I had a thought that might help others that I thought I would share.
One of the things that has helped me the most is the concept of releasing air passively, rather than Blowing.
Separating Air and Shape by taking air out of the equation by using Passively released air, making air a constant in a variety of Shape experimentations has been key to my learning what is a better Shape–one that produces a more efficient, resonant sound and one that is capable of vibrating faster (higher pitch).
This morning, I’ve been playing a bit and thought of the concept of Push vs. Release.
This isn’t really a new concept, just perhaps a different way of my thinking about the concepts that are covered in WindWorks, and elsewhere.
Am I trying to push air through the horn actively? Or am I releasing air through an efficient Shape?
Which is more efficient?
I think the obvious answer is that releasing Air through an aperture and letting things happen naturally would be much more efficient rather than trying to do both at the same time–actively pushing air through the instrument AND forming a Shape at the same time.
If I take a nice full breath (Body’s Concert Hall), then release that air through an aperture (the size of which is determined by the pitch I’m attempting to produce), having tension only as much as needed at the sides of the mouth to keep the lips in the mouthpiece (which is a lot less tension than is needed), letting the “weight” of the Air be the power and letting “gravity” do the work.
This morning, I was working on some music that is above the staff a lot and goes up near the top of my functional range limit–the range I can use in musical. You have to kind of “make yourself at home” up there and “get comfortable”, which I do by keeping the aperture small, compact, making small movements and focusing on relaxation–it takes a lot less effort than we typically think to keep the lips in the mouthpiece and releasing the air through a small aperture. If we release the air, the air will do the work for us.
The concept of “leading with the air” or “beginning with the air” also helps me a bit, doing the bare minimum engagement in the face to provide just enough tension in the corners to keep the lips in the mouthpiece and the aperture from opening up larger than the pitch requires, etc.
Not a new concept, but just something that popped in my head this morning as I was playing a bit that I thought might help others “connect the dots” for themselves.
Hope everyone is well and things are going good for you.
Thank you John for another of your ramblings. They are always welcome, thought provoking and down to earth. I get told off for over analysing but I enjoy every minute.
Keep them coming, I always get some useful nugget.
Yes, over analysis causes paralysis, but under analysis is insane–repeating the same action, expecting a different result.
I feel that I finally have my bearings and realize what I’m supposed to be doing with reasonable specificity.
And I know the guideposts / markers to look for each day to “find my sound” / “learn to play again” each day.
It’s deceptively simple in that it’s to form a shape such that when I release air into the instrument, the air is compressed by the shape, size of the aperture and natural compression of the body (passive, not active–which can be developed later) and the shape produces a free, resonant sound.