The Warm Up Didn’t Feel Right
I had a very interesting experience the week of March 4, 2012. I’m Principal Trumpet in the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra. Rehearsals for our March 10 concert were held that week. I had prepared as usual, was in great shape, looking forward to a fun performance. Warming up for our Tuesday evening rehearsal I felt great, all systems go. During the rehearsal, however, ”things” didn’t feel just right. I sounded good but didn’t feel like all pistons were firing, you know the feeling! Next day my warm up and practice went well. Our Thursday rehearsal, same scene—–warm up and practice good, rehearsal felt bad. Friday, warm up and practice not so good, rehearsal terrible! At times I couldn’t even get notes to speak—–concert next evening—I thought, ”This is not good!”
Changing mouthpiece placement
Immediately, I began to analize the weeks events. To make a long story short, I remember feeling during rehearsal that my mouthpiece seemed to be a bit high on my top lip. Now I have a slight overbite so my horn angle is a bit downward. I use a bent mouthpiece (15 degrees) to compensate. I tried to figure out why I’d raised my mouthpiece—- it hit me all of sudden—– my new ”trumpet” glasses! I have a pair of glasses just for playing. My new ones are more ”stylish” than my old aviator style. The new ones are kind of small so that the top rim gets in my field of vision when I look up at the conductor! This causes me to raise my head higher than normal to see him and for some reason this caused me to let my mouthpiece rise on my top lip!
Saturday morning I figured this out, concert is at 8 that night. I always wait till about 20 minutes before a concert to warm up and I decided not to change my routine even though this was cutting it mighty close. Sure enough, during my warm up, making sure I was placing my mouthpiece in the correct position I felt great. During the performance I really had to concentrate on being consistant with my m/p placement and I pulled my new glasses down on my nose and looked over them to see the conductor. All went well!
I want to encourage all my readers to always look for the little things that can affect your playing in a negative way. We’re like the baseball player who goes into a hitting slump because of some little thing he’s changed without realizing it. The big things you’ll usually see immediately. Sometimes the little things creep up on us over days or even weeks before we begin to really see their negative effects on our playing. Remember to be consistant you have to be consistant!
If you’re feeling like you’re not playing the way you used, to get in touch. I’d enjoy helping you find the little things!