Help! Weak musculature. . .

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Trumpetette, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. Trumpetette

    Trumpetette New Member

    I played Trumpet obsessively for about 8 years (was in 4 bands and MN Brass Senior Drum and Bugle Corps) Then I got married and had kids and playing became a thing of the past. A few months ago I decided I was going to get back into the swing of things and started practicing religiously every day except I found that my lips got sore (even cut on the inside from pressure against teeth) and the musculature support for the embouchure just wasn't there.

    It's been about three months with an average of 1-2 hours of practice EVERY BLESSED DAY and I still tire and can't hit notes after a mere 45min to an hour of practice. . .

    I just don't know what to do to help increase endurance. I love to play and find myself pushing it because I still want to practice more. . . I don't remember going through this when I first learned to play way back when :-?

    Oh well :rolleyes: Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2004
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Maybe you are trying too hard and using more pressure on your chops to force your playing too quickly. From what you are describing, you may cause long term damage to your teeth if you are not careful! If you were an athlete, would you start competitive racing immediately without the careful warm-ups and circuit training required to rebuild co-ordination and muscle-groups? I would advise starting from scratch again, concentrating just on the basics and take each step at one time. Allow a week or two for your lips to recover and examine the best remedial course for getting the joint actions of breathing/lip support to safely nurse your playing back to where it was (or higher). Simple facts ... brass playing requires lip buzzing with the support of air passing through them. What causes damage is the overuse of pressure on the lips to increase range and create fatigue. If possible, try and seek professional remedial advice on the best method (these teachers are scarce to find).
  3. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Don't practice every day! take at least 1 day off in the week.

    Also, stop when you get tired. If that is after 20 minutes, take a 30 minute break and continue again.

    It is best to practice "little and often", in 30 minute sessions.

    Always use your first session as a warm up. Check out the warm-up routines in the Vizzutti book 1 for example.
  4. Tobin

    Tobin Member

    Check out Roddy's website, very helpull in this area.

    His expertise is in playing VERY high, and he does so with limited mouthpiece pressure (hard to believe but it's true!!!).

    Drop him an email he is very helpfull.
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Totally agree with you Tobin! Some commonsense advice on Roddy's site which serves the purpose of self-analysis and damage limitation to the maxx.
  6. Trumpetette

    Trumpetette New Member

    I do practice in 30- 45 min incriments throughout the day (it's the only way I can get up to 2 hours of practice in on a good day.) And the occasional cutting of my lip is from one slightly crooked canine tooth :-? but that didn't used to happen. My guess is that I had built up some thicker skin there that is now gone. . . granted I do catch myself using too much pressure when I become fatigued :rolleyes:

    One thing I have improved on now is supporting my playing with abdominal force.

    It's easy to forget that building up the endurance to play is alot like athletic conditioning. I will definately check out that website though. . .thanks :)

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