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Trumpet Discussion Discuss playing with too much air? in the General forums; i was told after my last juries test that i play with too much air and not enough lip. to ...
  1. #1
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    Apr 2005
    McNeese State University

    playing with too much air?

    i was told after my last juries test that i play with too much air and not enough lip. to me this makes no sense. i was always taught to let the air do the work. i am not assuming i am right but i was told this by the low brass professor. if he is right how do i correct this?
    There are no accidents, only things you do and do not do.

  2. #2
    Mezzo Piano User Derek Reaban's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    A piece of information that I found very helpful was something that David Krauss (Metropolitan Opera) said which relates directly to your question. He said, “It’s common to work too hard and make the aperture accept more air than it needs to respond based on excessive movement.” This is especially true in the lower register, which will then hurt you as you try to ascend.

    About 6-7 years ago I found the James Thompson Buzzing Basics book. He mentioned that some players use more air than lip and other players use more lip than air (I was clearly in the first group). The key to having everything work well was to discover the appropriate balance between lip and air.

    When I play today, it feels so much different than when I was struggling to get the mechanics working properly. I would describe the way that I produce sound today simply as EASY.

    Coming from the more air than lip camp, I found that keeping the corners slightly firmer (NOT tight) to be very beneficial (I like the cooling soup analogy). I also incorporated breath attacks (starting the note without the tongue) into my daily practice (this helps to reinforce the slightly firmer corners and improves response so I don’t have to “blow harder”). Letting the air out instead of “pushing” the air out was also an important component for me to add into my playing so that I could get the sound I heard from my instructors and from my favorite performers.

    When I am in the resonant center of the sound with the proper set up (firm corners, letting the air out), I literally don’t have to do anything more than “think” the interval and it happens effortlessly (“moving from note center to note center”). Knowing that it can be easy was really the key for me. Then reading to find out how I needed to modify my thinking and time with the appropriate exercises made the difference for me.

    You might enjoy some further posts about David Krauss and James Thompson’s Buzzing Book with respect to air and sound.

    Hope this helps!
    Derek Reaban
    Tempe, Arizona

  3. #3
    Pianissimo User abbedd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    perhaps you misinderstood them. I am writing a book about advanced horn playing from an engineers point of view. I totally disagree with what your juries have said. James Chambers used absolutey no pressure and achieved his legendary status with air, air and more air.

    Is principal Philly 1942-46
    Principal NY Phil 1946-68

    a good enough resume for your juries.

    A guy I played with told me he took one lesson with Chambers. he played a single Bb horn and the smallest bore mouthpeice possible. Chambers said, "Son, you have to put some air into the horn" He found himself a bad teacher for his lessons

    Chambers also taught the orchestral wind class at Juilliard.

    I am curious what school do you go to, Pinching State?

    Chief Engineer/Acoustician
    Dave Guardala Mouthpieces

  4. #4
    Utimate User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I think it's too difficult to answer your question without having heard your jury. Think about what you're asking people to do: make a determination on a subjective comment from one person about someone none of us has ever heard play.

    But don't feel bad... you aren't the first person to ask a question like that on a trumpet forum.


  5. #5
    Forte User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Northern New York
    Exactly as Manny said...I wanted to wait and see some of the responses before I said anything. There may be any one (or combination)
    of at least three things:
    1. You are overblowing.
    2. You have an airiness in your sound.
    3. You are tense in your breathing.
    Again: we can't hear you and weren't in the room with you when you did the jury.
    "Roses have thorns; shining waters mud. Clouds and eclipses stain the moon and the sun; and history reeks of the wrongs we have done. After today, after today, consider me gone."- Sting

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