Urgent help needed, concert in 5 days and I can't play properly anymore

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by derukun, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Play with the mouthpiece however it feels comfortable, and gets you the sound.
    Many of the greatest players play with downward air.

    It sounds to me like your throat is too tense when you go high, like you are pinching off in the back of your mouth and throat as you ascend.Support the sound with more air and a slightly raised tongue saying the ah syllable or E syllable.

    This won't be corrected by the concert as these things take time and practice.

    There also exists the idea of paralysis by analysis. The more you think about a certain aspect of playing, the less you focus on other parts of playing properly and that makes you play incorrectly.
  2. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    You instrument is clean and corks are in good condition...right?
    One of our moderators use to recommend taking a hot bath/shower before practicing
    and then ... inhale.. exhale...inhale .. play for each note
    If it's tension it might be something to try.
  3. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Perhaps you've just done too much over the last few days... take a day off from playing, relax as much as you can. And then try again. I know you can do it - prove it to me!
    coolerdave likes this.
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    My thought is that you have kind of a mental block going for some reason or other. It sounds like you've got this concert placed at such a high level that the anxiety is causing you to have some air issues.

    Without seeing you or hearing you, it's hard to diagnose an issue, but from a general perspective, try not to look at this performance like a do-or-die kind of proposition, and remember why you are doing it - it's not an athletic event, it's music. :-)

    Based on your posts you're putting a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to perform - relax a bit and don't worry as much. Mistakes happen in live performance so don't sweat them - if I had a buck for every clam I've ever played in a performance (and some of them were spectacular splee-ahs that were so bad they caused people around me to chuckle) I'd be pretty well off.

    Whenever I start getting keyed up about mistakes and that kind of thing, I try to take a step back and remember why I play music. There are two main reasons. One, I LOVE music. It's the food for my soul and I couldn't imagine life without it. I'm not even particular about what I'll listen to - everything from Classical to pop, metal to grunge, jazz to funk, country to new age, and even some select rap and hip-hop along with dubstep. There is something worth listening to in all of it. The second reason I play music is because it's fun! There isn't much that jazzes me as much as making good music with other fine musicians, and seeing the audience's appreciation for my efforts.

    So, take a step back, breathe, work some soft fundamentals, try not to push yourself too hard, and remember why you love playing the trumpet in the first place.

    The truth is, there may not be much that will resurrect your chops for this upcoming performance if it's a physical issue and not a mental block - you've only got 5 years on the horn, and in that developmental phase and age, there is a lot happening in your chops development. You are growing, your teeth a possibly shifting, (wisdom teeth are always a challenge to get through) your lips might be getting thinner or more plump, your jaw might be growing, causing your the size of your oral cavity to shift, etc. Just keep working through it and think about long term progress, and not so much about the upcoming performance.

    As for the performance itself, again, don't put so much pressure on yourself. Hit the stuff up the octave that is absolutely essential, but if you have to, drop the octave and play it there. While it's not ideal, it's better to have the notes solid down the octave than the alternative - notes that are splitting, cracking or flat out missed, (and quite possibly very out of tune) or not there at all.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but in my experience, most of the time there is no quick fix for chops issues when your chops are experiencing a major meltdown.
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    I my opinion here's your answer.... consistent practice delivers consistent results. I suspect that you have a very lax practice routine and now you are experiencing the symptoms of over-playing.

    If you were my student (after I cashed your momma's check and knocked you upside the head) I would suggest taking the next couple days and practicing soft long tones and slow pianissimo chromatic scales... but I would have no expectation that you would suddenly start doing what I suggest when you have been ignoring everything up to now.

    Why is it a suprise that you are not playing well when you do not practice well?
  6. derukun

    derukun New Friend

    Nov 21, 2013
    I think it may possibly be this. Symptoms of playing for so long without proper practice. I'll try to upload a video of myself playing so perhaps more accurate analysis can be made.

    Video is up now, please critique me. I'm just playing scales. Don't mention pressure because that's not the issue; you'll see that even pushing the trumpet a bit away from my lips doesn't get that G out. somethings just not happening right.

  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    My perspective is that you need to work your fundamentals - what I'd prescribe to you is some soft, low pressure long tones in your lower register - G in the staff and down, and lots of soft articulation exercises. Don't use a method book - that can distract from what's going on between you and your mouthpiece. Really get in touch with what's happening inside the mouthpiece. Rest frequently. I can't recommend the articulation exercises enough - you can't articulate cleanly and crisply if your chops aren't focused and your air isn't moving well. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like you are using too much pressure.

    Your chops aren't focusing and by doing the stuff above, you'll regain the focus. However, it probably won't all come back in 3-5 days - it may take a bit longer.

    Don't lose faith my friend - Rome wasn't built in a day and your chops won't be either, but you CAN build them up, one brick at a time.
  8. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Looks kinda like a weird chop setup... lots of bottom lip, in the red on top. Nasal tone in low register. No controled attacks. You got bigger problems than range.
  9. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Sorry to hear about your playing problem. Here's my 2-cents.

    I agree that it sounds like overplaying combined with inconsistent practicing, which has led to an embouchure injury. This is not uncommon before a concert, when playing demands increase beyond what you are used to.

    If it's an embouchure injury, you can't play yourself out of it. You need rest. Based on this, I agree with the suggestion to take a day off. Alternatively, as someone else suggested, play soft low long tones for a day or so.

  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Durkun, thanks for posting the video. A couple of observations:

    Your breaths sound "wrong" that sound of air (almost like a cat's hiss) going in indicates huge amounts of tension and blockage. Try this: Roll a piece of paper into a tube about the size of a paper towel holder, stick it in your mouth and breathe in. Instead of that "heeeeh" sound inhaling, you'll hear more of a "hooooh!" sound and you'll experience the air entering your lungs like never before. In the video it sounds like you are getting very little air into your lungs. Correct use of air is the single most important mechanism in trumpet playing.

    Try inhaling without the mouthpiece on the lips. The mouthpiece pressure can lock the embouchure with a large gap between the lips into place, which kills high notes. Breathe in, form the embouchure, then apply mouthpiece pressure.

    I don't know if you've been doing it or not, but as a concert approaches it is tempting to only practice the pieces on the program. This is deadly. A successful trumpet player has a practice routine, and performance pieces are practiced on top of that.

    You've gotten some excellent advice in this thread. Follow it.

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