Trumpet playing in the morning

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ollieselectricalcomponent, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. ollieselectricalcomponent

    ollieselectricalcomponent New Friend

    Apr 28, 2010
    Hi there all. I am looking for advice on my problem with playing the trumpet in the morning. I am 17 and am reasonably competant with playing the trumpet. I am studying for a diploma in music performance. The problem is that when i wake up, and untill about mid day, i struggle to even get a note out. this really hinders my practice and i now only practice in the evening. I have been told on soo many occaisions that this is purely cycological. This irritates me because the problem is definatly not in my head. Every muscle in my face feels tight and horrible when i wake up and till about midday. No ammount of warm-ups can help. I have seen a doctor, which didnt help. I am off to college in a few months and am just worried that I wont be able to practice in the morning there. Is this problem that every trumpet player shares? or is it just me? Thanks :D
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I'm the same way to an extent. Getting enough sleep, getting up a few hours before you have to play, not eating salty food before bedtime, and drinking a lot of water in the mornings will help.
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree with Dale, drink plenty of water to help flush out all of the acids in your system, which will help reduce the swelling in your lips feet etc..
  4. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    If I'm tight in the morning it's usually because I was playing hard and or late the day before-I just haven't had enought time to rest.

    My approach is to:

    1. Avoid playing late and hard into the hight
    2. Warm up in the morning SLOWLY, avoiding notes above tuning "C", emphasizing low
    register and pedal tones.

    Works for me...
  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    What are you doing the night before?
    Nevertheless, it sounds like a mental block. Restructure your thinking.
    Art Tatum would start playing in bars early in the morning and play all day and late into the night. then, go to bed and get up the next morning and do the same thing for years.
    Imagine you have to play in the morning because you're getting paid to do it.
    Think about it. If I hired you to play from 6:30AM to 9:30 AM for $600.00 do you have what it takes to do the job? Well of course you do.
  6. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Getting used to morning playing is just a matter of doing it. When I was in college I decided I would spend an hour each morning warming up and doing fundamentals.
    I got to school at 730 and played until 830, then rested until class at 9ish.
    It sucked at first, but after a few days I loved it. It made the rest of my playing during the day feel better, and it was nice to be in the practice rooms at school when no other players (saxes, guitars) were wailing away.
  7. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    Ray Copeland was once a clinician at my school and couldn't believe that anyone was really UP at that time of day, let alone trying to make their lips work!

    Certainly, when you wake up there is a degree of edema of your lips: that will slow down response and flexibility. I sort of gutted it out when I was in college too, doing the early morning thing. Now, I buzz in the car during my commute and am ready for just about anything at anytime of the day (I teach school).

    Presumably, there is a physiological aspect: if you condition your body to have to function at that time, it will ultimately respond. In the interim, it may be a psychological issue until you remember that it's a process.
  8. Fluffy615

    Fluffy615 Piano User

    Nov 30, 2006
    New Jersey
    You might try warming down at the end of your playing day. Check with your private teacher about what to do as a warm down. I've done that for years and I really feel like it makes a difference. I usually do a combination of note bending exercises and pedal tones. Again, check with your teacher. I hope this helps.
  9. tptshark

    tptshark Pianissimo User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Hong Kong

    It's hard to know without seeing you play, but my advice would be:
    - to make sure you finish the previous day with a gentle, warm down (i generally just play a soft jazz ballad or something - concentrating on sound and relaxing and melody)
    - drink lots of water, all day, every day
    - in the shower in the morning, run the hot water on your face for a few minutes while 'flapping' your lips (by flapping i mean that horse sound thing where your lips are loose)
    - when you start your playing session, do more flapping, then some buzzing, and a little mouthpiece work until your face feels ready for the trumpet
    - warm up softly from C in the staff up to E in the staff, and then down to G in the staff (use chromatic scales and freely play up and down) until things feel loose and easy.
    - then start your usual routine.

    ... this has worked for me for a number of years, and i hardly never feel tight or out of shape first thing in the day anymore.

    Always remember that it's very unlikely that your face, or your horn, has changed from last time you played! :)

    What does your teacher recommend?

    All the best,
  10. darkstar

    darkstar New Friend

    Apr 13, 2010
    Hello young padawan learner,

    The human body is an amazing thing that can, and will adapt to our needs if we will it to do so. Try this: use a little chapstick rubbed into the lips on the way to school. Use your P.E.T.E lightly if you have one, and if you're on the bus or riding with a friend, move on to mouthpeice buzzing without the instrument (eigth notes trills starting on low F# - G). keep the weight of the mouthpiece slightly off the lower lip and let it carry it's part of the load when buzzing low or pedals. Ascend in half steps up to middle F# - G. You know how to set your embouchure and or pivot to play these notes even without the instrument. Visualize and hear your notes even before you play them. Blow until empty and rest as long as you play between each interval. This should take about 10 minutes. Don't rush. Then, when you can, pick up the horn and proceed to some first inversion descending slurs: starting on upper C (3rd space on the staff) and slowly slur down in half notes to G and then E. Hold the E (longtone until empty). Descend with this exercise in half step intervals into the pedal range bottom of your instrument (you have to do pedals in your warm ups). Concentrate on your fundamentals, sound, breath control, pivot, etc.; diagnose and make adjustments as needed. Teach yourself by listening and feeling. Rest. Visualize. This too should take about 10-15 minutes or so. Finally, do the same exercise in reverse, Ascend. Only now instead of slurring, lightly tongue each note during the ascent. Seek cleanliness in your tonguing - immediate wide sound, not that air puff prior to true sound production. This exercise should continue to the top of the instrument range (yours). Take your time. The equal rest to playing time ratio between each arpeggio is as important as the playing time. After this 30-35 minutes you should still feel rested, as you've rested as long as you've played. Morning is usually when we're freshest and is usually the best time to do the hard stuff, so go onto whatever you need to focus on for the day and save the easier stuff for your late day practice. (except on/near performance day...don't beat up your chops!). Hope this helps.

    A "bone" player friend of mine told me about this years ago when I was a pup, it helped me then (with perseverence), and as I've now picked up my horns again after 30 years, it still helps me to cope with the same problem that you're experiencing.

    Remember, the awareness of real change or growth, much like in athletics, is usually on the order of weeks, not days or hours, so don't give up. Keep sheddin'. Btw, The other guys (and gals?) on site here are accurate in that you should monitor your food intake, rest and water. Keeping a journal is often helpful for athletes in this regard and if you think trumpet playing is not an athletic endeavor, think again! Visualization, mental fitness, physical fitness training, rest and nutrition are all components. Don't let frustration stop you and don't let "can't" come out of your chops. You "can", it just takes lots of time, effort and desire; and occasional frustration is part of playing these hunks of go practice!

    Phil P. :D

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