Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Tired Chops Advice
(2) Connecting Octaves (video)
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Tip #1 – Tired Chops Advice
Let’s face it – you play trumpet… you’re going to face tired chops and fatigue at one point of your playing life or another. The absolute #1 thing you can do for fatigued / tired chops is rest… but what else can you do to ensure good quality recovery? What about if you can’t afford a day off? Here’s some advice that Maynard gave me on the road with him and I will forever use this! Ready?
Take 2 bowls – wide enough and deep enough to be able to submerge your chops / face into. Remember, cheek muscles and jaw line are all part of the system – NOT just the lips. Oh – and try to keep your nose out so you can breathe… probably not mandatory I say that, but I didn’t want someone drowning in a bowl from lack of clarity.
In the first bowl, you’re going to put in a fair amount of salt… the more you can stand, the better – but not a ton… I prefer sea salt. Now pour in warm (leaning toward hot) water… but – NOT so hot that you can’t keep softer more delicate skin submerged… you want it cool enough that you can stand it, but warm enough that it relaxes the muscles. NOT scalding yourself.
In the second bowl, you’re going to fill it with ice cubes and cold water!
Have a towel ready cause it can get messy… now submerge your face in the warm water for a minute or two… then switch over to the ice water. Go back and forth for several minutes – allowing the muscles to soak a bit.
This is something that Maynard did when he was really fatigued and couldn’t take any time off… it relaxes the muscles enough that you’ll be able to gain some usage back.
You can also do what I call “horse flaps” (I’ll put an example in the video below). You don’t want to do it to the point that you’re stressing the muscles… just enough to give them a massage.
Lastly – good nutritious food is just as important for us as trumpet players as it would be any athlete. I know it can be tough to view a trumpet player in the same light as an athlete, but Maynard always referred to the trumpet player as the linebackers of the band… we use a TON of physical strength from our entire body (when we play correctly) – not just the chops. So you need your machine functioning at a high level! Think about it… put bad gas in your car and see how far you get! Funny how sometimes we’re more cautious with our “machines” than we are with our own physical bodies.
Tip #2 – Connecting Octaves (video)
Have a GREAT week guys & gals!