too much playing, broken chops.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Curtis123465, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Curtis123465

    Curtis123465 Pianissimo User

    Feb 16, 2010
    Hey everyone,

    I've had a very hard playing schedule lately with hard gigs and long rehearsals and have had one day off in the last 2 weeks... All commercial/lead stuff. Last night's 6 hour tech rehearsal for a show and then playing lead in a rock band horn section was the last nail in the coffin for me. My chops got messed up, obviously. My sound is completely destroyed, no edge, no overtones or any centering of notes, I got a nasty double buzz going, I have to play loudly to get any upper register stuff to sound at all like a lead player. I did notice though that my response, flexibility, and range were still pretty much normal, and I don't have any pain... it's just really hard to play and I sound absolutely horrendous.

    I realize the answer for this is to take a day or two off which is what I'm doing, but my question is how do pros deal with the constant abuse to there chops every night and prevent this sort of thing from happening? I've studied with a couple guys from the Maynard band but they have said to me many times to do arbans and long tones, and to "just make it work" which is a good point... but come on, I've done my arbans and long tones (which ended up tiring me out even more...oops) and made it work for 2 weeks and if I keep doing this there will probably be a point where I will never be able to "just make it work" ever again, and I definitely don't want that.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  2. Gilligan

    Gilligan Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2004
    Colorado Springs, USA
    Ibuprofen is good at reducing swollen lips. Take 400 mg every four hours. Told to me by a doctor who also plays trumpet.

    Natural vitamin E will help to prevent the formation of scare tissue in the lips. Take large amounts of it. It increases the blood's ability to carry oxygen and speeds healing. Scare tissue forms where the is a lack of oxygen getting to the to the flesh. This will also increase your air endurance if used an hour or two before a performance.

    Long tones are still a heavy stain on the lips. I prefer to use a large motor boat style buzz that feels about the size of a tuba buzz. It is like a super large petal tone buzz. I crimp the corners of my lips and just buzz like I did as a kid in the bathtub. This helps to get the blood flowing back into the lips expecially where the mouthpiece sits. This allows it to heal faster and keeps things from stiffening up. I do this a lot when driving.

    I also massage my lips to help breakup the indent I get in my upper lip from too much pressure.

    If you have really injured your chops you can also use a cold compress to relieve swelling and once the swelling is gone a warm compress to increase blood flow and healing, like you would for any other type of muscle injury.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  3. BustedChops

    BustedChops Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 1, 2011
    The pros don't feel pain because they are compensated with $$$$

    Do you do the horsey? I mean make the lips buzz "pppbbbpbbbpbb"

    As always blame the mouthpiece :) Yup icing the lips is a good cheat...They'll shrink up temporarily and be relatively painless. Don't take my advice too much because its been 11 years since I've been playing. Recently I'm getting my chops back and it's a been a real journey.

    The embouchure is a mysterious thing. So many words for it, yet nothing can definitively describe how to do it...Hah kind of like a human orgasm. Good luck. I hate it when I can play effortlessly and it all crumbles later.

    Perhaps you should also consider the aspect of extreme hydration. Muscles perform best when the body is fully hydrated.
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    sometimes.. sometimes... my airstream gets off and it will cause funny things to happen with my tone... might not be a bad idea to look into to.. can't hurt
  5. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
  6. BrassEye

    BrassEye Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2011
    ...and so we reach the worst-case scenario. It's like a bizarre trumpet version of Godwin's Law. Yes you can totally screw up your chops and need surgery, but that is not necessarily what has happened here. Don't panic. Take time off. Listen to lots of music, do lots of transcribing, finger scales on your horn without blowing a note. Finger through your music even! After a few days, see what it's like. If it's still a problem then, well, maybe you do need to start to worry a bit but seriously... People do what they need to do to get through gigs and sometimes you just need time off.
  7. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Surgery wasn't needed.

    My point in posting the link was to highlight the name of a respected book on chop damage and show some discussions that go beyond "take some time off".
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    If you're abusing your chops you're either using too much pressure, playing too loud, or both.Be aware of how much pressure you're using ,then try using less.We usually use much more pressure than we think. Never play above 80% of your top volume,playing too loud will waste your chops,always keep something in reserve.

    I find warming up using almost no pressure at ppp level with a tight practice mute to be very beneficial.I will do this at home earlier in the day then put the horn away until I get to gig. I like using Maggio's warm up A and lesson One as my warm up for the day.
    fraserhutch likes this.

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