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Discussion Starter #1
Up until yesterday, I was able to shed for hours on end with a relaxed embouchure and focused air stream. Starting yesterday, I can't play for more than a few minutes before my chops are tightening up. I haven't changed mouthpieces, reed strength, etc. I shed (long) overtones religiously (Allard exercises). This feels like what week 1 felt like, can't play **** for more than a few minutes. Have any of you multi-year players run into this?
 

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Formerly mdavej
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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Maybe those "cops" need a little break at a donut shop.

But seriously, I think you may have simply hit your limit. You appear to do an insane amount of shedding. Long tones are especially taxing. There's only so much the human body can take. Take a break and dial it back a little. Give your muscles time to recover.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Driving back from an open-mike gig a few months ago, I was pulled over by the cops. I was stone sober, but my keyboardist wasn't, and my bassist is a bit damaged, which raised their suspicions that we were all dissolute. I passed the breathalyzer, but it was an exhausting and humiliating experience. And I didn't even get paid for the gig.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Maybe you’re compensating for being out of tune. That’s usually it for me - I can play in tune through a wide range of MPC placements, but my chops get tired if it’s in the wrong place...
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

I'd blame the reeds. sometimes they push back no matter what you do. Break in some new reeds and see.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Maybe those "cops" need a little break at a donut shop.

But seriously, I think you may have simply hit your limit. You appear to do an insane amount of shedding. Long tones are especially taxing. There's only so much the human body can take. Take a break and dial it back a little. Give your muscles time to recover.
As in, take a day or two off? That's probably what you mean; this starts happening within a few minutes of starting a practice session now. Thank you for your response!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Maybe you’re compensating for being out of tune. That’s usually it for me - I can play in tune through a wide range of MPC placements, but my chops get tired if it’s in the wrong place...
Possibly, but I don't get far enough into my shed session to start considering tuning (just putting air through the horn). Maybe it's subconscious, I'll look into it. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

I'd blame the reeds. sometimes they push back no matter what you do. Break in some new reeds and see.
Good thought, I'll look into this, too. I have been going back to cane lately, but went back to my Legere while waiting on my Reed Wizard. It's happening on both cane and the Legere. Still, I'll compare reeds and see where it's worse. Thank you for your suggestions.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Last time that happened to me, I was dehydrated. I got plenty of fluids after the gig and was good for the next one a couple of hours later.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

I'd blame the reeds.
That was my first thought also. Since the fatigue comes on within a few minutes, and up until now you were able to 'shed for hours,' the only thing I can think of is a bad reed that would cause that. Otherwise, I haven't got a clue why you'd suddenly get fatigued so quickly. An enigma wrapped in a riddle...
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Did you ever open a new box of reeds and find that they are 1/2 to 1 strength harder than what the box says? Maybe this happened.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

There is an easy solution to all of your problems in music and in life. STOP DOING LONG TONES.
You have burned yourself out mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually by doing useless, boring and pointless long tones. Consider yourself lucky that woodwind players do not need to do these at all. Only brass players have absolutely no choice if they want to become great players with any control and range over their horns.

Stop the delusional madness of doing long tones and start shedding the blues. There is life after long tones.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

How about playing in front of a mirror or make a video of yourself to see if you are tightening up more than you need to?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

That was my first thought also. Since the fatigue comes on within a few minutes, and up until now you were able to 'shed for hours,' the only thing I can think of is a bad reed that would cause that. Otherwise, I haven't got a clue why you'd suddenly get fatigued so quickly. An enigma wrapped in a riddle...
Wasn't so bad today, and I do think it's the reeds. I adjusted them and was able to get much further before things started tightening up.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Did you ever open a new box of reeds and find that they are 1/2 to 1 strength harder than what the box says? Maybe this happened.
This is also possible. After adjusting them a bit more, things settled down. Not back to endless hours of fun, but much better than week 1 middle school band class.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

There is an easy solution to all of your problems in music and in life. STOP DOING LONG TONES.
You have burned yourself out mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually by doing useless, boring and pointless long tones. Consider yourself lucky that woodwind players do not need to do these at all. Only brass players have absolutely no choice if they want to become great players with any control and range over their horns.

Stop the delusional madness of doing long tones and start shedding the blues. There is life after long tones.
I actually love playing long tones and overtones, but I have no interest in the blues (ducks, runs for cover).
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

...but I have no interest in the blues...
Then absolutely forget about any chance of playing jazz, funk, or rock & roll as well. I guess you'll be all right if you stick to classical or some sort of 'light' modern pop music.
 

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Re: Sudden Cops Fatigue

Then absolutely forget about any chance of playing jazz, funk, or rock & roll as well. I guess you'll be all right if you stick to classical or some sort of 'light' modern pop music.
I understand why you'd say that, and respect your opinion.

I've run into these kinds of assumptions more than once in my life. I'm in my 'musical retirement' stage right now, having accomplished what I set out to do from a very young age (teens). I had a group sound in my head, which started with quartet and ended with large ensemble, playing music that was decidedly not classical and / or light modern pop music. My groups were known for challenging the musician to improvise cohesively as a group from little material. It was not acceptable to "jam in E", nor was it acceptable to play ii-V lines; what was played had to be based on what was being played, or had been played. Like many people who are, as Miles would put it, "local as hell", I've been lucky to have some really great players come through (some you may have heard of - not headliners, but certainly side-people to head-liners) over the years. My background is as a composer, and it's from my compositions that I learned to play what used to be my main instrument (saxophone is a second, or third instrument - but my main love/passion).

I've been 'lucky' enough to have 'wiring issues' that made my path the only one I could take (I don't mind explaining, just don't want to dump too much). I say 'lucky' in quotes because I struggled with it, fought it, felt alone, raged at life, and even cried a fair amount. It was lonely and I caught a ton of **** for not being able to play the styles of music my peers were playing (granted, a lot of is just wasn't interesting to me, but it made me sad that I couldn't play the things that were interesting to me - no matter how much I shedded [sic :) ]). Worse yet, in the beginning I had to hire a lot of people who would talk smack about me behind my back. So, I'm standing in rooms or on stages trying to get my thing happening, and these people are hating it, sometimes hijacking the situation and leaving me standing there unable to do anything other than sound really, really bad.

As I grew as a musician, refined the musical concept that was kicking around in my head, and fought against the current, the musicians started being a bit cooler about things (I should point out that there were some musicians never gave me grief, who stuck with me, and became a part of my camp for life - and I have a special love for them). It's not like what I was doing was "heavy", but it was real, it was my thing, and there was a definite language that had to be absorbed in order to be able to function in the groups. Ironically, an initial listen often has the music written off as "ah, it's just...". Yep, until it's time to play it. That's not me saying it, that's the feedback I get from people who can absolutely destroy me on their respective instruments.

Having faced this kind of statement before, I won't post anything, it'll just draw scrutiny that in my younger years (decades ago) I would have welcomed, I just don't have the heart for it anymore. On the other hand, if the reaction were positive, that's of no use to me, nor anyone else.

I'm not saying this with any angst, ill feelings, etc. In fact, I'm a bit sad revisiting those memories, but it's what I had to go through to accomplish a life-long goal. Now I'm on to the 2nd/3rd, which is to become just as functional in my situation on saxophone as I was on the other instrument. Not that I'm ever going to put a group together, I just want to be able to render my ideas in my living room.

All of this is just to point out that not everyone is wired the same, and there are other paths to playing music on a deep level. It would be sad for some kid to come along who has my kind of wiring and be discouraged from taking on a decades-long path to render the group sound / compositions that are bumping around in their head.

No hard feelings, please don't take my response as aggressive, it's really not.
 
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