Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bad Chop Fix

"What happened?  I could play last night, but now nothing works!  I've been playing up a storm all week, but now this! What's the remedy for this dreaded dead chops disease? HELP!"

Feels like a horrible dream, doesn't it?  Except that when it happens it is all too real, and slapping yourself just makes it worse. Who hasn't awakened at some point with this scary predicament?

Many have their own therapy for such times. Remedies for an over-worked embouchure include taking a few days off, applying ice, massage, acupuncture, sandpaper, blubbering, etc., etc.  Some have even bullied their way through it by beating their chops into submission, not always a good result however, and not recommended.

One of the most effective ways out of this predicament is also an almost instant cure!  It is buzzing the mouthpiece very softly with a clear tone and perfect intonation.  However, you must insist on the following:  You want instant response.  You want it pianissimo.  You want dead-on accurate intonation.  And you also need frequent rests. 

Remember to use very light pressure on the lips as you buzz your soft perfectly-in-tune melodies.  Keep it simple and keep it soft.  No bravura concertos, just pure clean sounds in tune!  Rest and repeat.  Have a good night's sleep.  You won't need to call me in the morning. 

1 comment:

Stephen O'Connor said...

This is EXACTLY what I needed. I suffered a playing-related injury in high school and had to have it surgically repaired my freshman year of college.. as a performance major. Rehabilitation has been slow, but the past two days after reading this post have seen a tripling of my stamina and an opened, fat, resonant tone in the upper and upper-mid ranges. THANK YOU.

By the way, I've been listening to the Cincinnati Pop's release of Copland: The Music of America since I picked up the horn - It's been such an inspiration and I'm still not sick of listening to it after 12 years!