What is fatigue?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JackTheMusician, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. JackTheMusician

    JackTheMusician Pianissimo User

    Aug 14, 2013
    When it comes to Fatigue how do your lips generally feel?
    Like is it around your mouth that feels fatigued in the way that your arms feel after a lifting for a while, or is it your actual lip that aches? [When i say ache I don't mean hurt]

    I say this mainly because when I'm tired it's usually where the mouthpiece has been that gets tired and feels warmer but also my corners start to "smile" more when playing higher to compensate. Is that bad or should it be your entire lips that "ache"?

    i can't remember anytime my chops have felt as previously described. Only the rare occasion where I feel lactic acid build.

    Hope le this makes sense!
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    If you're getting into those realms, you've gone too far.

    Fatigue is when your lip is starting to lose a bit of fine control, not when you start hitting some pain barrier.

    If you practise beyond fatigue, you're embedding compensation mechanisms, not best technique.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I've had to deal with bruised lips before, due to excess pressure, and it is no fun. Generally "good" fatigue will be felt in the corners and the muscles surrounding the mouth.
  4. ckkphoto

    ckkphoto Pianissimo User

    Jan 31, 2013
    Northwest Georgia
    I have only an hour a day to practice so i usually play without stopping much....fatigue for me is too lips too tired to play accurately without pressure.when i start pressing the mouth piece onto my face its time to quit for the night.
  5. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

    Aug 30, 2013
    When good technique goes bad due to fatigue it's time to call it a day only to come back stronger tomorrow.
  6. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    In my first incarnation as a trumpet player, I used to have almost that exact feel. Now however, due to a different look at how to use the chops, I don't get really, what I would call, fatigued. I just go for notes and more air than sound comes out.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that we have to look at the various mechanisms as fatigue means not always the same thing to everybody.

    When we tension muscle, we inhibit the flow of blood. The muscles thus do not get fed with oxygen and weaken. When we clamp our embouchures through excess pressure, we "help" high notes at the expense of requiring much more muscle activity to change notes. If we tension our upper body, we inhibit airflow and thus limit the solid foundation on which playing should be built. In turn we need much more strength to compensate. When our posture sucks, we limit the amount of air available and twist the rest into shape wasting even more energy. We can get into the rest of the body, but you all get the gist: fatigue is merely a symptom for other sins.

    What types of fatigue are there?
    1) clouded mind
    2) abdominal stress
    3) tense upper body
    4) tense neck
    5) weak cheek muscles
    6) lips falling into the cup of the mouthpiece which in an advanced stage is noticed as stress in the corners of the mouth

    When I get new students, I find almost all of these symptoms in various levels. The cure is to first reteach them how to breathe, then produce relaxed long tones, then relaxed slurs, then relaxed simple melodies. This process takes at least 8 weeks, often more. No high notes or loud playing during this time. We rebuild the playing apparatus with thousands of low impact repetitions. We are developing fine motor control, not a six pack in the face! I have this documented here at Trumpetmaster in my Circle of Breath.
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    NICE statement, and I think it's something that a lot of aspiring trumpet players don't consider, and truthfully, something I don't always consider, which is why about twice a year I have to take things back to square one and make a point to work my chops in the practice room to reduce mouthpiece pressure and regain chops focus - I start adding pressure to compensate for when my chops start to fatigue but I continue to play. To be fair, this happens a lot on a gig, so it isn't like I can just put the horn away when my chops start to tire - I have to keep it going until the gig is done.

    Thanks! This is something that I'm going to keep in mind a bit more in my future forays in the practice room. Fundamentally, this is something I understand, but I hadn't really thought about it quite that way or quite that specifically. You're never too old to learn something useful and new! :-)
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Fatigue is not being able to hit the notes with accuracy in a person that has the ability to play with accuracy. If you start feeling it in you lips, you are beyond fatigue and entering the dark spiriling world of strain.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    It appears we are using the term fatigue in different ways. From the discription above I would call the feeling being described as tone. Fatigue is when muscle has been pushed to its maximum ability and is begining to run out of its energy source, entering anaerobic metabolism. There is a dyscoordination of muscle function at this point, hence the reason why control begins to fade. If playing continues and lactate builds this is where you begin fealing pain, which is not a "good" fatigue as you are on your way to damage if you continue further past this phase.

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