Thanks again, Greg, for such a great course. I am having tremendous improvement over time. I have a question for you and the forum.
I do notice tightening that happens when playing active notes in the singing C series. For example, on the active steps where crescendo or maintenance of volume is required, I feel tightening in the neck and intercostal muscles without kicking from the abdomen. Unfortunately this tightness is difficult to release with subsequent steps requiring passive playing.
Where is the best place for the active “strength” to originate? Is it a tightening in the chest/intercostals like I am describing (I understand that tightening in the neck is a not the idea)? Tightening of the abdominal muscles without pushing from below? Tightening with active squeezing from the abdominals? Something else?
Once again on the passive steps, I am doing well, but I need some help with the active areas which affect passive playing later during practice. If I have overlooked a video, please let me know.
I have a bad habit of wanting to help, but I have little experience and knowledge.
Do you think you are trying to engage the intercostal muscles by tightening the neck?
I am a retired science teacher, so I try experimenting. You can do some this analysis without using the horn and just breathing out through the mah-ooh embouchure.
The intercostal muscles come in pairs. The external ones contract during INHALATION, expanding the chest helping to create a low pressure so that air is passively pushed into the lungs by the greater atmospheric pressure. The internal intercostal muscles really contract when coughing.
If my understanding is correct, then intercostal muscles are not going to help to get air out of the lungs unless you are coughing.
So then the question is what muscles are you wanting to engage to create more compression? I paused here and decided to do an internet search. I think that there is an excellent article here to help answer your questions:
Thanks, rwcarson11, for the reply. The article was helpful.
If you have ever seen an asthma or emphysema attack, you know that these accessory muscles work on exhalation. I do not know if the chest tightness I feel with the active exercises is related to intercostal contraction or something else, but it is real.
The key is the question about what is the best, most efficient physical origin of the extra, necessary support/volume with active exercises. I think I am having difficulty differentiating “support” and unnecessary tension.