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Chops won't work like they used to before.



 
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KyloTrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:21 pm    Post subject: Chops won't work like they used to before. Reply with quote

Hello,
I've been playing trumpet since middle school and am about to be in college. For my first 4 years I practiced and worked hard and eventually got a really good tone and skill on the trumpet. Then, sometime during band camp on my sophomore year, KAPOOYAH! It was morning time during rehearsal outside and I could not warm up my lips for the life of me. They felt stiff and dry no matter how much I played and licked my lips, so essentially playing was a struggle. A few days before, my sound was normal and fine. Anyway, from this point on it went downhill. Then along with that, in anytime of the day that wasn't morning, my lips felt like they were being held back by some wall when trying to play any notes loud or regularly. When I try to crescendo, normally I would have a good loud sound, but instead my lips would start shaking harder and spread (AKA, can't play to my fullest). that led to me feeling my notes as stuffy and almost unstable. Lips also got chapped more, all notes feel thin and bright, and playing above a B in the staff was a struggle. Anything above the staff was airy and deteriorated. I even practiced consistently before this happened. Now that my confidence has been gone for 2 years (R.I.P.), what is a good way to come back and what happened? Thanks

Edit: I did play some high note pieces a week before, but it doesn't make sense as to how this stuck for 2 years -_-

Edit 2: I started taking private lessons and have told my teacher the problem in a weird way so I'm trying again soon. Also, the scheduling is a bit out of whack due to other events. Yes I am passionate about my trumpet and fixing this issue.



P.S. Yes I have done long tones but they never work because my lips are too broken to even do them softly or regularly (quivering, thin tone turns into air, etc.) Yes I can do my scales, fundamentals, and everything fine, but my lips just WON'T do it. Now I am not confident to do them.


Last edited by KyloTrumpet on Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is all too common a story.

What you have not mentioned is your trumpet teacher. If you don't have one, this is why you are where you are.

To make a definitive recommendation is impossible unless one hears you play and can see what you are doing. As a guess, you have over played and injured yourself and not taken the necessary steps to recover.

To come back from this position there is only one course of action. Get a GOOD trumpet teacher, pay them for lessons and follow their advice. It will take some time, and no small amount of effort on your part, but you need professional guidance.

cheers

Andy
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KyloTrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:
This is all too common a story.

What you have not mentioned is your trumpet teacher. If you don't have one, this is why you are where you are.

To make a definitive recommendation is impossible unless one hears you play and can see what you are doing. As a guess, you have over played and injured yourself and not taken the necessary steps to recover.

To come back from this position there is only one course of action. Get a GOOD trumpet teacher, pay them for lessons and follow their advice. It will take some time, and no small amount of effort on your part, but you need professional guidance.

cheers

Andy






Yeah thanks for reminding me, I edited the post. I am with a teacher and am planning to work with him on it, just wanted to search for any other advice.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m guessing Andy is correct regarding you injuring yourself, but even though you’re probably going to get other well intentioned advice here, your teacher is who needs to address this. If I were you, I would not be “planning” discussing this with him, I would make it the absolute asap first priority......yesterday!

Brad
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: Chops won't work like they used to before. Reply with quote

KyloTrumpet wrote:

Edit: I did play some high note pieces a week before, but it doesn't make sense as to how this stuck for 2 years -_-

Edit 2: I started taking private lessons and have told my teacher the problem in a weird way so I'm trying again soon. Also, the scheduling is a bit out of whack due to other events. Yes I am passionate about my trumpet and fixing this issue.

P.S. Yes I have done long tones but they never work because my lips are too broken to even do them softly or regularly (quivering, thin tone turns into air, etc.) Yes I can do my scales, fundamentals, and everything fine, but my lips just WON'T do it. Now I am not confident to do them.


Ah, now I can see more clearly. From what you describe, the entire situation is a mess.

First up - your teacher will be telling YOU what needs to be done. They can hear and see what you are doing and design a way forward for you. If they can't, then time to go shopping for someone else.

Secondly, you say you are passionate about your playing, yet have let things go for two years? There is something hear to reflect on, and find a way to move on from regaining the drive to play.

Still, no one will be able to give you clear advice from your post - apart from the fact this will take time and effort on your part. Give it months, not days and see how things are going. The most important part is to not place expectations upon yourself apart from the desire to improve and make the greatest sound you can. The rest comes with time.

And patience.

cheers

Andy
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...sometime during band camp on my sophomore year, KAPOOYAH! It was morning time during rehearsal outside..."

I'm guessing this is HS marching band camp?

I'm just going to take a SWAG, but it sounds to me like you were probably utilizing pressure to help focus your embouchure - it's a pretty common issue, and a person can get a way with that for a bit, but there is often a tipping point to how much pressure you can apply before it stops helping form the focus, and becomes a clear detriment to just about every effort.

We see a lot of threads similar to this during marching band season because it usually takes additional mouthpiece pressure to keep the mouthpiece in the right place while marching. We're also told to hold our horns at certain angles, and that's not a natural thing - most of us have to crane our necks back and/or arch our back to make that happen, which puts all kinds of tension into our playing - all the way from the chest up through the arms, neck... it's just not good.

Then we have the issue that often times players are marching in the cold - temps under 50 degrees. Chops don't work well when the face muscles get cold, so how do we compensate for that? That's right boys and girls! We use PRESSURE!!!!!!

So combine everything and it's a recipe made in heaven for developing a chops problem.

There are some other things you said that suggest to me that excessive mouthpiece pressure might be part of the problem:

"Yes I have done long tones but they never work because my lips are too broken to even do them softly or regularly (quivering, thin tone turns into air, etc.)" (There's a way to approach this to get it going so that you can start doing long tones again, but it's going to take some time and a good bit of patience.)

"that led to me feeling my notes as stuffy and almost unstable. Lips also got chapped more, all notes feel thin and bright, and playing above a B in the staff was a struggle. Anything above the staff was airy and deteriorated."

SO much of what you've talked about are red flags for excessive mouthpiece pressure.

It sounds to me like you need to work on the basics to rebuild your chops focus and reduce mouthpiece pressure. It's going to take soft, low long tones, and lots of soft, low articulation exercises. You'll need to talk to your teacher about how to approach a good way to doing long tones again to rebuild that focus so that you can play with a clear, full sound at low volume in the lower register of the horn.
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JVL
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello Kylo
i agree both with Andy & Trickg, and will add :
1) for warm up & recovery, do a lot of fluttering (horse mouth sound), it'll increase your chops inner temperature, vascularize muscles (brings oxygen, nutriments, keep metabolites away, like lactic acid). Mostly when no time to warm up

2) you need to (re)coordinate your embouchure, so low mid registers, Clarke for instance, and try also Whisper tones if they help you for this (Charlie Porter posted a good vid on youtube)
good luck
best
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JVL wrote:
hello Kylo
i agree both with Andy & Trickg, and will add :
1) for warm up & recovery, do a lot of fluttering (horse mouth sound), it'll increase your chops inner temperature, vascularize muscles (brings oxygen, nutriments, keep metabolites away, like lactic acid). Mostly when no time to warm up

2) you need to (re)coordinate your embouchure, so low mid registers, Clarke for instance, and try also Whisper tones if they help you for this (Charlie Porter posted a good vid on youtube)
good luck
best


I agree with all above. Adding: Instant acute overuse syndrom (Lucinda Lewis). That is to say wearing out your chops. Not only excessive lactid acid but also muscle fatigue up to the point of inflammation.
Cure like presciptions above - rest doen´t help but some kind of re-installing your embouchure is badly needed. Flexibility seems to be gone so exercises enhancing this might be valuable (roll ins roll outs). Don´t overdo this -far too easy messing it up again. We don´t know the state of your chops prior to this but as stated above: get yourself a teacher - at least for a diagnosis! The good news is that this could be your chance to install a new and much more balanced embouchure! You´ve gotten a message from your chops so "hear em´ talking to ya".
And good luck!
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KyloTrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trickg wrote:
"...sometime during band camp on my sophomore year, KAPOOYAH! It was morning time during rehearsal outside..."

I'm guessing this is HS marching band camp?

I'm just going to take a SWAG, but it sounds to me like you were probably utilizing pressure to help focus your embouchure - it's a pretty common issue, and a person can get a way with that for a bit, but there is often a tipping point to how much pressure you can apply before it stops helping form the focus, and becomes a clear detriment to just about every effort.

We see a lot of threads similar to this during marching band season because it usually takes additional mouthpiece pressure to keep the mouthpiece in the right place while marching. We're also told to hold our horns at certain angles, and that's not a natural thing - most of us have to crane our necks back and/or arch our back to make that happen, which puts all kinds of tension into our playing - all the way from the chest up through the arms, neck... it's just not good.

Then we have the issue that often times players are marching in the cold - temps under 50 degrees. Chops don't work well when the face muscles get cold, so how do we compensate for that? That's right boys and girls! We use PRESSURE!!!!!!

So combine everything and it's a recipe made in heaven for developing a chops problem.

There are some other things you said that suggest to me that excessive mouthpiece pressure might be part of the problem:

"Yes I have done long tones but they never work because my lips are too broken to even do them softly or regularly (quivering, thin tone turns into air, etc.)" (There's a way to approach this to get it going so that you can start doing long tones again, but it's going to take some time and a good bit of patience.)

"that led to me feeling my notes as stuffy and almost unstable. Lips also got chapped more, all notes feel thin and bright, and playing above a B in the staff was a struggle. Anything above the staff was airy and deteriorated."

SO much of what you've talked about are red flags for excessive mouthpiece pressure.

It sounds to me like you need to work on the basics to rebuild your chops focus and reduce mouthpiece pressure. It's going to take soft, low long tones, and lots of soft, low articulation exercises. You'll need to talk to your teacher about how to approach a good way to doing long tones again to rebuild that focus so that you can play with a clear, full sound at low volume in the lower register of the horn.



Well here’s the thing. I did in fact see your new thread about marching. My issue though, is that during my freshman year of marching band, i sounded fine and normal. My body and chops could take the posture, pressure, etc. The environment and excercises during marching season were the exact same as every year after and my chops were fine throughout the year. It just happened randomly my sophomore year. Why would my body do a sudden change like that if it was fine my freshman year?
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No one could possibly help you with this problem without hearing you.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While that last post is correct, the OP's last question has an answer. First of all, most (many?) of us here have suffered through substantial setbacks, even if not exactly what the OP describes. So you CAN learn to play again, but that is exactly what it will take.

You have a head start, because you had some stability to your playing at one time and can re-learn those skills more quickly now that you have more maturity. You will glean some key insight from examining your last question: obviously the variable between your freshman and sophomore years was YOU.

A chop breakdown like this starts long before the most painfully obvious symptoms dominate your playing. Iow, your playing was never as bullet-proof as you'd like to think. Brutal honesty coupled with diligent practice, per a good (or great) teacher's instruction, will have you progressing better than you did originally.

For an example of someone living through this type of recovery, but after something more debilitating, read Rafael Mendez' story. It is truly inspiring! For an example of diligent practice with no chop setbacks, see: Allen Vizzuti. Most of us will never have the years of consistent practice and progress he has, but you are younger than most of us here who get paid to play, and quality instruction is more readily accessible than ever before!
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