Breathing problem

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

  1. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Okay, so here's a question that it slightly related:

    I've had slight asthma most of my life, and with allergies and sinus issues (meaning I can almost never breathe through my nose), as well as my weight and occasionally excessive fatigue due to apnea, I am a VERY heavy breather. I mean, people can usually hear me breathing half-way across the room. When I wear the CPAP, for instance, until it gets up to full pressure I often have to take very deep, long, labored breaths that are stronger than the pressure coming from the machine.

    Is this normal? I mean I am a truly LOUD breather sometimes. If I don't breathe heavily/deeply enough, it often feels like I'm not getting enough air in.

    So...the issue is that sometimes when I'm playing (especially on very humid days or on days when I'm very tired), I REALLY struggle to breathe or sustain any long phrases. The air begins to feel stale and I'm gasping as though I had just run a mile. Is it simply a case of "Get yer butt in shape and lose weight", or is there a technique here that I could benefit from?

    (I guess what i'm really looking for here is: Does anyone else ever experience this, and if so, how do you deal with it?)
  2. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    I lost 30 odd pounds over the last 3 months or so, 240 to 210, 6' tall. I huff and puff much much less.

  3. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    You may want to consider using a "Powerlung" device available at

    I have been using this device for about a year and its the best thing i have done for my playing in many years.

    With daily use you will find that it helps not only increase the amount of air you could take in, but just as important it helps you to manage the air more efficiently.

    Enjoy and good luck on the comeback!
  4. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Welcome indeed to the world of the Comebacker....

    I use a simple breathing machine; you know the kind with the balls. And I use the Anastesia Bag "The Arnold Jacob method"

    I am a big critter 6'3" 340 Lbs so I could stand to loose some weight but for now these things appear to be working for me.

    Great advice you've been given; good luck in choosing your path.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    RJZ, If you have to struggle at the beginning with a CPAP, the ramp function is set wrong. This is a function to make the pressure build up slowly after turning it on. Most people find this more comfortable than having the feeling that the mask is going to get blown off of your face. You can turn this feature off or way down and get higher pressure immediately.
    I am not sure if just getting "yer butt" in shape is enough. Air is the most basic life sustaining element there is, if it is showing signs of strain, it would make sense to invest whatever it takes to get it back (weight, cholesterol, yoga, swimming......................) before it is just your trumpet having a bad day! We value your presence here!
  6. SpitKey

    SpitKey New Friend

    Dec 3, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Wow, is this forum good or what? Your suggestions have blown me away, (no pun intended). The Yoga and Alexander Technique ideas really intrigue me. When I posted the breathing question I did not mention that I have MS, and now that I think about it either one of those diciplines would be a benefit not only for breathing, but for some of my physical problems as well. Also, Siegtrmpt's comment about Denise Graves performance of "The Lord's Prayer" was right on. Every wind instrument player and singer could learn everything they need to know about breath control, not to mention musicianship from her singing of that piece.
  7. Dave

    Dave Guest

    I don't bother with the ramp feature at all.
  8. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    One other resource that hasn't been mentioned so far is The Breathing Gym by Sam Pilafian and Pat Sheridan. This is a truly excellent set of exercises that I have found very useful in improving my breathing and that of my students.
    I usually carry the DVD with me when teaching - if a student forgets their trumpet or music, we do some breathing exercises.
  9. dow30

    dow30 Piano User

    Apr 26, 2005
    You might want to check out this book, Science of breath : a practical guide / Swami Rama. Published by Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy.
  10. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Good information, here. Please take a look at our "Sleep Apnea??????" forum. We have a pretty good concensus so I think it can help you.

    By all means talk to your therapist about turning off the ramp function. I don't use it.

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