What's happening to me?

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

  1. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Clarion, I can hear your frustration. I understand your economic situation. We all know that the best way to start is with the help of an teacher who is expertienced with beginners. Ideally an in person lesson is the best. But I have had great success with web cam lessons It does have a few drawbacks but it enables me to help students who are not able to see me in person.

    I've maintained a private trumpet studio for 32 years. Not to sound egotistical but my rate of success with students at all levels is 100%.

    I know that a web cam lesson is just not possible at this time but I would like to help you. I have had some success giving some basic tips over the phone. It's been my experience that trying to read about how to play can create more confusion than clarity.

    I always offer the first session free to new people. If you or anyone else is interested just e mail me at bgrierjr @triad .rr.com
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you think about how humans learn things, you realize that muscle development is not a linear thing. To complicate things even more, we use a bunch of different muscles when playing, some develop more quickly than others.

    As your playing had a sudden change, I suspect that some synergy is gone and that you just need to make sure that you do not get off track by twisting other things into shape.

    During lessons, I always start my students with breathing, then long tones, then slurs. If a symptom like yours pops up, it never lasts for more than a couple of weeks a long as they don't try to compensate. The most important part is that big relaxed breath and playing not being "much" more work than exhaling. You should always be able to get a good tone (unless your face is beaten up) this way. It can also serve as the base to which you ALWAYS return when something does not seem right.
  3. Clarion

    Clarion New Friend

    Oct 3, 2010
    N.E. Ohio
    Well, I guess I'll end the suspense. It's been five days since I played last, and I tried it again today.

    Thankfully, things seem to be back to "normal" other than slightly lower endurance. :thumbsup:

    In fact, at one point I felt like real brass player. For a short time I was playing with a very nice tone, with almost zero effort, and almost no mouthpiece pressure (by my standards). It didn't last long, but I'd have to say it was a first for me.

    I'm not positive what happened, but I believe my orbis muscles may have been overly tense. I assumed it was a (good) sign that I was building up some strength. The next time that happens, I'll take that as a sign I've overdone it.

    I believe the raspiness was because the muscles were overly tense and wouldn't allow my lips to vibrate freely, but the overlying soft tissue was free to vibrate. It's been happening all along, but not nearly to that extreme.

    I have to confess...up until today I'd been practicing using a practice mute. I was practicing late in the evening, and I was focused on developing muscle tone and endurance more than anything. I can see it would be of more use after one has much more power and control. The horn certainly sounds and plays much better without it.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  4. Clarion

    Clarion New Friend

    Oct 3, 2010
    N.E. Ohio
    I thought I'd add a little update since I believe I've learned a couple of things since then. Also, things weren't as hunky-dory as it may have sounded in my previous posting.

    The first thing was that I've been using Chapstick religiously since my high school days and wondered if that had contributed to my issues. I went to a local music store that was supposed to be a retailer of Chopsaver. A salesman, who apparently also plays the horn, seemed to feel that the petrolatum in the Chapstick had a negative effect and made ones lips too soft.

    They didn't have any Chopsaver in stock but he mentioned that Chapstick had a product called 'Naturals' that he's been using. I found some and have been using it for the last two weeks and I do believe it is making a difference. The raspiness problem has been reduced subsantially.

    The other thing is that I've acquired a small selection of mouthpieces (for a reasonable price). I had been using an unmarked mouthpiece that came with the cornet I've been playing. Comparing it carefully to the other mouthpieces (by feel - thumb test) I've determined it may be in the range of a size 2. From what I've been reading, that may be a little too big for a beginning comeback player like me. My 5B seems to be a much better choice for me right now.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  5. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA

    I'm glad that positive things are happening for you. Keep up the good work and mostly, keep playing.

  6. jmberinger

    jmberinger Pianissimo User

    Jun 5, 2007
    Long Beach, California
    Clarion: Just a quick comment. I too am a comeback player, after a 25 years layoff, and I have found that how I feel physically is an important issue for me. Practicing late in the evening, et al or after a full day of work, I find that my energy levels are too depleted to really address the physical and mental issues with the trumpet.

    The other issue for me is the abdominal support issue. It took a while to move the playing stress from the lips to the abdominals. Anyway, using the Stamp warm ups certainly helped there.
  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    glad to hear that you are "listening to your body" -- that is a hard thing to do. But also in muscle physiology it takes anywhere from 2 days to 4 to recover -- and "build" muscles (at 45, sometimes I am at the 4 day recovery when I overdue it). That is why on TM it is often recommended to do a hard day -- then a light day of practice.
    I use a product called Bag Balm -- which is trditionally used to soften and prevent cracks on udders of dairy animals ---- and also use Beeswax lip balm ---- both are natural products and seem to keep my lips supple and freely vibrating.
    hope that helps.
    keep pressing on -- and sharing the progress with others
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Ah, playing with a practice mute. That clears some things up. Playing ALL the time with a practice mute will make your lips rigid. This will result in loss of range and endurance. It also produces a raspy sound. Usually with a practice mute it is hard to tell how loud/hard we are playing Bu paying really loud all the time you do damage to the embouchure.
  9. melza

    melza Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2010
    This happened to me a few months back, all of a sudden my sound and endurance changed for the worst, I couldnt hit some notes, when I stopped playing with a practice mute ,within a week it all came back.:thumbsup:
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Me too. My wife will just have to get over it!! ROFLROFLROFLROFL

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