Breathing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by adamrapa, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Who is Ray? Does he play the trumpet? Is Power in India with chakra and all? I have never heard of that town! You sound pretty convinced VB!

    Great post Jerry!
     
  2. adamrapa

    adamrapa New Friend

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    Jun 17, 2008
    Seattle
    Hi guys! Sorry, it's been quite a while... There are plenty of great resources out there with routines for improving your lung capacity. I'd like to focus on the particular subject of MINDFUL BREATHING. Here's an excerpt from what will eventually be my ebook, "The Professional Mouthpiece Player". There are some key points that I think are essential to understanding how important conscious breathing is, and how much impact the quality of our breath has on the quality of our lives, let alone our playing. I hope you enjoy, and I hope this sparks more meaningful discussion on what may be the most overlooked aspect of playing the horn. Cheers!


    (Just before this section of the book is a guided journey of breathing exercises.)
    ******************

    “Breathing and Our Emotionsâ€


    Ahhhh. The feeling you can achieve through slow, mindful breath is absolutely the best ‘high’ around. And it’s FREE!

    If that felt a little bit uncomfortable on your body, know that after doing that every day for a week or so, your muscles will become more relaxed and the discomfort will disappear.

    Stretching every time before you play will do wonders for your lung capacity, and in turn, your playing. All it takes is a few short minutes dedicated to peace, relaxation and breath.

    One great book that you can read to gain more knowledge about your lungs, and just how important their role is in your body, is “Science of Breath - A Practical Guideâ€, which was co-written by two American M.D.'s and Swami Rama, a master of Pranayama - the type of Yoga that focuses specifically on breathing. It’s a short book that contains life-changing information, and I highly recommend it to everyone who breathes, ESPECIALLY smokers.

    The process of expanding your lungs is simple, but when you take a moment to notice how much OUR BREATHING IS A REFLECTION OF OUR EMOTIONAL STATE, then you’ll start to understand why breathing fully all the time is actually easier said than done.

    Fear, anxiousness, nervousness, embarrassment, worry, anger….

    All of these emotional states unconsciously manipulate our breathing habits for the worse. We tend to breathe much more shallow when we’re in these types of ‘head space’. Our whole torso can become locked up, and our breathing is reduced to the slight expansion of the very upper chest.

    It’s very important to exist in a frame of mind that allows you to ACTIVELY monitor your breathing.

    Breathing is our only function that is both conscious and un-conscious. It’s often best to make it a CONCIOUS process. This just means being aware of your breathing, not overriding your body's natural ability to regulate the “now breathe in's†and “now breathe out’sâ€. By staying mindful of your breath, you can maintain complete control of your emotional state.

    Most people let their emotions unconsciously control their breathing. The goal is really to allow the focus of your breath to control your emotional state. That way, you are empowering yourself to be more calm, relaxed physically, and in an optimal state to play your horn.

    I know a lot of players who get all ‘hyped up’ just as they’re about to play a solo or a high note, and that’s the very same moment that their body becomes tight and their breathing is restricted. All of a sudden, they’re only driving on a quarter tank of air, and as a result, their playing suffers greatly.

    Then they get mad at themselves for not sounding like they did in the practice room earlier that same day. The process repeats itself the next time they’re on stage as well. It’s an ugly cycle that can only be broken through mindful breathing.

    We’ve all experienced that physical tension before. Some players experience it every single time they play.

    “Come on, it’s intense playing the trumpet! And we love seeing players work really hard to squeeze out that high note, or contort their whole upper body to coax out that really great jazz line. It shows us that they’re putting their whole being into that very moment. They’re really letting us have it!â€

    It’s that raw, animalistic power that can be our GREATEST ENEMY while on the path towards efficiency. It’s this ‘hype’ that draws us away from mindfully breathing, and the state of ease through which true mastery shines.

    If we don’t allow ourselves to relax from head to toe before engaging the muscles necessary for playing, then we will undoubtedly allow a lot of other muscles that AREN’T necessary for playing to unconsciously stay engaged. This is rule number one when it comes to efficiency. ONLY USE WHAT YOU MUST. I’m not talking about being lazy, just smart.

    I used to give myself horrendous tension headaches for years with all of the inefficient use of my body. Going into the upper register, my shoulders would rise up and in, my neck would tighten up and though the sound coming out of my bell may have been great, my headaches would often be so bad that I’d get nauseous and dizzy. On a couple of occasions, I was conscious but couldn’t see anything but black. Boy, that was no fun.

    Since it’s inevitable that the audience wants to see you work for your money - and efficiency can look boring to someone who’s just as interested in what you LOOK like as they are in what you SOUND like – I just put on an act. I appear to be working harder than I really am.

    I’ll put a little bend in the back on that double ‘A’ for show, and my face is red, but I’m still completely focused on relaxing and letting it flow like water down a stream. Also, facial muscles unrelated to playing, like your eyebrows, will add to the visual impact of your performance without any detriment to your playing.

    The most important thing to keep in mind at all times is that RELAXATION AND MINDFUL BREATHING ARE THE KEYS TO UNLOCKING YOUR FULL POTENTIAL AS A TRUMPET PLAYER.

    If you want to sacrifice the quality of your playing for a ‘bad-ass’ image, no one can stop you. But at least commit to spending every single moment of your PRACTICE TIME in a deep state of relaxation, and preferably in front of a full-length mirror, so that you can keep yourself in check at all times.

    If you can stay in the moment enough to always be in control of your posture and your breathing, you will see a very large improvement in your playing in a very short period of time.

    ********

    There you go. I'll try my best to respond soon to any questions of comments, but my schedule is a little frightening right now....

    Hope this helps! All the best,

    Adam
     
  3. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

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    Nov 13, 2008
    Adam, great post. Thanks very much. After seeing your playing on Youtube a while ago, I'm totally stoked to have you around.
     
  4. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    Jul 26, 2008
    I brush my teeth every day.
    Anything else WILL bring attention to my breath . . .:cool:
     
  5. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Monroe Ct.
    When I am totally relaxed I feel like I loose control. If I am just a little tight in my stomach I feel better.

    I have tried to do the thing with a long slow breath in. It doesn't work for me. Maybe it was drilled into my head when I was starting, 1,2,3,breath play.
     
  6. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    Jul 26, 2008
    Adam, whatever effect "crimping the hose" has,
    it does NOT add to air pressure at all!

    It DOES alter the resonance in your mouth,
    which is something classical singers are very
    aware of. Changing the resonance inside your
    mouth may well affect the pitch you produce
    on your trumpet, or in other words; if you have
    a "highpitched" cavity in your mouth, this will
    correspond to as well as help produce a highly
    pitched tone on your trumpet.

    When one gets aware of that the pitch determined by
    the oral cavity doesn´t include tongue position alone,
    but positions of soft palate and larynx as well as the size
    of the cavities immidiately above the vocal cords, then
    one sees the real complexity of the matter.
    Classical singers have to deal with all these facts in order
    to be as successful as they can.

    Air pressure is produced with the muscles you talk about,
    and is not further raised just because the tongue is.

    I´m glad you bring this subject up; there is so many
    missunderstandings about this . . .

    :-)
     
  7. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    Apr 5, 2008
    Norway
    You are right about â€crimping the hose†doesn’t add any extra pressure by itself, BUT,
    by doing this, you might automatically add extra pressure because of the resistance in â€the crimped hoseâ€.
    This makes the air stream flow faster. Extra pressure = more air = faster air stream.
    This will feel (and act) like higher pressure.

    Classical singers and change of resonance in the oral area, yes.
    Trumpet and change of resonance in the oral area, probably not so much..

    The singers use this area as their resonance area.
    Their mouthpiece is the vocal cord, and their bell is the mouth.
    Our vocal cord is the mouthpiece and our mouth is the bell.
    The singers are producing their sound with and within their body.
    We produce the sound from the lips and it happens more or less outside the body.
    We start to produce the sound at the same spot as the singers have delivered the sound.

    The singer’s instrument is their body.
    We have to buy pieces of the noble metal brass to make noises.

    Air is fun. :thumbsup:
     
  8. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    The Wide Brown Land
    I had a discussion with my doctor about my blood pressure (slightly elevated) and he suggested a whole "food-in-combination" programme and a breathing regime which quite simply, and measurably reduces my blood pressure, my weight (that's the food bit not the breathing), and my stress.

    I've discovered that it works to supplement Monette's body centered technique and simply focussed on exercisies very like what I think ROWUK's circular breathing scheme sounds like. The term "Circular Breathing" puts me in mind of Australian Aborigines playing the Didgeridoo but ROWUK speaks of 'no corners' whereas my programme has me expel air completely to start, then draw in as much air as I can slowly (over say 6 or 7 seconds). I then hold my breath for 3 seconds, and breathe out completely, slowly, over another 6 or 7 seconds. I hold my empty breath for 3 seconds and then begin again. I do this for 10 cylces (and then quietly pass out - just kidding) - it allows me to relax and contemplate, and lower my blood pressure. What's really good is that it doesn't matter if my mouthpiece is centered or not. :cool:
     
  9. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

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    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    Ramon Vasquez taught me how to breath.

    He recommends an exercise to your diaphram and lungs everyday before you practice. Practice quick and long inhales and exhales. Then work on lung expansions, they really helped me as a contra player. I went from only holding a 8 count impacts to playing playing the fully 12 measure phrase.

    You can find him on facebook
    Dr. Ramon Vasquez

    Check him out
    he's an awesome player

    enjoy
     
  10. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    Jul 26, 2008
    Sorry, but I disagree.

    The amount of air passing through the system
    every second is determined by the air pressure
    prodused by lungs+muscles and the smallest
    hole (= lips) where the air can get out.

    When you crimp the hose, two things happen:

    1) Air will pass through the more narrow hole
    in the hose at a higher speed, since the amount
    of air passing every second will be the same as
    before, (still determined by "lung airpressure" and
    lip "hole") and this amount of air now goes through
    a more narrow hose. The air speed and flow through
    the LIPS will still be the SAME!

    2) Number 1) isn´t exactly true, since a narrow hose
    will add more resistance. According to the physical
    laws, when a resistance is present and air is flowing,
    some of the "lung airpressure" is being spent fighting
    this resistance, while the rest of the "lung airpressure"
    results in the flow through the lips, just like before.
    This means; if you add resistance (by raising your
    tongue) airspeed through the lips will go down.


    Luckily enough, when we play we don´t raise our
    tongues enough to give any noticable resistance.
    Some resistance is also always present at any
    surface where an airflow exists.

    Finally; the physical laws do not prowe that when
    resistance is added, air pressure is raised in front
    of the lips (Which is the only point of interrest!).
    Instead, if resistance should be added (which it
    hardly is by raising the tongue), the airpressure
    right behind the teeth would go down.


    Once again; there is a lot of confusion about these
    questions, and the importance of discussing them
    is obvious to us all.
    Please; anyone who disagrees with me, write and
    say so. I will gladly discuss further with those who
    so wish.

    :thumbsup:
     

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