Taking a Break

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by commakozzi, May 8, 2008.

  1. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    There are a lot of people out there that are die hard fans of playing everyday and never taking a day off. I'm one of them, however some concerns have come up with my playing that I want to ask about here on the forum. I'm really bad at recognizing when I need to put the horn down. I think that I put it down when it's too late and that's probably my problem, but here's what I wanted to ask: my chops constantly feel tired, so should I possibly consider taking a day off every now and then? Or, should I just get good at recognizing when to put the horn down (maybe that's a valuable skill to have in the first place)? The rub with that is that I want to do a minimum of 2 hours per day right now (I'm going through an embouchure change), and eventually (months on, I guess) 4 hours minimum. Is it that I shouldn't base time on the horn on my hopes for a minimum alotted time but on how my face feels? I know that sounds obvious, but I also hear people talking about not worrying about how your chops feel so much and just playing (as long as they don't actually hurt). Anyway, there's a lot in that to think and talk about, but let me know what you guys think.
     
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    You need to build resting time into your practice sessions. As much as you play, you should rest. That means playing less during your two hours (like an hour less) or adding time to allow for more of each. It is helpful to split your time into more than one session a day, which if you expect to get to 4 hours will be required.
    I often put my horn down and use resting time to listen, or wash the dishes, move the wash to the dryer, so that I don't feel like I am wasting time while my lips are recovering.
     
  3. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

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    Dec 21, 2006
    New Jersey
    I too have gone through a recent embouchure change.
    I had a recent problem whith my chops in that no matter what I did they just didn't respond. I took 2 days off and Voila! back to normal!
     
  4. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I appreciate your response, but I know all of this. I try to do at least 6 sessions per day, the longest of which being 35 mins and the shortest being 15 mins sometimes. I always rest at least 35 mins between all of my sessions.
     
  5. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

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    Jul 22, 2007
    This is really a difficult subject to get right. I think only you can figure out what is right for you. I was up to 3 hrs per day. This was a mistake for me, many problems with fatigue. I just wasn't getting a full recovery between workouts. I eventually recovered from overwork and settled on an hr. and a half per day, with a day off every 5 days. This worked for a while. I now play 2 hrs per day with one day off per week.

    Also I try to go light one day and normal the next. I am doing two 45 min. sessions with an hour between and a final 30 min session an hr. or two later. I always adjust according to how I feel. Yesterday I had a 30 min jam with my daughter during my regular practice session. I played full volume on 4 Chicago tunes while my daughter played drums. Today I took it easy, staying on Clarke studies at pp, not doing any range work but still doing my 2 hrs. Just not straining any today. Tomorrow I'll be tougher on my chops if it feels right. Mostly I now play a lot softer, pay attention to enough rest, and try to balance my sessions for continued progress.

    One guy does a three hr. session and says it is the minimum you should do. The next guy does only an hr. and has abused his chops by mashing the horn into his face or playing ff the whole time. I think this is actually the holy grail of your progress. Doing just enough without overworking, and it is different for us all. If you are overworked and not really injured, extended time off won't work. I do best with a regular schedule, staying with my 2 hrs per day, adjusting sessions to fit how my chops feel. Two days before a gig I back off and do a light hr, and a half. The day before the gig I do about 50 minutes, with no straining, just a good warm up and some light work.

    I am still searching, and will no doubt change things as I develop. Take a day off per week. You can always change back later if you want. Don't take a day off just before a gig. This doesn't work for me anyhow. After a day off I come back feeling a little soft, it seems to take 2 days to get solid again. I don't rush back in with big power and range work. I just plod along, doing my studies and moving forward. Right now its working.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  6. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Yeah, good answer Miyot. I think that what you're saying is more in line with what I'm feeling. I think that I'm just pushing myself too hard (for now). However, I hope to extend my practice time but that seems to take more time (months rather than weeks) than I had hoped. We'll see. I have a lesson this month, so I'll talk to my instructor about all of this and get back to you guys.

    Thanks!
     
  7. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 31, 2005
    charlotte nc
    Some of this may be "what" you are practicing as much as when/how much. Do you also play gigs? Perhaps better put.... do you have opportunities to play "music" ..as in something other than practice type material? IF so...what type? Are you also trying to fit that practice schedule in on gig days?

    You really sound like you are already in tune with how your body is reacting. You also seem like you are listening...but perhaps not responding as well as you could.

    Using Myot's example (but coming at it from another angle), I "also" would not measure your work in terms of trying to achieve a certain number of hours per day. Sure..this is great and perhaps a good way to have practice discipline. However, if you end up getting a great workout in less time...and especially if you are gigging/performing also...then that may be okay. This is versus what you are experiencing now..where you are fatigued. On an actual performance...you might not be.

    All that said...geesh, if you are going through an embouchure change, it is doubly hard for you to figure out. It might be an even better thought to scale back on the number of hours until you can "slowly" increase practice. Most of our issues with practice is that balance between pushing ourselves and having patience with where we are at that moment. Most of the time...it is gradual improvement, if we "don't" overstep our abilities too soon.

    It's kind of like working out with weights. Sure, you may be able to lift a zillion pounds at one fell swoop. But is your form good? Are your muscles being torn/worn down? Probably!! Could you lift that zillion pounds a bunch of times over the course of a few hours (especially without rest)? Probably not. Isn't the purpose to build "up" strength and stamina?? If you lower the weight to a more manageable size...and use full, comfortable motion...your muscles get a greater workout, with less fatigue and strength is built. After a few patient weeks...gradually increase the weight...maintaining that same good form. You get stronger without tearing yourself down. Long term, baby...

    Same with trumpet.

    Take your time. Great that you are taking lessons. You seem like a smart guy. Good questions... just lack a bit of patience. Hang in there. It will come around in time. I wish you great success...
     
  8. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I think that hits the nail on the head. I believe that you're absolutely right that my problem is mostly a lack of patience. Since starting this thread I've also kind of realized that I've been going in the wrong direction with this supposed embouchure change. I'm going to talk to my teacher about it this month, but I think I need to go back to where I was playing and just stay patient with it.
     
  9. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 31, 2005
    charlotte nc
    At least, you sound like you are very interested and excited about playing...and are working on getting better. That's all a good thing. Eagerness=good.
    Patience...? ha. You will get there, man. Enjoy...

    You know that old saying .... "the mind is willing, but the body..."..? haha. That's half our problem. I especially see this in folks (yes,..and me sometimes) who've taken some time off. The "mind" still knows what to do and expects those same results as during our best moments. The "body"? hmmmm. Patience...
     
  10. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    218
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    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Yeah, great advice man. I'm sure that's where I am right now. I had incredible ability in school. I've been out for 10 years and haven't been diligent and/or consistent with my playing until recently. So, it's going to take time and I need to have the patience to let things happen naturally.
     

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