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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Mouthpiece test for right usage of air in the General forums; About a month ago I was at a camp for drum corps and they had us do something I've never ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Mouthpiece test for right usage of air

    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. #2
    Mezzo Forte User Mark_Kindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Gainesville, FL

    Re: Mouthpiece test for right usage of air

    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 by Mark_Kindy; 12-15-2011 at 12:15 AM.
    Mark Kindy - University of Florida
    Life is like a trumpet - if you don't put anything into it, you don't get anything out of it. --
    William Christopher Handy
    Edwards Gen II - Bach 3C, Asymmetric Lead/Schlike 13a4a Heavyweight

  3. #3
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: Mouthpiece test for right usage of air

    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.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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