Air = Sound = Air (Sorry for the delay)
It seems the end of my last thread is naturally segueing into the topic of air. I hadn’t planned on spending so much time on this site but I feel that my 50 years of trying to play the trumpet qualifies me to at least have an opinion about various aspects of how to play it. I also feel my three recordings back up what I have to say. Since I have been given some very good information concerning various techniques of trumpet playing over the years, I feel somewhat of a responsibility to pass it along to younger players, or at least to anyone who is seeking answers. Not that I have all the answers but, I have probably been chasing the trumpet longer than most of you have been alive. With that in mind, the concept of air and how to use it regarding trumpet playing is one of the most difficult to understand. Since it requires muscle memory, it is something that you may have one day but not the next. Trumpet is a wind instrument. It is called that because it takes wind (air) to play it. The question is how to control the air with consistency. Since it is about muscle memory, most of us can only require consistency through repetition, and even that does not always work. Some people are just more physically adapted to deal with air. Like great athletes, gladiators or warriors, which all life long trumpet players are, (another thread), have superior lung and heart function. This cannot be attained through practice. Aside from the physical requirements needed to push air through an instrument, the question is how to do it. This subject cannot be adequately discussed in this thread. However, a good place to start is to watch great players and how they breathe. I recently saw a youtube video of Alan Vizzutti playing a piece called “Firedance” with the Airman of Note. This is a suburb example of correct breathing. I would also suggest watching the DVD of the Three Tenors ( Carreras,Domingo and Pavarotti) in concert, a great example of body posture, open throat, full sound and correct breathing. Lets not forget Clark Terry and his amazing circular breathing or his playing in general. Trumpet playing is a lifelong pursuit, which becomes a mixture of love and hate, friend and foe. Not many people have what it takes to chase it for a lifetime. How many times have you heard,”yea I use to play trumpet”. It is one of, if not the hardest instruments to deal with on a daily basis both physically and emotionally. Always humbling! More on air later.
With respect,
Wayne Naus
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