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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Bad Days in the General forums; I, and many of the other trumpeters I know, seem to have good days and bad days. On a good ...
  1. #1
    New Friend TheBaker's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    United Kingdom

    Bad Days

    I, and many of the other trumpeters I know, seem to have good days and bad days. On a good day we'll be able to hit all the right notes, get all the runs and sound great. On a bad day though, we'll have huge problems doing all those things and sound really bad. I'm sure you've all been there at some point too.

    Thing is though, I have some big concerts coming up and I'm scared that I'll have a bad day during one of them - so does anyone know what factors can cause a so called bad day? And any tips for what to do should I have a bad day?

  2. #2
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Bad Days

    Bad days can be caused by any number of things. The problem with making someone aware of all the things that can go wrong in life, is that the more you think about it, the worse it generally gets.
    Maybe it is better to give you some hints about optimizing the events up until the performance:
    1) do not beat yourself up the week before the concert. If you are properly prepared at least a week in advance, you can practice "gently" instead of trying to cram in everything you didn't make time for before!
    2) be ready for the concert a week in advance - this removes any psychological pressure that could occur by a last minute panic!
    3) keep the level of alcohol down. Alcohol does inhibit our reaction time and when playing, that is not good!
    4) Do not spend extended time outdoors right before a concert. That can dry your face and lips out - creating a need for not practiced counter measures!
    5) Do not clean your horn the day before or on the day of a concert. If you missed something, a valve could hang or something else. Always leave a couple of days of use to be sure. (If Mannys' horn is as gunky as he says, the playing characteristics could even change enough to cause insecurity!)

    If you are properly prepared, you can have a bad day and it will still sound OK to your audience. A cracked note is not a disaster unless we allow it to become one. Concentration is key to getting over anything. The best way is to limit the things that can go wrong before they happen and ignore them during a performance! Good playing is "earned". Pay your dues and it will be just fine!
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  3. #3
    Mezzo Piano User
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    Nov 2003

    Re: Bad Days

    My .02, though I imagine lots of other people will agree with me:

    If someone is inconsistent enough that they are actually worried about what's going to happen in the concerts - that might indicate that they need to address fundamentals in their daily practice more consistently, IMHO. For me, such a "routine" (though I change it up a lot) really centers me and provides an outlet to clear the cobwebs and start each day fresh.

    We all have bad days, that's very true. My own aspiration, and I say this with all humility, is to make sure no one notices them but me!

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User Keith Fiala's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Austin, Texas

    Re: Bad Days

    Something to think about concerning good days and bad days is paying attention to what your body is telling you. There are times I don't have to spend a whole lot of time warming up or centering... other days I have to pay attention to my air power, centering my appeture, and locking myself in mentally... sending only positive messages to myself!!!

    I've also found that using my air power more than my lips tends to help me prevent "bad days" because my lips aren't being abused constantly. Breathing exercises before you play will relax you as well as help you focus your airstream.

    Remember - sound isn't produced without air on a wind instrument...

  5. #5
    New Friend trumpetgeek01's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Roanoke Virginia

    Re: Bad Days

    when I'm having a bad day I just think about breating. It seems like when I do I feel more relaxed and at peace. Just listen and feel the music, I tend to have my bad days when I get nervous and keep on putting myself down and worrying over nothing. My trumpet teacher taught me to say Ho when I breathe in and Toe when I toungue or simply breathe out, and oh my gosh that has really made my playing ability much much better. He is such a fantastic teacher

    Trumpets kick brASS

  6. #6
    Pianissimo User The BuZZ's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Chester, NY

    Re: Bad Days

    Hey "TheBaker"
    Check out my quote below! It sums it up for me man!
    Stage 1: California Light
    Calicchio: Solo Copper 3/9
    Getzen: Eterna Flugel
    GR: 66MX, Zottola: 66 FL
    Assorted Garage Tools

    "Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins."

  7. #7
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Texas - USA

    Re: Bad Days

    two things that work for me (most of the time...)

    1) stay hydrated (water, water and more water - if you're playing in the morning especially, drink a glass first thing)

    2) limit your practice on tired chops - you're more likely to change things around and that can put the chops into a spin the next day (of course, there are times on a gig when it can't be helped - then you've got some damage control to do..... warm down softly and get the focus of the aperture back to something approximating normal)



  8. #8
    Mezzo Piano User wilcox96's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    charlotte nc

    Re: Bad Days

    Well, Robert offered his ".02"... perhaps you can give me a "penny for my thoughts"...haha.


    (Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance)

    Don't fret yourself to death over "what if's". Instead, only focus on how great/beautiful you can make your performance. Great advice from Robin... be ready a week ahead. That's terrific.... though I suppose that's only good if you "know" something is coming. It's when you get those odd calls out of the blue... ha. Still... the concept is the same. Be as prepared as you can be. I also like the notion of not over doing it the day or so before something like this. I'd only focus on mechanics (proper air, easy blowing...nothing taxing...light, technical excercises..relaxing).

    Everyone has bad days. The thing really good players have over others is...their bad days are still better than some average player's best days.

    Another thing to remember is that this is only a moment in time. One blip.

    Just wait until you get older....haha. This is work, man! You can't just "find" the time to practice. You have to "make" the time to stay in shape.

    I hope things go terrifically for you. Have fun when you play... enjoy the music....
    Brad Wilcox
    NYTC Endorsing Artist
    Stage 1 California Light
    Bells: Rose brass, Copper rimless,
    Gold brass, Yellow brass rimless
    Bach Strad Flugelhorn
    GR Mouthpieces

  9. #9
    Piano User krossum's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    New York, NY, USA

    Re: Bad Days

    When is your concert? I ask because I think Monday is a pretty bad day...

    OK, seriously. A trumpeter is only as good as she/he is on her/his worst day. I strongly believe this.

    Humbling isn’t it?


    ps- my quote below also applies to this subject, funny how things come together...
    “This art is acquired only by laborious studies, for the rebellious nature of the instrument demands a great aptitude coupled with a persevering willingness to become a master of it.” – F.G.A. Dauverné (1857)

  10. #10
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Re: Bad Days

    Good advice so far. I would add the following: don't let a bad moment turn into a bad performance. Read what Philip Smith had to say about Mr. Herseth's Brandenburg:
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

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