Flugel player seeks advice please

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Mesmerist, May 21, 2010.

  1. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I am going through a really poor playing patch and don`t know what to do. The high register has gone, the tuning and intonation is dire and all over the place and the sound is poor. I do practice every day though not as much as before the Areas when it was usually an hour. Currently on a 3fl Wick with a large bore Conn instrument. MD wants me to go to a 4fl (was originally on a 2) but it feels and sounds thin and weedy and rubbish. (Maybe it needs more time?) Before I give up playing can anyone tell me if this is normal to go through a bad time or is it just time to retire? :(
  2. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I think we all have bad spells, But Time will fix it. If you are feeling a little under the weather it can affect your playing. If You are feeling Down that can also do it.
    I am not altogether happy with the Band I play in so I occasionally go and Play in Brisbane Excelsior. They are the number 1 Band in Australia. That is a Great Pick Me Up for me and I come away feeling and Playing A Lot Better. Hope that helps. Think I need a Fix of xlcr pretty soon come to think of it lol
  3. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    Be careful with advice offered from well-wishers who don't know your playing. You might be better off looking inwards. Ask questions such as:

    Why did I change to a smaller mouthpiece? Smaller aint necessarily easier - it can just bung you up.
    Am I sleeping enough?
    Am I eating properly?
    Am I underestimating the importance of rest and recovery? Nobody gets stronger in a gym - we get stronger as our bodies adapt to the gym work during the recovery period.
    Am I warming up/down thoughtfully? Warm ups arent necessarily the same every day. We're not machines - listen to your body.
    Am I practising basic stuff? Get the hymn tune and slow melodies out etc..
    Do I overdo it sometimes? Look after your chops today and tomorrow will be another good un. Sometimes your chops will tell you to have a light day or even a day off....listen.

    You're not too old....perhaps you just need to self-appraise more carefully.
    Good Luck! ;)
  4. british1

    british1 Member

    It happens to everybody Wendy. There's nothing wrong with mouthpiece you feel comfortable with and probably not much wrong with the instrument. MDs shouldn't medal in what mouthpiece you play on. You've probably done too much playing and something has got in to your head. Put the instrument away for a couple of weeks and when you go back to it. It'll be fine
  5. Martin

    Martin Member

    A similar thing happened to me at the Folkestone contest last year. Kept working on a particular part which was high up and exposed (in hindsight, I probably overcooked it)because, on the day, I blew it completely and gave myself a mental blockage over that particular part, lost my nerve and couldn't play it at all. Walked off stage vowing I would sell my horn and never enter a bandroom again.

    Thanks to some supportive friends, I took a week off, went back to basics and now, 8 months down the line, I couldn't be much happier (although there's always room for improvement).

    Think of the basics and the rest will fall into place. Stick at it and, above all else, relax and enjoy it. If you still find you are struggling, ask to take a more background part for a while until you get your confidence back and have a few tuition sessions. Teachers aren't just for learners they are also there to help advanced players who run into difficulties as most do at some time or another.

    I hope you can get it sorted out. :) Good luck :tup
  6. agentorange

    agentorange Member

    I agree with much of what british1 says, especially with regards to mouthpiece choice. There's nothing wrong with experimenting, but do it for YOU, not your MD. If you're happy with a 3 (or the original 2 for that matter) then stick with it. If not, then experiment a bit and find something that suits you, not someone else.

    I'd be inclined to take a bit of pressure off yourself too. I wouldn't recommend 2 full weeks off, but certainly have an easy week or two.
  7. zak

    zak Member

    I hope you had a good time sitting alongside my very very good friends Deano,Julie and Gareth. Say hi to them from me next time you play there. Top people!!!! :tup
  8. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I sure did have a good time. What a Tuba Section. a great pick me up playing along side such good players
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Hi Wendy, seen this and other of your postings... Sounds like a rum old situation, and one that previous posters have covered well...

    A thought though - you are being asked to use a smaller mouthpiece under the justification that someone else makes an excellent sound on one. BUT... I' ve come to the conclusion that there are at least two different kinds of 'big' sounds out there on any brass instrument... Firstly there are those players who like a big rimsize and cup volume... Secondly there are those players who play a standard or even somewhat compact rimsize and cup volume but make a massively warm sound out of it. Mr Lyndon Baglin was blowing in my ear the other day - he still has a sound like a house... But on a Wick 4AL, which is what I use on tenor trombone; I haven't used anything that small on euph since I was 13 - and certainly cannot make as carrying a sound as he! Another player with a notably big vibrant sound on euph is Emma Farrow - who plays a 5AL, even smaller.

    I think the two techniques of blowing are not the same - those players who sound big on a small mouthpiece learn to use the mouthpiece to its ultimate capacity, whereas those players who sound big on bigger mouthpieces enjoy the liproom. There's a lot of good to be said for making a small mouthpiece sound big [you get a fat and warm sound with lots of colour that projects very well - big mouthpieces tend to damp the last two attributes], but you can't easily transfer blowing technique across while retaining a big sound.

    Maybe I'm talking out of my bum as I'm generalising from euphs and trombones, but it seems reasonable to me.
  10. RussQ

    RussQ Member


    Pretty much echo much of the advice already given. Everyone hits a wall from time to time, particularly upper brass. Try concentrating on the basics again, sound, tone,flexibilty, Hymn tunes. Also practice little and often rather than battering your chops. I'm not one for medalling in mouthpiece change but I would highly recommend trying a Flugel Alliance2, far more easy blowing and comfortable than a Wick in my opinion. Don't get disheartened, it's probably just a blip.
  11. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    It is normal to have a setback, more specifically if you are under pressure. The above post has some good advice about relaxation, and practice habits.

    I just found this post.
  12. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    Sensible stuff on this thread - I particularly like MoominDave's take on it.
    How're you feeling now Messie? Out of interest, have you had another go on the 2? It might feel like putting on your favourite pair of comfy shoes....
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    You could pay somebody to engrave '4' on your 2...
  14. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    INHO I would suggest going and having a lesson with a Pro player, just make sure that there is nothing wrong with how your playing and go from there!

    Not in favour of Md's telling players what equipment to use ,unless their one of his students!
  15. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for taking the time to answer. I`ve read and thought about all you`ve said and have eased right off for the time being and only doing a short long low note routine on the 3 mouthpiece. I really appreciate every comment especially as you are all such experienced and quality musicians.
    Thanks again I feel a bit happier now. :)
  16. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Like I said to you on FB, play on whichever mouthpiece you like. My MD is an awesome flugel player but has never told me which mouthpiece to use (maybe that's cos I'm properly scary though). Advice is one thing but telling you what to do to the detriment of both your playing and confidence is quite another! :hammer

    Chin up chick. You'll be back on form in no time! :D
  17. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Well. There you have it. Back on my 2. Solution? PM me and I`ll tell you!
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010

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