Question about breathing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by NotMyName, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. NotMyName

    NotMyName New Friend

    Jul 7, 2011
    I've always been told to take a low breath way down near my abdomen because that's were a persons diaphragm is. But, contrary to popular belief the diaphragm is actually much higher in the body, right below the heart (a more visible reference being that it's right below the pectorals). So, if the diaphragm is so high up in the torso, is it really necessary to breath from so low so long as one makes sure to keep their breath full and relaxed? Or am I just reading into things to much?
  2. dkrice

    dkrice Pianissimo User

    May 20, 2011
    In my experience, if I don't breathe from that low then I'm unable to properly support my breath as I play which then leads to weak tone and lackluster performance.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Trumpet is a wind instrument. To keep a steady flow of air for an entire phrase, we need a big reservoir. That means learn to breathe deeply but in a relaxed manner.

    Where most mistakes are made is in the preparation of the body BEFORE breathing. We need a posture that provides as little resistance to inhaling as possible.

    The diaphragm muscle pulls down - making space for the air. The diaphragm has NOTHING to do with exhaling to play.
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Is there an issue with you playing in regards to breathing? If you can play a long tone for 2 minutes on one breath then you are probably doing it properly ...
    The way I tell if I am breathing properly is if my shoulders stay relaxed and down until the very last part of the inhale where they start to rise up a little. If I try to think about the stomich I get tense... so as Robin said.. "deep but in a relaxed manner".
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I think those are the two issues, as I see it. The "belly breathing" ensures full breath support, and keeps the shoulders and neck relaxed :dontknow:.
  6. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    It helps to see this in person ..... my teacher gets this kind of huge breath almost silently, and very very quickly. It looks effortless .... no strain, just very fast air coming in. Something to strive for.

    To begin getting the feel of a very large amount of air, he suggested that I "Breathe like a drowning man." Okay, that's graphic.

    I would just amend that to be ...... "Breathe like a RELAXED drowning man.":lol:

  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    2 MINUTES!!!:shock::shock::shock::shock: Thought I was doing good getting to 45 seconds before the tone starts to break down (and I pass out!:lol:). Geuss I gotta keep practicing! ;-) Had a voice teacher that would scold me for belly breathing (she said it was a guy thing and women didn't do it). She said to fill up the chest cavity. Made sense to me since my lungs are in there somewhere!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  8. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    Some people have big lungs. Also, a big breath almost always leaves room for more. There's a full breath and then there's a FULL breath.

    My voice teacher taught me how to sing as easily as talking .... that's the goal of that method (Vocal Ease). With this system there's no need for any specialized breathing ..... the way you breathe when you talk is good enough. When singing, you just need a little more. I never think about breathing and never run out of air when singing.:dontknow: It's the perfect system in my opinion.

    The only thing about breathing that we got into was a slight "physical squeeze" around the chest area that gives your singing a little velocity and pop. Simple as can be and very effective.

    Trumpeting, on the other hand, is all about breath support. In that way, it's very different than singing and can hardly be compared.

  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I've never been about to play a long tone for 2 minutes, although I can easily do a full minute, and up to an minute and 15 seconds. However, when I play long tones, my goal really isn't about time - it's about fully supporting a quality, controlled sound.

    Regarding the original topic of the thread, I think it's less important to think about the actual location of the diaphragm as it is to get a full, relaxed breath, and the mental imagery of drawing a breath and filling the lungs from the bottom up helps to facilitate that end goal.
  10. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Yeah, I agree, Patrick ... Mental imagery is great for this. I think the point of my post above was that it's nice when you don't have to think about it. That's what I'm shooting for, trumpet breathing and support that I never think about, but it's taking time and a lot of thought.

    For some reason that I can't explain, whenever I watch Diz playing, either YouTube or DVDs, my breathing gets easier. The way he breathes when he's playing seems totally natural and easy. Anyway, listening to more Diz is bound to improve your jazz playing .... just take note of how he breathes. That's helped me.


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