Twitching in the upper lip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetMonk, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. TrumpetMonk

    TrumpetMonk Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2009
    West virginia
    Hey all,

    I recently wrapped up my first semester in college and when I entered college I tried to play as much as possible. It's pretty fun and all and I was making a lot of headway. But then things just crashed. Which is very frustrating. Pretty much every aspect of my playing went to pot. I don't think I changed anything in my playing. But my playing just really isn't where it was, much less where I want it. Now, my professor tells me we all go through slumps and he's helping me work it out, and I know that kinda stuff happens. But what sort of worries me is that this all started after a week of concerts when I think I kinda over did myself. Ever since then I've had a small tremor that shows up in my top lip from time to time. Its not when I'm playing, just every so often. I try not to think about embouchure stuff too much, but I was wondering, could the two be related? Thanks for any help or advice :)
  2. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    Probably a classic case of over training.

    For us less gifted types (and even some who have natural high chops) it can be difficult to see clearly once over training takes over. I call this a form of mental depression specific to trumpet players. Maybe you can help me find a catchy term to label it as.

    You practice hard PLUS all your college playing requirements. Things improve and go well for a bit but then it seems to crash all around you. leaving you depressed and bewildered. So you practice more and things REALLY fall apart. Usually shortly before your Freshaman or Sophomore juries.

    HAHAHAHAHA! You're screwed!

    Seriously. Look at this as a condition caused by unrealistic performance/practice/playing conditions long term. The cure?

    You have to keep your playing down below a certain long term threshold. While staying below your maximum output over time? You should improve. Raising your power to a higher level. A place where what was once impossible before is now possible. Easy even.

    However there are problems with this. First of all this doesn't mean immediately stopping playing high notes. Or even extended classical pieces which truth be told are probably harder for me. But it does mean PACING YOURSELF.

    You may if you wish burn your chops to a crisp twice a week and not suffer any severe long term problems. So long as you rested most of the other five days a week. Lead players live this way.

    On the other hand you may have that creeping build up of over training. Not so noticeable. You merely meet all of your playing commitments and still find swollen, inflexible chops three to six weeks later.

    best thing to do is CHART EVERY PLAYING COMMITMENT YOU HAVE ON A CALENDER. Then cherry pick which ones you will play and which you won't.

    other strategies are this:

    Concert bland or marching bland: Have the other first trumpet players play the "dogfight" section of marches. Cherry pick and lay out ALL unisons. the other trumpet players need to shine sometimes right? So why be greedy. let them carry you.

    Another REALLY GOOD IDEA is to learn to play some kind of "screamer" mouthpiece. Use these in all forte or high sections. I've never known a music director to tell the difference. A High C on a Schilke 6a4a sound as well or better in a tutti loud section as a Bach 1. With only a quarter the effort.

    Maximize your practice time. STAY LOW! Very few high notes. Just stay looose enough and work those fingers and articulation. Let your rehearsals and gigs challenge your endurance. That's what they are for.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  3. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    yep over working.. the muscles are still firing. They will settle down in a few days.

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