It’s all about the air

A few days ago I posted about one really bad practice day and one mediocre practice day. Today’s Practice Session 😦 and Yesterday’s Practice – Part 2. In fact, the past week or two hasn’t been that good. Kind of plodding along practice days. You keep at it because you know you should but there’s no real sense of accomplishment and it gets discouraging. Fortunately yesterday and today were stellar.

I’ve always had problems with air. In the beginning I just didn’t have enough of it and I had to learn how to breathe properly. Now I have plenty of (hot?) air, I know how to breathe but I frequently forget to do it (horn breathing that is).

My teacher is always harping about air. During my lessons I get reminded frequently and then passages go better. Usually it’s ‘use faster air’. Yesterday I had a revelation. If you’ve read any of my previous posts that talk about my playing you’ll know that I have a problem with ‘gurgling’ between notes during slurs. It drives me crazy.

For some reason – one of those thoughts that just arrive and you don’t know why but are glad they did – yesterday I thought ‘push’ air instead of ‘faster’ air and lo and behold the gurgle in the measure I was working on went away. The notes didn’t get louder, just nice and clean. So as I played every time I had a gurgle I wrote ‘push’ above the notes. Guess what? All the gurgles went away. I still think ‘faster’ air if I want to play higher.

It’s times like this that make all the plodding along days worth it. The breakthroughs are few and far between but when they happen, oh boy is it a nice feeling.

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