Swollen Lips...Endurance...Advice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by F.E.Olds, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. F.E.Olds

    F.E.Olds Pianissimo User

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    Aug 28, 2010
    Hello- I am new around here. I have been playing the trumpet for several years now. In the past year, I have been working quite hard to work on building the quality of my playing. I am in high school. This year, for marching band, first trumpet was thrown upon me. I have slowly been trying to build up my endurance going from 7C mouthpiece to 3C and trying to stay with 3C. Marching band camp has come and I had used the 3C the first day and became sort of burnt out. Since I stared on the 3C at the beginning of the year my endurance has been terrible. So for the second day of band camp, I decided to use the 7C. The second day went great. I didn't miss a note. It's not that I can't hit these higher notes, it that I can't keep myself up there for very long. The last two days I went with the 7C and could not even do a whole concert Bb scale without an issue. Now, two days later my lips are starting to come back but they are swelling up very quickly. I know that slowly working up my endurance with some exercises I have is what will be able to do it. Sorry to make this so long but any advice?

    Thanks

    Patrick
     
  2. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    It sounds to me like you are overdoing things. A series of very low, very soft, extremely long tones for a big part of your practice will help to heal and strengthen your lips, if you pay very close attention to TOTALLY CONTROLLING the intonation and volume.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  3. F.E.Olds

    F.E.Olds Pianissimo User

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    Aug 28, 2010
    Ok. I'll give that a try. I guess I need to try to figure out what mouthpiece to stick with now.
     
  4. F.E.Olds

    F.E.Olds Pianissimo User

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    Aug 28, 2010
    I'm assuming another part of this is that the band teacher is expecting me to play very loudly since I am on first trumpet when I am used to blowing over jazz and playing fairly quietly through my practice sessions. What only makes me nervous is that even two days after this, my lips don't cooperate. Even blowing a concert Bb scale softly isn't nearly as good as it usually is.
     
  5. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

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    I'll ask a related and equally vital question:

    How are your marching fundamentals? It doesn't matter how good your playing is or what mouthpiece you use if your marching fundamentals are underdeveloped and you are beating your chops into submission with every step.

    Quick test: Stand in front of a large mirror at attention with your horn in playing position. Now, march towards the mirror at 8/5 at a slow tempo without playing, but with your mouthpiece on your chops. Focus on a couple of things.

    Watch the top of your head and the bell of your horn in the mirror. If you see any bouncing at all, there is a huge part of your problem.

    Focus on the feel of the mouthpiece on your chops. If you feel your steps AT ALL on your face, or sharp jabs, or an uneven distribution of pressure that moves around as you march, there too is a huge part of your problem.

    If you've got a bounce in your marching step and you can feel the movement in your face, then essentially what you are doing is taking a large metal object and pummeling your lips while you try to make them do very fine-grained things with your playing. A bounce in your step will affect your playing and endurance dramatically. Think of it like trying to write a note to your friend while riding in the back seat of a car driven down a bumpy road. What would your handwriting (another fine-motor-control behavior) look like? Same thing with marching and playing.

    Your goal should be to almost totally isolate your upper body (especially your shoulders, arms, and head) from your lower body as you move. To do so you need to spend as much time working your marching fundamentals as your playing fundamentals.

    Yes, I said that: practice more marching fundamentals -even do it by yourself if you have to. They are that important. See this thread below for some more detailed discussion of improving fundamentals.

    http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f131/marching-band-woes-55985.html

    Good luck, and congratulations on getting the lead book!

    Scatmanblues
     
  6. DannyRL

    DannyRL New Friend

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    Aug 28, 2010
    The very same thing happened to me during my marching band's camp just a month ago. We had 8 hour rehearsals for 2 straight weeks and my chops went down the drain to the point where I could barely reach the C in the staff. After camp ended and I had a few days rest, my chops felt a TON better and I could play normally again.

    I think your chops are getting over worked and they need a break, your chops will get stronger as the season continues, but if you keep forcing the issue with dead chops it will get a lot worse.

    Stick with the 7C mouthpiece if that's what you normally use, switching in the middle of the season will cause performances to suffer while you readjust to the 3C. Keep the things you don't want people to hear at practice.

    I don't know if your director has the same idea as mine, but my director prefers blending over loudness. If the rest of your trumpet section can't match your volume, then stay with them. Individuals sticking out sounds horrible IMO. Also, something I like to do is take my parts down an octave during rehearsals until the last run through or for performances of course.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  7. F.E.Olds

    F.E.Olds Pianissimo User

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    Aug 28, 2010
    My marching fundamentals seem to be ok but I will work on it. For this week, because it was raining so heavily, most of the time was spent indoors going over all of the music. I would spend atleast 3 hours + just playing.
     
  8. F.E.Olds

    F.E.Olds Pianissimo User

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    Aug 28, 2010
    Well that's reassuring. Glad I'm not alone. I'll just keep up the rest. :)
     
  9. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

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    West Texas
    I know that feeling, but remember, loud is no good without good tone. Focus instead on projection. A clean, in tune, FOCUSED note at mf carries further and sounds dramatically better than a loud, out of tune, unfocused note blatted out of the horn at ff. Back off the volume and focus on the support and sound. Play where you can stay in tune and leave it at that. As you get stronger, acclimate to the book, and your marching smooths out then the volume will come naturally if you need it.

    Regardless, you should never play so loud you get ugly. That just creates bad habits.

    Scatmanblues
     
  10. F.E.Olds

    F.E.Olds Pianissimo User

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    Aug 28, 2010
    I agree completely Scatmanblues. Thanks everyone for the advice. It sure helps.
     

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