Air and Endurance (Please Help)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    I want to really start working on my endurance and found this.

    ”Building power and endurance is based on playing opportunities to do so. Especially frequent playing in large, good sounding rooms is critical to get the feedback loop: brain-chops/breathing-tone production-refections in the room-ear-brain synchronized. practicing in small rooms or bedrooms prevents us from learning to develop big, powerful sound in any register.

    It almost does not matter WHAT you play when developing endurance. The important part is the environment. My students use MUSIC and not exercizes to develop power and range. We have a daily routine with slurs and longtones that are there to synch the muscles/breathing. The rest MUST be real life


    Can someone please give me an example? Also how long should this take and when should it be done in relation to other playing?

    My endurance problem isn't the inability to put in playing time throughout the day. I just have trouble getting through things like my page long solo all at once that my instructor gave me to work on. Will what is above help with that? What can I do to improve on keeping my range and tone throughout longer pieces and gain the ability to go longer?
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    My instructor tells me to blow more air to get the high notes out while I'm trying to fix my range. (Because the notes are quiet, not squeeky, quiet) However, when I try it just doesn't work. I have also had problems with tension in the body when I try for high notes which is decently visible in my neck. It doesn't usually but today it hurt a little and made me a little light headed so I decided to try to do something about it.

    First, I find that when I do get the high notes, (quiet like above), I can hold them and have enough air to hold them just as long if not longer than any other note. So, when I do play these notes there isn't a lot of air being pushed through the horn to get the notes out. So my teacher was right. But when I try to push more I usually just get a bad sounding loud note below the one I'm going for or the sound of just air going through the horn.

    Now today because of the fact that I know I'm not putting enough air through the hor on these notes, I tried to find out why. The tension is why because it doesn't happen on other notes. Now what causes the tension? I think it is caused by my lips pressing together or being to tight to let the air out. However, my body still tries to push it even when it can't and the tension shows in my neck.

    Do you think all of this sounds right? Can you also give me advice on how to fix it?

    My only other thought was it was simply from too much pushing from the stomach/lungs but because of how weak the air is actually coming out I know that that is not the reason.

    Thanks for reading. (Sorry it's so long)
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    John,
    it is as simple as I described it. Practice room warriors can not optimally get done what needs to be.

    I can sense your frustration, but you have to understand that any advice here is VERY general, not 100% adapted to YOUR situation. Getting good is a mix of personal devotion and opportunity. I do not believe that everyone can get really good. Some simply do not have the brains or patience. That does not mean that they can't have fun playing, they just need to pick their goals more realistically.

    What your situation is can only be determined in person. I would believe your instructor first. He gets the real you emotionally, physically and audibly! If you have what it takes, hard work will get you there. I have posted it hundreds of times: success is based on months and years, not days or weeks. That dedication is required. I will even go so far as to say that for endurance, it doesn't matter what you play, it matters more HOW and WHERE you play. Even range can only be moderately influenced by a specific exercize. the real work is in the brain in real playing situations. The greatest players are those that got the most opportunities.
     
  3. Pete

    Pete Piano User

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    Upper register requires more air compression, not air. Unforntunately this is such a misunderstood concept that players blame eveything under the sun, except the proper use of, and not the quantity of air.
    Check this out. Nick is the man when it comes to explaining things clearly.
    YouTube - On Breathing for Trumpet
     
  4. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    Jul 3, 2009
    So it's really just making sure you are always using (and improving if possible) the fundamentals of the playing and then just practicing? Not worrying about the rest and just going with working on things to improve overall ability with music and playing (in the most efficient manner)?
     
  5. Pete

    Pete Piano User

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    Nov 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    John,

    Efficiency is important. It adds to endurance, range and flexibility. The main thing to point out is that you have to use the air properly. There are too many players out there thinking that they don't have the proper lung capacity, or don't use enough (lots of) air. They pound themselves into the ground trying to push more air than humanly possible through a piece of tubing. I know a guy who plays some of the best lead trumpet that I've ever heard. He can nail an A above high C while crossing his legs! He breathes efficiently and uses the air efficiently. If you watch him, he barely looks like he is breathing. Lynn Nicholson, and Roger Ingram are similar as far as how easy they make it look.

    Check out more of Nick's videos on YouTube, as well as Roger Ingram's breathing explanation on there also. These guys have it down.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    John, the basic daily routine is not there to "improve" it is there to give you a solid base for whatever playing that you do. If you do not have the base, there is no hope for consistent playing or improvement. Once the base is solid (or during that process) we can, with additional time also do things to target certain weaknesses.

    This all goes really hand in hand. I think this point is what you don't understand. There is not a magic set of exercizes that build endurance, range or anything else - rather it is a state of mind and body that builds your brains and ears at the same time physical things like face muscles, tongue and breathing get coordinated. The process is really spread out over many levels.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    John, the basic daily routine is not there to "improve" it is there to give you a solid base for whatever playing that you do. If you do not have the base, there is no hope for consistent playing or improvement. Once the base is solid (or during that process) we can, with additional time also do things to target certain weaknesses.

    This all goes really hand in hand. I think this point is what you don't understand. There is not a magic set of exercizes that build endurance, range or anything else - rather it is a state of mind and body that builds your brains and ears at the same time physical things like face muscles, tongue and breathing get coordinated. The process is really spread out over many levels.
     
  8. jongorrie

    jongorrie Pianissimo User

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    Absolutely right. I'd like to add one point to that as well. Keep the air moving - it should either be going in to your lungs, or coming out - never "breathe in...hold...blow out" as any hold, no matter how long, will create excess physical tension. Keep the air flowing always! In...or out.:-)
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    John, this is a concept in the US that does not have universal acceptance. Air is interrupted when you articulate for instance. If you listen to Rafael Mendez play, you realize that the air does NOT have to continually flow making everything legato. It IS possible to keep relaxed and still dose the air as the part requires. Actually I find many latin big band players that are excellent at short brief attacks with PLENTY of space between the notes. It is simply impossible (and not necessary) to keep the air flowing always.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  10. jongorrie

    jongorrie Pianissimo User

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    May 9, 2010
    Fair point. What I didn't make clear in my response was that I was referring to articulation of the first note following the in breath, where a "breathe in...hold....breathe out" method can create problems.

    Yes, when we articulate the first note of a phrase after the in breath, the tongue does certainly interrupt the airflow, creating higher pressure at this part of the system (where it should be). However, some players, especially those that suffer from first-note anxiety, tend to execute the valsalva manuever following the in breath, which among other muscular contractions, involves a closure of the glottis, thereby creating excess tension in this area, leading to reduced blood flow and thereby reduced endurance, as well as pinched sound, and of course difficulting producing a first note.

    By producing the 1st note after the in breath on the top of the breath and without a pause, we can avoid excess tension, and thereby play more efficiently, increasing endurance.

    Yes, in mid phrase, we definitely interrupt the air when articulating, and in the spaces between notes (especially marked with staccato passages). Some players stop the air with the tongue, some with the glottis, and some with a combination of the two. And yes, there are certainly many schools of thought advocating different ways to achieve this.

    Hope that clears up my previous reply. All the best!
     

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