Winded?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by 9horn, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

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    From my own experience having to exhale at the end of a phrase is an indication of excessive tension, holding air back, not letting it flow relaxed through the horn allowing the CO2 build up to the point where exhalation is necessary before inhalation. I will leave the physiology to the more qualified.

    Once I learned to play relaxed with breathing no more than mild exertion ie a medium pace walk I can play a mix of 1st and 2nd parts in big band for a 3 hour dance playing sets of 30-45 min with only time between numbers to turn the page to the next, otherwise the dancers go and sit down.

    There is no magic, if as a 75 year old I can do it but it takes time.

    Regards, Stuart.
     
  2. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

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    Vulgano Brother: As I stated in a previous response to Gmonady, "I agree (.....) with you about the very real possibility of performance anxiety increasing blood CO2 because of muscle tension and thereby increasing the drive to breathe." Obviously we agree on the point that anxiety might have a detrimental effect on breathing. From a physiological perspective, however, there are basically three things that cause one to feel a need to breathe: 1) pre-event anticipatory anxiety (which increases sympathetic neural control of breathing rate and heart rate) 2) an increase in blood CO2, whether brought about by muscular activity, muscular tension, or both, and 3) a decrease in blood O2. Of these three, by far the most important is CO2 level in the blood, regardless of what the activity is or which of the above factors cause it. While we can differ about which of the above factor(s) are most important in playing a wind instrument, I suspect we can agree that no two players are necessarily affected to the same degree by any of them and therefore there is no one cure for breath control problems.

    While I agree with you that competitive swimming and playing a wind instrument are quite different activities, the physiological mechanisms which control breathing rate/volume are the same regardless of the activity. The comparison holds true: both swimming and playing a trumpet require highly controlled lung expiration which facilitates the elimination of CO2 from the blood and thereby reduces the felt need to breathe. The difference is that the by-product of expiration when playing a wind instrument produces (sometimes) a beautiful tone; in swimming, the by-product is bubbles :-)…… JA
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    When it's normal physiology you are spot on. When it anxiety... CO2 is a BIG factor. While stress itself will lie to us... CO2 is a drug that compounds on the lie.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I've read that CO2 can trigger panic attacks in normal people, but how is CO2 built up in a trumpet player? I was unable to find any literature to suggest that anxiety cause an increase of CO2 in the body, suggesting some sort of a feedback loop. Can anyone fill me in?
     
  5. 9horn

    9horn Pianissimo User

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    If you can do this at 75 your blowing me clear out of the water at 54! I'll take your advise any day! ;-)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    CO2 is actually the cure for panic attacks. This is done by breathing into a paper bag. This then RESTORES the CO2 lost by a panic state (hyper ventilation). The actual effect felt by the body is the loss of CO2 (an acid) AND the loss of our most important buffer system keeping our pH at 7.4 [the pH of the primordal ocean]. When your system becomes more acidic (pH continues to fall below 7.2) then the brain sets of a response that enhance the feeling of panic. If we return CO2 to our lungs, so that it can reabsorb it, the pH becomes restored. Cure. Yep. Free drugs from a paper bag. Cures don't get any better than that.
     
  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    9horn -- not that anyone needs my advice --- but I agree with the "relaxed" approach --- try not to overthink this, and even cutting the volume just a little can help. for me I play a trombone in parades, I find that I just have to FOCUS on good sound -- and try not to overblow to "fill up the outdoor space". Same regards in the concert band with the trumpet. I try to relax, and NOT FILL up the whole auditorium, or outdoors and such -------------of course in both situations (if I do get winded, other players will keep the music going) --- I say this, because realizing that helps me relax, and I don't get winded too much anymore. (((now a parade, I might be sweating like a dog, or panting like a dog, BUT with this whole breathing thing ------- ONE, 17 year old High school girl, that played the trombone last year in a parade taught me a few things!!!!!! -- take in only the amount of air you need, stay focused on sound, and relax!!!!
     
  8. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

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    Vulgano Brother... This is an interesting topic and I appreciate your question. As I suggested in a previous post in this thread, there are very few research studies published in the physiology of playing wind instruments, so my posts attempt to apply basic physiological principles to what appears to happen when playing a trumpet. In response to your question I would suggest the following sequence of events: Under resting conditions, breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and no conscious thought is given to the process. CO2 is continually produced at rest as a result of basic and resting metabolism but is "blown off" as fast as it is produced (still controlled by the autonomic system). Any physical activity, including muscular tension resulting from anxiety, increases the production of CO2 and the CO2 levels in the blood. Those levels may (or may not) be high enough to induce the feeling of a need to breathe. As an example, most people at rest can hold their breath for about 40 seconds before blood levels of CO2 reach the threshold that triggers the feeling of a need to take a voluntary breath. This occurs because holding one's breath prevents the blood borne CO2 from diffusing across the respiratory membrane and being "blown off" by exhaling. A similar situation occurs when playing a trumpet, although the diffusion gradient (between blood and alveolar CO2 levels) is smaller because some CO2 is "blown off" by blowing into the horn. If a trumpet player can "blow off" CO2 as fast as it is produced there should be no strong feeling of a need to breathe, and I think this is one of the things that all good trumpet players have learned to do. Although the above factors occur in all trumpet players, proper respiratory techniques and exercises can reduce the effects to minimal for any individual. As another poster above implied, age would also be a significant factor due to changes in pulmonary capacity (decreased lung volume, diffusion capacity across the pulmonary membrane, etc).

    I personally do not believe that anxiety and muscular tension were the major contributory factor(s) in 9horns problem when he started this thread (see his post on page 3).

    As an aside, my first introduction to breath control when playing a trumpet was when I watched Rafael Mendez play Moto Perpetuo staccato -- without any evidence of breathing for 4-5 minutes (late 1960s ?). But that is another topic.....
     
  9. Dean_0

    Dean_0 Piano User

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    I don't know the medical reasons /symptoms , but i can tell you what it feels like.

    It happened many years ago , i was in high school,and supposed to get up in front of a small group and do a trumpet solo,everything was fine until i hit the first note ,i began to feel like i had a big bubble in my chest,every breath made it feel bigger ,tighter ,as if i wasn't getting rid of enough air and this air was building up in my chest ,about a third of the way through the performance ,my mind is racing ,What can i do? I even tried to skip a breath but as i got to the bottom of the bubble the sound started to get really weak,and by this time my lips were starting to shake !:shhh:I remember thinking ,now you've messed up big time ? a few bars later i had a chance to just stop at a place that needed a dramatic pause :huh: I let my breath out and took a smallish inhale and went back to blowing ,playing a bit softer now to make the air last through ,after a few more bars i felt better and managed to finish without a big disaster , the crowd clapped (more in appreciation of my trying than for the brilliance of the performance I'm sure):roll:.
    Anyway for a long time i thought about that day and the only thing i could think was i took too deep a breath at the start ,now I'm thinking anxiety played a major role here ,so keep up the great info ,I'm never sure when I'll be asked to try it again.:-(

    Thanks

    Dean_0
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Dean_O... you took your breath into your esophagus. That is the sensation you were feeling. You started to inhale, created negative chest pressure, then closed of your glottis and with negative pressure in your chest cavity, the air had to go somewhere... and to the esophagus it went.
     

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