"Faster Air"= Blue Face

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    "Faster Air," to me, means more air. Consequently, as I play a long phrase that takes me to the top of the staff I run out of air; goodby fat sound. None of my breaths during a long study are as full as the first breath. Is it possible for a 64 year old to avoid "blue face"? Although, I must say it is a bit of a rush surviving third octive notes on the brink of passing out; sort of an Everest trip! No warnings please, as another TM member said, "Music is my mistress." You older guys know of the value in that. Help! I'm turning blue again. ROWAK quote "When you're feeling blue, breath."
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Faster air mean more velocity, not more volume.

    Bobby Shew always says that it takes a cup of air to blow a low C because the air moves slowly so you need a lot of it.
    It takes a shotglass full of air to blow a high C, because the air has to move much faster, but you need less of it.
  3. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    I don't seem to be able to distinguish between velocity and volume. I understand it theoretically, but when I play it's just air coming out of the resource.
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    This is an excerpt from an article by John Hagstrom from the Chicago Symphony:
    • Everyone has been told at one time or another in their training to use more air support, which gets distilled down into 'Use more air!'

    He goes on to provide a very nice discussion clearing up a number of misconceptions, and "using more air" is certainly a misconception as you've described it in your post (i.e. flow rate versus pressure)!

    You can find his article, along with some other comments that I have grouped together from various sources in a post called Releasing vs. Pushing.

    If you take an average inhale (somewhere between how you breathe sitting at your computer reading this and the volume of air that Charlie Vernon sucks in on stage at Symphony Center in Chicago), you may then feel compelled to “push” the air out on the exhale to various degrees based on the register that you are playing in.

    If you take an alternate approach, and really fill up with air (pressurize your lungs by taking a complete, relaxed, but full breath) and then simply “let” the air out, this increased pressure in your lungs will cause the air to come out faster. Higher pressure wants to rush out more quickly to room pressure. You don’t have to aggressively blow the air out to “support” your sound. You simply need to assure that your tank is full of air and make sure to breathe again well before you run out of air. Never let your air supply dip below half full.

    There are some great suggestions regarding these ideas in a post about the David Krauss ITG clinic.

    Hope these ideas are helpful!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  5. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Thanks a lot Derek. After reading all that you've provided me with I should be able to get on the right track. Thanks, tom
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    if you are running out of air, one of two things have occured:
    you took in too little air for the job you are trying to do or
    you are not using your air efficiently.

    Learning to breath deeply is trumpet 101. Stand up straight - butt, shoulders and the back of your head against a wall. Exhale until you are as empty as possible, inhale deeply but in a relaxed manner, do not gulp for air. When you have the sensation that you are full up try and transition from inhaling to exhaling without holding the air in. Start playing immediately on the exhale - long notes without the tongue to get your sound started! Once this works smoothly, clock yourself to see how long you can sustain various notes. Aim for a second or 2 more each day!

    Using the air that you have efficiently is a BIG topic involving control of your chops and the various facets of breathing. I will probably get heat for this, but if you are having trouble sustaining phrases, your mouthpiece/horn combination may be a little too free blowing for your present stage of development. A smaller mouthpiece sometimes works wonders! If you are playing a 1 or 3 sized mouthpiece, a 5C or 7C size may just get you the relief that you need until you have had more time to practice and get your face up to full strength.
    Ensemble playing is a big motivation to practice, and if you are running out of air, playing is not as much fun AND you develop bad habits while playing with less than optimum support.

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