WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks 'Dirty' Harmonic Slurs! Reply To: 'Dirty' Harmonic Slurs!


Hi Anthony,

I haven’t had that exact issue before, but I’ve battled an airy sound from time to time–in fact, it just so happens that yesterday was a bit that way for me.

I have experienced great success and feel that I’ve learned the most / developed the most from doing harmonic slurs when I have done the following:

1. Slow it way down, at least at first. Focus on Passively releasing good air, now actively Blowing the air. Let the sound happen, don’t try to make it happen. Stay on the first pitch a while, maybe even use a tuner and watch how in tune you are–are you very sharp? You might be anticipating the next pitch and tensing up without realizing it. Linger on that first pitch and only try to go up when you are confident you’re relaxed and the pitch you’re on is resonant and about as good as it can be.

2. Try to change pitch without doing anything. See how little you can get away with. Literally try to fail. If you experience what I have, I don’t fail but am surprised at how little it takes to change pitch.

I repeat this for a bit, I feel like this helps me learn correct “Shape” and how to be most efficient moving between each “Shape” (pitch) by using minimal effort.

I used to think when I was young that harmonic slurs were calisthenic exercises to “POWER” through, that tears you down and builds up muscle.

While this is somewhat true, actually, the truth is that the benefit is more as a calisthenic exercises that teaches you coordination and efficiency; endurance strength is a secondary benefit.

When I focus on letting the sound happen, using passive air and kind of enjoying the sound that I can make even on the staff, really trying to make minute changes to make the sound optimal, the airy sound goes away.

I’ve heard that it may be due to our aperture being to closed, rather than open, or simply the lip(s) are interfering with the air a bit more than necessary. But I believe a lot of it is mental. Harmonic slurs are exercises that we’re ascending and many of us tense up when ascending–something we must be keenly aware of and learn to train ourselves not to.

That’s my $.02 FWIW. Hope Greg / others weigh in on this as well.



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