Using Too Much Air

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Domination3785, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. dcpritchett

    dcpritchett Pianissimo User

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    My classes said that the balance of the diaphragm and the abs was necessary to control the air. Suck air in and totally relax the diaphragm with no abs and you get a sigh. Continue the diaphragm being tight and push with the abs and you get a controlled expiration. Relax the diaphragm and push with the abs and you get a very rapid exhalation that is good for nothing but blowing out candles. So the answer is both the diaphragm and the abs must be balanced to get the proper air control to blow an instrument that is free blowing. Play an oboe and all bets are off. Play a flute and you will discover the principles above very quickly.
     
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    A flute player's aperture does not experience any resistance from the instrument as it is open to the atmosphere.

    The apertures of trumpet (and oboe) players rest on the resistance of their instruments.

    How can you compare the two?

    Tensing the diaphragm against the abdominals during exhalation sounds like a recipe for choking up on the note, doesn't it?
     
  3. dcpritchett

    dcpritchett Pianissimo User

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    Assuming you don't use the diaphragm at all to control outlet of air and that the resistance of the instrument is the only way to control air flow, how do you play soft or loud. Please don't tell me that you try to do all of it by making the aperture of your lips smaller to let out less air. The diaphragm has to be involved in controlling the air unless you are blowing up a balloon or some other similar activity.
     
  4. breakup

    breakup Mezzo Piano User

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    How similar is the breath control in playing a musical instrument, (one of the wind instruments, of course), to the breath control in singing? Is there a difference?
     
  5. dcpritchett

    dcpritchett Pianissimo User

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    Very similar. You have an instrument that furnishes very little resistance which you must control the air for. Adding resistance with the throat or vocal cords causes very messy results and is, therefor, to be avoided. The idea is a smooth flow, whether it be lots of air for fortissimo or much less air for pianissimo. The only way to do this, without causing tonal problems at the instrument, is to balance the push and pull of the muscles for a balanced air flow. I taught vocal music for 15 years and discovered that many of the same principles apply to brass instruments. I believe that the reason some players prefer to have a horn which provides lots of resistance is because they have not discovered the way to provide control without the resistance. Makes for less work, more consistency and an altogether better musical experience. IMHO
     
  6. breakup

    breakup Mezzo Piano User

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    Thankyou, I just got a trumpet to start playing again and was looking for some advice. My daughter took voice lessons for several years and as it was several miles from home, I would sit in one room while she got the lesson in the next. You might be surprised how much you can learn just by listening, or maybe not. My daughter had a very good voice and a good range but TMJ stopped her from pursuing singing any farther.
     
  7. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    More lung pressure for loud, less lung pressure for soft. Simples.

    I can see some possible role for the diaphragm when playing quietly in the lower registers. But when the instrument is providing appreciable back pressure, it seems counterproductive to transfer pressure from the upper abdomen to the lower. Complications where simplicity is best.
     
  8. dcpritchett

    dcpritchett Pianissimo User

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    Ok, different tack. Your pleural cavity is air tight. The bottom of the cavity is the diaphragm which is a sheet of muscle. Muscle is, by its nature elastic. When the abdominal muscles contract, they force air out. This is assuming there is no air leak in the pleural cavity and there is no other area of the cavity that can expand. There is the issue. If the diaphragm is totally relaxed, which, btw, doesn't happen until you die, it will expand so no air will be expelled. Therefor, we need some tension in the diaphragm to give us an air compressible chamber. This forces the diaphragm to not work as it is supposed to but instead, hold what position it has. It must balance against the abs to control the flow of air. Take a deep breath and hold it. Now open your throat and mouth and squeeze the air out as you slow down the expulsion with your diaphragm. Now relax the diaphragm. That is totally uncontrolled air that came out. The process has to be somewhat isometric in order to be controlled. The good part is, we really don't have to think too much about what we are doing. Put your horn up, take a big breath and get ready to attack a high note. You didn't close your throat(I hope) and you didn't keep the abs with no tension and depend on just the diaphragm to keep the air in. You used both to be ready for the attack. Or else you flubbed it or were late. Same thing applies to singing.
     
  9. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    My understanding is that contraction of the various abdominal wall and rib (intercostals?) muscles push the organs of the lower abdominal cavity against the base of the pleural cavity, thus compressing the lungs, which is basically what we are looking for isn't it?


    I'm sorry, but I've read this over a number of times and can't make sense of it. Perhaps we are in agreement. A rewording might help.
     
  10. dcpritchett

    dcpritchett Pianissimo User

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    The point I am trying to make is that the abs and the diaphragm do not act independently when doing any controlled exhalation. Therefor the diaphragm is involved with providing control of air flow. Your horn can't do it through back pressure.
     

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