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Use of the Breath in Trumpet Playing

Use of the Breath in Trumpet Playing

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Use of the Breath in Trumpet Playing

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  1. Use of the Breath in Trumpet Playing A quick and simple way to improve your trumpet section Eric Swisher

  2. Correct use of Air • Is quick and simple to teach • Will improve a trumpeter’s sound • Will improve a trumpeter’s volume • Will improve a trumpeter’s range • Will improve a trumpeter’s articulations • Will improve a trumpeter’s endurance

  3. A Good Breath • Moves large quantities of air freely • Has two important components • Moves large quantities of air • Moves air freely, little restriction

  4. Quantity of Air Used • Most young students use a “talking breath” when playing the trumpet (1/3 of their capacity) • Need to get used to using 80-85% of their capacity • Use a hospital Inspiron to measure a student’s capacity • Calculate 80-85% of the full capacity • Use the Inspiron again up to 80-85% • This should be their “default breath” • Not every situation calls for 80-85% • Going above 85% is not advantageous

  5. Motion of the Air • A large quantity of air is useless if it is motionless • Restriction of the air can occur in many places • Abdomen (Abs too tight) • Chest (intercostals too tight) • Throat • Embouchure • A dirty mouthpiece • A dirty Trumpet

  6. Motion of the Air • Asking a student to consciously relax the abs, intercostals, throat and embouchure is not very effective • Much better to keep the student focused on the air and not the body

  7. Motion of the Air • Pay attention to the sound of the breath • Teach the students to use a soft “OH” sound when breathing • Will allow the student to relax the abs, intercostals, throat and embouchure • Opens the mouth • Provides an unrestrictive air way in the throat • Moves the tongue down and out of the air stream

  8. Breathing Toys: Breath Builder • Approx. $20 from most music stores • The best breathing toy around! • Teaches the correct inhalation and exhalation • Comes with two tubes, use the larger one • Several holes, keep them all open • Encourages air motion and quantity • Teaches the correct feel of the mouth and throat • Ball will drop if the air stops moving • Careful not to let students become dizzy!

  9. Breathing Toys: Tubes • Encourages a good inhalation, but not as helpful for the exhalation • Many variations (clear plastic, PVC, white plastic) • The tubes should not be larger then a students thumb. Larger tubes will actually force the mouth to open too much and will close off the back of the throat. • You may consider attaching string to the tubes so the student can wear them around their necks. This way you can use them in rehearsal quickly.

  10. Breathing Toys: Pinwheel • Will keep the student focused on how much air is actually leaving their body • Great visual measurement of air motion • Will show students that a “tight gut” is detrimental to air motion

  11. Common Breathing Problems“Darth Vader Breath” • Usually done by conscientious student overdoing the “OH” breath • Restriction is at the back of the throat • Use the “OH” sound to redirect the student • Use the breath builder or a breathing tube

  12. Common Breathing Problems“Hiss Breath” • Usually done when student wants to prove they are breathing • They make an audible sound so others can hear it • Point of restriction is at the lips or the sides of the tongue • Throat is tight • Chest is usually tight as well • Use the “OH” sound to redirect the student • Use the breath builder or breathing tube

  13. Common Breathing Problems“High Pitched Breath” • Usually young students • Point of restriction is at the back of the throat • High pitched inhalation • Shoulders usually move in an exaggerated manner • Use the “OH” sound to redirect the student • Use the breath builder or breathing tube

  14. Common Breathing Problems“Hitch Breath” • Usually done before a loud of high entrance • The student believes the internal pressure will assist them • Air stops in between the inhalation and exhalation • Can be subtle of quite pronounced • Sometimes you may be able to hear “throat noise” • Throat closes and stops the air • Encourage the student to keep thee air in constant motion • Encourage the student to breathe right up to the point of attack • Use a breath builder

  15. Common Breathing Problems“Tight Gut” • These student have been told to “push” or “force” the air • Engages the “Vaslava Maneuver” • Defecation, Child birth • Abs tighten, throat closes off • Produces air pressure, not motion • Encourage the student to move large quantities of air. They will figure out that they will need to relax their abdominal muscles for this to happen. • Use a pin wheel

  16. Summary • A good breath will move large amounts of air freely • Emphasize the “OH” sound • Emphasize the motion of the air, not compression • Use breath devices as an aid for your students (Breath Builder, Pipe, pinwheel) • Be aware of restriction points (abs, intercostals, throat, embouchure, mouthpiece, trumpet) • Be aware of common breathing problems and their solutions