Saturday, July 23, 2011

Using Swan Air

Every brass player knows instinctively all about Shotgun, Fireworks and Spitfire style air techniques. Those are what we are famous for. But few have perfected the delicate skill of Swan Air. This breathing technique is needed big time in every audition, every slow movement solo, and for keeping day jobs. We're talking very slow and steady air movement. You are to exemplify the graceful, gliding swan. Ducky Duddle splashing and splattering won't get it done.

Want another picture? Consider a single burning candle. Now blow carefully at it without extinguishing the flame. It must flicker steadily for as long as you can keep it moving. Prize for the longest flickering. Can you do 15 seconds? The longer the better, but it has to be steady. No jerks allowed.

After mastering this very therapeutic and relaxing exhale exercise, you are good and ready for those deadly pianissimo excerpts: Schumann 2, Academic, Mahler 3 chorale, etc. Remember: very deep inhale followed by your very slow release. Swim gracefully and don't make waves.

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