Beginners breath discovery

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blind Bruce, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Ouch, was my post THAT obtuse? I really have to think before I 'speak'. :oops: ("How embarrassment".)

    If I eat a meal before I play, I am too full to take a deep breath with comfort - so I generally don't have a meal before a gig. Does that clarify at all? :dontknow:

    Yeah - I know, I'm a bit of a pig. ;-)
     
  2. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

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    I don't mean to beat a dead horse but.....
    Is it easier to learn to hold your breath when the lungs are full, partially full, or near empty. I have been trying them all but all I can think of is breathing again.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    fill them up, then swim underwater until you HAVE to surface.
     
  4. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    Swimming underwater is a good way to train, as Rowuk suggests, for good breath control. One thing to keep in mind is that when we play the trumpet, just as when we swim, we aren't really holding our breath at all. We breath in, and then we start breathing out again. How fast we breath out is dependent upon what we're doing, and that's one of the hardest things to learn when playing the trumpet -- not all breaths are the same. When people swim, they are slowly letting out air - just look at the bubbles that come to the surface.

    Actually holding the breath is very difficult because our bodies are not meant to operate that way, but if you let your breath out very very slowly, as in sustaining a very long pianissimo note in the middle of the staff, your body is fooled into thinking that you are actually breathing and that feeling of panic which sets in while you're actually holding your breath can be overcome and you can play very lengthy phrases.

    To what purpose are you trying to hold your breath?
     
  5. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

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    dhbailey, please see my OP
     
  6. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    Actually holding one's breath, as in inhaling and then stopping any air-flow, in or out, isn't good for trumpet playing. One should inhale to start playing and just as evenly as we do in ordinary breathing-to-live, start to exhale through your embouchure.

    It's not an in-stop-out-breathe process, but a cycle -- when you breathe ordinarily you don't feel the break between in and out and that is something we all need to keep in mind when breathing to play an instrument.
     
  7. Bear

    Bear Forte User

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    Bruce, I love it when a beginner, professional, comeback player, or a "natural" questions authority or standard practices and really tries to understand what is physically and cognitively happening in our Art. Rowuk always states wonderful opinions and suggestions. I have yet to have a differing line of thought.

    That being said, I had the problem of always feeling like I had too much air when I played. Meaning I had to exhale twenty times in a 30 second piece. I am a big guy and just thought I would need bigger equipment. I bought the largest/deepest mouthpiece and drilled out the throat, the largest horn I could find, hooked up a straw and pinwheel to it and STILL had the problem. Then one of my friends who was into diving took me on a trip down in the Gulf years ago. It was so scary for me to rely on that regulator, I felt like I was suffocating and my life was in someone else's hands, etc. I panicked and it was hard to breathe. In the "get aquinted with the equipment and trust me or you will die" speech my friend gave me before we descented, he mentioned to be as relaxed as possible. Not to force the breath.

    Back to trumpet...When I got home, during one of my practice sessions, I had the feeling of suffocating with the regulator...I relaxed. Things seemed to work themselves out. Then I stumbled on all this material about the Boss's Yoga breathing, Monette's stanced on body alignment and relaxation, blah blah blah... Just incredible. Now, I don't have that problem.

    In retrospect, it was like I was "overblowing" the threshold of my comfort level. I know that is a very subjective term. But think about your playing. Before, I hated small horns (piccolo's, "lead" mouthpieces, etc) but now I have no major problems in the air department. I highly suggest you go swimming!

    Have fun, enjoy the sun, then get back in the woodshed!
     
  8. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    This describes my situation. I can hold my breath for quite a long time when I am relaxed, and not have that panicky feeling. But, if I squeeze my lungs (contract my chest or diaphragm) so that it pressurizes my head, I start to feel light-headed and dizzy within a few seconds. So, when I play, I take a breath and then blow but my lungs do not empty soon enough and the pressure makes me feel dizzy and I have to stop and exhale all the residual air and then take a breath and start over. This happens about every 10 seconds. I stand up to practice and I feel like I will fall down. If I sit, the problem is not quite as pronounced but I actually like standing if I can keep from passing out. I swim and play basketball and do not have a breathing problem any other time except when playing. The high notes are the worst because the pressure builds higher. So, will the yoga approach help this?
     
  9. Bear

    Bear Forte User

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    So I beg to ask: Why are you squeezing? IMO, Playing should feel natural, not strained, even for the high notes. To answer your question, yes. Yoga among other disciplines, did help render the prolem a non-issue.

    Disclaimer: What works for me, may not always work for you. To each their own.
     
  10. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    That is what I am working on. My embouchure seems to be working better. I can play for an hour or so before my lips start to fade and I can hit up to E above the staff (a few times) but the notes above G seem to take a lot of pressure and that is when I feel the dizziness. I have 31 mouthpieces and 25 horns in an attempt to find a combination that allows me to play the high notes in a natural, relaxed way but so far, those notes still seem to require quite a bit of back pressure although I try to be very conscious to not use too much mouthpiece pressure - the air backs up behind my lips (I can create the same effect when lip buzzing). So, onward with the quest.
     

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