Steps Towards an Ecology of Trumpet Playing—Part I.A.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vulgano Brother, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I learned from Rowuk that he introduces articulation after the circle of breath is learned. My experience has been that when I am conscious of breathing I also become aware of a little “hitch” or seam between inhaling and exhaling unless I also articulate. The “how to” concept is a cheap version of the circle of breath, but the seam can be removed by a “hoh-oh” approach.

    Tension is a huge enemy, and when playing our tongue can be a nasty culprit in breathing. The down and dirty Vulgano trick is to put a cardboard toilet paper roll in one's mouth and breathe in. Huge amounts of air rushes into our lungs. (A cleaner version would be a paper towel roll or a rolled up piece of paper.) I’m not a huge fan of dedicated breathing tubes made out of plastic and picked up at a hardware store—the idea is to learn and memorize the feeling. The tube forces the back of our tongue down, and once we get the hang of that we should be able to reproduce it at will.

    The mechanics of breathing are pretty simple. The diaphragm drops, lowering the air pressure in our lungs, which then fill with air. Under the stress of performance, however, we can turn this into “work” and try to “suck” air into our lungs. This huge amount of tension involved effects our sound, endurance and has ruined many a performance.

    Remember that bit about the mechanics of breathing? When the diaphragm drops and the airway is open, the air has no other choice than to rush into our lungs!

    The air breathes us!

    "In the case of archery, the hitter and the hit are no longer two opposing objects, but are one reality."
     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Ah, that's the easy part. What to do with all that air once it gets there is "the rest of the story". In this next chapter (Exhale), that is were tension becomes the real public enemy number uno!
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The act of breathing is actually secondary. Articulation comes even later. The first step in my opinion is a "prepared body".

    We can breathe with our stomach on top of the diaphragm, a collapsed lung, double pneumonia or perfectly healthy. In all of those cases, we can inhale and exhale seemlessly. The initial "problem" as I see it, is that our body is in the way of getting a big, clean breath. Kind of like trying to grow a forest on a concrete slab (this is an ecology thread after all!). Ecology is a very big subject with plenty of dependencies and base rules to be learned. The very basic rule in my book is to make relaxed space for the air that allows the God-given muscles to do their job without singing "We shall overcome" (bad posture, bad attitude, high body tension,......) This means ecologically that the "seed" of our "air" falls on fruitful "land". We get the big breath and THEN can concentrate on forgetting to concentrate on what to do with it........
     
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi rowuk,
    You stated:
    "The act of breathing is actually secondary. Articulation comes even later. The first step in my opinion is a "prepared body".
    ---
    If body and mind are one, then I agree. A person needs to have their mind in the game.
    Dr.Mark
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Doc,
    in the beginning, the MIND is in the way. Once we have reached a level of competence it is perhaps even more in the way, or perhaps less. The prepared body is a concept that I stole from IBM. Many years ago when I was working for them, they would only deliver mainframes to a "prepared site". Power, cooling, network, strong enough double flooring and for those that remember that generation, even water. When first introduced to that concept, a lightbulb went off. I had been teaching similar concepts but with 10000 words or more - now I had a way to turn the words off.

    When I start teaching the Circle of Breath, the prepared body is ALWAYS the first thing that we address. Then the big breath is "almost" automatic AND we are relaxed enough to exhale!

    I try to automate the physical and leave the creative for the head. We should not be THINKING about better posture, it should be so trained that we can't help ourselves but to do it right!
     
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Sooooo, the Vulgano Ray of Power shots through the TP roll now. ;-)
     
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Sooooo, the Vulgano Ray of Power shoots through the TP roll now. ;-)
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    No wonder I feel wiped after finishing the Ray of Power work out!
     
  9. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    At risk of wondering off into Persig territory, this has me thinking of a big old single pot motorcycle.

    Correct mechanical alignment of all the parts is perhaps the posture element.

    Big bore (chest expansion) and long stoke (full use of lung capacity) for big torque at low revs.

    Big valves and high lift cam for clear unobstructed airflow.

    Piston rings in good nick to stop air escaping the wrong places.

    All integrated with and also creating a smooth circle of power at the crank.
     
  10. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi Rowuk,
    You stated:
    "they would only deliver mainframes to a "prepared site". "
    ----
    We might be talking about two differend "minds"
    When I'm working with people (especially beginners), the things I harp at them about are:
    "Don't slouch"
    "Pay attention!"
    "Quit forcing the air"
    "Listen"
    "When you pick up your horn, it's no game, take it seriously"
    "Put the damned cellphone away"
    "Don't roll your eyes at me, I said you're playing too loud (common theme with my daughter).

    When I say mind, I mean being ready to play, engaged, not thinking or talking about something else, ready to work. I'm not referring to the artistic part, I'm talking about the working part.
    Dr.Mark
     

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