Breathing problem

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SpitKey, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. SpitKey

    SpitKey New Friend

    Dec 3, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I've been attempting to play the trumpet for the last year and a half after a 45 year hiatus. One of the many things I discovered is that my lungs don't hold as much air as when I was 20 something, and consequently I need to inhale more frequently. The problem is I don't seem to be able to inhale quickly, and consequently I end up playing when the tank is low. Does anyone have any ideas about taking in air quickly?
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I'd like to go on record as stating that all Vulgano Brothers are in favor of getting air in quickly. Well, that's my idea, anyway. As for ideas about how to get air in quickly, the cheap, dirty Vulgano trick is to use an empty toilet roll tube, stick it in your mouth, and breathe in as quickly as possible. Why this works is that the tube forces our tongue lower, and this frees things up alot.

    Have fun!
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Congratulations on the new start!
    I have 2 basic rules: breathe through the nose when you have time, and through the mouth when you don't. Learning to "time" your breathing so that you do not inefficiently PANIC-INHALE is very important. Practice daily inhaling relaxed and deeply at a comfortable speed for you. The correct order is:
    exhale (yes, empty all of the bad air before you inhale to start playing)
    inhale(steadily and relaxed) and immediately exhale without holding the air in.
    After a while, replace the immediate exhale with immediate play.
    It is important that there be no stress or tightness during the inhale/exhale transition!
    As your capacity expands, phrasing and speed become easier. It will take more than a couple of weeks to get back to perfect shape after a 45 year break.
    I learned a phrase while in High School "the best music is written in pencil" - mark your trumpet parts with breathing symbols - breathe when you should and you won't have to breathe when you have to.
    Yoga or swimming are also very good ways to improve body functions.
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    I wouldn't advocate learning to inhale quickly in a forum like this. It's too easy to misunderstand even the best advice. I would, intead, take a few yoga lessons and tell the instructor that you want to rediscover your vital capacity and see exactly how much air you can take in... slowly.

    It's in the discovery of how much you can fill up that you'll be able to re-establish the quicker patterns later. So, if you're not in a big hurry to get going, take the slower route and you'll get more out of it in the long run.

  5. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    If you are retired, take up lap swimming. Take some adult swimming classes so you can learn the Austalian crawl correctly. Learn to breath with your head turned both left and then to the right.

    You will feel like you are drowning on the first length across the pool. Hold on to the edge to rest and swim back. In three months or so you'll be doing 10 laps at a time. That is enough.
  6. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    The best breathing lesson I've ever had was watching Denise Graves sing "The Lord's Prayer" at President Ford's funeral service this week. She took relaxed, full breaths that flowed beautifully with the music. Awsome musicianship.
  7. masterfulmusic29

    masterfulmusic29 New Friend

    Dec 15, 2006
    The only thing I would recommend is that you make sure that you breathe down to your waist line and always practice breathing standing up. Oh and good luck
  8. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    Welcome to the "I used to be able to" world of the comeback player!!

    I think that even though age is a factor you can work on improving the effectiveness of each breath. If you like, being able to tap into your reserve capacity. Yoga and Alexander technique focus on 'correct' breathing. Breath builders can also be used as a way of monitoring progress. I also found that just working on simple melodies in the mid ranges and then extending the length of phrases works but it's no quick fix.

    Once you've got your breathing over-engineered, that is you can comfortably play phrases with plenty left over, you can play smart...that's one advantage age has over youth!!


  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    So, it seems the consensus is find out what you've really got and then worry about the quick inhale later. The idea is you'll always have a model to go after (during the quick breath) if you have a physical sense of how much you can take in during a relaxed full breath.

  10. tromj

    tromj Piano User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    One suggestion I would make in addition to the excellent advice above would be to strategize a little when looking over a piece of music, and try to determine where you are going to breathe before you start playing. That will help you gauge your needs, and allow you to build up to your optimum capacity. It also allows you to think about the musical structure without having the metal on your face.

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