Symptoms of Overuse?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tmtrumpetman, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. tmtrumpetman

    tmtrumpetman New Friend

    Mar 20, 2007
    Washington State
    This is something I posted in Manny911, but wanted to see if your collective wisdom can shed some light on this...

    Okay...I have been going crazy with practicing lately. in the last year I have drastically increased my practice time from about 30-40 minutes a couple times a week to about 3-4 hours a day. My question is about overuse. I have noticed that my range has gone way down, my endurance has gone way down...sometimes after just warming up, I can feel the lip tissue thinned out where the mouthpiece set is. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to get to the point where I can play a high C. My daily routine, with some modifications for gig days and other factors generally looks like this:

    Sandoval Warm-up
    Claude Gordon SA (Including the other assignments in St. Jacomes, Clarke, Colin, et al.)
    Bai Lin up to the first part of Section V
    Clarke (various)
    Schlossberg Studies (various)
    Arbans's (various)
    Jamey Aebersold books (I try to get through at least 3-4 tunes in one book)
    Repertoire (if there's any chop and time left)

    My register from high G up sounds like my middle school kids trying to play high notes now. I used to have a performance quality high G, and a practice room double C...I also wonder if I was just doing everything so wrong before, that I am in a "rebuilding" phase of relearning how to play. I have never practiced this hard or this much--even in college. Any insight would be very helpful. I am also going to discuss this with my trumpet teacher...
  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Not much more to say besides what Manny already said.

    I'm a public school teacher, too, and squeeze in about a 45-60 minute session in the morning before school. During that time is when I do my warm-up type stuff and alot of soft playing. During the day, if I can manage to steal time (such as lesson no-shows for whatever reason) I'll do etudes; after my band rehearsal is my conference/planning period, and I usually get time in (unless I have something major going on or kids in making up missed lessons) from then until after school to work repertoire.

    Balancing your practice and paying attention to your chops is key to rebuilding. Maybe a more gradual easing in period (if you have the time to do that) would be helpful, as well.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If something is that wrong, throw all of that stuff in the bin and get back to the basics.
    Stand up straight, feet about your shoulders width apart and parallel, knees not locked. Inhale deeply but relaxed, then exhale without holding the air in lips kind of close together, practice that for a while so that the transition from inhale to exhale is perfectly smooth. Then replace exhale with play - any tone is suitable. DO NOT USE THE TONGUE! Once this functions correctly, you have at least a solid beginning.
    Practice basic Clarke without using the tongue (not even for the first note). Everything should still be ok. Do this for a couple of days - NO TONGUE. You should get your range back.
    I suspect something else has changed, not just the amount of time that you invest. If you tackle too much at once, you will never figure out what is good for you, SOOOOOO once the basics work add only one thing. Do that for a week, if all is still good, add the next thing and so on. When something gets worse, back up a week!
    I would reduce the amount of execises and increase the amount of repertoire so that at least 1/3 of your playing is NOT mechanics. NEVER EVER EVER sacrifice required repertoire for exercizes! That is not stuff for chops leftovers. Your performances influence your reputation, not the list of etudes that you practice until you can't play anymore!
    If your trumpet teacher has not noticed, you might consider changing to someone who can hear the difference in your playing....................
  4. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

    Mar 22, 2007
    Hey try this if you're looking for no toungue exercises. This one comes from Len Schilke. Obviously do it lower until you get your chops back, but you'll get the idea. Play a G above the staff, no tongue and hold it about for somewhere between a whole and half note at q = 60. Keep your lip position set if possible and do the same for Ab. Then do G, then A, then Bb, then G, ect. Go as high as you can go.
  5. schilkeX4

    schilkeX4 New Friend

    Jul 13, 2004

    You should check this website out. Im currently dealing with Embouchure Overuse Syndrome and this has helped me. You might not have the full blown syndrome but you should email Lucinda Lewis, she is very helpfull and will answer many of your questions on this topic. Product 4
  6. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Thank You for the post, Schilke
    Good link.

    I practiced a couple hours Wednesday night. Last night, Thursday, I could hardly get going. I think you saved me from a problem that could have developed over the next month.

    The high school were I was supposed to have rehearsal was locked down for a gun scare Thursday. That gave me a chance to rest.

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