Greg. On a bus trip back from DC yesterday, I heard a podcast interview of Peter Bond (Peter Bond–THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BELL #63), of the Metropolitan Opera. During the interview he spoke of playing like singing. He said it was like Jacobs’ “Wind and Song”, but without the ‘wind’. He mentioned an awareness technique of placing one’s hand on the sternum, blowing like playing the trumpet, then blowing like singing. He said playing trumpet should feel like the second time; like singing.
This sounds exactly like what you are saying, Greg. Have you seen or heard this? What are your comments.
Thanks, Elgin Green
Hi Elgin, thanks for your message. I am intrigued and will have a listen. I know Peter so it will be interesting to hear.
I feel taking the word “wind” out of one of the most respected brass approaches misses the intention of the “Wind and Song” concept BUT I might be misinterpreing what Peter means.
If he is alluding to people overblowing, then I totally concur this is a problem. However the words “blowing like singing” can create the same psychology causing over-exertion.
As I say many times, the psychology of blowing (candles or nose etc…) can engage unnecessary musculature. This in turn creates a process of forcing against resistance which in turn creates unnecessary back pressure in the Body’s Concert Hall; to quote Mr Jacobs, “danger lies in blowing against the resistance of the instrument”.
“Blowing like playing the trumpet” suggests constant active engagement of the breath support musculature therefor negating the importance of PASSIVE REDUCTION.
In essence, what he is saying is fine and it aligns to a degree with my approach but the above statements ironically could possibly set the same psychology of “wind” that it seems he has issues with.
I know for a fact that Peter is a killer player. I also know for a fact that he “never talks to his students about breathing” – I am guessing because it might encourage over exertion which of course “can” be a problem.
The singing approach is definitely the way to go as long as the singing process is pure. Watch the 1% Rule Video.
Beyond the “feeling” of it, check out the Sound Column and Body’s Concert Hall videos again to see how a relaxed and resonant body positively affects our playing; there is a bit of physics involved.
Speaking of physics, did he happen to mention anything about the trumpet in the upper register, he has a particular interest in that…
I will be explaining this in detail in the forthcoming Ultimate Level of WindWorks.
At the end of the day, I’m sure the intention of the comments is to encourage efficiency and freedom of playing which is all any teacher can do.
My concern is always ‘what psychological impact does a statement have on a student’ and getting a point across to everyone is near on impossible 🙂
Greg. Thanks for your reply.
I may have mischaracterized Bond sightly. He didn’t use the word “blow”. At 35:40 he says “don’t use any more air than you would to sing”. In fact, on an additional listening to Bond’s interview, he mentioned that the idea of ‘playing like singing’ originally came to him through Jim Pandolfi, also of the Met. Pandolfi explains it well in a Brass Chats interview:
Cool, that would be good to see. I love the Rafael Mendez clip where he compares playing to conversation. Love it. Thanks for posting, it gave me a chance to reinforce my approach and traps to look out for 🙂