    edcon1981 Mezzo Forte User

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Central Jersey
    thanx guys, i guess the old mantra maintains: practice makes perfect.

    i noticed i too was doing the constricting of the neck and swallowing the mouthpiece technique to get those higher notes. i did some research on breathing and positioning techniques and they are helping. i find it much easier to practice standing up though (which is ideal considering i'm a marcher), should i abstain from this?

    hey vetpsychwars... sorry i hijacked your thread.
     

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