Playing Softly and Breathing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I have been doing some quiet practicing more and more now, but I find that the breathing for playing quiet cannot be the same for playing normal.

    Do I need to take in and use less air to play quiet or do something different with my air?

    I find myself with a backup of extra air taking in too big of breaths and sometimes this seems to even contribute to some more neck pressure trying to hold back some of the air.
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    No one here can really help you without seeing and hearing you play. I suspicion that you are not using your air efficiently and probably develop some tone loss when playing so softly. Work on using just as much air as when you play at mf, but use the same amount of air to play soft. Soft playing usually needs as much or more support than playing at mf. Get a teacher and they can help you with this.
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I'm guessing that sometimes your lungs are so full that it becomes detrimental causing stress. In addition, your chest expands and lifts up causing even more stress right?
    Here's an idea:
    1)Imagine a hole about the size of a tennis ball in the small of your back. When you inhale, imagine the air coming through that hole in the small of your back. Doing this will help keep your shoulders down and help keep your chest from expanding up. You'll know if you're doing it right because the area around the belt buckle will go out instead of your shoulders going up.
    2) Use your air wisely. Only use as much as you need to get the job done.
    3) go through the music and mark (red pencil) breath marks. Why red? it shows up better!
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  4. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

    May 5, 2008
    Playing softer requires less air. Less air pressure and less air flow than playing the same note louder.

    It is okay to control the air pressure with the inhale muscles against the positive pressure of the full lungs. This case is not "tension".

    Blocking the air flow with a closed throat to control pressure IS tension. Especially if you are also engaging the respiratory muscles of exhale in addition to the positive pressure of full lungs.

    If the passage you are playing is short you can simply take less air in and reduce the positive pressure.

    Purge the stale air as the resperation requires it and as the music allows it.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  5. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    Tension is a necessary part of playing trumpet, but it needs to be controlled tension. Not so much a "SQUEEZE" as a feeling a a solid column, or bock, of air.

    I have always tried to use a yoga-based inhalation method to keep a good core of air support, and breath the same whether playing loud or soft. At the end of a soft passage I will normally have a reserve of unused air, and releasing this air is almost a positive feeling of release.
  6. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    No matter what volume of playing, I always fill up with a full breath. Good tone at all volumes requires good air support.
  7. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

    May 5, 2008
    By air support I guess you mean air pressure?

    Air pressure required does vary with sound volume. When playing soft low notes the positive pressure of full lungs is usually all the air presssure you need. It alone may be more than you need.

    Tension is not necessary and should be avoided. Effort and tension are not the same thing.

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