Mouthpiece test for right usage of air

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    About a month ago I was at a camp for drum corps and they had us do something I've never done before. They had us blow air through just our mouthpieces and stick our hand about a foot away from our mouthpiece. They then had us buzz different notes, starting on a simple 2nd line G. The goal was to keep the same amount of air pressure on your hand the higher you went. They told us if the higher you went the less air you felt, you are an average player. They said you should feel more air as you get higher, but for this to happen for me I have to blow an insane amount of air just for a G on top of the staff. Like, volume and air I've never had to use before and I've marched one year before. Does this mean I have been using too much face, and not air support?

    Also a friend of mine told me when I played my high C's they sounded thinner and weaker than my G on the staff. They were there and in tune, just thinner. Am I right to assume there's a connection between this and the paragraph above? What can I do to improve on this?
  2. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Allow me to redo this post -- I had to experiment.

    I don't feel "more air" when I buzz higher. The air volume remains consistent for me, the air pressure increases instead. They seem to be using the terms interchangably. I had to correct myself, from what I said previously. If you use "less air" you're likely pinching to compensate for the lack of air pressure you are providing.

    If you are playing with a relaxed inner embouchure, the air will work. I do not need a lot of air for a g above the staff -- it is unlikely you do either. Your outer muscles will be taking most of the load. Following this principle, using air and relaxed inner embouchure, the high notes should not be thin. You are probably tightening up too much -- this can restrict airflow, as I have mentioned. Again, you don't need more air -- just air pressure. I'm sure others will add to this.

    Don't take my word on it though --find a teacher, always.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    A teacher visualizing something does not make it scientifically definitive. Blowing "harder" is generally a recipe for desaster. The visualization of higher=faster makes it easier to separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls.

    That being said, yes, you probably like most trumpet players were using too much muscle and too little air.

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