Air Usage

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bear, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. Bear

    Bear Forte User

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    Hello Sirs/Ma'ams,
    I am an air player... meaning, I believe the more air one can control, the better ease one will have with the hunk of metal we call the trumpet. I would like to use this thread to talk about different approachs to air usage. However, I would not like to get into discussions about the different methods though that will probably come up.

    Tim
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Tim,
    it is as easy as inhale/exhale or inhale/play. You just need to learn to fill up in a relaxed fashion and then start to play without holding the air in. Intellectualizing the breathing process does not help your playing one bit. It focuses on the "mechanics" instead of the music!
    Many times poor posture is in the way of filling up entirely. Outside help is often needed to straighten that out. The Monette website has useful info on "body use" even if you don't use their equipment. David G. Monette Corporation
    There is no such thing as an air player or something else. There are just players that fill up and ones that don't. Breathing should be a no brainer as we do it from the time we are born. I find we need to keep that big, relaxed breath prominent in our daily routine however!

    My trumpet(s) may have been a hunk of metal "before" some artisan got involved, but they never were as long as I have had them....... They are precision instruments with the ability to kill or give birth depending on my mood!
     
  3. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    Well, I feel there is a bit more to it then just inhale or exhale. A big relaxed breath is fine if you're playing classical music but will not do you much good if you're a leadplayer (at least for most leadplayers I know).

    Many of the great leadplayers (Roger Ingram, Patrick Hession, Bud Brisbois, Wayne Bergeron, Andy Haderer, etc.) use a breathing Bobby Shew calls the "Wedge". It gives more pressure which leads to a more compact and projected sound.

    I always vary my breathing between low relaxed and the "wedge" type of breathing and that's not so difficult if you practice on it for a while.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Erik,
    thanks for the addition! I didn't think of lead playing in this case. You, of course use it and need it more often! 100% right!
    Robin
     
  5. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    I forgot to add that the wedge or playing with high air pressure will not do you much good if you don't have strong (lead) chops. Then you just overblow yourself. It's always a balance...

    More about air :

    Rune's trumpet page, AIR
     
  6. brunets

    brunets Pianissimo User

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    May 28, 2007
    Gatineau,QC
    Hi,

    You may have a look at this page too :
    Introduction

    It explains the principle of the "Pichaureau Method". Robert Pichaureau was a great French trumpet teacher. His method is far from being well-spread but it is worth its weight of gold. By digging into it and comparing it with what the greatest players say about breath,playing, etc. you will see a lot of common points. However, I found that it is the most detailed description to date on how to play right.

    For those who understand French, the website which hosts this introduction to the Pichaureau Method, is a real trumpet goldmine : la.trompette.free.fr

    St├ęphane
     
  7. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

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    Oct 31, 2003
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    Rowuk,

    I must respectfully disagree with that statement just a bit. Your statement is probably true of professionals, or even non-professionals (semi-professionals???) that play/practice a couple hours every day.

    But I know of at least 2 people that do actually sound better when they focus on the "mechanics" of breathing. Focusing on the mechanics make them breathe deeper, and more relaxed. It is important to note, however, that these 2 people are amateurs, playing only in community band and churches (by choice. One could be quite good if she wanted to be, but life is calling her to other pursuits).

    so maybe it depends on your experience level?
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Everbody's right! The finicky thing about air is that, yeah, we must learn the mechanics but then forget about them, because under the stress of performance, as tension sets in, our bodies will lie to us, and it will feel like we're moving huge amounts of air, breathing deeply and supporting when in fact, we are not!

    For this reason, I rely on some Vulgano Voodoo and the RAY OF POWER. It involves the Root Chakra, which is located directly at the base of the spine, also known as the coccyx. The chakras have their own mystic qualities, I guess. I don't know for sure, but they do seem to be located in parts of the body where bunches of nerves meet. (The Vulgano version is situated half way between the places we do our number one and number two in the restroom.)

    In practice and in theory, imagine (and feel) a ray of some sort (red is the most common mystic color associated with the root chakra) shooting down into the ground while playing. For high notes, imagine (and feel) a more intense ray. If we practice this sitting in a chair, we can notice all kinds of muscles come into play, which happen to be the same muscles used to "support" the airstream. By taking attention off of the mechanics and experiencing the mysterious, magical and not yet patented RAY OF POWER we can avoid some of the tension involved in "trying hard."

    Nothing mysterious and magical here really, but the RAY OF POWER does permit me to play with a relaxed but working body.

    Give it a try, and have fun!
     
  9. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

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    I bruised mine in the 7th grade playing football.

    NOW I know why my Ray of Power is wonky.

    :lol:

    Ecce Vulgani
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Dick,
    My point is that breathing is actually very simple. If we "intellectualize" it, disect the involvement of each muscle......... we make it much more complicated than it needs to be. That does not mean that we do not pay attention to taking that qualified big breath - it just means that we should not waste too much energy when playing. Breathing needs to be practiced and committed to memory and habit like everything else that we need. The mechanics are simple - even for people that do not practice on a regular basis! My students get breath marks strategically placed in pencil. That seems to be enough of a reminder! and they can focus on the music!
     

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