Trumpet workout Supplements?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by GuyMcPerson, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. GuyMcPerson

    GuyMcPerson New Friend

    Dec 29, 2008
    Hey all, stupid question but I am a sax player having come over to the trumpet side, and I've come to realize that trumpet is a much, much more muscle intensive instrument than saxophone.

    The thing I was wondering is, I remember back in my wannabe-bodybuilding days (or at least days where I worked out very frequently) that it was really necessary to let your muscles rest for a day or so to build back the increased muscles. Otherwise, if you kept working out the same muscles everyday, you would see much smaller improvements (or at least your improvements would be much slower) which is why you were supposed to work out different muscles each time in a cycle.

    Anyways, my point is I remember that I used to take creatine and a little bit of protein to help with the workout. The creatine generally being used to help improve my actual workout as well as speed up the recovery process.

    The question is, has anyone tried taking creatine or any supplements to enhance their trumpet practice/workout? I know the trumpet works out muscles as well, so surely it couldn't hurt?

    I have not been playing for too long (about a month or so) and at this point, I find that when I first start playing for the day, I can get up to a G on the top of the staff with a good tone, and play pretty well up to that range. But an hour later my range starts choking and soon it's down to the E.. then D and C. Soon that middle C even starts getting a bit weak, and I think it's just my muscles wimping out.

    So, any opinions? Sorry for the potentially massive post.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Back up one BIG step. The muscles that you build up when working out have NOTHING to do with the fine motor skills required to play the trumpet. Most players that I know that take the body builder approach with their face usually end up with playing skills far below their opinion of themselves.

    The trumpet is more physical than a Saxophone, that is because the lips produce the tone and not a reed. The muscles involved in good playing are built slowly with a minimum of testosterone. Short cuts don't work. Bad habits slow the learning curve WAY down.

    In the beginning we always try and muscle our way around the horn. As we develop skills, we start playing smarter. That is when our range and endurance improve. Smart means stop before you waste your face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! tear those fine motor muscles down, and you stunt your progress. They are not biceps or triceps.
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Wow what a great question and what an opportunity to get you on the right path before you do a bunch of damage to yourself.
    A mistake a lot of people make when they think "Trumpet" is brutish power. While its true trumpets were used to lead men into battle, I don't think you're wanting to play that kind of trumpet. The only species that's allowed to trumpet in a brutish manner is the elephant.
    The trumpet sounds like it takes a lot of muscles, force, and power especially when a person hears Bergeron, Ferguson or Doc screaming over everyone else. However, its just the opposite.
    Playing well requires learning how to make the instrument "sing" with a minimum of effort.
    Its actually a delicate process(kinda like whistling) and should always sound beautiful. It'll take a while but the first time you pull it off in an effortless manner you'll say "damned, how did I do that? I didn't do that much!".
    I know there's a chance that what I'm saying sounds like a bunch of balony but I suggest "trust but verify" Check the internet and read how Ferguson, Mendez, Doc, Marsalis ect. approach(ed) the trumpet. Once you get the hang of handling the approach delicately, you'll find that it will be muscling the trumpet to be your worse enemy. Your correlation between bodybuilding and trumpet playing will cease to exist.
  4. Publius_

    Publius_ Banned

    Jan 21, 2009
    The thing, I think, with playing the trumpet is also a lot to do with endurance. Building muscle takes time but endurance along with it. As for the protein supplements and such I doubt they would make any significant impact on the muscles. You would probably have to use a small amount.
  5. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    There are off horn exercises-- check out Trumpeting By Nature by Jeanne Pocius or some of Pops' books
  6. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    I┬┤say that you need to build lip muscles,
    and then you need to learn how NOT to use them.
  7. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    A brain surgeon spends several hours each day using their fingers operating on people, but you wouldn't want them to have a crushing grip or bulky hands and wrists. They need finesse.

    Same for the trumpet. Your muscles have to be well developed and capable of operating for long periods of time, but finesse is required...
  8. GuyMcPerson

    GuyMcPerson New Friend

    Dec 29, 2008
    The reason I asked guys is cause I can play with a somewhat good range (for a beginner) and get a good tone on all the notes when I haven't been playing much the day, but after a while of practicing my range decreases as well as my tonal quality, and it's not that I wasn't able to find a good position, it's just that my lips are so tired and give out.

    That's why I asked about developing the lip muscles. I understand it's much more skill-based than muscle-based, but to me it seems the muscles still play a significant part in endurance and how long one can play for.
  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    My very strong advice is to play low tones as long as you possibly can, while carefully maintaining the tone, intonation, and volume. This will develope those lip muscles while teaching you to play with a minimum of crushing pressure. In most students cases, their left hand is their worst enemy. It induces the desire to press harder against the lips when the notes climb the scale and this also occurs when the muscles fatigue. Try holding the valve body cradled in the palm of your hand and never use the pinky hook with the last finger of your right hand except to hold the horn securely while turning pages, inserting a mute, etc..

  10. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    "Try holding the valve body cradled in the palm of your hand and never use the pinky hook with the last finger of your right hand except to hold the horn securely while turning pages, inserting a mute, etc."

    Such a small thing, but this advice will really help minimize pressure!

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