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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Does age affect your tone on the trumpet? in the General forums; I am 87 years young & have played the trumpet since high school. I try to practice 30 minutes each ...
  1. #1
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    Apr 2011

    Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    I am 87 years young & have played the trumpet since high school. I try to practice 30 minutes each day but lately my tone is beginning to sound mushy & my "chops" are giving out after about 30 minutes of playing time. I used to have a great tone & after a four hour gig, could jam the rest of the night. Has old father time caught up with me or do I need to increase my practice time?
    BrassBandMajor likes this.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2009
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    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    With age, the ability to play trumpet and do so many other things as well as you once did depends mostly on your health. I'm only 79 and my health is very supportive of many doctors' practice, with diabetes, COPD cardio conditions etc., etc. and I still enjoy playing my cornet/trumpet, F mellophone , and euphonium. I try to put in a minimum of 1 hour practice 6 days a week, and that one hour is in 2 thirty minute increments with at least 30 minutes rest between. Occasionally I've days where I've practiced 3 plus hours, but they are becoming rarer.
    BrassBandMajor likes this.

  3. #3
    Forte User Dennis78's Avatar
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    Feb 2015

    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    I hope when I reach your age I can pose the same question
    Mainly a 1958 Holton B47 Symphony for band
    and a Bach cr310 for Brass band

  4. #4
    Forte User richtom's Avatar
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    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    Sadly, yes there is an age when the chops give out for a vast majority of players and much of the deterioration depends on how good you played in your prime.
    Not everyone is Doc Severinsen, who still sounds great in his mid 80s or Bud Herseth, who held on to an amazing career in the symphonic world until age 81.
    Most orchestral players start thinking retirement in their 60s. Great jazz guys can go longer.
    This doesn't mean you can't still play, it just means you have to pick your spots and don't expect to do what you used to.
    Rich T.

  5. #5
    Piano User Msen's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    I live in the Horn

    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    Maybe you are just tired. Or you are eating the wrong stuff. Take a rest day, eat clean, sleep well and try again
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  6. #6
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    Yes, age affects your tone. At an advanced age it can take longer to regenerate, so if you had a heavy playing day, it could take several days to recover. Another big factor with age is your hearing. If it is changing, your whole perception of sound changes. Many breathe differently when they get older. When our air is not synchronized while playing, we have to "muscle" everything around - that kills endurance.

    Let's not forget that the process of maturing also changes the vantage point from which we judge our playing.

    I recommend a solid daily routine specifically to prevent this.
    richtom likes this.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN

    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    rowuk has nailed it concerning your circumstance IMHO. And certainly other posters have contributed good observations and suggestions too. I would like to suggest that the solid daily routine rowuk recommends probably does not look much like a solid routine would have looked like for you years ago. Short periods of practice separated by generous rest during the course of the day may serve you well. And I believe that an occasional day off might do you a lot of good too. Congratulations on your long playing career and best wishes for many more years of trumpeting.

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  8. #8
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    Re: Does age affect your tone on the trumpet?

    Gone are the days I could play a 4 hour funk gig Saturday night and be ready for an early church gig on Sunday without noticing any stiffness in my chops. As I've aged, I've noticed that my recovery times are longer, and the recovery time is also longer when we are out of shape. I'd suggest two fifteen minute sessions with at least fifteen minutes in between for the "serious" practice (long tones, flexibility and tonguing) and then, leave your case open. For a lot of us, closing the case signals that we are "finished." Leaving it open invites us to play, and picking up the horn a few times during the day (I'm a big fan of starting practice in the morning for this reason) and playing a few tunes will add to your conditioning and should be fun (we'll save "pleasure" until your chops allow you to really enjoy your own playing [hard for some, too easy for others]).

    As the "serious" practice routine gets easier, add harder stuff to it.

    Add only 30 seconds each day to your playing time, and after only a year.... I'll let the folk on TM figure out the math.

    Have fun, and please keep posting!
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

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