"Are you supporting your air"? - I don't get it

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Kantza, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    That isn't exactly what I meant. You actually describe here what I meant.
    Natural, full breathing. Like when we yawn, or breathe deep for the doctor. The belly naturally expands during that process and allows the lungs to fill to capacity. From there you have at least two or three ways to control the air expenditure. I mean to emphasize that the entire torso is involved in the production and control of the air.
    edit: I mean to contrast this type of breathing with "gulping" air.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I actually prefer the concept of a prepared body that optimizes the prerequisites for a big breath (the body stays prepared, that is NOT an activity only when breathing in). My belly does not really expand. The visualization is that I get wider not thicker. I never take in "too much" air which would cause additional tension to release it. I always mark my scores with breathing marks before playing a note. I practice those breathe marks!

    The whole body, from the head down to the toes is involved in the relaxed intake and expelling of air.

    It may all sound like splitting hairs, but in a live 1 on 1 lesson, the differences are HUGE. Trumpeters with preconceptions are hard to describe things to.
  3. Dean_0

    Dean_0 Piano User

    Jan 21, 2013
    Before i can understand why your teacher pushes on your tummy i want to know why he is ?

    Is it because you have a weak sound ? not full and rich .

    Is it because your longer notes tend to trail off in volume and tone?

    Is it because you kinda sneak up on the notes ? like a soft attack.

  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There are good touches and bad touches - are you sure your teacher doesn't just want to touch your belly, and in turn have you touch his? ;-)
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Would that be called "ABStinance"?
  6. Kantza

    Kantza Pianissimo User

    May 28, 2012
    Most of the time it is because I can't hit a high note.
    I can understand that they push the tummy to feel wether the abdominal muscles are doin' anything.
    But pushing someone out of balance, maybe it's just someting he misunderstoot from his teacher in the past...
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Great comments, rowuk. This seems to go along with what I've been reading lately from Vincent Cichowicz' philosophy.
  8. Furcifer

    Furcifer Pianissimo User

    Jul 26, 2010
    Working with a private teacher - especially since I didn't always have a choice of teachers - often requires a certain "suspension of disbelief". It's fair to ask the question and it's good to get a lot of different opinions from experienced players - even the ones who aren't great teachers, but they can at least talk about what works for them, right? All good advice here, and some might even be better than what you're getting, however, I don't think your teacher is trying to be facetious or make a point that wouldn't have some positive effect on your playing. If he's leaning forward, well, OK, then, lean forward, but does your gut feel like his? The point is to try to learn what he's trying to teach and then see if it helps or not.

    Now, I've heard from what seems like two camps for over 30 years ("relaxed" abs vs. "firm" abs), and I try to use the valid points from one or the other or both that provide a benefit to the note I'm trying to play at the time. So, be advised, this is not me trying to teach, it's just me talking about what works for me. What I find is that IF, indeed, your embouchure and your operation of it is all working 100% - which is unlikely for a young player unless you're just gifted or lucky - then yeah, the "relaxed" method works great. Most of us mere mortals, however, when push comes to shove above the staff, will do whatever it takes to get the note, and while some of the stuff we do is wrong/counterproductive, we still do "enough" right to actually get the 'leverage' we need to make the note come out pretty well. This is where "tension" comes in. This is also where I've had disagreements (some of it is probably just semantics) with the "relaxed" camp. Using a certain amount of firm abdominal support is not necessarily "tension", per se. Strong players get that way by playing strong. It's just like any other sort of aerobic strength training in that sense. You get stronger, and those muscles will be able to 'naturally exhale' and generate greater air pressure without really trying. But you've got to get strong before you can "relax". I never knew anybody who ever built strength by relaxing, LOL! Somebody who can tag double C's all day can tell me to relax and hey, I'm asleep with my horn in the case, relaxed as can be and no magical double C is falling out of the bell. So there is obviously a point of diminishing returns somewhere, AND they are obviously doing something else that is natural for them that they haven't identified or haven't figured out how to tell me, and I certainly haven't figured out how to do on my own.

    So, I think what your teacher might be trying to get you to do is maybe even get a little angry and kick some AIR out, LOL! Maybe the pedagogical-methodical types will roll their eyes and moan in agony, but is it so wrong to just SAY, "Hey, man, you just gotta blow harder!"? I'm assuming that's probably what you did next after he had you play that passage again. So did the note come out? Did the tone quality improve or get worse? No teacher is always going to know what will work for YOU, but when you just seem to be playing with an air stream that just doesn't have enough ass under it (for lack of a better analogy, LOL), you can expect that he's going to try to motivate you, you know? So take all you can from the real teachers here, but also understand that we don't always understand everything they try to teach us until AFTER we've tried it, practiced it, used it and then retained from it what ultimately works well for us, moving forward.

  9. Kantza

    Kantza Pianissimo User

    May 28, 2012
    Interesting comment, I get it that I have to learn what they try to teach.
    But if I'm asking to explain what they mean, and come with a non-sense explanation it get's me thinking.

    If the teacher would say something like "Indeed I lean forward but it shows that the abdominal muscles are stiff (else the tummy would "implode", not shure how to say this) ".
    Ok, I'ld believe it but saying that you can prevent losing balance by just air support...

    He really believes that he is preventing itself from losing balance by just the air support (I litteraly asked this)
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I had a voice teacher a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away! She was a professional opera singer who performed at the Met in her day. She was ALWAYS scolding me to not belly breath. Took about 3 months of time to change. Your teacher might (idk) be dealing with your stance. I read a Miles/Maynard story once where Miles cracked a high F#. Disgusted, he mentioned it to Maynard during the break. Maynard told him his stance was wrong and he (Miles) wasn't supporting his air. That's why he cracked the note. Miles said something snarky, but tried it the next set. He didn't miss a high note after that.

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