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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Please help in the General forums; I am a trumpet player finishing my junior year of high school. I am planning on going into music in ...
  1. #1
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    Jan 2013

    Unhappy Please help

    I am a trumpet player finishing my junior year of high school. I am planning on going into music in college, and I am a dedicated player. I am a section leader in marching band and a 1st trumpet in my school's equivalent of honors band. But I am going to have a major problem this summer.
    My parents made me take a job as a guide at a canoe-trekking camp up north. I will be working up there for abput a month. I am extremely worried about how things are going to work out as far as practice goes - I will be bringing my horn, but there may be times where I will be out on the trail for days (up to 10, but that is not likely, probably closer to 3 or 4) at a time, and there is no way that I could bring my trumpet on the trail with me. I have a silent brass, and I'm bringing that so that I can practice while at base camp. But the time available for practicing will not be consistent.
    A week after I get back from the camp job, I will be going to band camp. I will be one of only two trumpet players playing the 1st part, so I have to do well.
    I really need suggestions as to how to deal with missing that month of consistent practice. I am honestly freaking out right now. I'm worried that it could effect not only marching band, but also my upcoming college auditions im the fall/winter. I want to make a career out of music, and Im scared this could ruin my dreams. What can I do?

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
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    Aug 2009

    Re: Please help

    Congratulations on your music accomplishments. The good news is you will have a week to practice before going to band camp. As long as you don't let your chops completely go to pot, a week of heavy trumpet work will probably suffice to have you ready. It would be one thing if you had not picked up a horn in 2 months. You are just facing intermittent practice routines.

    Yes, practice at camp as much as you can. Carry a mouthpiece with you and buzz several times a day. You know, music around the old camp fire. :). If you don't know about buzzing, read some of the other posts here on it.

    Some of the others who are far better players than me can likely can tell you the best types of exercises for building endurance. I would assume lip slurs, intervals etc. you want to tax the chops heavily in a short period (assuming you only have short periods to practice).

    I think you are going to do fine. The fact that you spotted a potential problem ahead of time and are doing what you can to address it says a lot.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Re: Please help

    Steve gave some great advice! The things you will lose are range and mostly endurance. The beginning of the week before Band Camp do lots of Clarke Studies softly in the lower register. If the lips start to tingle, that is a good sign--as I understand it, the capillaries, moving more blood will tingle and expand. It is this growth of these tiny capillaries that allows the bloodstream to remove toxins and bring healthy blood to the muscles. So, play till it tingles, stop until the tingling stops, lather, rinse, repeat....

    So, lots of low impact exercise for endurance, some range studies, and you should be in good shape for Band Camp.

    Oh, and by all means, try to enjoy your time as a guide this summer--sounds like a lot of fun!
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  4. #4
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    Thumbs up Re: Please help

    In the end, one month off the horn will not adversely affect your career. I would suggest taking advantage of any time away from the trumpet to listen to great recordings. Really listen! What makes Hakan Hardenburger, Tine Helseth, Maurice Andre sound so good? How does Phil Smith sound compared to Raymond Mase? They are both super, but in different ways...can you hear the difference? As a youngster, concentrate on trumpet players but also consider getting recordings of Renee Fleming, Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland and REALLY LISTEN to how phases are shaped. Listen to several different recordings of the Brahms Violin Concerto and examine how, say, Heifetz plays it vs another great. Take notes!

    I spent many years away from the trumpet and I cannot tell you how much I learned about music (and hence, trumpet playing) by learning to really listen. Singers, piano players, violinists, and brass players. Too many college players sound mechanical: as though they have little concept of what a trumpet should sound like or how it should be played. Take the month to learn how music should sound and expect your trumpet playing to improve dramatically. Good luck!
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  5. #5
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    Re: Please help

    It shouldn't be too difficult to keep your chop strength. Every night before you go to bed just do some push-ups. Lie face-down on the floor, put your arms behind your back, and push your body up and down with your puckered lips. Works every time.

    Regarding doing a lot of listening, or reading to expand your horizons, if your access to practice time is going to be as limited as you seem to think it will be, I would imagine that if you don't have enough time to play, you don't have enough time to do much of the other, either. If you do have some limited time - make sure it's spent on the horn as much as you can. I worked as a waterfront director at a beach camp one summer and didn't even bother practicing. And I was a university music major at the time. I'm not sure one month will kill you if you play, buzz, (and do the push-ups I recommend, above), which should keep you in a minimum condition.

    Two caveats:
    I wouldn't do too much buzzing at one time. For me, at least, there has always been a a point of negative, diminishing returns by doing that.

    Also, try to balance open horn playing with the mute playing, more open as often as you can. Because of life style, I use the Yamaha system often and I have a tendency to have a tinny sound when I go to rehearsals, if I've played extensively with the mute. There's something about the resistance or other factors that can require a readjustment when you go back to open horn. Also, when you use the Yamaha system, use the ear buds (or a headphone) to keep your chops on track to as pure a sound as you can (as contrasted with playing only the mute where you'll be playing (and hearing) from an artificial situation.
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  6. #6
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: Please help

    In military basic training, I blew up my air mattress with buzzing the mouthpiece. Everyone had a laugh but was sympathetic.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  7. #7
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    Re: Please help

    I buzzed just casually in the car on my two week vacation. Came back and didn't have range problems, only minor endurance problems. I didn't buzz for that long either; you should be fine.
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  8. #8
    Forte User gunshowtickets's Avatar
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    Re: Please help

    The other thing you've got going for you is your youth. You can take a month off now and bounce back with the above exercises.

    When you're double your current age (like I am) and older, recovery takes longer and weakness from lackadaisical practice (or lack thereof) will onset much more quickly. Don't worry about it. You're going to be practicing and doing those pushups, don't sweat it.
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  9. #9
    Fortissimo User barliman2001's Avatar
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    Re: Please help

    One important piece of advice: Don't take your irreplaceable #1 mouthpiece with you!! It's certain to fall overboard from a canoe at the most alligator-infested part of the river. Take some cheapo clone, and perhaps don't take your #1 hooter either. Perhaps even just take a few 3ft pieces of garden hose and some kitchen funnels, and regale your friends with a bit of trumpet music at the camp fire. You might even train a few other guys in the art of playing hose trumpet (take a few old mouthpieces with you) and revive the art of signalling within the group - lots of fun, makes the camp really special for all the kids involved, and lets you keep your lip!
    RRVancil likes this.

  10. #10
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Re: Please help

    Above all, iwantcoffee, find enjoyment in your summer job. The skills you will learn and use will help with your leadership qualities, and that reflects directly to trumpet playing.

    Bring a good book with you. I'm thinking Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. It is chock full of here-and-now kind of stuff, and a treatise on what the Greeks called arete, or what we call "excellence." A thought provoking read that can be found cheaply at used bookstores.
    coolerdave likes this.
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