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Thread: Dealing with Adversity

  1. #1

    Dealing with Adversity

    Well, today was a rough day. I had to play 4 pieces in church, and woke up with a rather distinct pimple on my upper lip! (I thought puberty was pretty well over for me.) It is relatively 3-dimensional, which is bad, and it sits right where the inner edge of the rim sits, which is worse. I could not get a good mouthpiece placement, even being will to deal with pain.

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    I could not believe how I sounded when warming up. Bad center, for one thing. But the most flabbergasting effect was my range topped out at a G above the bass clef (A above the treble clef staff). That is a full 6th or 7th less than my warmup usually covers, even on lazy days, but the notes literally did not come out in any way, shape, or form. I guess it was fortunate that the highest note I had to play was a concert G.

    I did the Holst 2nd march (first part only - no gigue) as a postlude. Here is the video. I think you can hear me struggling. The result here was not awful, but did not have the flow and strength it should have. (My prelude was a different matter, and it will not show up here!)

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #2
    You are a warrior, Dave! Nothing quite as awful as getting sores around the mouth. You sounded swell, however, so good job.

    I could write a book on the topic of cold sores and canker sores. I suffered with cold sores for virtually all my years from 25 to well into my 60's. And they came at the worst possible times, a day or two before I had to play something noticeable. Never really found anything to avoid them or heal them faster. A funny thing has happened to me over the past several years. I had a problem with an irregular heartbeat (sort of a benign condition), and then had a minor heart attack caused by an almost completely blocked artery. Got a stent put in, and good as new, but I take several medications now because of all this, along with a low dose blood pressure medicine.

    The peculiar part is that the cold sores have virtually gone away. To be replaced with frequent and very annoying canker sores, which I never had my whole life, with maybe just a handful of exceptions. Now it is not unusual for me to have 3 or even 4 in my mouth at the same time. And some form right on the tip of my tongue. Ugh!! Why me!!??

    Have tried virtually every known and unknown remedy and prevention, drugs, pills, diet, sleep, special toothpaste, etc. Nothing seems to be solving this. Guess I must have irritated someone way more powerful than me. My wife takes Tramadol for back issues, and I have found if I have to play a solo and have a canker sore that is really right in the way of playing without pain (some I can play without too much of an issue), I take a Tramadol and I am good to go for the performance.

    I did read a while back that former smokers, of which I am one but quit over 5 years ago (timing?), frequently start getting canker sores after they quit smoking. I found that very interesting. Almost made me want to start smoking again, but I read that this does not make the canker sores stop for those who started getting them when they quit smoking. Bummer. My years smoking sure show up in my ability to play long phrases, which I can't. At least it does not seem to be getting any worse.

    But, Dave, I can so relate to having something like that standing in the way of playing. I assume this is not a normal thing for you?
    Last edited by John Morgan; 06-10-2018 at 09:21 PM.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    805
    Yep, I can identify as well. A few years back, an endodontist nicked a nerve causing a numb spot in my lower lip.

    I have gotten used to it, but certain modulations will give a squawk at the worst of times...

    DG
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  4. #4
    Some peoples bad playing days are often other people's good playing days. You still sounded well even with your pimple.

    I had my concert on Monday. Circus Bee March was 1st up. I think we only got it up to half note = 125 then speeded up to 140 on the last strain. I couldn't practice much the previous week as I had a popcorn kernel stuck on my one of my upper left teeth and could still feel it. My roof of my mouth and my upper gum felt raw. While I was able to nail it especially the 1st half, everything felt off out of whack including my air flow. Thankfully I haven't listened to the recording of the concert, not sure if I want to! The other 3 pieces we did were fairly light and easy so I was able to back off and just have a 'B' playing evening.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    But, Dave, I can so relate to having something like that standing in the way of playing. I assume this is not a normal thing for you?
    This particular manifestation is not typical. I started playing professionally 48 years ago (almost to the day) and have never had a sore complete shut off my high range. I too have had many canker sores over the years. Those started in college for me (never smoked, by the way). During those early years I could go to a pharmacy and get some sliver nitrate sticks (I think I got the name right). They were like a long matchstick, with the chemical tip at one end. I would press the tip right on the sore and hold it there for 10 seconds or so. It hurt like everything! It was cauterizing the sore, essentially. It would then clear up within a couple days. Without that, it could persist for one or two weeks. Unfortunately, by a few years later those sticks were taken off the market - too dangerous for the public, I guess.

    I have played with a pimple on my chops on several occasions. Sometimes it was directly under the rim, and that was painful but I could deal with it, and there was very little effect on my output. I also played with raging canker sores sometimes. On a couple occasions it was on tour when I was soloist. So I would go backstage during the piece before the solo and put Anbesol on it to numb the pain. Then I could generally play at 95% or so. The toughest time was when I was playing this piece on tour (Rondo for Trumpet, by Claude Smith). The octave jumps into the high range were tough on the sore! (The recording below was NOT from tour)

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    Sorry to hear of your difficulties Dave, sore chops for whatever reason are a vexation.

    Just a side note on the topic of canker sores.... I suffered with them for many years, and found that taking L-Lysine as a supplement really helped keep them at bay. I don't think there's any medical evidence as to how Lysine helps, but I found a non-scientific anecdotal article that corroborates what I experienced with lysine, and the author indicates it can help with cold sores in a similar way.

    https://www.menshealth.com/health/a1...ore-treatment/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,424
    Sounded pretty good to me. Maybe I heard one or two little chips, but nothing too bad. Way to struggle through Dave.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  8. #8
    Excellent rendition of the Rondo for Trumpet!! I like the new feature of you being able to insert a video right in a post. So, you know exactly all about the canker sore hex. Sorry to hear you have those, too. Maybe someday they will go away...
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    I like the new feature of you being able to insert a video right in a post.
    Unfortunately, I have not found a way to do this globally. I have to turn it one a category at a time.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,048
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    During those early years I could go to a pharmacy and get some sliver nitrate sticks (I think I got the name right). They were like a long matchstick, with the chemical tip at one end. I would press the tip right on the sore and hold it there for 10 seconds or so. It hurt like everything! It was cauterizing the sore, essentially. It would then clear up within a couple days. Without that, it could persist for one or two weeks. Unfortunately, by a few years later those sticks were taken off the market - too dangerous for the public, I guess.
    This reminds me of an incident at a dentist when I was about 12 years old. The guy was not the greatest dentist in the world, but I had this severe canker sore on this particular visit and he said "I can fix that," produced one of the sticks you describe, and fixed it pretty much instantly. He then explained that the substance was silver nitrate. The Mayo Clinic web site mentions this cautary approach as well on its site (though suggests that it's not particularly effective!).

    I just checked, and you can in fact still get the stuff -- even (of course?) on Amazon. And the sticks are available from several different medical or veterinary supply places such as https://www.mountainside-medical.com...icators-sticks.

    Given the descriptions of how the cautery works, I'm thinking I might want some of these around. Or the next time I have a sore (luckily not often), I might try a styptic pencil and see if that works (though from what I see, the silver nitrate appears -- at least anecdotally -- to be more effective).
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

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