How to play from low to high with minimal embouchure change and how this is directly related to the Yoga Breath. Video demonstration above.
As trumpet players, we strive to gain flexibility when playing from low to high with minimal change to the aperture and embouchure. The likely obstacle many trumpet players experience is a slight overcompensation in the throat and muscles in the mouth/tongue. The tendency is to tighten up the throat which causes air restriction. This could cause an unnecessary hindrance when trying to improve flexibility.
The yoga breath may seem cumbersome and not practicable at first. We all have the tendency to overdue the Yoga breath at first. As you practice this it should feel more comfortable and relaxed.
The throat should remain as opened as possible at all times to avoid air constriction which results in loss of flexibility and range.
Place two fingers in your mouth and breathe in as deep as possible. This should prompt you to keep your throat more open and avoid air restriction. Fill up the belly first and then the upper part of the lungs. After your lungs are filled with air, your shoulder will raise up, then relax the shoulders. Try this again and hold the air in the lungs for about 10 seconds.
Repeat the breathing sequence again and this time with about 75% as much air as you took in the first time.
Hold out a low C as soft as possible for 20 seconds with your air as steady as you can. Practice this same breath and play a low B, Bb, A, Ab, G and F#.
The feeling you get when you play a low C softly is what you want playing the trumpet to feel like every time you play. This will help the brain establish that trumpet playing is a relaxed procedure rather than a tense one. The more you play trumpet in a relaxed manner, the easier it will become.
The position of the throat from breathing deeply should always remain open as if we were playing a low note. The object is to keep the throat open as possible at all times. When we play high, some resistance is necessary in other to increase air speed. However, we don't want the resistance to be created from closing off the throat. We try to avoid closing the throat off in an attempt to increase air speed. The resistance will most likely come from the tongue placement being slightly arched in the back. The aperture would be wider when playing low notes and more narrow as you play higher.
This is only a brief explanation and clarification and feel free to contact me for a private online lesson for more comprehensive instruction.
Mark Zauss, DCC, DAPA, FAPA, NCC, CCMHC, BCPC, BCPTSDC, LMHC
Double Board Certified Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist & P.T.S.D. Clinician
Trumpet Artist for the Schilke Music Corporation (Trumpet)
Trumpet Artist for the Warburton Music Corporation (Mouthpiece)
Trumpet player, Licensed clinical psychotherapist.