what's going on?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Zach, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. Zach

    Zach New Friend

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    Aug 23, 2012
    I've been practicing daily an hour for 3 or so months now. It seems like whenever I start to improve or finally grasp concepts, the next day it's completely gone.

    For example, I've finally been able to get easy blowing notes and articulation that doesn't sound choppy and being able to do my major scales with relative ease, my muscle memory just knowing how to adjust to get through the notes.

    Today, I went to practice, and firstly I couldn't even get a line G at piano with a split buzzing, and then after warming up with long tones tried the major scales. As I'd play the concert b flat scale, notes randomly wouldn't even come out unless I spiked my volume SEVERAL dynamics. Worse still, my muscle memory for notes basically proved to be of no use. A position and feel of a simple A on the staff didn't play an A but an E. I checked everything I was doing, my posture, embouchure, making sure I was supporting my breathing and not letting it clip. I was completely demoralized by the fact that I couldn't even play a B flat scale! Not even after assessing potential bad habits, and my chops and breathing were fine and strong.

    It just seems like I have absolutely no potential with this instrument, and I've never experienced this in life before. A simple rule for me has been to practice and pay attention to technique if it isn't natural and you will improve eventually. I could play the b flat scale a few days after picking up the trumpet several years ago, and today struggled to get notes out and couldn't play the scale. What is the meaning of this?

    I'm generally a fighter type of person, never to give up, but the emotional stress this instrument is causing me is beginning to be too much to bear. And I don't think I can give it up, because it's perhaps the only instrument where my lack of left hand isn't a total setback.
     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    It means you are learning how to play the trumpet. Welcome to the club.. and to TM. In the beginning over the first several years of playing I remember many experiences like this. You are building your chops and habits... hopefully good ones under the tutalige of a competent teacher. Even with this there are minor victorys and small defeats along the way. It has only been in the past decade that I see progress happen on a weekly basis. I have been doing this now for 40 years... not that I have to... but am highly devoted enough to want to, and then get great rewards from all my successful wins. So what is the meaning of this? The meaning is... it is a part of the process what you are experiencing. If the motivation is there, you have a long but rewarding experience ahead. For me, that makes it all worth the effort.
     
  3. Zach

    Zach New Friend

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    Aug 23, 2012
    That's kind of a hard pill to swallow, but if it is to be true, then the trumpet really IS the right instrument for me!
    Though now I am wondering if you are implying that on the days where progress is seemingly made that wrong habits are being done, and the days such as today that good habits are finally creeping in and thus have to be developed?

    PS: I admire how long you've been playing!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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    Welcome to the practice of trumpet! Sometimes I think we should all be on lithium (mood stabilizer). Perhaps the good doctor could help, although I have a feeling he might recommend gin tonic instead...
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Zach, Yes, if you haven't already surmised Gmonady is a bonafide MD Doc as well as a HOT jazz trumpet and flugel player. Musically, many of us on TM have once been at the stage in learning the trumpet that you are, and possibly you have had an advantage that many of us have not viz, the familiarity with a piano. Still, I wish I could suggest some form of custom prosthetic that would enable you, or give you some ease, to securely cradle the trumpet while you play.
     
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    It's part and parcel of learning the trumpet. It takes years to become proficient. Don't give up though! Accept the challenge!
     
  7. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

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    hang in there, even today after playing for years sometimes I go to the practice room and the chops just don't work. I'll put the horn back on the stand and later in the day go back in and it starts working again. I've only had it happen just a couple of times on a job but when that happens I just put in a mute and spend a little longer warming up and everything works. as others said---welcome to the club.
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Interestering that you would use a medicine analogy... Hmmmm

    No, days of progress are experienced when things are done right. It is just that at the beginning, it takes a bit longer for the right things to click. When you get my age, things click with every second that you are playing... they're called false teeth!

    Before you pass judgement, listen to a clip of me playing flugelhorn on Surrendered Life (my solo follows the sax solo): 01 Surrendered Life by Doctor Jazz on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
     
  9. Zach

    Zach New Friend

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    Aug 23, 2012
    Ed Lee, I don't have the familiarity with piano? I do take some pride in my drum set playing, despite missing my left hand.

    gmonady, I assumed you were some kind of doctor with your giant doctor emoticon

    I listened to your clip. :wub: amazing!

    Does orthodontics play a crucial role in trumpet playing? I ask because my bottom teeth became crooked after losing my retainer but my top teeth are still straight because I have the top retainer. I can tell my orthodontic positioning changes somewhat on a daily basis as some days I can bite down straight and sometimes can't
     
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Zach, IMO you're doing what I must say is a challenge beyond my own reality. I'm far and away no dentist, but I'll stick my neck in the noose and say that the lower teeth are less important than the upper teeth for playing a brass instrument, but just for comfort, health and appearance you urgently need to get them stabilized with a new retainer or other dental procedure(s). I've now lost all my natural teeth except 4 lower ones and have a full upper denture and a lower partial one thus I fully am aware of dental costs.

    Too, I disavow that I can play a piano, but I'm so so familiar with them as there has been one in our house that my late Mother played, and I've now a small electronic keyboard that I now and again plink. Still, I'll accept them as a great music learning tool even though most real pianos I've encountered are somewhat out of tune.

    Perhaps you can securely tie a drumstick to what remains of your left arm and do pretty good with drums and cymbals ... but with two good hands I wouldn't begin to do so as both my wife and dog wouldn't put up with it, whereas I can't mute their sound as sufficient as I can with my brass instruments. Still I have a nice stage snare drum rig (stand and case for all) for sale very reasonable, but will keep my personal Celtic bodran for thumps at parties.

    I believe Gmonady is a pediatrician Doc and also has attained a Doctoral in Chemistry and that he also answers to Dr. Jazz. He currently plays trumpet (a Martin Committee or Olds Ambassador) and a flugelhorn (Getzen Eterna or Kanstul 1526 with copper bell) with the Eddie Brookshire Quintet producing high energy jazz. I have their CD and I communicate with him often. His Rx helped a lot to recently restore my hearing by enabling me to get hardened and impacted ear wax removed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

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