Lipped - how do you recover?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BigHorn, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    If your lip goes before you've finished practice are there any methods you can employ to see you through the last few numbers? Last night I could barely get above the stave I was so lipped.
  2. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    Not an expert and probabaly not the perfect solution, but I have experienced 2 levels of "lipped".

    The first is that the lip is that tired, high notes will simply not happen. Every 2 bars fatigue kicks in. The only thing I do then is stop playing, put cornet away, then warm down with low register buzzing until ready to start next day again.

    If my chops are not right, can,t get the right amount of air in, productions gone, middle range is even a challenge, then I start again. By that I mean ask to be excused for 5 mins from rehearsal, start breathing basics again, play low register with lots of air and try and focus on fundamentals. Dosen,t always work, but on occasions it has.

    Maybe wrong solutions, but I can only share my experience.
  3. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Smile and press harder.....:)

    only kidding...

    Try and think more about your breathing and support. As soon as you start thinking about your chops being tired and you might miss / fall off notes.. you will.

    Doing a low register warm down after is also a good suggestion, reasonably long notes FF thru a practice mute if possible, get the chops buzzing and the blood circulating.

    If you find this is a recurring problem, try and make time to do warm up before rehearsal, say before you leave your house.. 15mins or so of warm up. When you get to your reheasal, you have a second warm up to check things are all in working order, then, don't play till you have to, i.e. no noodling/tootling/high note contest with your neighbour/practicing stuff you should have practiced at home! i.e. only play when MD requests.. save your chops.
    To build up stamina long term, try practicing little but often, i.e. rather than do an hour and a half where your chops are smashed at the end, do several 20 minute sessions. This advice can be found in both of Howard Snells books , The Trumpet , and The Art of Practice.

    Hope this helps.
  4. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Switch to bass trombone - your lip will never go !
  5. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    work on increasing your stamina by little and often practice sessions, i find that long sustained notes work well in the shortest space of time. Remember though when your lip is tired, put it away and rest. over working your lip wont do it any good.
    Ask yourself though, if you are only playing a couple times a week then you are expecting too much from too little. If that is not the case then try playing a scale full breath on each note, then rest. this will build your stamina up and you wont have any more problems.
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - don't play any more during the practice! Why risk more permanent fatigue by overworking your chops?

    - read this article and see if it relates to you ...
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  7. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    Works for me too......:D
  8. sop 1

    sop 1 Member

    i actually bruised my lip when i started playing sop first ( many years ago),and found that rest did it good.
    but when u start back make sure u warm up and do lot and lots of long notes to build up stamina.also invest in a CHARLES COLINS ADVANCED LIP FLEXIBILITIES and slowly work ur way through it.
    i found this worked for me,also remember it it hurts ur doing something wrong and stop and think what is causing the pain.
    hope that helps!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  9. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    All very good preventitive/stamina advice - but what I am really asking is, if your lip has gone is there anything you can do there and then. You cant do a couple of hours buzzing/ low note paractice if you are in the middle of a rehearsal/concert. The only thing I know of is cooling your lips on the bell or a cold drink. Does anybody have any other quick win tips to temporarily get some stiffness back in your lips ?
  10. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    No,not in the scenario you have presented.When its gone, put it away. There is no benefit both mentally and physically to continue in the example you shared.
  11. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    good point.. I also use that book.. should have bought it years ago..
  12. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    A piece of advice on this subject has proved invaluable to me. I had Simon Wills as my trombone teacher for a time and he said that lips are controlled by a very complex set of muscles. When we are running a race, we use muscles to control our legs. When those muscles get tired, we breathe more to supply them with more oxygen. However, when our lip starts to 'go' when we are playing, we find ourselves panicking and breathing shallowly, thus our lip goes even quicker. I have found that, when we get tired we really need to breathe more deeply and efficiently (going against our natural reaction). Works for me every time.

    ROBTHEDOG Member

  14. waynefiler

    waynefiler Member

    What I find that works for me when i'm 'lipped' is that after a rehearsal warm down with a few mins of low playing, bottom C and below and if you can pedal do that too and a bit of that lip blowing that sounds like a machine gun, you know what I mean all brass players do it to shake their lips off!

    Also, I use arnica cream on my lips if I feel they're a bit bruised, it's a cream that takes away swelling and bruises, it tingles too showing that it's working it's available at most shops by the herbal remedies section. Another good thing is making sure your lips don't dry out, use lipsyl or the likes, my fav is a french conditioning stick that tingles, ooooohh nice!

    Oh and drink plenty of water, it's difficult to play when you're thirsty.

    Stamina-wise, all the above suggestions are great. I also use the Charles Colin (I think that's what it's called) book of advanced lip flexabilities, it's great. It works on flexability, range and stamina. The first time you look at it it seems boring but if you do it religiously every day or when you practice you'll know why it's good and those high notes will come easier. Just take your time over them. I did it for 2 weeks solid and increased my range from an B above the stave to the E above.
  15. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    I feel though prevention is better than cure, if you improved your stamina you wouldnt even be in a situation where you had to ask this question. All the best.
  16. SamHayday

    SamHayday Member

    What I do is, whenever my lip goes, I just put everything down the octave - its only the rep part so it doesn't matter too much - after a while of playing low, your lips back to its normal state and you can carry on.

    Also, unless you're going really fast, take the mouthpiece of your lips during rests. It seems obvious but you'd be surprised that taking the pressure off during quarter rests onwards gives u an extra 10-20 minutes :D.

    Technically speaking, increasing your heart-rate should stop you losing your lip so, if its happening, go for a jog and come back.
  17. adyloader

    adyloader New Member

    It sounds like you need more regular home practice or go onto a bigger instrument. I went from horn onto baritone & euph and it was much easier
    on the lip.
  18. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    i have found that putting your lips on a cool part of the instrument can give short term relief and may help.
  19. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    Old Stan McDonald used to swear that when he played in the dance bands if any of the brass players lips went they used to rub them with rock allum which they got from the chemists. When we did an all day job he used to encourage us to get some but none of us did so I don't know if it works or not
  20. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I know one guy who doesn't play anymore.

    He had no stamina, so when he was getting to the end of a gig, he used to start pushing on.
    His girlfriend refused to kiss him after a gig because "His lips were like rubber" and one night he pushed on so hard that he burts his lips!

    When I first started in the band, I had never done a full 2 hour concert before, I had only done concerts where you had 5 or 6 groups and (depending on how many of the groups you were in) you got a break when you played.
    When I got tired, I just swapped parts with the second bone player and backed off for a bit until my lips recovered enough to play the top part again.

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