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Brad361
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just my opinion based on my experience: years ago I was running full marathons and doing triathlons, up to half Ironman distance. For me, it made no difference whatsoever regarding trumpet playing. None. I’m not at all saying people should not stay fit, but for me it did not improve my playing at all.

Brad
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trickg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brad361 wrote:
Just my opinion based on my experience: years ago I was running full marathons and doing triathlons, up to half Ironman distance. For me, it made no difference whatsoever regarding trumpet playing. None. I’m not at all saying people should not stay fit, but for me it did not improve my playing at all.

Brad

Suffice it to say, if you were doing endurance sports at that level, you may not have a perspective of knowing what it's like to approach the horn when you're totally out of shape, getting into shape, and then seeing how that affects your playing.

Even when I'm in shape, I can't run a marathon - that's a whole other level of cardiovascular fitness. That might explain why you never noticed a difference.

For me, there's absolutely a difference. Recently I've been working to lose some of my Covid-19 weight. Like so many others, I picked up weight during the pandemic, and I lost motivation to do much of anything regarding my physical fitness. I'm playing better now because I'm lifting weights, cycling and swimming. I'm nowhere near being able to run a marathon or do a triathlon, but it has certainly had a positive effect on my trumpet playing.
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huntman10
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that is on my mind in relation to trumpet playing and fitness is "core strength". I play Eb cornet and trumpet and occasionally pic in rehearsals 2 hours and concerts 11/2 hours at a time (and we are back at it). When I first started in this position, I would often start to start to see black in my vision on some of those sustained high note finales just from the tension in my diaphragm, I believe. After a few years of it, I haven't seen it in a while. Sustained high range tessitura requires a lot of core tension.
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falado
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: Physical Fitness Reply with quote

I've been wondering though, how much does general fitness affect trumpet playing? I'm pretty sure it won't hurt, other than less time to practice (and it obviously has other benefits) but in your opinions, does it help make you a better player?[/quote]

Hi, I've been watching this thread and have seen some interesting opinions. I've played lead trumpet in the US Navy Showband and in other military and civilian groups and I would have to say that I do believe that good fitness helps, it just depends on your goals or the level of playing you want to achieve.

I have done a lot of reading and research on playing lead. In the John Lynch Altissimo book, Claude Gordon Systematic approach, some of the Bill Knivitt Books, the 1930's and other books I can't remember at the moment, they mention not only keeping fit but one recommends specific walking exercises. I started this when in the military (had a former CG student as an instructor). In addition I regularly participated in running, swimming, bicycling, etc. to stay on top of performing lead (my job).

If you are suddenly experiencing shortness of breath while playing trumpet and haven't experienced this before, I would see my doctor to see if there is a problem and get recommendations for exercises. I did this not long ago because of shortness of breath when climbing stairs, playing long passages conducting, and developed constant swallowing issues. It turned out I had an aneurysm pressing against my esophagus and my aorta was backwards. I had surgery last summer to correct the issues and now am back to playing. Get checked out by your doc and get off the couch. Well, time to go do some walking and breathing exercises.
All the best, Dave
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another important aspect of trumpet playing is just being able to stand or sit with good posture (depending on your gig) for a long period of time. On 3-set gigs I've often felt aches and pains in my back or hips, and felt the urge to sit down or go stretch. We often will overcompensate and tense up the shoulders, push out the hips, or lean on one side. This is not helpful to being at your best throughout the whole gig, and it's important that we can stay comfortable. Strengthening core muscles, working on ergonomics, sitting, standing, and sleeping in good positions, is really important. It's still a work in progress for me. I've actually been practicing just standing correctly recently!
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ebolton
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last few posts are spot-on. Physical fitness makes everything in life easier, including playing trumpet, and when things are easier they are also done better.

I'm a comeback player. In physicality, I went from athlete with Olympic ambitions to cardiac patient and I'm now on to something in between. You can trust me on this- a certain level of fitness will improve your playing. Pro-athlete levels of fitness is overkill for playing, but couch potato levels of fitness will limit you.
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falado
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, here's another thing I think I read in the John Lynch book; to train to become a professional trumpet player is like training to become a world class athlete.

This is not just training on the trumpet, but also physical training for the body. Also, let's not forget the mind, brain, too. Playing trumpet on a high or higher level involves both a physical and intellectual mindset. I know some of us (the party animals) forget or ignore some of this while were in that zone performing. Years ago I spent hours each week practicing, running, swimming, to help the physical part and practicing sight reading, sight singing and ear training to help the intellectual part. I also read and reread the Inner Game of Music, The art of Brass Playing, Altissimo Trumpet Playing, Trumpet Playing is No Harder Than Deep breathing, intro to Colin Lip Flexibility, Bill Knivitt books, and etc. Of course I read a lot or did listening while doing my rest periods between exercises. On the other hand, if you are playing for your own enjoyment or doing community band stuff, just doing the walking exercises is a good beginning and will help your playing and wellbeing.

Dave
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've lost count of community band people who had to drop out because of self induced health issues. Aging adults are subject to all kinds of maladies if they don't work very hard at maintaining fitness. So if you really want to still be playing at 75, well, then not doing a bunch of bad things and doing a bunch of good things would seem to be the way to go.
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trickg
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard III wrote:
I've lost count of community band people who had to drop out because of self induced health issues. Aging adults are subject to all kinds of maladies if they don't work very hard at maintaining fitness. So if you really want to still be playing at 75, well, then not doing a bunch of bad things and doing a bunch of good things would seem to be the way to go.

I've been an active musician long enough that I've seen this firsthand a number of times. You can't smoke, eat poorly, not exercise, etc, and expect to be able to maintain certain levels of physicality into and after your 40s. In some cases, I've seen people start really struggling in their 30s.

In my own case, I have congenital arthritis - it's never been official diagnosed, but I'm 50 with chronic pain here and there, which on top of the fact that my Mom is officially diagnosed with arthritis and I follow in her footsteps on so many things medically, I can put two and two together for the writing on the wall.

I was doing ok up into my early 40s - the wedding band has always been a high-energy gig, but as I got into mid to late 40s, by the time the gig was done, I was hurting. That even after strategically popping four 200 mg ibuprofen about 20 minutes before the start of the dance set.

I'll tell you what though - if I'm wasn't exercising regularly with a combined regimen of cardio and resistance training, doing that gig was considerably harder and more painful by the end. It's funny though - typically I'd get through the gig and not really notice it, but as soon as the gig was done and it was time to pack up, some nights between my feet, knees and back, I was really feeling like an old man.
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falado
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard III wrote:
I've lost count of community band people who had to drop out because of self induced health issues. Aging adults are subject to all kinds of maladies if they don't work very hard at maintaining fitness. So if you really want to still be playing at 75, well, then not doing a bunch of bad things and doing a bunch of good things would seem to be the way to go.


I'm 67, retired Navy Musician, a high school band director (still teaching), and the director of our county's community band. I still practice nearly every day, gig, walk, etc. and can still out walk and stand better than the kids during band camp. I attribute this to the exercising, etc., I did when younger and keeping active. It saddens me when I hear the chops fading on my older community band members. The mains reasons are lack of practice and just not getting out and walking, i.e. taking good physical care of themselves. I went through extensive thoracic surgery last year and had elbow surgery this past Friday to correct some nerve damage from the thoracic surgery. I'm up and practicing, taking lessons and gave a private lesson this morning at school, and heading to PT this afternoon.

A friend of mine passed away a while ago, he was over 100 years old, I knew him for 40+ years. Al Francisconi was a local wind instrument repair tech, mentor and a retired military bandmaster. He worked and played music until he turned 100 and his health started failing. Here's what he told me a few years ago. "Dave, don't stop working and keep active. All my friends who retired and stopped working are gone or went not long after retiring."

I just keep going. Go see your doc, start walking and do the breathing exercises. My thoracic surgeon was surprised how quick I was up and around for someone my age. I attribute it to never smoking, not drinking, the former workout activity and my current physical condition. I went back to work within 4 weeks of the surgery.

Get off the couch, walk and play some trumpet. It's a physical and demanding instrument. It can also bring pleasure and help keep you healthy.

Dave
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