advice on flow studies, wind patterns

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gregtrum84, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. gregtrum84

    gregtrum84 New Friend

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Dear Manny,

    You mentioned in a recent post that you used wind patterns a la Chicowitz to help keep things nice and open. One issue that is huge for me is closing things off whever there is a skip in register and "rollercoastering" the air instead of blowing straight and steady down the horn. I know this is a common issue for many people and I've been trying to develop some good playing habits regarding this for a while now, but it seems that there is always tension creeping into my exhale some way or the other.

    My question is, do you have any specific advice regarding using wind patterns, breathing bags, etc to open up the airway and promote a more relaxed, efficiant, steady blow? I'm especially having trouble finding a good balance between doing things away from the horn and then transferring that back to my playing...if I do nothing but practice a ton of wind patterns they tend to stop working as I lose focus. Would you reccommend doing, say, 5 or 10 min of this kind of work at the beginning of a practice session and then letting things start to slowly creep into the playing over time? Also, I feel that doing this kind of work is taking me away from musical motivation and into the physical realm of things...how important do you feel it is to be musical when breaking down physical problems like this?

    As I read this over, it occurs to me that I am probably answering some of my own questions here, but your input would be greatly appreciated.

    Happy Holidays,

    Greg
     
  2. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    with my students i just do them for a short amount of time (just a couple minutes) and it seems to get the air moving a lot better again. I also use the paper with them. (keep the paper up with the breath)
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Dear Greg,

    Here's the bottom line:

    the inherent value of the flow studies that Vince used to give us to study was about consistency; consistency of attack and follow-through. So, yes, the gulping syndrome that most trumpeters have when they switch notes or registers is solved by envisioning a "tube" of sound uninterrupted by the crimping that they can engage in.

    Again: ======= versus <><><><><><><

    Slices of bread versus link sausage.

    The tongue has to be quiet and its activity minimized. How many times did Vacchiano tell us "The tongue is the greatest enemy of the trumpet player."?

    If you sing a scale and sing Ta-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaah versus Ta-eeya-eeya-eeya-eeya-eeya-eeya-eeyaaaaah you'll see instantly what it is we do to overactivate the tongue.

    The flow studies (I never heard the term wind patterns" until recently) are designed to elimnate this syndrome but the trumpeter has to understand that first. Lots of players do this and don't realize how they're hitting their heads against a wall. They just think it's normal. Maybe it is normal because so many people do it. It may be normal but it's not efficient.

    It generally makes up for a weaker embouchure. People with strong, supporting embouchures don't do this very much. Vacchiano was amazing this way. His head, jaw... they all stayed the same while the sound poured out unimpinged by any weakness of the lips. That's why his sound was so flowing. Listen to Billy the Kid, American in Paris, Hindemith's Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass... all of those beautiful cantabile solos he made famous and let them be your model for flowing sound. Listen to Herseth play Mysterious Mountain by Hovhaness or Song of the Nightengale or Lt. Kijé.

    Like a person emptying a bucket of water gently.

    ML
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Every single piece of music that you play is a flow study!
    When you are practicing at home, you have the luxury of being able to stop when you catch yourself gulping and try again. You just need to pay attention and build the good habits every time that you play. This involves repetition. It is too late when you are on stage.
    I agree with Manny 100% about people with weaker embouchures using all sorts of things to compensate.
    My students that have breathing issues have to play alot without any vowel use like T, D, K, G or H(no tonguing). Once the breathing is "fixed", the chops seem to develop without problem and the link sausage goes away.
     
  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    When I was talking through flow studies with a teacher a few years ago (not in a lesson, in the pub afterwards - where all the best lessons took place:cool:) he suggested the concept that a soprano trombone could be very useful in assisting students who have a problem achieving a smooth airflow.
    A slow glissando can help students understand the idea of a ======== (to copy Manny - lovely example) style of air - the notes change yet without the valves changing they don't notice the change to the same degree.

    I have used this a couple of times and found it to be very succesful (although I have had very strange looks from my tromboning colleagues when I have produced the soprano).
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    T-mike, that's great. Very nice example: the notes changing without interference from the tongue, fingers... whatever. So much of the imagery we use is helpful if we pay attention to it and give it energy.

    ML
     
  7. MGTrumpet

    MGTrumpet New Friend

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    Nov 18, 2004
    Maple Grove, MN
    FWIW -

    Similar to what T-mike and Manny have said, at one time I used the mouthpiece alone, doing slow glissandos (slur studies out of Schlossberg, or The Art of Trumpet Playing) so that I could feel the open feeling of the throat - particularly over intervals that had exhibited the problem. I concentrated on continuous blowing (driving the sound) through the glissandos. After a few minutes of that, I'd add the horn and try to keep the same open feeling while doing the slurs. Whenever I felt the constriction coming in, I'd do some more glissandos. After a short time things improved. Once I could slur it comfortably, I could add the attack if necessary, and still keep that glorious, open feeling.

    The same mouthpiece practice helped in getting smoother, upward slurs. I was always taught that the slur was "the sound between two notes" and the glissando is just a slow version of what your chops do when you slur.

    I found that constriction to be a "crutch" I was using to navigate the interval. Once I realized I didn't need it, it was easier to avoid the problem.

    I hope that might give you some more ideas.
     
  8. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    MGTrumpet - sounds a very familiar concept. I frequently use mouthpieces buzzing for flow exercises, but have found that many students find the difference between mouthpiece alone and the mouthpiece plus trumpet is enough to cause them problems.
    I think this is why my ex-teacher was suggesting the soprano trombone - the feel is virtually the same as when using the trumpet.

    Once you can understand the difference in feeling then the mouthpiece alone is much easier to carry around.

    Something I enjoy working on with younger students is stealth learning - we do mouthpiece buzzing, seeing how smooth they can get it and how wide a siren they can play without any gaps appearing in the sound. They don't need to know that this is good for them. They don't need to know why it is good for them. They find it great fun - the fact that it is a good thing for them to do is a nice little bonus:D
     
  9. MGTrumpet

    MGTrumpet New Friend

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    One more thing I did when using the mouthpiece was to put my other hand on my throat. That really helped my awareness of the internal feeling of the constriction. After having done the "click" for a while, I was so used to it that it was difficult for me to tell exactly when it happened. In fact, I was surprised to find I was doing something that I couldn't feel but others could hear from a few feet away.

    With my hand, it was VERY easy to feel the constriction and tie that to the internal feeling. Consequently, it was easier to identify the correct feeling when I wasn't constricting my throat - first on the mouthpiece and then on the horn.

    T-mike, unfortunately, very few people I know of on this side of the pond have a soprano trombone/slide trumpet. Is that more common in England?
     
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    Not as far as I know - I know of about three people who own them, if that is any sort of indication (and one of those is a trombone student who doubles on trumpet and thought it would be fun).
    Not common, but quite a useful addition to the teaching weaponry.
     

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