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Trumpet Discussion Discuss playing question? in the General forums; so whenever i play my trumpet, i warm up and play then warm down, its a daily routine. and i ...
  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
    brownsville, texas

    Exclamation playing question?

    so whenever i play my trumpet, i warm up and play then warm down, its a daily routine. and i love it. it works great with me.
    but for some weird reason, one day i play really really really good, then the next i play really bad. in other words, my chops dont respond right away, and my range is horible. my tone sounds airy, and it just sounds bad. then the following day i can play really really really good again.
    any ideas as to why this is? or any way i can prevent those bad days??

  2. #2
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Re: playing question?

    If I had to venture a guess, your chops are probably responding much like muscles respond after working out - your chops are tired the next day from the workout you gave them the day before. The facial muscles that help to form the embouchure are probably tired and stiff, and your lips might be a bit puffy.

    So on one hand you say your daily routine works great for you, and on the other you say that you are having issues from day to day - so which is it?

    I'm curious to know more about what you play and how you approach it. Are you slamming the horn and playing a bunch of loud, high music, and are you allowing yourself to rest inbetween bouts of playing?

    Long ago I discovered that I played best if I warmed up, and then put down the horn completely for 20-30 minutes before reapproaching it. It allows my embouchure to return to a more ready state.

    I'm also a believer in taking a day and sometimes even two days off if I really pushed my chops hard on a gig, assuming I don't have to pound them on a Fri/Sat or a Sat/Sun back to back thing - doesn't happen too often, but it does happen. Your chops are flesh, blood and muscle, so like any other body part that gets worked, you have to allow it time to recover, and your chops become conditioned like anything else. Can a person simply start running every day without their body rebelling and breaking down somewhat? Nope, but if you work yourself up to that point through regular conditioning and building up to it, it can.

    Here's something you can try for a couple of weeks - take it or leave it. Continue to play and practice as normal, but if you come into a day where you aren't playing well, don't force it - finish your warm up, put the horn back in the case and go do something else for the rest of the day and just leave it alone until the next day. My guess is that you'll feel less frustrated because you won't be trying to push your chops to do something they aren't ready to do, and within a few weeks, you'll actually be playing more consistently from day to day because you won't be damaging your chops by trying to push them to do something they aren't going to do. I still have days where my chops just aren't responding. Sometimes I can work through it and they'll come around. Sometimes they won't. Those are the days where I just do the warm-up, put the horn away, and walk away from it.
    Last edited by trickg; 05-04-2010 at 10:12 AM.
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  3. #3
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: playing question?

    In agreement with trickg, my teacher told me once, "If you begin to practice and after a few minutes you don't like what you hear or how it feels, put your horn away and try again later or even the next day."


  4. #4
    Forte User larry tscharner's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    dubuque iowa

    Re: playing question?

    I had your very same problem, problem is, everyone is different and not every answer works for everyone. Remember to keep the fun factor in your playing. You dont have to push the envelope in range, tone, articulation, etc. every day. Some days I amaze myself and look at my Getzen and shake my head. Other days I realize that I am frustrated and am forcing the notes and perpetuating bad habits. Playing in a group of some sort is always helpful in keeping your alone practice times productive. I always know when I've been playing with myself too much. Ahh did I say that wrong?
    Larry tscharner!
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