Nerves

I have a problem with nerves at tryouts. That is something that EVERY trumpet player faces. After years and years of being one of the most respected players in the world Harry James still was on the verge of being ill before EVERY performance. He played wonderfully anyway. Here are a few facts to ponder: 1. The competition is also nervous. Most put up a brave face and even kid around. This puts you in the same boat as them. 2. I never heard of a player being shot by a judge. Lighten up they want to hear you play. They have all been where you are and because of that common bond they are pulling for you. 3. Just like on the highway speed kills. I would rather hear a piece played a little too slow with good tone and control than watch speedracer hit the wall and crash. […]

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My lip is numb. Help.

A numb lip is a sign of way too much mouthpiece to lip pressure. If the CAUSE is taken care of then it may go away. It could take months for the feeling to return. If enough damage is done to the lip the feeling will never return. Continued abuse will also damage more than the nerves. It will injure the muscles and not only affect playing but also appearance and speech. This is VERY IMPORTANT. The mouthpiece to lip pressure has to stop TODAY !!! I would suggest a month off of the horn. Hopefully the feeling will return in this time. Horse flapping (a loose buzz) will help. If playing is to resume after a month off then I suggest lip buzzing. Lip buzzing (NO MOUTHPIECE) will teach a close embouchure setting and increase lip strength. This will make it easier to break the mouthpiece pressure that has […]

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Zen

A number of performers and teachers have commented in the past about trumpet playing being physical. Some say it is all in the air. Others claim that it is 90% mental. All of these are correct. To play a long gig 6 nights a week is demanding physically and mentally. The physical aspect we hope is taken care of by years of preparation (practice). There are almost as many ideas about creating endurance as there are trumpet teachers yet they tend to share the same basic concept. That concept is to build your strength a little at a time by adding a little more work. This is like running a marathon you start out by going 1 block. You add distance to this as you can . Now playing a pro gig is the marathon. If you have never done this distance in practice then you are in for a […]

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Bad days

I was wondering why I have bad days? What can I do about them? This bad days thread has several related parts including embouchure, pressure, working on range, and normal off days. If your lips feel sore or tired the next day then you bruised them and there is some swelling present. That kind of soreness can only come for excessive mouthpiece pressure. What is normal and acceptable mouthpiece pressure for compressed lips (cushioned) is too much for flattened chops. You would be amazed at how many players set their chops and then unset (thin the lips and spread the embouchure) as they take a breath. This is the case in 75% of the cases that you described. No amount of lip pushups will cure this. Isometrics were only taught by Stevens to people who had a viable embouchure. For people who need some embouchure help (fine tuning) the embouchure […]

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Trumpet and Health

I sometimes have an eye ache or my ears hurt after playing. Is that normal? I am not a doctor; however I have had some experience with eye problems. I had cataracts in both eyes and as a result had surgery. Playing correctly has not affected my eyes at all. There have recently been questions regarding high playing and eye problems, high playing and ear problems and high playing and head pains. These ALL suggest the use of too much pressure to play. I do know that it is possible to cause a heart attack or even a stroke by using too much pressure to play. Let me explain about pressure. Although mouthpiece pressure is the one that is normally brought up, there is also lip pressure and abdominal pressure. Stevens used 2 types of grips one to help break the habit of too much pressure and the one everyone […]

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Should your lips be sore after practice

Should you be sore after pratice or playing can be answered in one word. NO!!!!! The lips may be tired for a few minutes or the mouth corners for 15 minutes or so , but anything more that this is a sign that you have caused some damage. As for being sore until after the next days warmup. Well that is way off base. If you feel sore or tired the next day then you bruised them and there is some swelling present. A competent teacher would never advise a student to play until that level of soreness was reached. Also that kind of soreness can only come from excessive mouthpiece pressure. What is normal and acceptable mouthpiece pressure for compressed lips (cushioned) is too much for flattened chops. You would be amazed at how many players set their chops and then unset (thin the lips and spread the embouchure) […]

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