Rest lips/Stay the Course?

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PaulT
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:55 pm

Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by PaulT » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:47 pm

This summer I picked up my trombone after a 30 plus year layoff . I have been practicing regularly and have gotten into the town band. For most of this period, I could not get past F (but was comfortable with the F). Then about a week ago, after a nice extended warm up, I hit G easily during a scale exercise... and kept on going up to Bb.

For the rest of the week, I was able to hit G and A nicely, with the Bb being hit or miss. I played every day, sometimes twice a day, 45", sometimes 60".

Then a couple days ago, I went for the G, and it wasn't there. I was back to F as my top. While the low notes and middle notes were good, I had the sense that maybe my lips were a little worn out or tired whenever I tried go for the top.

My question:

#1. Is this (the lost G) just a normal "two steps forward, one step back" kind of deal and I should just stay the course of sensible regular practice and exercises (45" or so, with the occasional 60") and continue building my foundation... and not worry about the G, expecting that it will come back when it is ready to come back? Or...

#2. ...have I run down my chops some and I should probably consider "lightening the load" for a while. Take a day or two off, shorten the practices up for a couple days and then begin to work my way back up again?

My lips feel fine for everything I'm doing and I am hearing what I expect to hear out the horn, there is just no G. I do, however, have a subtle, hard to pin down, sense that my lower lip may be just a tisch fatigued.

Currently, I'm just practicing the pieces for our next concert (only a couple F's involved) and working my way through my "Brad Edward's "Intermediate Trombonist" book. With some Beatles tunes thrown in for fun.
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BGuttman
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:37 am

Just don't try to push the range for a few days. Rangebuilding is a process involving muscles and you need to let them rest when you push too hard. In a day or so, do another exercise that goes up to G. You should be able to hit it easier.

Also,be aware of mouthpiece placement. Make sure you use the same spot all the time. Some spots will work better than others and you need to find the "magic" one
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
PaulT
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by PaulT » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:50 pm

Thanks, Bruce.
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TromboneFox
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by TromboneFox » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:19 am

Also, drinking lots of water and using chapstick during breaks/before you start will ensure healthy chops to be able to play higher with consistency. This is useful for if, during practice or a gig, you start to get worn out and aren't so sure you'll be able to hit the next high note.
"You play pretty good for not taking in any air"
"Wow, it almost sounds like you like that piece"
"There are two kinds of music, the flowy kind and the digging-in kind. You're much better at the digging-in kind."
baileyman
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by baileyman » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:05 pm

You may want to collect a few daily exercise to do. One that may have good results on your range, both high and low, is a bugling exercise. In it's simplest form it would be to maybe start with F and Bb in the middle of the horn and do half notes back and forth for a full breath with no tonguing. Pay attention to what happens in your mouth to make the notes go back and forth. Pay attention to the sound. You may find a little ah-ee kind of tongue shape happening that makes the movement easier.

Then you do all the notes from 1-7 position. Then you do adjacent partials, like low Bb-F, or middle Bb-D. And as time goes by you keep adding adjacent partials. You can use different note values. Make up your own way. Keep it interesting. Small improvements accumulate in this kind of thing, and in a few months you may look back and say, wow.

A metronome is a big help. It will keep you honest.
PaulT
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by PaulT » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:39 pm

Thanks for the responses and good advice.

My "G" is back, along with "A". No "Bb", but I don't need one yet, so it can wait. I backed off the highs for a couple days, then went back at it. My "back at it" is one-third of my time working through Brad Edwards "Intermediate Trombonist", one-third my time practicing the songs the band is working on, and one-third playing fun songs from by Beatles and Big Band song books.

The "G" came back while I was working on Edward's appendix "Building the High Range with Glisses". He has a series of exercises that involve sliding up from a low note to a high note. And it was a little goofy (I thought at the time), but I was able to hit "G" right off the bat easily and truly while doing progressive glisses in the 7th partial (whatever that is). I slid my way up the ladder, 6 position Eb to D, then Eb (6) to F, Eb(6) to Gb, then Eb(6) to G. And it was easy that way. But when I went back and just tried play up the scale to "G" , I couldn't go from 1st position F to G. Yet when I went back to glissing my way up, it was easy. Anyway, I just practiced the glissing way and spent some time holding the "G" and getting used to the feel of it. And the G came back and now it just feels like another note again.

I don't know why it is easier for me to learn to hit high notes by working my way up to them by glissing, but it is. (Edward's warm up exercises incorporate lots of slurs and sliding, as well.)
baileyman
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by baileyman » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:46 pm

Pay attention during those glisses. There are at least a couple ways to do them. One is to hold your chop position and put more air through firmer chops as you go up. Another is to retune the chops along with other mouth parts especially the tongue, as the gliss moves up. The second is way preferable, and it operates at the smallest movement of slide. Slow glisses will allow you to pay even more attention. And they need not cover many positions either. Sound is a good guide here.
PaulT
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Re: Rest lips/Stay the Course?

Post by PaulT » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:59 pm

Thank you. I appreciate the help. I will do what you suggest and remember to pay attention and think about what is going on inside my mouth.
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