<<The last 20 year Cichowicz have been using something he
calls "air pattern" (according to the ITG interview).
Could someone enlighten us on that topic, "air pattern">>
Air patterns are simply blowing (or rather fully releasing the air) and tonguing the rhythmic pattern of a piece of music (very often the first few measures of an exercise or piece) WITHOUT the horn or mouthpiece (I hold it up but not in the air stream). There is no buzzing or pitch (say toh toh toh or tu tu tu to get the air stream big). Just air and lot's of it. This allows the player to experience the sensation of free flowing air and then immediately try to replicate that same sensation on the horn.
Gradually, one will come closer to the freedom of the "air pattern" when playing the horn. Remember, that for advanced players even a slight improvement is a big deal. With a little freeing up of the air delivery using air patterns all players can improve but, advanced players can really notice the benefit.
When I studied with Mr. Cichowicz, we did not beat these things (air patterns) to death, they are more for establishing a concept, a feel. A little time at the beginning of a piece or exercise or when you are feeling locked up is mainly when these are used. It takes your mind off of your chops and helps you increase blowing freedom.
As a side note, some folks use these in conjunction with a tube (a few inches long and big enough for fast air movement). This encourages big air movement and an open throat (some of these folks also inhale through the tube to stimulate an open throat on inhalation). I blow through my Peacemaker to practice air patterns. It will accept several times the air that a trumpet will and when one really huffs and puffs, it apparently slows breathing just enough that I can also aggressively exercise inhalation and exhalation for more that just a couple of seconds before hyperventilation sets in.
What a long winded note about a simple concept! I hope I did it justice.