Tips on surviving consecutive tough days of playing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Haste2, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    I have to play 9 days of "Chicago" in a row, 1st trumpet.... 5 rehearsals, 1 preview, and 3 performances. Now, I've had some tough stretches of playing, but not quite like this. I'm just lucky I'm not playing "Bye Bye Birdie" or "West Side Story" here. I'm sure I have it easy compared to some players, but I don't have the same efficiency as some other players do.

    After that week wraps up, it eases up a bit: just 3 performances a week for the following three weeks. (bringing the total performances up to 12)

    There will be pressure to not take breaks even in rehearsal, because, unfortunately, there are only 9 musicians total in the pit orchestra. (there are 2 trumpets, though!)

    I've got a water bottle ready for each rehearsal and performance... I'm prepared to play whenever I can in rehearsal and lay off on anything not important. I'm also planning on playing a short routine each day to keep to ensure proper playing. I'll ice my lips a bit and apply chopsaver if my lips starting getting shot. I may also ask the other player take over lead at times.

    Any advice on surviving this?
  2. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    don't need to tell you to get plenty of rest each night and when I have a tough performance I always put on ChopSaver after the performance. I don't know exactly why but it sure rejuvinates the chops for the next day [I never put it on before I play].
  3. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

    Jun 4, 2010
    Generally I think the mentality "surviving" is not a healthy one to have. Beyond that I'd take an aspirin every night.
  4. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Oh, I'll have fun with it. Just if I think only about fun, I might accidentally play too hard during the rehearsals. =P
  5. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    What mouthpiece you play?

    Incidentally this post won't necessarily help you on your current gig but if read and understood will almost definitely help get you out of the next jam you find yourself in down the road. The reason I mention this is because my post recommends that you save energy by using shallower mouthpieces on the more demanding movements. If you aren't used to playing smaller equipment today this would probably be a bad time to start experimenting. Then again maybe not. All depends upon the individual. Al Hirt claimed to have switched to a shallow Jet Tone mouthpiece "in one night". So the story goes but don't you count on it. Always prepare in advance through intelligent conditioning.

    The reason I ask which m/piece is because I like to keep a collection of mouthpieces on hand that while identical in rim contour have varying depths. The idea is to have at least one relatively deep cup for solo work that blends well in exposed passages. Then a host of pieces each slightly shallower than the other to be used for both upper register work and to save on endurance. The shallow piece, while usually too bright for classical solo or soft volume work can be used for much or all the other passages.

    In all the tutti sections you can pretty much get away with a "screamer" piece so long as you don't over blow. The will save energy at least two ways:

    1. Less effort to project the tone.

    2. Easier to blow/less hard on the chops.

    Look at it this way: In a full orchestra finale number or other time when the ensemble is playing at top volume you'll use perhaps less than half the energy (on a shallow cup mouthpiece) necessary to make your part heard as when compared with a deep cup piece. Take a Sousa march for instance: You can't tell if the first cornet trumpet player is banging a Bach 1 or Schilke 6a4a on the double forte High C. Not if each tone is played at the proper volume. However the cat using the Bach 1 might be killing himself blowing the same part.

    Then this poor guy using the overly deep piece may still have yet ANOTHER hour's worth of playing. By this time he is hung down, burned out and scared to death he'll crack more notes and fall apart. This in turn will lead to burn-out the following day and week. he may even find himself fired from the gig. Leading to mental depression, a very negative outlook on his playing "I never had the chops" and other common whines

    Logical then to use the shallower piece whenever it fits the job, no?

    Surely we have people who prefer to use large mouthpiece for all their work. These tend to fall into the category of gifted players such as Arturo who seems to use something comparable to the Bach 3C his whole life. All fine and dandy FOR HIM. But you?

    Also the large m/piece is often a good choice if the trumpet player plays and/or practices some six hours a day. However how many of us truly do this? Who would want to be required to play six hours a day just to maintain sufficient endurance? On top of that most trumpet players who play/practice long long hours each day will live on the edge of over training. All except for the gifted types that is. And even they might want to get some kind of physical assist that the shallower pieces give. From time to time anyway...

    In the case of the cat playing the first trumpet part in a big band doing Stan Kenton type work he'll usually find it a sheer necessity to blow something shallower. And the scream player even more so.

    I have a gig tomorrow night doing essentially a TOP/Chicago/BS&T/James Brown thang. Frankly I'm not in prime shape right now. Not way out of condition but not quite prime either. However I have absolutely no trepidation about the gig at all. Which will include probably thirty or so High F's a dozen high F#'s and G's and maybe four hundred notes in or around High C. No sweat.


    Because I've trained my chops to adapt to the shallower pieces. Even some of the REALLY shallow ones. I'm talking even smaller than the Schilke 5a4a. I will let these pieces do much of the work for me. Taking care to observe good posture, plenty of air support and not blasting the first couple of sets so as to save something for the third set. The gig will be a joy. IF say I need to use a deeper m/piece for those brass chorales found in "God Bless The Child" as arranged for BS&T? I will insert the piece in the horn and carry on.

    Energy management is the name of the game. At least for most of us who aren't naturally gifted Maynard clones. And even Maynard used shallow pieces. He wasn't a fool.

    "You don't get to BE old by being no fool" attributed to Richard Pryor
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  6. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

    Jun 4, 2010
    For me, playing too hard isn't so much a physical matter. It's a matter of mental preparation and "on-the-job" focus. Usually - and of course there are exceptions - if I'm actively listening and giving what's needed in the music, as well as breathing properly and composed of a good posture, I rarely have endurance issues or stiffness problems. That being said, I have only recently graduated from high school and have played in a few youth orchestras, All-State, and a few other gigs so my experience is very limited relative to, probably, the majority of players here at TM as well as yourself and I have very rarely seen anything over a high E. I'm sure Chicago is much harder than anything I've ever played - I just looked it up on YouTube but couldn't find a link that worked! :p

    EDIT: I'm certainly no screamer but Local seems to have covered it! :D
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  7. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Giardinelli 5M. I typically play deeper mouthpieces than that.
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    If you want to survive a stretch of rough gigs,concentrate on proper breathing.Don't over blow,there is a difference between a double forte and blasting.For a pit band that size you don't need the same volume as a lead player in a 17 piece jazz band.Try to use less pressure,not only for high notes but also for your entire range.I don't recommend changing your mouthpiece this close to your performance.It might help but then again it could be disastrous.You were hired because of the way you sound now.Why jeopardize everything on a maybe?
    I've seen myself and others change mouthpieces,then sound great until the honeymoon period was over.Then sound worse then we did on our original pieces.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    do your best, after all that is the best that you can do!!!!!!!!!!!! --- sounds like you already have a plan, so Haste, I agree with what you already stated (water, resting a bit, ice, chopsaver, and a SPARE backup trumpet player)
    play and be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    From what I observed over at the comparison chart

    (here: The Ultimate Trumpet Mouthpiece Comparison Chart)

    that Giardinelli 5M seems kinda big. If endurance and projection is a must I'd say look into some kind of Schilke combination from the "C" to "B" to "A" cup.

    A being shallowest

    B medium shallow and

    C standard medium

    Again I can't quite ascertain for sure what the Giardinelli 5M is exactly but my guess is that it is fairly standard in size ie like the Bach 5C. and for a somewhat less gifted player like myself it would wreck me for several weeks after during a major show.

    Down the road I'd suggest something like:

    Schilke 13 for solo and soft ensemble work where you want to blend. Schilke 13 automatically implies the "C" cup if not listed.

    13B for most demanding portions of the job

    13a4a for when you gas tank is completely spent and you're running in fumes. You could also get the 13A in the larger throat and back bore.

    I use several combinations to get through a gig including a very shallow mouthpiece but with a second cup i cut in myself and bored out to a number 16 throat. Despite its shallowness it can fool ya into thinking I'm using something huge.

    That was one of Maynard's tricks: Huge throat opening. He didn't use a second cup though the "V" cup provided pretty much the same effect.

    I only use my very large pieces for classical stuff. Another thing i do is stick a standard cornet mouthpiece in my flugel horn. When on stage in commercial setting you can not tell the difference and it helps register/endurance.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

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