Help me breath...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    I've identified three specific concerns I have right now about my playing. I'm creating a Thread for each of them. For those of you who will advise to GET A GOOD TEACHER, let me say that I live in a small college town and the teacher I have is infrequently available. I haven't been able to identify another good one yet.
    THE PROBLEM: I'm running out of air too many times, especially on quick passages. I gulp quickly to continue, and don't get a FULL breath when I do. The faster the tempo and the shorter the notes the worse the problem. Any and all input is appreciated..........tom
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Tom,
    Air has many facets, one is intake, a second very important aspect is the efficient use of air. This is where I criticise many players with big mouthpieces/horns and insufficient embouchure strength/breathing habits. The air disappears, you barely get through phrases (or not at all) and blame the problem on your breathing.
    I do not know how big your mouthpiece/horn is, but they could very well be part of the challenge.
    That being said, a big breath is a problem that MANY brass players share. The cure is very often sports related: swimming, yoga, running, martial arts will make you learn to breathe more deeply and rhythmically!
    When playing long passages, it is useful to identify the breathing points BEFORE starting to play and then to PRACTICE them. I do not know how many players that I have heard during performance that get their breathing out of synch and then suffer musically!
    A weaker embouchure does not convert as much air passing the lips into sound as a more mature one. Long, quiet tones are very key to efficiency. Buzzing on the mouthpiece also helps increase efficiency. The less air in your mouthpiece sound, the purer your tone with the mouthpiece and horn.
    There is still no substitute for a good teacher, but sometimes finding one is difficult. Publish the city or area that you are in, maybe some TMer can help!

    There are some passages that are just tough! Clarke studies with the thousand repeats are more easily played on my vintage, small bore equipment than on any of the fat, state of the art, large bore stuff that I use. When playing in the symphony, the small bore stuff gets buried, so it is a case of using the right equipment for the job!
     
  3. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    rowuk,
    I will follow your suggestions. I think the most important suggestion for me is to plan my breaths and practice actually taking them where planned. Taking a full breath in the middle of a fast passage is most difficult for me. But implimenting some of your suggestions will make it easier, I know that. I just have to be focused and work harder in that respect....thanks, tom
     
  4. Schilke player

    Schilke player New Friend

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Brentwood, TN
    Yes. If you go ahead and mark where you plan to breathe on the music it will reduce the worry of having to figure that out during a performance. :)
     
  5. MaynardTrumpet

    MaynardTrumpet Pianissimo User

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    May 25, 2008
    Okay, do this.

    * Sit up straight, or stand.
    * Make sure, you stay relaxed.
    * When, breathing in, raise your shoulders, it helps get more air into the lungs after you filled your Diaphram.

    Also try the things the people above said. Hold you breath, swim under water, practice with your instrument.
     
  6. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    In addition to Robins remarks that I fully agree with, I wish to add a couple more. The major problem that I have discovered with my students over the years, both instrumental and vocal students, is poor phrasing. In those pieces where the instrumentalist is playing as accompaniment for vocalists, or where the instrumentalist is playing a song with words, it should be played in the same phrasing as a vocalist would use. Another thing that deeply offends me is a conductor that raises his baton and then, while the whole ensemble holds their breath, runs off at the mouth about something and immediately drops the baton for the ensemble to start playing. Good grief, the whole ensemble is experiencing oxygen depletion at the baton drop. Then a few conductors that I have played under, become upset that many of the players are gulping a breath when they are supposed to be making music. How in the world are we supposed to conduct an unthinking conductor????


    OLDLOU>>
     
  7. maestro76

    maestro76 New Friend

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Illinois
    You may also try to use a breathing method such as Breathing Gym. I have been using it for myself and with my students for some time now with success. Good luck!
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Raise your shoulders? NO, NO and NO again. There is NO REASON to introduce additional tension when inhaling. The problem (if you are healthy) is never lack of lung capacity - it is inadequate body use. Raising your shoulders accomplishes NOTHING for getting more air in - it does tension up your neck and throat muscles though - bad news for a relaxed, full sound.

    As far as filling the diaphragm, I would recommend checking out some anatomy sites - that is not what happens! You are missing some important things.

    I also do not recommend holding your breath, that also only teaches additional tension! When you swim under water, you should let your air out at an even rate so that you can inhale immediately after surfacing.
     
  9. one_trumpet

    one_trumpet New Friend

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    umm... please dont raise your shoulders

    and i second the breathing gym dvd... good exercises (although somewhat goofy sometimes) and you get to SEE what you should be doing
     

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