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Trumpet Discussion Discuss It's in my head, which is the biggest problem in the General forums; Originally Posted by VetPsychWars So here's the deal. In the practice room, I can play exercises for hours and hours ...
  1. #11
    Mezzo Forte User bigtiny's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    Re: It's in my head, which is the biggest problem

    Quote Originally Posted by VetPsychWars View Post
    So here's the deal. In the practice room, I can play exercises for hours and hours (with breaks, of course). Change to etudes or my band music, and all of the sudden I am throwing all sorts of weird crap into the mix, playing with buttloads of tension, and so tiring myself out after 15 minutes that making it through an hour concert is nearly impossible. I get glimmers of doing better sometimes, but I really need to work on this.

    I take occasional lessons from a trumpet professor at UW-Milwaukee, and I will be begging for any help he can give, but if any of you have had a similar issue, I would love to hear from you. It's definitely not mechanics... I can play "properly" if I'm playing out of a method book. I have some damn hangup in the head for sure and it frustrates me no end.

    I have until late September to figure this out before community band starts again, so let me know how you've gotten past this.

    Interesting. The only time I've had this problem was early on as a player before a learned to sight read well. Any time I had to sight read, I displayed the symptoms you're describing.
    So, what we have here is a confidence problem. You're uptight about your ability to play the music and it's causing you to choke.

    What you need are some strategies to build confidence for when you are playing 'real' material (etudes, band music, tunes, etc.) BTW, a lot of these will help with sight reading too:

    - before attempting to play a piece, analyze it. Look ahead for potential trouble spots -- meter changes, key changes, tricky passages, long passages with no breath, ds and codas, hard articulations, etc. If need be, spend a little time on these before attempting the whole piece. NEVER LET ANYTHING LIKE THIS SURPRISE YOU!!!

    -before attempting to play a piece, understand the structure of the piece -- what is the form? Understanding the form helps because most forms have repeated sections. If you can play the section once, you can play it more than once....if it doesn't catch you offguard.

    -practice the piece in sections. Instead of trying to tackle the whole thing at once, take the first A section or the bridge and work on them separately.

    -be very aware of your 'condition' when you start playing -- the NANOSECOND that you become aware of tightening up, stop, think, what's going on? Why did you choke? Do you feel tense, breathing correctly, air column working, etc?

    -by stopping and thinking about what's' happening, you may find that certain material is shutting you down - either you can't play it, or you THINK you can't play it (lack of confidence). I.E. a difficult fingering, tonguing, etc. IF you can isolate the offending material, then go find exercises in other method books to work on the problem until you are confident.

    Hope this helps,


  2. #12
    Forte User mike ansberry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U

    Re: It's in my head, which is the biggest problem

    I started using the 19/30's exercise in my practice routine a couple of years ago. Gradually, this way of playing infiltrated all of my playing without me thinking about trying to do it. It has drastically increased my endurance.

    19/30s exercise explained - View topic: Trumpet Herald forum
    "Music is a fire in your belly that has to come out of your mouth, so you'd better put a horn in the way before someone gets hurt"
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    Natural trumpet hand made by my friend Howard Scudder

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