What's happening to me?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Clarion, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Clarion

    Clarion New Friend

    Oct 3, 2010
    N.E. Ohio
    This is only my second posting...


    I'm an older guy (50 yr. old) trying to get back into it. I've been practicing for over a month and I thought I was making decent progress. I've been taking it easy and trying not to over do it.

    All of a sudden, the last two days, I can barely get a decent sound out. I have very little endurance (not that I had too much before) and I can barely get anything but an awful raspy sound out.

    Previously, that's the sound I'd get by buzzing just the mouthpiece, but now that's what's coming out of the horn as well.

    Does anyone know what's happening?
  2. Brian H. Smout

    Brian H. Smout Piano User


    It would be nice if trumpet playing was always an upwards trajectory. There are days when even the very best players don't sound that great. It is the challenge of the instrument to try and become consistent in what comes out of the bell end. Sometimes a day off is necessary to recover the energy and enthusiasm to keep going. You are not alone in this although it might feel that way. Best of luck.

  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    It happens. I've been on the comeback trail 4 years and there are still those days. You could be overdoing it and you need to relax (Rome wasn't built in a day). Try to be as consistent as possible with your embouchure. You will have to think about it while your playing. I had the habit of trying new stuff and not giving it time to work. Then going back to what I had been doing was hard. Developing consistency in your practice routine is going to be the most helpful thing to you. Practice is boring but practice makes perfect. If you don't have a warm-up try this,it's only 3 bucks and you can get it at you local music store.

    Trumpet Warm Ups sheet music by Walter Moeck | Sheet Music Plus

    Keep it up! :thumbsup:
  4. ska

    ska Pianissimo User

    Sep 12, 2009
    When I started playing again(then again, I could be your grandson -.-), I didn't do much but playing long tones and scales , just get the feeling back. When I knew that I'm back in business ( effordless play of scales ) I started looking towards the technical side of the game.

    Now the 20 years of smoking - I don't know about that, it couldn't possibly bode well, but there are people in an orchestra in my city that still smoke, been smoking for like 30 years, and they play really well, both technique and tone wise.

    Since you're an older man, I suggest you keep it slow for starters - I don't exactly know what you did to practice, but long tones is the best way to put your lung capacity and your tone quality to the test.
  5. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    If you want to succeed then slow and steady has to be your mantra.

    You've been back with the trumpet for a month after a 32 year layoff. You've forgotten more than you think, and your body isn't 18 anymore so it's going to take a while to get back into shape.
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Taking private lessons with someone who can see and hear you would be your best course of action. In the mean time soft long tones and slurs can help.Rest as long as you play,something like five minutes on,then five minutes off. Have you checked the corks on your spit valves?
  7. Clarion

    Clarion New Friend

    Oct 3, 2010
    N.E. Ohio
    Thanks for the advice and support.

    I played for eight years back in the '70's. I never had private lessons. I was just given a horn and told, "here you go, now play", and I had braces for the first three years. Needless to say, I developed poor technique.

    I'm trying to change that and have been reading as much as possible in an attempt to do it right this time. Frankily, it can all be a bit overwhelming and confusing at times.

    I don't think I've been overdoing it, but it is possible. I've been practicing from fifteen to thirty minutes a day (with numerous breaks) depending on how well I'm doing. I have skipped a day here and there. I've been doing mostly long notes with a minimum of valve work to try to build some endurance. I've done a minimum of tonguing so far - mostly while holding a long note. Lately, I have tried basic lip slurs (C-G-C). Occasionally, I have tried playing a very short, simple tune but nothing crazy.

    Last evening, I bought a couple of beginners method books in order to have something a little more structured to practice. I live in an economically depressed area and have been unemployed for an extended period, so private lessons are just not possible right now.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  8. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA

    I'm a soon to be 50 year old (tomorrow) comeback player and been at it a month, as well. I certainly understand your economic position, but if you can somehow manage some private instruction, it's well worth it. Books are a good start, but I think it really helps to have some guidance. Maybe if you explain your situation to a teacher, you can come to an arrangement. If your area is depressed, then teachers are likely to be hungry, too. Maybe even just a monthly, or bi-weekly lesson. Learning to practice right is the most important part of the process.

    Good luck in your comeback. Us old farts need all the help we can get!!

  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Clarion,
    When we learn something that takes a lifetime to learn, we will have periods where we level off for a while and no progress seems to happen. This could be your situation.
    However, it might be worth your while to do a little reading and watching:
    1)Read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment
    2)Watch Urban Agnas youtubes on "Flow" and pay particular attention to what he says about how to breath, posture and relaxation.
    3)Also, check out rowuk's "Circle of Breath"
    4)Contact one of the local University trumpet professors and ask if you can take a lesson or two just to get you headed in the right direction.
    5) Don't stop practicing!
    Good Luck, hope this helps
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Make sure there's nothing wrong with the horn - spit valve not closing/cork missing or damaged, valve in wrong, glop plugging up your mouthpiece or horn somewhere, etc.

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