Trumpet Discussion Discuss stomach relaxation while playing in the General forums; If anyone gets the chance, you should watch a sleeping baby. They breath so relaxed and so natural. The upper ...
If anyone gets the chance, you should watch a sleeping baby. They breath so relaxed and so natural. The upper chest does not move, but it is the stomach that comes out on inhalation, and retracts on exhalation. The baby does not yet have any bad "tightening up" habits. Plus, watching a sleeping baby is very good therapy.....
And the baby is not thinking about it; He/she just does it.
People have mentioned thinking of your belly button touching your spine on the exhale. If that works, great. That feeling can help compress your air, which can help in the upper register. But don't get hung up on it.
I think watching or thinking about the baby is a good start but there's a major difference and it's this: the baby is engaged in something called tidal volume breathing. The tidal volume is the minimum amount of air needed to sustain life in a calm, relatively passive setting, like sleeping or reading a book, sitting quietly.
The type of breathing we engage in as trumpeters is far more active (athletic really) in its application. When we haul in air, the chest does "move" as the lungs expand. It basically goes along for the ride rather than move in a contrived way which is what I think you're warning about. In that regard I agree with you but I still maintain that the baby breathing analogy is limited by its application.
I think the tummy in breathing is probably the result of you using your shoulders to breathe. This is purely conjecture -- but I base it on a bit I've read in the past that basically, some people breathe abdominally, some use their chest, and others (typically women but not always) use thier shoulders to breathe. When you described how you breathe, the only way I could duplicate it was if I used only my shoulders to inhale (lifting the shoulders and chest cavity), than simply dropped them (collapsing my chest and shoulders) to exhale. That manuever pushes my stomache out when I exhale and pulls it in slightly when I inhale.
If that's how you're breathing....ooffda!! I'd say try laying on your back and have someone of something hold your shoulders in place, then set a small book on your belly and inhale. Try to make the book rise while you inhale, and make it drop when you exhale. Let the chest expand naturally when you do this.
That's an overexaggeration, but it may well help you correct how you breathe.
ON a seperate now -- I heard a local band director here (who happens to be the best vocalist I've ever known personally) once make the following comment regarding breathing technique:
"Most of us breathe correctly all the time until we place a horn up to our lips."
I think that, too, is an oversimplification, but it gets the point across -- due to the resistance and the phsychological impact of blowing a horn, we tend to completely change our approach to breathing, often for the worse....
There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who do not.
Thanks for clarifying....Yes, I was trying to show that the shoulders move and the chest fills out after the stomach extends out.
When I find my own playing getting tight, I look in the mirror and see that the focus has moved up. But I also find that the more I "think" about what my stomach/chest/shoulders are doing, the less I concentrate on playing beautiful music. Do you think that, after we are trained (and trained well, I may add (thanks) it's better to trust that things are working physically, and not dwell on it so much when something sounds or feels slightly out of whack?
When that happens to me, I find it better to concentrate on my sound. Things usually work themselves out.
These days, as I am doing more lead playing than classical work, it is even more critical that I stay loose and focused. Nothing worse than a tight, pinched high G.............
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