Playing problems - please help!!!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Horace, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. Horace

    Horace Member

    Hi there. Over the last couple of weeks I seem to have suffered a setback with my playing and was wondering if anyone out there has suffered the same, or has any suggestions to remedy it. Over the last few months I've been doing the best playing of my life, and in my band's last contest (Land O'Burns) I actually won the prize for Best Horn against some pretty good bands. However, the very next time I picked my horn up for a practise session, I noticed I was having a pretty bad (horrendous really) problem with my sound, which worried me as my sound usually never breaks and has always been consistent in the past. I am having trouble filling the horn, and there is a nasty growl/ buzz when I play. I've noticed that my bottom lip feels very flaccid within the mouthpiece and, for want of a better word, is 'flapping about' in the mouthpiece when I play. I think it is this what is hindering my sound. Not only this, but my range and stamina also seems to have disappeared overnight!!! I just don't understand how this has happened LITERALLY overnight!!!!! I've gone from playing my best to the worst I can ever remember. It's been this way for 2 weeks now, and shows no sign of improving, despite my practising more than I ever have in my life (1.5-2 hours every night). I was just wondering if anyone had any advice or experience of this in the past - it's getting me really depressed and with the RAH looming, is pretty worrying!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. 1st Position

    1st Position Member

    Hve you tried checking the horn? It could be the instrument not you.
  3. SuperHorn

    SuperHorn Member

    Don't worry, take a couple of days off now, you may be practicing too much.
    I've been feeling exactly the same. I've been practicing hard for the last few weeks with little improvement. I've taken a couple of days off and feel better for it. My full range within the last few days has finally returned and my lip doesn't feel tired anymore.

    You may have also put pressure on yourself to perform recently by winning a soloist prize (well done by the way) take it easy, chill out and just take your mind off it.

    Good luck at the RAH - a wonderful place to play and Judges is not easy. One of the hardest things I find is when a player has to open the piece on their own. I did it on 'Planets' at the British Open 2003 - not at all the easy - just believe in your ability and you must have it because you earned your Soloist Prize.

    When I was on Solo Horn, I used to practice on cornet also as It tightened my embouchure and range. It worked for me!!!!

    Go for it
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
  4. agentorange

    agentorange Member

    I agree completely.
    I used to feel like this sometimes & always found 2 or 3 days off without blowing a note did the trick. Think sometimes you just need to recharge the batteries.
    I do this as a matter of course now (with work and family committments not allowing me to practise every day) and I'm playing as well as i've ever done.
    Take a break, don't worry about it and you'll be fine!!
  5. Horace

    Horace Member

    It's definitely not the horn. I feel like my lips have been replaced with a beginner's, so I've been practising more but with no improvement. Any more advice anyone has would be greatly appreciated. As Superhorn says, with Judges starting off with horn, the last thing I want is these problems hindering my playing.


  6. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    Sounds like you've overdone it at the very least. Don't play for at least 3 days, or more if necessary. Your muscles need to recover, and they should be better for it. I hope you haven't had an embouchure collapse, but even they can be fixed, after a rest. Take it easy on range when you pick it back up too.
  7. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'd agree with this lot ^^^^^^, especially as there are some v. good players there. Get it off your face for a couple of days, it sounds very much as though you've just overdone the blowing. Remember the facial muscles are like any other group of muscles, they need time to repair themselves after a particularly strenuous workout.
  8. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Definitely time for a couple of days off - you'll really feel the benefit.
  9. T Winch

    T Winch Member

    I can only agree with what's already been said. A similar thing happens to me where it feels like I've swapped lips with Frank Bruno. This always seems to happen after I've been playing well. The only thing to do is take a break and don't get stressed about it. There is such a thing as too much practice.

    Well done on your soloist prize by the way. I tried to get our band to drug you and force you to sign when you depped for us a couple of years ago but nobody would listen
  10. sooooper sop

    sooooper sop Member

    I agree, take a break! your lips are muscles and you can 'over train' and possible bruise and thin the tissue. When you start practicing again warm up for at least 5 mins, and don't try any heroics :) Good luck
  11. 1st Position

    1st Position Member

    I think the soloution is to stop playing, I know that is difficult with band committments, and especially with the Nationals coming up. But it's better to stop now and be on form next month, than battle on and be forced to stop. I'd leave it alone completely for a week, and then for the following week just do gentle exercises(ie miss rehearsals), nothing at either extreme of the range, plenty of long notes at the middle dynamics. You can do that sort of practice without music, so can stand in front of the mirror, and watch where the mouthpiece is, and what your face is doing around the mouthpiece. It does get frustrating doing that type of practice, but believe me, if after the two weeks you go back to band and things are better, it will have been worth it.
  12. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    yep, id agree too. need some time off! ive often been amazed at how much better my tone is after a while off than if id been playing loads.
    also, i remember when i was younger, my teacher would sometimes compliment me and say he could tell id been practicing. not that i practiced that much anyway, but this always seemed to happen when i hadnt touched the horn between lessons!!

    whats an embochure collapse by the way?
  13. Andy Moore

    Andy Moore Member

    I had a similar problem for about 3 months last year, I was embarassing. I blamed a mouthpiece change though and it improved when I finally changed back at Christmas.
  14. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    Happens to me once or twice a year without fail coz I do a lot of playing. I put the thing in the case and chill for a few days and I always come bouncing back.
  15. Fletch01

    Fletch01 New Member

    Yeah i'd agree that you've probably overdone it so have a couple of days off. But also remember when you start practising again that breathing is the key, so maybe try going back to basics on the breathing remembering to take deep, relaxed breaths. If your breathing becomes shallow and snatched during a practise session put your horn down, relax for a second and think. As my teacher tells me, tonnes of problems with our playing stem from not breathing properly - it's all in the air! ;)

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