Why do I do this to myself?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Ugh - I just came out of the practice room, my second SHORT session of the day after nearly a month completely off of the horn. Needless to say, it wasn't pretty.

    These days it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the motivation to get my behind into the practice room and to get the horn up to my chops. Many of you have read of my stuggles with this in the recent past, and I just don't know why I don't love playing the horn like I used to.

    Do any of you other part-timer, weekend warriors like me find yourselves getting distracted by everything life has to "offer" you outside of music and playing horn, and you find yourself sometimes going weeks without playing?

    The trumpet is a jealous mistress and it's the WORST instrumet to try and be a part-timer.
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Honestly? NO! Two days at the most is all I'll miss unless I'm on vacation away from the horn. I even take a cornet with me when we go to the lake in the summer... besides, there's a fun group of teachers there who have formed a "Dorkestra" (so called because they're conducted by a "Condorkter") and they have great wine-tasting after their weekly rehearsal!
  3. uilleann

    uilleann New Friend

    Sep 11, 2005
    Staunton Virginia
    The Oboe is just as bad Playing trumpet and Oboe is a double whammy a week off of either of them and I am In trouble

  4. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    Dec 13, 2005
    For me it can be extrememly frustrating because I know what level of proficiency I have attained in the past when I played/practiced regularly. I know that without the time and effort, my playing will not reach that level. I do realize that I must make my practicing more efficient since my time to spend on the horn is limited.

    However, I am really enjoying myself probably because the pressure to study and learn is off. I play now purely for my own enjoyment. Yeah, I know that I will never play in a major symphony or anything like that, but I'm having a good time and that is what is what I want out of my playing right now.

    Like working out, if you take a month off don't expect to be in your best form when you start again. I ease myself in to playing when I spend that much time away from the horn.
  5. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    trickg - I know exactly what you are saying, I work 6 to 6 on Mon. and Tue. and then 6 to 2:30 the rest of the week. I am usually so tired by Wed. that is a real chore just to do my Vizzuti exercises. I have found that the older I get the harder it is just to "maintain", that is one reason I am so looking forward to retirement in a couple of years so that Ican get more rest in able to practice more. just hang in there and hope things work out. Dave
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Guys, thanks for the posts and support - in refererence to the above, I didn't do anything strenuous at all and my two sessions were very short - the first lasted just over 20 minutes, the second about 15, and believe me, having been down this road before, I know that I'm not going to be able to just go for it.

    40Cal, you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of being frustrated because you remember your past, higher level of proficiency. In terms of chops, sound and cleanliness of playing, I have NEVER been as good as I was when I was 20-21 years old and full time in a good Army band. But, right there are the key words - "full time". I suppose that it's just too much to expect to be able to play like I did then when I was playing up to 6+ hours a day in big bands, concert/ceremonial bands and brass quintets.

    I'm at the beginning of a regimen designed to get some things going with my playing - steady, daily practice (I find that if I actually sit down to do it, I actually enjoy it once I start) and I have also started to do some things physically that are being done with the purpose of making a dent in my proficiency on the horn. The first are the breathing exercises I described to Bear last week. The second is getting out there and getting some good cardio exercise. I'm currently doing "sprints" every day on the Nordic Trac. The first 5 minutes are done as a warm up, and then I'll sprint for 2 minutes - back off for three and so forth, doing that 3-5 times. (maybe more eventually) Hopefully I'll burn off some excess baggage and increase my lung capacity at the same time.

    Wish me luck!
  7. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Hey Pat,

    Well, I understand where it is your coming from but for different reasons. Like most other non-trumpet-pros I hold down a 9 to 5 also. I dedicate myself to trying to find the time to practice. I’m in pursuit of former greatness. I was quite the player in High School and have only recently begun to return to that form. I carry my Trumpet with me to work and at home of course. I often have what I refer to as a Bb lunch.

    It’s just a matter of putting your nose to the grindstone and getting after it! Being certain to have goals in mind that are not too broad otherwise you are just chasing your tail.

    Again not in your post so I’m assuming that you don’t, but maybe you could get together with another trumpet player and just horse around! I found that playing duets can do wonders for your sound and your love of the Trumpet especially if you play them with someone who shares your love of playing.

    Another thing that I did not see in your post was a problem that I am having. Not to hi-jack your post, but by the lack of it in your post I’d assume that you have support and or tolerance at home.

    I have very little support and some tolerance, as a matter of fact my spouse is quite irritated with me at times as she often quizzes me as to why I waited to be married to her before pursing this part of my past. She often gives me grief reminding me that I’m wasting my time as I will never amount to anything on the Trumpet.

    Try practicing in that environment!

    Keep the faith Pat, I only wish I could play at the level you are! Many things that you have posted have inspired me!
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    KHP, I'm sorry that you don't have good support at home. There have been some times in the past where I think my wife has been a bit irritated with my compulsion to play and gig, but it's not like she didn't know that about me when we met. The problem as I see it is that I believe she has a certain ideal for what our life should be like - the whole "American Dream" thing I suppose - and being a regularly gigging musician doesn't really fit that ideal very well! :D

    Another problem I have been facing lately is that as a musician, trumpet is not my only outlet, and in the last couple of years I have evolved and turned myself into a fair drummer. And drumming is fun! It's also a lot less work than trumpet, and never do I have to worry about whether or not I'm going to have the range or endurance to continue to play. On top of that, I don't have to do careful warm-ups or anything like that - all I have to do is sit down behind the kit, grab up the sticks and go. Practicing is also cool because with my in-ears monitor buds/isolation headphones, I can plug in to a music source and play "in" whatever band I'm practicing with. You can't really accomplish the same thing with trumpet.

    Anyway, as you can see, drumming is also a major distraction away from my trumpet playing, mainly because it's more fun and doesn't have the additional baggage of warm-up time, or chops problems. :-)

    Well, wish me luck - when I'm playing well my desire to practice increases so hopefully I can keep after it until I do start playing well again.
  9. highbrass

    highbrass Pianissimo User

    Dec 31, 2005
    Honolulu, HI
    As a part-timer/weekend warrior, I can relate to what you all are saying. I used to chide my woodwind and percussion player friends that they're lucky that they don't lose their chops as easily as us brass players do (esp. after being away from the instrument for a while). I also have a day job that is non-music, and I squeeze in some mouthpiece buzzing during the commute to work (yes, in the car while driving). The real practicing is done during the weekends, where I balance the time with practicing trumpet (with on-call freelancing, have to be ready for anything), French horn (doing an Easter gig soon) as well as choral singing (we've got 2 performances for Mozart Requiem coming up, also in April).

    Patrick, as I was reading your post about taking up drums, I thought about my balancing the 3 different instruments (trumpet, horn and voice). Even though it does cut into my specialization as a trumpet player, playing all these instruments gave me many different perspectives as a musician and the opportunity to experience music in diverse ways. I think it's great that you found another outlet in drumming. I used to think that French horn was easier for me to play than trumpet, but as I got more and more into it (auditing masterclasses, playing orchestral excerpts and solos etc.), it actually got harder! I do have a tendency to overthink/overanalyze, so maybe that's it. But if music is what you love, then any effort or thought put forth into it only creates more opportunities for you to enjoy playing it more. That's my belief, anyway.

    So even though it's tough to find time, I know that if I love something enough, there'll be time for it somewhere (hmm...sounds like a paraphrase of "Somewhere"...). And maybe one day, I'll also have my own "Dorkestra" (love that term, Tootsall)!!! Thanks for bringing up the thread, Patrick. It's great food for thought for me.

  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    If I lived in Honolulu, I might not play anything at all! :D

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