Breath Support and Lung Capacity Expansion for Trumpet Playing

Breathing Devices

Breathing devices are used to improve your lung capacity, inhalation and exhalation power and control.

Pictured here are the Breath Builder (red), Inspiron Breathing Device (blue) and the PowerLung Airestream (orange). All of these devices aim to help you breathe better. The Breath Builder is great for learning to take quick and deep breaths, and for exhaling with support in order to keep the ball inside the red tube in the “up” position. This works great for players who take small and narrow breaths. By using the device a few minutes a day they will start to learn the feeling of a breath that fills the lungs. The Breath Builder also gives you the choice to make things harder by uncovering the resistance holes at the top of the red tube. The more open it is, the harder it will be.

The Inspiron Breathing Device is another device to help you build powerful lungs, but this one is more visual as it has markers to help you see your progress. The right chamber measures the volume (amount) of air you’re inhaling and the left chamber measures the pressure of the air. Over time your air capacity will get bigger and bigger.

Finally, the PowerLung Airestream is one of the best lung capacity trainers out there, but they do come with a hefty price tag. The PowerLung adds resistance to your inhale and exhale, comes with a training program and has been proven to work very well. Of the 4 models they offer, the “Airestream” is the one recommended for musicians wishing to increase their lung capacity.

BREATH BUILDER

Inspiron Breathing Device

PowerLung AireStream

Other Improvement Tools for Trumpet Players

P.E.T.E

This is P.E.T.E and it stands for Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser. It’s a tool that strengthens the muscles used in trumpet playing and it continues to be popular among professionals and “tool enthusiasts.” To use it, you place the round flat section between your teeth and your lips, then use your finger to pull on it. This creates a resistance that you have to fight back with your embouchure. Many people swear by this tool, but be careful not to use it too much as it can cause unnecessary fatigue. Read the full instructions here.

The Berp

It’s a funny name, but the Berp it is no funny business. This tool is used by many pro players, teachers and students. This device lets you attach the clamp to the mouthpiece receiver (the part of the trumpet where the mouthpiece goes), and use the longer plastic receiver on the Berp to insert your mouthpiece and buzz, while still holding the trumpet in playing position. Although I rather just hold the mouthpiece with two fingers myself, there is definitely a benefit to this as it acts as a constant reminder to buzz a little everyday.

Visualizer

trumpet-bach-visualizer

Ever wondered what your embouchure looks like inside the mouthpiece? That’s exactly what the visualizer lets you do. This is a great tool for those going through embouchure changes as it lets you see how big, small, tight or lose your aperture is. It can also be a good way to begin free buzzing (buzzing without the mouthpiece). Some visualizers come in the shape of a mouthpiece and can even be inserted into the trumpet like one. Those are very useful to see how the pressure you use affects the center of your embouchure.

#2 Pencil

“A standard, unsharpened wooden pencil is generally used for this routine. Form your saturated embouchure as if to buzz and place the tip of either end of the pencil between your compressed lips – NOT BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. While pointing the pencil in a forward, horizontal manner, strive to support it with only the “pinching power” of your lips.” (Donald S. Rheinhardt, Encyclopedia of the Pivot System, Appendix 4-5).  The  “pencil trick” should be done with a teacher’s guidance to avoid bad habits or overexertion.