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Been in a long rut, don't think I'll ever get out of it.



 
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KyloTrumpet
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Joined: 09 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:22 am    Post subject: Been in a long rut, don't think I'll ever get out of it. Reply with quote

Hey all,

So I've been in a rut on my Bb Trumpet for about 6 years now. Before the rut I was very good and had developed the necessary skills to be an exceptional player. I was invited to many shows and state wide bands to perform because of my skill. Then, all of a sudden, that skill was destroyed. I believe it was the day I rehearsed an excerpt in marching band with notes above the staff for an hour or so. It was something I pushed my chops too far on. After that, I had to play every single day, on average 2 hours and some days 4 hours, with breaks being at the end of the season or every few days, so pretty rare. Every time I played, I produced a sound the sounded like my lips were fatigued every single day, like they've been playing for 4 hours straight, even when I had rested them for a few days, or if they felt completely fine. I couldn't hold notes above the staff for more than a couple seconds, I couldn't crescendo or produce sound past being blatty or my lips being blown apart. Everything that was simple became difficult, like I had never played before. Ever since then, for 5 years, I've sounded like that. Even when my lips feel fine, after a 4 week break, or after a 6 month break then playing again (which I did today and sounded slightly better but am still sounding the same), I sound like I am fatigued.

Yes, I have contacted trumpet professors and teachers, they didn't help. My trumpet is 100% fine. I've done trumpet exercises, but those made it worse. I've also been told it could be a broken embouchure or if I should take a year off instead, but I have my doubts.

Honestly, I think my trumpet playing is done here. I've tried everything to fix it. Rest and healing then playing again, playing exercises, new trumpet, friends' trumpets, lip therapy, everything. If any of you could give me a suggestion on what to do, that would be great, but I wouldn't count on it working unfortunately.
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JayKosta
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Joined: 24 Dec 2018
Posts: 434
Location: Endwell NY USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From your description, it seems to me that you've done some physical damage to your embouchure muscles or to their controlling nerves. I'm sorry this has happened to you, and I hope you find a solution.

I suggest you begin by doing some detailed self-analysis by simply using a mirror and SEEING if you are able to control your lips in the expected manner - various smiles, frowns, pucker, roll-in, roll-out, tensing corners, etc. Also try holding a straw in your lips and determine if you can control moving it with just lip action.

Next step would be consulting with a physician who has good knowledge about lip musculature and nerves - maybe a plastic surgeon who does lips. You might find one who does a free initial consultation.

Has your ability to whistle, or shoot apple/orange seeds been affected?

Jay
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KyloTrumpet
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Joined: 09 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am able to do various faces, whistling, and spitting no problem. It's only when I play the trumpet do my lips just falter.

JayKosta wrote:
From your description, it seems to me that you've done some physical damage to your embouchure muscles or to their controlling nerves. I'm sorry this has happened to you, and I hope you find a solution.

I suggest you begin by doing some detailed self-analysis by simply using a mirror and SEEING if you are able to control your lips in the expected manner - various smiles, frowns, pucker, roll-in, roll-out, tensing corners, etc. Also try holding a straw in your lips and determine if you can control moving it with just lip action.

Next step would be consulting with a physician who has good knowledge about lip musculature and nerves - maybe a plastic surgeon who does lips. You might find one who does a free initial consultation.

Has your ability to whistle, or shoot apple/orange seeds been affected?

Jay
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cheiden
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Joined: 28 Sep 2004
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had minor experiences like you describe where fresh lips feel and sound tired. In my case, I had to return to my fundamentals that I'd developed under with the help of a top pro. Without those experience and that teacher, I would likely never have gotten out of that hole.

Before you write it off to permanent injury, do your self a favor and try to get with a well-reviewed teacher with specific expertise in fixing chop problems.
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jscahoy
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This happened to me, and excellent teachers couldn't help me either. Barring permanent injury, which is unlikely, your whole approach to the horn has probably changed from what it used to be. You may be playing with excess tension, which you don't even notice because you've gotten so used to it that it feels perfectly normal. Or because it seems like you can't even make a decent sound without it.

The road back from this is long, but it's possible. You'll need a teacher who isn't just a great player, but has dealt with this type of chronic issue.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my case, I think I managed to learn how to play with next to no lip tension which worked for a while but eventually left me with a flaccid vibrating surface. The more I tried to enforce the no-tension lip that I thought I wanted the worse it got. When I returned to my fundamentals and a bit of guidance I returned to sensible and productive lip tension and my tone and facility came back relatively quickly.
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Andy Del
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Location: sunny Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on your original post,I cam see two things which are glaringly obvious.

First, you will NEVER resolve this with your current attitude. Harsh, but that is a fact. You need to want to improve and be determined to do what is necessary to do so.

Second, you didn't specify what sort of help you got which didn't work. A literal read says you have taken zero lessons and just sought advice through contacting various teachers. You will need to pony up the cash to take lessons for a period of time - possibly years - in order to get to where you seem to want to go. Again, it may sound harsh, but this is reality.

The next move is up to you. Go find the best chop doc trumpet teacher you can and start lessons. Be prepared to restart from scratch. You will only get back what you put in.

Harsh? Maybe, but this is reality.

cheers

Andy
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Schilkes22
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let Me start by saying that I'm not an expert. Now, a question for people who know a lot more than me. Is Pops M. the guy who might be able to help the OP out? I've never met him, let alone studied with Pops, but from what I've read He may be able to help.
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JetJaguar
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do the Coady exercises in my signature for 2 weeks, every day.
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Alex Brain
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Joined: 22 Jan 2019
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I generally don't tend to post in threads that aren't my own but this post did resonate with some of my own experiences.

First off; everybody has their own ideas and individual experience, don't discount anything, but also challenge everything. No one is 100% right or 100% wrong, sensation is different to the actual physics and biology and interpretation of all elements can vary too. Experiment with everything and discard what doesn't work for you, regardless of who said it.

My personal advice (which should be taken in exactly the way I described above) is that you need a fundemental change in your approach. Remove the emotion and remove the expectation and ego. See the trumpet as a problem-solving exercise. Identify the problems and then target each one individually and, through a process of experimentation and intelligent self-assessment, you will overcome them.

A key quote (Jonathan Lipton from the London Symphony Orchestra passed me this gem) to remember is, I believe, paraphrased from Einstein; 'the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting a different result'. Point being; if something isn't working, you need to make a change. Perhaps a subtle change, or perhaps a major one. Only you can work that out. But simply picking up the trumpet every day, sounding bad (that bit is acceptable, no one sounds good all the time), and continuing with the same approach will not yield much success.

Hope that can be of some help. Others may have conflicting opinions, they are all perfectly valid.

Thanks
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