Updated: Apr 26
When it comes to chops, I have had a lot of luck. High notes have come naturally, and I can count on them to be there when I need them.
Which is why I tend to think that I am invincible.
And when I was in the middle of the first of three Mardi Gras gigs last week, there came a time in the third set when I probably should have taken a three-minute break. Or took a moment to slack off and get some of that lactic acid out of my lips.
Anyway, I pushed through even though there was a brief moment where things were feeling numb and strange. And the next day, to my horror, I saw what appeared to be a blister on my bottom lip. Right where the column of air comes out.
All through Monday I could just feel it under my skin. Like when you have a blister on your foot after a long day.
And then Tuesday came, and there was a gig at an assisted living facility in the afternoon. I knew I was in a tough situation, and was like... how can I play everything without splitting the skin?
(This usually doesn't happen. I've been a tank this whole time. But it's February and lips can be finicky.)
Once the afternoon gig was behind me, I had one more to go. It was at a bar, and I knew that it would be loud and rowdy. Which meant I had to play hard and long, and I was still babying this blister.
I was in downtown Santa Fe, and the first order of business was to get some lip balm. It was a life-or-death situation!
I parked near a high-end beauty store and thought I would give it a try. I told them about the situation, and they had some sticks of chapstick with shea butter in it, but I said no thanks because it seemed all hard and terrible.
They offered me this $35 tube of lip balm called Lipsmart, and it was actually amazing.
It came out of the tube soft, so it didn't pull at the skin when you put it on, and the relief was instant. No stinging or feeling of dryness later.
But it was super sensitive, and I had to keep putting it on all night. Bruce, the other trumpet player in the band, let me try another remedy. He had a mixture of Blistex and ground up aspirin. That was also helpful.
My biggest worries going through the gig with a blister was that I would hurt myself even more and it would take forever to recover. There were a couple of songs where I was playing high and loud that it might split open.
But I kept drinking water and putting on more and more lip balm and made it through in one piece.
But I had to take a week off of playing and was just watching it and babying it.
I kind of think that's a huge waste of time.
I want to be able to play trumpet as much as I want, and not be held back by the physical side of things. Don't you?
Years ago, I had a daily routine that I used to develop my range and endurance and it made it so much fun to play (because I ALWAYS hit the high notes) and opened up a lot of doors for me as a player.
I want to get back into it, because like I said, I have a high range but I kind of take it for granted. It would be much more satisfying to know that I and growing and getting better and stronger every day.
I ordered Jordan Hoffman's Power Player Trumpet Course.
Jordan has taken all the routines and exercises that worked for him and combined it into a course that covers all the bases.
Here is what I expect to get out of it:
Some quick wins... hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be making braggy posts about the notes that I'm adding to my playable range,
Guidance and ideas on what to practice every day so that I can re-stablish some winning habits, and
A noticeable increase in energy and endurance.
I'm not going to lie. I also want my friends to notice a difference in my sound.
I think everyone should do SOMETHING to improve their range and sound on a regular basis. If you're like me and feel like there is room for improvement, I recommend getting the Power Player Trumpet Course. Every day I see people posting new videos showing what they can do after working through this course. You can order your copy here.