Monday, December 29, 2014

repair your damaged chops...

Another great concise blog post, from McGovnor:

Heavyweight Member

Joined: 19 Aug 2003
Posts: 2160
Location: ny ny
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject: wowReply with quote

Practice from the Schlossberg book.
Start on the first page of long tones. Play as written, resting after each note, as long as the note.

Play about an hours worth, that is, including rests.

Rest an hour.

Play Clarke #1, as written, 4 repeats each, resting twice as long as u play between each exercise. Play mp-mf. Extend a little higher each few days.

Rest an hour.

Play Arbans, beginning on page 13, # 11. Practice two measures at a time, 2 times each two measures. Do this for 15 minutes. Then begin playing 4-8 measures at a time, for 10-15 minutes.
Try to play entire exercises next, for 15 minutes.

Rest an hour.
Practice Clarke #2, single tongue, staccato, 3 repeats, resting twice as long as you play. Extend the exercise.
Make sure your mouthpiece inner rim is set above the red of your top lip. If it is not, place it high enough so that it is. The first week or two will be hellish, then it will be better.

This has worked wonders for myself, when I've trashed myself playing hundreds of double c's in a day on a new mouthpiece, or worked 12 hours a day for two weeks, 6 hours at night and recording all day, plus warming up, or had dental work that altered the entire playing surface and size of my teeth.
Resting more then 24 hours has NEVER helped, in this case.

AFA the barrage of well this or that's, I've just posted what has been of benefit to myself and my students. I've posted to help the OP, only.
I hope what has helped me will help you.

Lip Maintenance, from Dan @ ChopSavers

I ran across this great article about lip maintenance, written by Dan from ChopSavers:

Dan Gosling
Regular Member

Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 91
Location: Indianapolis
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Swollen Stiff ChopsReply with quote

I was recently asked to write an article on chop maintenance for another website. While this makes for a long response, your question raises a lot of common issues that just about every serious trumpet player has had to deal with and exactly the sort of thing I was asked to write about. So, I beg all of your indulgence and give you:

Brass Players - Think Like an Athlete and Ride the Wave to Success

Some ideas for proper lip care and maintenance from Dan Gosling, the ChopSaver Guy

As a professional trumpet player for 25 years and as the creator of ChopSaver lip balm , I feel I am uniquely qualified to write about good, common-sense lip care. Through both my studies on the trumpet and in my consultations with other experts during the creation of the product, I have learned a great deal about the lips and lip maintenance. Much of what I have learned came through simple trial and error. My hope is to help you avoid some of those errors.

For starters, let’s take a crash course in anatomy. Our lips and the muscles that make up our embouchure are a complex arrangement of muscle and tissue. The skin covering our lips is much thinner than the skin covering the rest of our body – which is why your lips are red and very sensitive. It’s also why they’re capable of creating beautiful sounds when buzzed properly.

In the same way you don’t need to be a mechanic to drive a car, you don’t need to know a lot more about how the lips function in order to play well. But knowing how to care for your lips and avoid accidents can help you play longer and with less discomfort. After all, “lip care” isn’t something you should think about only after you play or when you have a problem, any more than auto maintenance is something you should think about only after a long trip or a crash.

Be a Musical Athlete

A successful athlete is keenly aware of everything he does, from eating well and getting enough rest to following a training regimen that builds without destroying muscle tissue. As brass players, we should think of our lips, embouchure and body in the same way. For our purposes, let’s use a long distance runner (an athlete that focuses on endurance and efficiency as opposed to brute strength) as our model.

Taking care of your lips should include good practice and playing habits. Basic concepts like good posture and always taking a full, relaxed breath are important, but easy to forget. Think of your lips as sails on a boat – they both work better with a nice, full supply of wind.

While we certainly can't expect our lips and embouchure to get stronger by babying them, they can be severely damaged by overuse and abuse. Forgot the old mantra of “No pain, No gain.” Today’s athletes alternate their workouts in a pattern of “Stress” followed by “Recovery.” If we don’t include Recovery (or adequate resting) in any sort of physical activity, our bodies will force us to rest by breaking down. Pain and discomfort are how our body talks to us and a smart musician/athlete learns to listens.

Generally speaking, muscles swell up when used, and the lips are no exception. However, there is a difference between being “a little sore and puffy” and sharp pain. If you are a little sore and fatigued after playing, your body is saying, “You should stop soon and take it easy during your next practice session.” True pain means “Stop immediately and step away from the horn as soon as possible!”

How to Create More Good Days

Here is another way to illustrate the Stress/Recovery concept. Let’s say you’ve had a really good day. Maybe you've finally nailed the high lick in a piece you've been working on. The temptation is to do it many times just to make sure you’ve got it and, after all, it’s fun. But you need to resist that temptation. Play the lick a few times, but DO NOT pound on it over and over.

Why? Because, to achieve that new plateau, you have just experienced a peak moment (Stress), and peak moments should always be followed by a valley (Recovery). That’s the way your body works. So, you can either fight Mother Nature or work with her. (She always wins, by the way.) Have the discipline to take it a little easy the next day. And then the following day, your patience will be rewarded by being fresh AND strong and having an even better day. Trust me on this. If I had understood this concept as a young player, I would have avoided a LOT of frustration.

Think about that distance runner. He considers the stress/recovery model as a process of creating waves and learning how to ride them to success. He’ll taper off his training before a big event, essentially creating a wave in reverse (Recovery before Stress). You can do this, too: If you have a hard performance on a Saturday (Stress), plan ahead by tapering off a bit the days leading up to it (Recovery). You’ll generate a wave or peak when you really need to be at your best. Remember: Range and power come from efficiency, not brute strength. Efficient chops feel responsive and fresh, not sore and beat up.

People often say, “Rest as much as you play.” This is generally good advice, but it doesn’t necessarily mean play an hour, rest an hour, play an hour, rest an hour all day long. Here’s how I interpret that advice: Let’s say you have an hour to practice. Warm up (flap your lips, maybe buzz on the mouthpiece and play a few scales or a simple tune you like) for 5 minutes. Then rest for at least 2 or 3 minutes. Then work on some fundamentals like scales and lip slurs for 10 minutes or so. Rest for 10 minutes. Finally, spend a good 30 minutes working on the music you currently are learning (school music, a solo or etudes). But be sure to take the horn off the chops every now and then during those 30 minutes.

You can even set a timer to help you maintain your discipline. If you only have one hour a day, then you can rest until the next day knowing you have used your time well. If you are really trying to build some strength and endurance, try to establish two practice sessions seven to eight hours apart.

Now that you have some practice discipline established, I urge you again to apply the Stress/Recovery model. A “hard” day or practice session ideally should be followed by a lighter one. Here is where you have to become your own best coach. Keep in mind that what is “hard” for one person might be very “easy” for another. Don’t compare yourself to your peers, just stay on your own path to success and you’ll be fine. Everyone develops at different rates.

Help in an Emergency

Of course, life doesn’t always unfold this neatly and sometimes we over-do, for a variety of reasons. In those cases, use the same therapeutic techniques that athletic trainers prescribe for abused muscle tissue such as alternating cold (to reduce swelling) and heat (to promote blood flow). An ice cube can be applied much in the same way you would suck on a Popsicle. For heat, soak a wash cloth in warm water and gently press on to your lips and face. Just a few minutes at a time with either procedure is adequate and will stimulate healing. Also, use your hands and fingers to massage the face and lip muscles (yes, ChopSaver does work well for this!), keeping in mind that an embouchure is formed with the muscles of the jaw, chin, cheeks and neck, not just the lips and corners.

This is especially helpful if you are playing outdoors in cold weather. Very soft playing at the end of a practice session is a great way to bring overblown chops back into focus, just like slow jogging helps an athlete cool down after a workout. In extreme cases, an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen can be used. Always follow label instructions when using any sort of medication, even something as common as aspirin.

Hopefully, these tips will help you create a disciplined, goal-oriented approach to your practice and help you spend more time making great music and less time complaining about sore, tired chops.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps!


The ChopSaver Guy

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Genkin Philharmonic live in Cleveland

The band recently completed a short residency at Cleveland State University, where we got to premiere some new music.  Even better, we got some great video out of the deal!  Here's our world premiere of Andrew Rindfleisch's "Beef Brigade", composed specifically for the Genkin.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I'm a little bit late in announcing this, but Kelly Bucheger recently released a brand new CD of all his original music.  I play regularly with his quintet, "Harder Bop", and appear on most of the tracks playing trumpet and flugelhorn.  Check it out!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Last night I again had the privilege of performing with the mighty Genkin Philharmonic, Jon Nelson's epic new-music-meets-prog-rock-meets-Zappa-esque-jazz ensemble.  I think a more succinct label might be "electro-acoustic chamber ensemble."  Nelson, one of the major visionaries in the world of contemporary brass chamber music, is an impossibly-productive musician who deserves more attention, and I should probably devote an entire blog to him sometime.

It's been a life-altering, reality-bending experience to work with this group of eclectic, virtuosic musicians, each of whom brings something totally unique to this project.  Among our members, we have Juilliard-trained virtuosos with international reputations, Buffalo-based, world-class rock musicians, one of the prime movers and shakers in the Western NY creative improvisational music scene, and a few musicians who, frankly, defy categorization.  The collective chops of this group itself is staggering; the humble, down-to-earth nature of all involved makes it a one-of-a-kind ensemble.

Our gig comprised of two "sold-out" (actually it was a well-publicized free event) sets held in the  at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.  The event was part of an incredible festival/conference held annually in Buffalo called, simply, June in Buffalo.  I'm still getting up to speed on the amazing history of contemporary art music centered around SUNY Buffalo - a scene which goes back 40 years, and is currently ably handled by UB's own Distinguished Professor, David Felder.  The excess of musical riches found in Buffalo NY is amazing.  A glance at my gig calendar is proof enough that there is A LOT of music going on in this town!

Over the last two years, Genkin has gradually shifted it's focus from a largely Zappa-driven/inspired repertoire, to a much broader (in every sense) focus on modern and post-modern music.  More specifically, Jon Nelson has been re-imagining the masterworks of 20th Century Music for this ensemble. Currently, the group performs music composed by such 20th Century luminaries as Bartok, Stravinsky, Webern, Schoenberg, and Prokofiev, as well as works written by contemporary composers, commissioned specifically for this group.  This new direction has really broadened the musical potential of the group, while staying true to the "Zappa-tude" which is deeply rooted in the group's sound.

I find this new direction very exciting from both a performer's point of view and from the perspective of the all-important audience.  If you get the chance, check the Genkin out!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Twin Tiers Jazz Festival

Hi friends!  Just got back yesterday from playing the Twin Tiers Jazz Festival in Elmira, NY.  I played cornet with Jack Bacon's group, the Morgan Street Stompers.  I got to hear three other trad jazz groups, and met a lot of great musicians and jazz fans.  Weather was gorgeous and the turnout for the event was great.  I had a fantastic time, and I'm sure this event will lead to more similar opportunities down the road!

Tuesday I'm playing a quartet gig with the great Michael T Jones for SUNY Buffalo orientation, then racing over to Iris Restaurant (formerly Bobby McGee's) to play a set or two with Pete Malinverni and Jody Sandhaus!

Wednesday, I'm playing with the Magpies at Wegmans on Dick Road (Depew, NY) from 6 - 8 pm.

Thursday I'm back at the gazebo in Lewiston with Ron Corsaro's Upstate Express, 7-9 pm.

Friday I'm headlining the Lewiston Jazz Festival as part of the band backing up Pete Malinverni and Jody Sandhaus!  Music starts @ 5:30 pm.

Saturday I'm playing with my group the Magpies on the Frontier House porch at the Lewiston Jazz Festival at 12:15 pm, then later that night with Ben Baia and the Big City Horns at Templeton Landing.