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

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

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I find it odd that if you know when you are supporting (or not) at home that you can't bring that knowledge with you to lessons.
  2. Kantza

    Kantza Pianissimo User

    May 28, 2012
    It probably has something to do with me being more relaxed at home. I don't really like playing in front of other people who are constantly watching me.
    I had really bad stage fright, even before people I know, which is getting a lot better now. Just still don't like it...
  3. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    Others have suggested singing coaches - try also a voice coach, they encourage opening the diaphragm properly, and will show how it is done. This does often require some poking!
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I may stick my foot in my mouth again, but having had very extensive abdominal surgery and diagnosed COPD, and continue in the care of a pulmonologist, I just relax and let my diaphragm do it's natural thing without my conscious concern. As for long tones, I start my ascent of a chromatic scale first at Bb below the staff and ascend as high as I can taking breathes in between as needed and then descend going as low as I can. After a few passes of this going higher and lower, I certainly am not focusing how long I play each note, but I feel each are in excess of a whole note. Too, I've no set number of repetitions in doing this, and continue by doing such faster and faster. Perhaps I don't do this perfectly, but I'm satisfied with the effort.

    What I observe is that very few great professional players are anywhere near physically fit ... but utilize what they have to the maximum possible that they are able to when they perform. If we listen to them other than live, I don't think they'd divulge how many takes are required for their recording and I won't ask or tell how many it takes me. Still, none I know enjoy such more than I do.
  5. Dean_0

    Dean_0 Piano User

    Jan 21, 2013
    Ok good, now we are getting some where ,so as you are standing he was pushing on your tummy ,I think in an effort to get you to feel where the ,air support should come from ? Only a guess on my part but I have a story .

    While in high school band one of my fellow trumpet players was a smallish fellow ,he normally played like he needed to give his nose a good blow ,weak and woofy ;-) , he probably was about 5 feet tall and 100 pounds soaking wet ,one day our band teacher (who was 6'5" tall) told him to come to the front of the room ,we practiced in a half moon shaped room with stepped floor ,so here's this little guy up front of 70-80 of his band mates ,looking something like a Deer in the headlights :shock:

    The teacher said face the band and back up to the wall ,he started the rest of us playing a tune and when this poor fellow started to play the teacher put his fist into his belly and pushed :-?.

    Now I have to tell you that even though he was scared ,,, he played louder than the rest of us ! ,,, well that is those of us who could play ? most where giggling to much to form an note :evil:.

    You can ask your teacher some time when he has i minute to help you understand what he was getting at ,but i suspect he was trying to get you to put more pressure into the horn,NOT TENSION! just push a bit more .

    By the way if you watch some very good trumpet players they do, lean-into the horn ,especially when playing loud or high ,you might give that a try ?

    Stage fright causes tension ,that's a bad thing ,and it will get better for you the more you play in front of people :cool:.


  6. Sidekick

    Sidekick Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 14, 2011
    London UK
    Kantza, have you tried asking your teacher to explain what he is getting at in more detail?
    Presumably he is not doing it for the fun of it?? So, perhaps you could ask him right at the start of a lesson; tell him that you are not extirely sure that you get the point he is making and ask him to explain it?
    Just a thought.
  7. Kantza

    Kantza Pianissimo User

    May 28, 2012
    I'll ask my teacher again on the next belly-push session :-)
    Maybe I just have to stop thinking about the "why" and the "how"...
  8. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Regardless of the greater arguments about breathing, there is a traditional school of thought
    that believes that the airstream must be supported from the diaphragm.

    You (and apparently your teacher) have missed the point about his pushing your belly while you
    play. The point is not to knock you off balance -- your diaphragm has nothing to do with overall
    balance -- but to see if your airstream, and hence your playing, are interrupted by the push.

    What your looking for is to be able to play something, have your instructor push or interfere with your
    diaphragm, yet still have your playing not affected.

    <disclaimer> Obviously if I wind up and punch you in the stomach like Marvin Hagler, your playing will be
    affected. This kind of 'test' is only valid within certain reasonable limits.


  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I have tried this and it works. A word of caution though... at my age, I need to make sure I empty my bowel and bladder first before starting.:oops:
  10. Furcifer

    Furcifer Pianissimo User

    Jul 26, 2010
    At some point you've got to ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing. While there's certainly nothing wrong with learning an instrument for the purposes of one's own enjoyment or therapy, the reason why one joins a band and/or engage in the "performance art" aspect of it is, well, first of all, it should be a lot of fun (don't let anybody take that away), and additionally, it is the ultimate test for one's skills, art, craft, etc. Now, you can call it 'lead-trumpet-player bravado' or whatever, but I sincerely hope that someday you will come to THRIVE on the pressure of performance, because, just speaking for myself, it's one of the greatest natural highs in the world.

    I wouldn't have kept at this if I didn't just get a huge kick out of it. I got to a point with my last band where I really didn't even want to rehearse anymore. I felt like we should be sight-reading much more music in rehearsal, rather than agonizing over stuff that certain people had just failed to adequately prepare and beating the same old charts to death, and I felt like our number-of-gigs vs. number-of-rehearsals should have been much closer to equal. I mean, really, we go to school year after year, and the concert bands and jazz bands only play 2-4 gigs per YEAR??? Meanwhile, the marching band is out there EVERY WEEK in the fall, PLUS learning drills, with over twice as many performances for the year, plus a parade or two along the way. I never understood why nobody on a faculty ever saw a problem with this, LOL!

    If I can play in front of people "enough", it becomes practice in itself - and there is certainly no better environment for the physical conditioning required to play lead than actually playing a lot of lead gigs! Maynard talked about this on several occasions, saying that performance was his practice routine from very early on. So, if you don't like playing in front of people, I'd have to counter with saying that you're probably not doing it enough to reach that point of critical mass (or 'addiction', LOL) where the jitters subside a bit and you learn to depend on that adrenaline/endorphin kick for a sound that sizzles! If it was easy, anybody could do it, right? But they don't, now do they? Most of the time, you find yourself doing something that nobody else in the room can do at all, so do yourself a favor and seek out opportunities to play in front of people, OWN IT, and blow them away! :thumbsup:

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