Why am I struggling so much with this solo

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Pie Girl, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Pie Girl

    Pie Girl New Friend

    Sep 7, 2010
    I'm a senior in highschool and former 1st chair of our top band. I had this solo it was only 3 measures and it was simple nothing out of the ordinary, I should have been able to to play it. But I just couldn't, when I would practice I play to high or too low or I'd splat... It was actually ridiculous how bad it was. To make matter worse when ever we'd play it as a band, I'd feel off on my entrance, (even though I'm pretty sure I wasn't) and the notes would come out terribly and off beat and it was a disaster.

    This has never happened to me, because of this I lost first chair (to a big ego-ed sophomore no less!)

    Do you think it was a mental thing or what?

    My band director to find out who could play it (or maybe to embarrass me) went down the line of the first 4 trumpets and they could all play it beautifully. This may sound arrogant, but I know I'm better than them. I just don't know why I couldn't play it.

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but I just am at a loss(and extremely upset)
  2. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    It's not a dumb question. I'm sure something similar has happened to many of us. My first question, to separate the technical from the psychological cause, is to ask you, how's the rest of your playing? Are you suddenly coming up short in your playing, otherwise?
  3. Pie Girl

    Pie Girl New Friend

    Sep 7, 2010
    Maybe somewhat, I find myself doing stupid things that shouldn't be happening just in regular playing. My fingers will get all tangled up on easy pieces, my lips hit the wrong notes more than they should. I haven't changed anything I don't know why this would be happening.

    I'm just incredibly frustrated and upset. I worked so hard for first chair and I got it taken away because of 3 measures.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Relax. Seriously, just relax. What you describe screams tension. So uhh, relax. You give the impression that you've practiced everything, and having done so, things get easier. Trust the process, and simply play. You've earned the right notes--just let them happen.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I went through a similar thing with the band I was gigging with at one point. To make a long story short, I had gotten really tied up thinking about the technical side of what I was doing, and the performance suffered. The funny thing is, I had a discussion about it with my friend, who is the leader of the band, and he was basically like, "dude, don't sweat it - you are putting far too much pressure on yourself than you need to. If you have to take things down, do it. If you need to lay out a bit, do it." (This band uses backing tracks so some of the time my parts are doubled by keyboard horns to fill out the sound anyway.) The net result is that once I stopped putting that kind of pressure on myself, I started nailing the gig, and it made me remember why I do it in the first place:

    Music. I love making music with other people.

    You've definitely got some performance anxiety going on. Try to remember what this is really all about - it's not specifically about notes, or fingerings, or articulation or slurs. Yes, those are always going to be present, but the end goal is to make music - to play a beautiful musical line, and at the end of the day it's not so much what you play that matters, but rather it's how you play it that is key.
  6. Osren

    Osren Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 17, 2010
    Mesa, Az
    I would tend to agree with Vulgano ...

    If there is nothing physically wrong with you or your instrument, then it's something internal - tension, stress, anxiety.... take a few really deep breaths, hear what you want to play in your head, relax and play. Best to do it on your own during practice time, to build the confidence back up again. Play it slow and then increase tempo as comfort and confidence allow. Be in the moment. :-)
  7. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    Yep, it sounds like you're just thinking too much. If you are, you could be setting yourself up for failure. So as the others are saying...Relax! You know that you're a good musician, so trust in that and you'll be fine.

  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Unfortunately, now we have a bigger confidence hurdle to get over now that she's been removed and replaced as 1st chair.

    This is where you don't jump at hasty efforts to find a solution. This is where you get into the practice room and you work HARD, and make sure you are better than anyone around you before you try to reclaim your spot as the lead. Let someone else take the pressure and heat for a bit while you work your chops and technique. There is no better confidence booster than rolling in knowing for certain that you are prepared and on top of it.
  9. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    The others have given you exactly the right advice except for one thing and this will seem very harsh. Please find a little perspective, yes it seems devastating to loose your chair now but it isn't the end of the world or even your playing, it might even be a good thing and force you into working differently to imrove. Also far too much is made of rank in a band usually by poor bandmasters who use it as some sort of reward to bully people and by those who believe that they are more important than the band. I have often played 3rd man down in Brass Bands and been described by the MD as being the powerhouse of the front row. Find your role in the band, be proud of it and do not let any one belittle which ever chair you sit in.

    Finally tell the MD that you would like to get back to the form that gave you the 1st chair and ask him/her what they need to hear from you to do it. To be honest unless your director is an idiot I doubt that it will be three bars of music that have seen you relagated it may be that they have seen a gradual errosion of confidence which has led to this.
  10. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    My answer really depends on a few things
    Are you planning on being a music major in college?
    Do you have a private instructor?
    How many hours outside of band do you practice and what do you practice?
    You are in your Senior year ... lots of things going on a job?.. dating? .. calculus? .. maybe your priorities have just shifted and other things are taking up your time .
    I hope the chair position has not taken away the joy of playing music.

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