Why do I do this to myself?

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

  1. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    How long before I feel I'm missing the horn? A few days.

    How much do I pracitce? Only a few hours a week.

    Would I like to practice more? Some days, yes, some, no. I get really
    bored with method books, so I like to have new charts to work on.

    How often do I gig? Hmm...I don't really keep a good record...about 40
    dates a year, I suppose, not including my own church.

    Would I like to gig more? Heck yea! After my kids are grown I will get more

    Are my best days behind me? No way! I think I have the potential to get much better with the right instruction.

    Does life get in the way of the horn? Sometimes, but in reality, its a balance between family, work, church, singing and horn.

    Follow your musical dreams.

  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Well....I did for about 10 years. It's tough to play up to the standard I used to when I played full time and that WAS my job!

    The biggest difference is that back then when I went out, I had a good gig pretty much every gig and I knew it, but the audience really didn't. These days when I out and I have a so-so gig, I know it...and again, the audience really doesn't! :D
  3. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    Unless there is a "player" out there..............:-)
  4. trjeam

    trjeam Pianissimo User

    Dec 5, 2003
    I was actually going through a very similar situation a few months ago. I actually lost motivation and passion and I had to look deep within myself to fix my problems.

    I realized that I wasn't having fun anymore. Here I am straight out of H.S. I really had no big auditions or any dates to really practice for, but is that why I play the trumpet? No, I play the trumpet because I love to make great music. Making great music makes me happy.

    So I started to play some of my favorite charts, listen to music that I love and surrounded myself with a private instructor that has that love and passion for music.
  5. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    You're right, it is all about the music and that's something that I often lose sight of as I get wrapped in all the 'detail', and it is only detail.It's fun talking about embouchures and resonance and 'is this horn better than that horn?' but if all the talk doesn't translate into music then it's only talk. I'm lucky I get to practice about an hour or so a day...broken into 2 sessions..so it's rare that I get the 'I have to get back on the horse' type feeling.

    Conceptually, I like to think of playing the trumpet as akin to singing in the shower..it's my voice...and I've developed a sort of perverse pleasure in putting all the work in behind the mouthpiece. Psychologically it's very similar to when I was playing rugby and training hard. I developed a real buzz when the game or training was hard and fast and physically demanding. I'm getting a very similar buzz when I practice and play now although, obviously, the high doesn't come from hitting someone really, really hard. :D

    Just my thoughts.


  6. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    The getting out of school is a biggy. What do youi do? If you don't have a gig lined up, a job involving trumpet, what do you do? Practice every day for what? I think that is the key, what are you doing, why, for whom? You can only play hours a day for yourself for so long. One new thing I recently found that was very fullfiling was teaching a beginner, very interesting what comes out of your mouth when you are trying to impart the basics and the important stuff needed to get the right habits under way. All those "lectures" my 1st teacher used to "Bore" me with came right back. Cool......
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I see what you are saying Jorge and you made some great points - but for me, playing a performance is part of why I like to make music and I believe sharing your music with others is essential to having a healthy outlook toward your craft as a musician. When I was your age, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Music and playing trumpet was my life, literally, outside of the Army details. I lived at the band hall/barracks, I had no car, I had no bills, I had no girlfriend, I had few friends and of those friends, they were all musicians in the Army band too. It was a great test tube for becoming a good musician and performer because I was playing, practicing or performing for hours a day, every single day, but it also fostered a somewhat unbalanced life that was hard to sustain. In that time, there were some times where I got to where I was doing so much playing, it became a job and there were gigs that I would rather not have had to do. Granted, they were all "pouch" jobs (Referring to the pouch where you kept all of your small march music) but that sentiment did arise from time to time. Of course now that I'm in my current position in life, I think I was nuts for leaving that lifestyle behind.

    I hit the horn again last night and fortunately, it was MUCH better than the night before, and I anticipate that it will be even better tonight. It's back to the basics for me so that I can try to dial in to focus the technical aspects of my playing so that when the next job rolls around, I can actually go play it, have fun and make music. :-)
  8. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

    Nov 8, 2003
    Hi Patrick - don't be too hard on yourself. A month away from the trumpet can be viewed as a positive thing - we all need a holiday. Also if your heart, soul and mind aren't focused on the job in hand then you may as well not practice at all. If you have made a decision that you are still a trumpet player then what I would recommend is that you make a commitment to yourself - a serious and heartfelt pledge of aliegence to all things trumpety - to play the horn every single day without fail for the next 6 weeks.

    However, you have to promise to yourself that you will NOT practice for more than 20 minutes on any given day.

    Next you should devise a warm-up/gentle work out that will last about 20 minutes. You know the kind of thing, free buzzing on pedal tones, mouthpiece work, long tones, breath control, Clarke studies etc.... any of the simple things that we know we ought to do but sometimes neglect. If you need some inspiration here you could do worse than base this session on the Vizzutti warm up - I believe it is excellent. The most important thing here is that the routine feels personal to you - that you own it.

    I would also suggest that you make a commitment to undertake this workout at exactly the same time and in the same location every single day - work out what time this can best be for you - but no cheating. You must pick a time that you know with 100% certainty you will be able to play for 20 minutes every single day. That might mean setting your alarm clock half an hour earlier and getting up to play at 5:30 in the morning, even if you go back to bed again afterwards, or finding a room at work where you can play for 20 minutes at lunch time.

    Make this trumpet practice an absolute, non-negotiable part of your life. Also do not play the trumpet at all - even just a couple of scales or picking out a tune in an idle moment - for 6 weeks, no matter how badly you want to let loose and express yourself. And that includes turninig down any gigs or jam sessions that might crop up. That is just not allowed.

    You can however play drums as much as you like. You can listen to as much music as you like. You can make transcriptions of jazz solos, you can compose tunes and score out arrangements. You can attend concerts, recitals, gigs etc and most importantly you can think about music and your trumpet playing - in fact you can have a very full musical life - but you MUST NOT play the trumpet outside of the 20 minute practice session.

    If you think you can undertake this task - and I would be very willing to help you through it via email etc. - then I am very confident that you will rediscover your love affair with the trumpet. At the very least after 6 weeks you will once again have the tools to express yourself on the instrument without the inevitable frustrations that intermitent practice will cause.

    Let me know what you think. You can pm me if you like.

    All the best. Noel.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Noel, thanks for the tips! Oddly enough, much of what you just described is a bit like what I'm currently doing. I'm trying to keep my practice sessions under 30 minutes at a time (if I find the urge to do more, I can try to add one in later) and here is what I have been doing in an effort to get some things back into focus.

    Free long tones to start
    Clarke Study #2 up to tuning C slurred, short breaks in between, and then starting at tuning C, heading back down doing them tongued. I'm also making sure to actually read these off of the page to get my mind and hands synched back up to reading music
    Random self exercises for tonguing and flexibility (made up by me as a pattern of some sort)
    Random Arban's sight reading
    hitting some miscelaneous music in the practice room - solo excerpts, etudes, marches...whatever is handy and I grab
    alternate regular tones and pedal tones down to pedal F# - think Balanced Embouchure pedals

    And that's about it - that's about all I can squeeze into 30 minutes and get appropriate rest times in between what I'm playing.

    I'm not playing anything high, loud or technically difficult - to try to do that would be unproductive and frustrating at this point.

    And my drums haven't been set up since I brough them home from church on Sunday.

    The only part of what you suggested that won't really work for me is turning down gigs. I don't freelance which means that short of quitting the band, I'm pretty much committed to whatever gigs the band has booked and it's rare that we go through a 6 week dry spell.

    Thanks for all of the posts - again, my hope is that I can get some chops together and get back to really playing again.
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003

    Well here I am after the third day back on the horn after a few weeks off, and things are starting to come together. Focus is returning, as is accuracy, as is endurance, as is range. Thank goodness for muscle memory!

    I'll take it easy again this evening, doing some basic stuff and hopefully I'll see even more improvement.

    Thanks for all of the thoughts and encouragement. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with all of this. There are days when I think I should just hang it up, pursue drums and be done with it, and then there are days when I don't know what I would do if I couldn't play trumpet anymore. Only time will tell I suppose.

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