Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 09:47:55 -0600
From: Brian Frederiksen <>
Subject: Re: Nick, Doc is a screecher

> Nick Block wrote:
>  In an exercise a few years ago to measure wind strength of the trumpet
> player, an experiement was set up that measured the PSI (pounds per square
> inch) produced by the trumpet player. Several students were selected and
> several professionals. On average the students were able to blow about

> 35-50 PSI, Professional varied between 75-95, a freind of mine Gerald
> Webster rated at around 95 (and we all know his power!) Docs' measurement
> was 125 PSI. Can you dig it!!
> James Sowinski wrote:
> The units on these numbers can not possibly be PSI.  A person can make
> 2-3 psi tops.  I've taken pressure gauges at work and tried it.  Try
> blowing up your bike tires with your mouth.  These are the
> kinds of pressures quoted above.  Impossible.
> I believe one of Arnold Jacobs' books has data on this kind of thing.

Up to 125 PSI, come on! Maybe 1.25 PSI. Here is the portion of ARNOLD
JACOBS: SONG AND WIND that James Sowinski was refering:

Uses of the Respiratory System

The most common use of the respiratory system's musculature is to exchange gasses, a requirement to sustain life. This is only one of
three phenomena of life supported by the musculature of the respiratory system.

The second use is for the contraction of the muscles in isometric opposition where muscles become rigid. This is useful for sports or
combat, but not in playing a wind instrument.

About the final use of the respiratory system, Jacobs says, "I learned more about the lungs not by studying wind for playing my instrument, the
tuba, singing, or trumpet playing, but by studying defecation and childbirth—the study of what happens with breath pressure."

The pelvic pressure syndrome uses the respiratory musculature for both childbirth and defecation. Abdominal muscles bear down, increasing
internal air pressure. The throat closes to contain the pressure [the Valsalva maneuver]. Inside the body, air is under considerable pressure,
far more than required to play a wind instrument.

Often during master classes,  Jacobs has a man blow into a  modified blood pressure gauge  with as much air pressure as  possible. Usually he can only blow  three pounds of static breath  pressure as sensors in the lungs  protect the tissue and prevent  larger pressures.

Next, he has this man lie flat  on his back on the floor and tense  up the muscles of his abdomen by  isometric opposition. A small  woman
[usually Mrs. Jacobs!] then  stands on his chest and abdomen.

"On the trumpet, which is the  highest pressure instrument in the brass family, I have measured many people and they hardly go up to three
pounds of pressure. The average will be between one-half and one and one-half pounds. When they are working really hard, they may get up to two to three pounds."

This demonstration shows that the muscles of the abdomen can only sustain a pressure around three pounds, but can also support 100 pounds or more. "Physically, we have reflexes in each lung that will not permit us to use any of this kind of strength. Anytime you exert a great power in these powerful muscles, this has to do with reduction. There would be an enervation of the muscles that make you large. That would cancel it out and this goes on all the time. It's foolish to use enormous strength when you are dealing with one to two pounds."

Excess contraction of the abdomen's musculature is unnecessary, as it limits the potential of the respiratory system. It is contrary to the
old "tight-gut" method that decades of wind players have been taught.

Finally, I'm of to Hawaii but last week did a job on the web page. There are a few more links to sites about Arnold Jacobs.Check it out!

- --
Brian Frederiksen, soon to be in Maiu
WindSong Press - PO Box 146 - Gurnee, Il 60031
Phone 847 223-4586 - Fax 847 223-4580