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Taking a day off


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mike ansberry
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:06 pm    Post subject: Taking a day off Reply with quote

I practice just about every day. Usually pretty hard. I've been working to improve my range and endurance as well as make sure I have the tunes down for upcoming gigs and try to improve my improv. I played a funk gig this weekend. It was just one set, but it was all of our hardest trumpet charts. I didn't really plan on a day off, but yesterday I just kinda felt like not playing. Today my chops are unusually strong.

I know this makes sense in that rest for our muscles allows them to heal. Do you guys take days off the horn? Or maybe a heavy lifting day and a light day? Some kind of alternating schedule? Would doing that help me make better progress with range and endurance?
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kevin_soda
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's quote in the Bill Adam Tribute book that comes to mind.

"You can ALWAYS take a day off but you can NEVER take it back."

I interpret this to mean that you should always be honest and intentional about your needs and your goals. If you need a day off, you need a day off. Also, remember that mental practice/active rest can have unbelievably good results.

Another wise quote (not from Mr. Adam) "do the best you can in the time that you have."
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brassmusician
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find I can do two days in a row of a heavy practice workout but then it catches up with me and I need a light or complete rest day to recover. I always trying to tweak my regime and at the moment figure that some of the more demanding types of exercise are probably better done only twice or three times a week. Of course what is heavy for one player may not be for another. So I think it helps to have a heavy and light routine.
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see why the classical trumpet players are loath to take a day off. As their technique generally involves more interval and soft volume performance. As well as pinpoint perfection in exposed phrases. Then there are those soft volume attacks. To leave the horn alone too long risks losing some of that delicate, sensitive precision.

Yet no one who's ever paid his bills by playing numerous weeks in a commercial or dance band popping G/High C at loud volume all night would choose the word "sensitive" to describe the experience. In this trumpet player's world his main foe is a swollen, bruised upper lip. As such there may not be any other remedy besides taking some time off. He might need to.

Sometimes I've wondered why the big bands carried so many trumpets. Especially since even in tutti sections where the whole band is wailing it's still the lead trumpet that prevails above all else. And as much big band work as I've done over the years I've never seen the value of the. 4th Trumpet book and even the 3rd often seems unnecessary. But then I realized that when a band is way out on the road a lead trumpet player can really find himself pretty damned burned out. So by carrying extra trumpet players there's always someone to spot the poor bastard on first. Also endurance varies between trumpets as much as range does. It might take two or even three trumpet players to finish a lead gig. Especially if the cat they're subbing for is a real freak on a toxic scream first book.. Someone with endless range/endurance. Keeping five trumpets, as Kenton did may have assured a complete sound. Even on those nights when the lead player is so cooked that he can't get a note out of the horn.

In the Kenton biography "Artistry In Rhythm" by Dr Bill Lee a certain Tom Baker describes just how strenuous the lead book was back in the day. When he played the famous "Redlands Univ" performances. I've even seen Tom post here before but not in over ten years. I hate to say it but a lot of the pros get scared off by malicious types.
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the 70's I sometimes played big band jobs with an older guy who had played lead with a few big names in the 40's. He was drafted during the war and after his hitch was up he went to college on the GI Bill and became a pharmacist. He continued gigging locally and when he was busy at work he sometimes didn't pick the horn up for a week or two. He would show up on a big band job and blow lead all night and never miss a note. One night we ended the gig with In The Mood. He hit the high d and slid up to D over double C. If my memory is correct that night he said he had barely touched the horn in three weeks.
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After unusually difficult gigs, I often take a day off. Nothing wrong with that. I find that I just need to be nice and careful with my warmup when I pick the horn back up. My 45-minute Schlossberg routine gets me nice and dialed in.

As Lionel notes above, for certain players in demanding professional situations a day off may not be an option. Which is fine. But for the rest of us, a day off now and again is totally OK as long as you approach it the right way. A day off sure isn't going to make you BETTER, per se, but it could help you prevent injury from overuse on those super loud gigs or whatever.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There will probably not be much agreement on this, some say NEVER miss a practice day, others say there are times when it makes sense, especially after a hard gig(s). I’m in the second camp. For many years, I was a NEVER miss a day guy, and sometimes ended up chronically fatigued.

Whatever works, we are not going to reach agreement on this. For me, resting when needed is beyond sensible, it’s nearly critical.

Brad
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theslawdawg
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a post years back on the daily routines of many of the greats. Many of them did not play unless they had a gig (which usually was every day, multiple times a day). Others fit practice in and also performed. Shame there wasn't anything on when they first started out, and what their routines were.
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should also note that my period of maximum musical and technical development happened during a 4-5 year period when I was practicing 3-5 hours every single day. So I think for developing players, it's very important to play every day.

When you get to be an old slob like me (going on 40) you have the advantage that you already know how to play, so it's much easier to "find it" again after a day off, and frankly your body probably needs more rest in general. So there's that as well.
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gstump
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Detroit, like a lot of towns on the theater tours we did 5 shows from Friday to Sunday. Matinees on Sat & Sunday. In NY, there is usually a Wednesdays matinee.

Out in the hinterlands getting theater goers to show on a Wednesday is a challenge.

Add in a few jingles and record sessions and taking Monday off for me was not a luxury it was a necessity. When out of the theater taking a day off was not necessary.

You are what you played the day before. So if you did a 4 hours high and loud lead gig in a jazz/rock band on a Saturday, then Sunday morning you just may be shutting down on anything except high and loud.

This scares the crap out of some. They think they will never be able to play again. The muscle memory is remarkable. Reboot after a day and you will have nice fresh chops.

Beware: Fresh chops may chip a few notes here and there. It is so easy! Maybe add some additional practice after the day off to ward of the fresh chops chips. Do not ask me how I know this.

Cheers,

Gordon Stump
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Charlie Jones
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best way to determine this is to experiment with what works best for you and your playing requirements. Many great players can take an entire day off and have little to no issue the next day. Others, however, generally find this results in unpredictable response the next morning, so they create what they call "light days" instead. This can mean many different things, here are a couple of examples that I've been taught:

1. On a day with no playing commitments, play only 20 minutes of easy fundamentals across the horn at about 2pm, and then put away the horn for the day.
2. Take an exact 24 hours of rest in between 2 days.
3. Play easy fundamentals in 5-10 minute sessions throughout the entire day as comfortable.

There's also no shame in avoiding super light days, if you feel that is truly what's best for your chops. Your best bet is to simply try different things, and observe the results!
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turkle wrote:
I should also note that my period of maximum musical and technical development happened during a 4-5 year period when I was practicing 3-5 hours every single day. So I think for developing players, it's very important to play every day.

When you get to be an old slob like me (going on 40) you have the advantage that you already know how to play, so it's much easier to "find it" again after a day off, and frankly your body probably needs more rest in general. So there's that as well.


Speaking as a much older slob like me (65)....this. ^^

Brad
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AtomicBasie93
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i believe in taking a day off here and there. When I do, however, it takes me like a week to get back into shape.
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mike ansberry
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For many years if I took a day off the next day was not good. The horn didn't feel right on my chops. Over the last few years I've been changing my embouchure. It started with Rusty Russell's 19/30s. I noticed a definite increase in stamina. I've been getting into BE for the last few months. Now if I take a day off I feel pretty good the next day.

I was wondering if anybody has a schedule in which they plan heavy workout days and light workout days like athletes do.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AtomicBasie93 wrote:
i believe in taking a day off here and there. When I do, however, it takes me like a week to get back into shape.


Everyone is different, I guess that’s possible, but I have to think taking a week to recover is more psychological than physical.

Brad
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Nonsense Eliminator
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My practicing is most efficient when I don't practice tired. So I wouldn't deliberately schedule heavy or light days — if I am being disciplined in my practice, every day I am playing as much as I have chops and/or time for. I generally only take days off because I have a life outside the trumpet. Very occasionally I may take a day off because I'm feeling beat up, but in those situations it's almost always at least as effective to take a light day instead — basically a slow warm-up and that's it.

But I wouldn't ever schedule my practice in such a way that I need to recover from it. If I'm practicing that much it's because I'm getting ready for something and I have limited time to do it, so beating myself up would be counterproductive in every way.

There are going to be times when we feel tired and need to deliver the goods. I think it makes sense to practice that skill.
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spitvalve
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take Sundays off. My chops always feel really good on Mondays.
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myvalves
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spitvalve wrote:
I take Sundays off. My chops always feel really good on Mondays.


Same here. Not a specific day, mind you, just taking a day off let's your chops rest. Your muscles need to recuperate. Same as working out in the gym or any other form of exercise and physical exertion. Claude Gordon used to say rest as much as you play while doing his exercises. That sort of encapsulates the micro versus macro version of the same idea.
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kevin_soda
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Professional athletes don't completely rest after a competition day. They have a recovery day and THEN rest. So if I have a tough few days, I want to make sure I have a recovery day before I think about taking a day off. If you put energy into recovery then you might not need the day off.

I suppose we could differentiate a little bit between recovery time for swollen chops vs that of fatigue as well. I would listen to my body and tailor my recovery accordingly.

If I feel tight, I like to play long tones and lip bends until I feel loose enough to try flow studies. Some people like pedal tones too. Playing long tones or lip bends on swollen chops doesn't sound or feel good. If I feel swollen I would want to focus on quiet playing with minimal pressure and listen for quick response without force.

Just my perspective, FWIW.
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chuck in ny
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevin_soda wrote:
There's quote in the Bill Adam Tribute book that comes to mind.

"You can ALWAYS take a day off but you can NEVER take it back."

I interpret this to mean that you should always be honest and intentional about your needs and your goals. If you need a day off, you need a day off. Also, remember that mental practice/active rest can have unbelievably good results.

Another wise quote (not from Mr. Adam) "do the best you can in the time that you have."


that's called free advice. free for you to give and expensive for the other guy to take.
because <you> thrive on 7 days doesn't mean everybody does.
when my girls were in school they had this alcoholic female soccer coach who would routinely over train the kids, no pain no gain. nobody seemed to notice the staggering amount of injuries among her players including the poor wretch who ruptured her achilles tendon.
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