The Importance of Good Breathing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Johnctrumpet, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    1,094
    329
    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    This is entirely possible when the sleep becomes "too deep." Newborns experience it and occasionally die from it. People intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs also find themselves in situations where their normal reflexes are impaired and they do not react to soft tissue obstructing their airway. Every day there are people being intubated in EDs because of their unability to protect their airway. It is likely that this is happening somewhere in the nation as I write this.
     
  2. ultratrumpet

    ultratrumpet Piano User

    Age:
    69
    460
    301
    Jul 10, 2009
    Old Lyme, Connecticut
    " You cannot close your throat ( unless someone very strong is strangling you or you are hanging at the end with a hangman's knot - both predicaments are best avoided ). "

    John Mohan 5/17/2010
    Trumpet Player, Clinician, & Teacher
    14 year Claude Gordon student
     
  3. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    147
    13
    Jan 6, 2009
    Indiana
    One thing I have never understood about taking the biggest breath on the inhale no matter how long the phrase, is that I find the stale air building up and wanting out, or else I am out of breath on shorter phrases. Thoughts on this?
     
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    1,094
    329
    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    OK ultratrumpet, then when you are holding your breath with your chest relaxed, what is it that closes? I will readily concede that "throat" is too vague a term, and gladly accept that more precision is needed but something does close; if it didn't, the air would escape and we would not be able to hold our breath, except by keeping the chest expanded so as to keep the pressures equal.

    My own teacher's opinion is no less informed than that John Mohan's; his first job was principal trumpet of the West Point band, he taught one moderator of this forum at the graduate level and has many other accomplishments. Furthermore, it does not matter what this or that individual says. The anatomical reality does not change. If JB Arban himself was telling me that the throat can not close, I would ask him exactly the same question I'm asking you here: how do you hold your breath with the chest relaxed, i.e. with a positive pressure differential? Something must close. It is physically impossible otherwise. I can experience it first hand and so can you. It is in the region that the vast majority of people refer to as "the throat." Give me anatomical references, not arguments from authority.
     
  5. ultratrumpet

    ultratrumpet Piano User

    Age:
    69
    460
    301
    Jul 10, 2009
    Old Lyme, Connecticut
    It's the same way you hold your breath to swim underwater. Your " vocal chords " are force together hard enough to be airtight. Nothing can get in and nothing -- not even air -- can get out.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    18,108
    9,262
    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Phillippe, the comments you make are not necessarily wrong, but they (and the OP's opening commentary) convey the wrong understanding simply by the order of magnitude in the events you outline. See you both outline the process, but leave out the important detail of magnitude. Now as for your direct comments, in isolation, are accurate. You learned well in nursing school. As for the OP, his comments summarize as:

    "The way in which we breathe in will affect the sound in which we play…"
    This is not true, the way we breathe out more impacts on the sound. What we can do with breathing in is to hold more reserve to utilize IN the process of breathing out... and with this said, YOUR commentary was more in the right direction than the OPs.

    The OP then stated "Tension or tightness in our bodies is a prime example of wasting energy…"
    again this is untrue and I will demontrate in my commentary that follows below.

    Then the OP states "…we should nearly always breathe in through the mouth (rather than the nose). It is the most efficient and natural way to breathe in a large amount of air quickly."
    This is absolutely so untrue, and as a pediatrician (board certified I might add) we well known that nasal breathing IS the way we are programmed to breath when we come out of the cooker because it takes less energy, is just as efficient and leaves our mouths available for other important things such as suckling (on tit).

    So related to your opening comments:

    It is because the OP states so many things that are so wrong. Once again, I can understand how moderators on this site become so frustrated with such miss-truths, and when an OP uses such information to carry a reader onto his "educational" site, I react agressively and this is educational information that is just not correct. I think I have the moral obligation to notify our readers of this in a strong yet professional manner. I did not break any rules from TM in my post in so doing so I ask you please show some apprecitation in the need for the strenght of my reply.

    Philleppe your good up until here; however

    This is where your commentary fails: Please read the following to I hope help put this all into perspective:


    Under normal circumstances, inspiration is accomplished by causing alveolar pressure to fall below atmospheric pressure. When the mechanics of breathing are being discussed, atmospheric pressure is conventionally referred to as 0 cm H2O, so lowering alveolar pressure below atmospheric pressure is known as negative-pressure breathing. This is accomplished by causing the muscles of inspiration to contract, which increases the volume of the alveoli, thus lowering the alveolar pressure. See, our intrapleural pressure is always negative (at about -5 cm H2O), due to the constant force exerted between the chest wall and elastic recoil of the lung tissue.

    As the inspiratory muscles contract, expanding the thoracic volume and increasing the outward stress on the lung, the intrapleural pressure becomes more slightly more negative (to about -7cm H2O). Therefore, this additional transmural pressure gradient distends the alveolar wall and the alveoli enlarge PASSIVELLY. Increasing alveolar volume lowers alveolar pressure by only -1 cm H20 and this is what establishes the pressure gradient for airflow into the lung. SO in effect, the physics of air flow into the lung is one driven by volume change, NOT direct pressure change… Remembering where PV = nRT; so P = nRT/V… Volume effects DRIVES the pressure changes; AND it is only a minimum amount of pressure at -1 cm H2O that MAXIMALLY drives this process. NO GREAT ENERGY is required to EFFICIENTLY drive this process. So the body’s energy can be used for more important things, such as arguing with the bar keep to pay the band the money that was agreed upon when the band was initially hired (or for celebratory love making, after the gig with our significant other).

    As the inspiratory muscles relax, the increased elastic recoil of the distended alveoli is sufficient to decrease the alveolar volume and raise alveolar pressure above atmospheric pressure. Now the pressure gradient for airflow out of the lung has been established. Air flows out of the lungs when alveolar pressure is sufficiently greater than atmospheric pressure to overcome the resistance to airflow offered by the conducting airways. Now here is the IMPORTANT physiological event to note for trumpet players (albeit the sexual function theory above is one of my favorite): Active expiration can be evoked during increased need for exercise (such as blowing hot lines from the bore of the trumpet). The main muscles of expiration in this function are the muscles of the abdominal wall, including the rectus abdominis, the external and internal oblique muscles, the transversus abdominis; and the internal intercostal muscles.

    So there you have it guys, the real physiology of breathing (inhaling and exhaling). The pressure in inhalation is minimal in the process, the real punch is in exhaling. That was the point to my commentary, and I did not want to get this technical, as I did not want to see TM readers minds explode. I do hope this reply did not result in such, but if so, do clean any brain matter off the walls to keep our significant others happy and content with our transgressions such that we can continue to feed our N + 1 fix.

    This is again close to the truth, but there is commentary above that makes nice commentary on the real function in maintaing control of the "throat" which is through the vocal cords. We actually try to keep these open when playing the trumpet. You can use them in multiphonics, but this does add the need to impart more energy in accomplishing this task.

    Phillippe, I do hope this clears up any missunderstanding that you may have had, as there is very little energy and very little pressure needed to drive this whole process. The key in trumpet playing is to RELAX as much as possible and let our physiology the evolution has effeciently provide for us, all for playing the trumpet efficientyl.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  7. ultratrumpet

    ultratrumpet Piano User

    Age:
    69
    460
    301
    Jul 10, 2009
    Old Lyme, Connecticut
    " Air is what we breath in. Wind is what we blow out. Wind is air that is moving. WIND POWER IS THE FORCE WITH WHICH THE AIR MOVES. " Bill Knevitt

    Acknowledgments:
    William Knevitt, who taught me the seven basic physical elements of trumpet playing and how to develop them.
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    18,108
    9,262
    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I agree. I think the real impact as to how we sound when playing the trumpet (or how we "sound" the trumpet) is in learning to exhale. May the force be with you.
     
  9. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    1,094
    329
    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Thanks for your information Gary.

    You say this
    I said this:
    Perhaps I should have specified that the recoil does not directly increase the pressure, but the volume, and then pressure responds to the decrease. I was trying to be concise. There isn't much other way to vary pressure in the lungs other than acting on volume, which is what we do with the diaphragm, intercostal and abdominal muscles. I though this was self evident on expiration, since it is the exact reverse process of inhaling. Just like it is obvious to anyone trying that, if we keep the chest expanded by of the intercostal muscles, the air does not go out. I any case, I don't think I ventured too far astray.

    I do not believe I had any real misunderstanding on the processes of ventilation and you did not reveal any physiology that I was not aware of. Perhaps I did misunderstand what your original point was and that of the OP.

    As for this statement by you ultratrumpet:
    "Your " vocal chords " are force together hard enough to be airtight. Nothing can get in and nothing -- not even air -- can get out."

    I understand that you do now acknowledge that it is possible then to close the throat, unless you want to define the throat as not including these parts you just mentioned. If not, then tell us how you reconcile that statement with your previous quote by John Mohan. A lot of this has to do with what people mean when they say throat. In any case, big authoritative pronouncements that "it's impossible to close the throat" seem to me to have just been disputed both by Gary and Ultratrumpet:

    Gary: " ...maintaing control of the "throat" which is through the vocal cords. We actually try to keep these open when playing the trumpet."

    Ultratrumpet: "Your " vocal chords " are force together hard enough to be airtight."

    As for all the rest of what you guys say about air, wind and such, I don't see how anyone could disagree with that.
     
  10. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    1,094
    329
    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    After re-reading the earlier posts, I guess I understand now that the thing Gary took offense on was that JohnC said that breathing in is equally important as breathing out if we want to sound good. I can understand that one would argue that, as breathing out is definitely indispensable to produce any sound at all (!). Although I think I know what he means, that was definitely poor choice of words on John's part. Breathing in is not unimportant however, as it gets us the volume and chest expansion we need for good support, and I believe that it was one of John's point.

    However, on a subsequent post, Gary said
    .

    If Gary wanted to avoid spreading confusion among trumpet players, this was not a very good choice of words either. I had a hard time to understand it, and it also seems at odds with this later explanation, also by Gary:
    This is definitely correct and clearly establishes that, at some point the air pressure in the lungs becomes higher than the ambient pressure. We do create negative and positive pressure differentials by moving our chest then letting it go and using abdominal muscles; the pressure differential is indeed owed to a volume change, although the part we are interested in is the pressure.

    I believe that John's other crime was to suggest that a big full breath provides for more relaxed breathing out ("air wanting to come out"), as the fully expanded chest will have "more recoil", thereby allowing for more forceful volume reduction (and corresponding pressure) without having to use any kind of tension. If I'm not correct, JohnC will hopefully rectify.

    Once again, he may not have chosen his words carefully enough, but I am of the opinion that the basic principle is not mistaken. Greg Spence (whose advice was good enough for Rowuk to make it a sticky in this forum, see above) has an extensive discussion of the exact same issue. He even argues that the elastic recoil of the chest provides enough air support to produce virtually any note up to high C. I will leave it to other trumpet experts to challenge that if they want, I'll just grab the popcorn. However, in my own personal practice, I have found that Greg does have a point there.

    The OP certainly made a poor choice of words and was advertising for himself. I am not sure that it deserved the verbal attacks he then endured, especially as some of these did not really clarify anything. Sure, the vocabulary he used perhaps did not reflect accurately the entire process of ventilation, although I believe that, for clarity and conciseness' sake, we can leave membranes, the space between them and alveoli out of the discussion, as it adds little else than complexity.

    I'll finish by quoting KT
    I am of the opinion that we should never jump on anybody on any blog and that everyone should be addressed as if we were in their physical presence.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012

Share This Page