Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trumpet & The Tired Chops Syndrome

As a professional trumpeter, I often run in to times that I play for extended periods of time, have strenuous shows, or just push too hard. Recovering from this is more than just not playing, or taking time off. For me in particular, if I take time off after a strenuous day, I come back struggling even more.

After a hard day, I really can't say I warm down at all. I will free buzz a bit depending on how tired I am, but that is about the extent of a warm down. The next day, I extend my warm up (see Trumpet, Trumpeter, & Warm Up Woes) by playing very softly for extended periods of time... if I am still feeling a bit spent, I will usually limit my playing sessions to a few minutes and will not play anything above a High C.

What I've found through the years, is that it takes time to let the lips heal. I saw times with Maynard Ferguson where he would be extremely beat up from a long run of performances. He too would extend his warm ups, but also could take time away and come back strong.

What tends to happen to our lips is exactly what happens to a tired runner, exhausted athlete, etc. Our muscles need time to rebuild... if done properly, we can bounce back stronger... if we ignore the tired feeling or soreness, we can actually do more damage by staying in a tired or "torn down" state.

If you find yourself in a situation where your chops just don't respond, and you've played hard the previous day, give your muscles the day to be relaxed by playing softly in short practice segments.

For more information that can help you in your quest as a trumpeter, please visit Brass Player Solution!

Keith Fiala

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