Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2002 15:31:07 -0700
From: "Reaban, Derek" <>
Subject: [TPIN] Re: Double G


From the Hardenberger article, You Wrote:
>"It is all about not losing the balance.
>If you have this basic attitude all the time:
>You shall not force anything!"

Yes.  That's what I found to be true also. I just had to understand all the different areas where tension could enter my playing.  By understanding the concepts behind each of these areas, if I started to move into a "danger" area where tension would most certainly be introduced, then I would intellectually be aware of what was happening so that I could quickly correct or better yet, prevent the problem.


Playing below the zero pressure line -

Tension is introduced to the breathing delivery system during the exhale when going below the zero pressure line leading to an inability take a full and relaxed breath on the inhale.

Solution: Never expel all the air when playing music. Breathe more frequently (i.e. think about where you should breathe before you find yourself at the "Empty Line" on your air tank - better to breathe at or above a 1/4 tank).

Response problems -
More air is required to make the embouchure work, and the small aperture required for playing in the high register is difficult to achieve.

Solution: Incorporate more pp playing into the practice routine.  This encourages the embouchure to respond to a minimum amount of air flow as well as developing the ability to make the aperture small.  Breath attacks help too.

Playing OFF Center -
The sound is dull (i.e. lacking vibrancy) and somewhat softer leading to increased airflow to get it to project.

Solution: Use lip bending exercises to find the center, and then sufficient practice will allow hearing this quality when playing.  Solfeggio exercises to really hear where the pitch needs to be played (hearing it in your head).  Also glissandos on the mouthpiece ala Jim Thompson (i.e. to encourage interval alignment from Note Center to Note Center - no overshooting).

Feeling Fatigued -

Nothing seems to work or sound right.

Solution: Rest as much as you play. Rest sufficiently between exercises during the same practice session.  Rest sufficiently between practice sessions!

Forcing the air out -

The air begins to shut down in the higher register.  The lips stop vibrating.

Solution: - Approach a relaxed delivery of the air everyday.  Refer to the Chris Gekker article:
"Form follows function" - if, on a daily basis, you establish a very efficient, relaxed approach to playing the trumpet, you will eventually become a trumpeter that can, on a daily basis, play the trumpet in a relaxed, smooth, and expressive manner.

Some others that I can think of:  Use a breathing bag at the beginning of practice sessions to get the breathing apparatus working correctly.  This will also have the side benefit of reducing Pre-Practice tension. Investigate the Alexander System for proper alignment of the body when playing to help eliminate tension.

"This attitude" that Hardenberger talks about with respect to "never forcing" and "maintaining balance all the time" is certainly a learned attitude. Consider the above DANGER AREAS.  I think about the solution when I encounter the problem, and then I'm programming the appropriate "learned attitude" so that reduction of tension will enter every aspect of my playing.

If I've missed anything, please feel free to add to this.


Derek Reaban