Breathing Devices - opinions

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by DS2014, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Hi all,
    have been doing a bit of reading recently about Arnold Jacobs and his teachings about breathing and air support. His innovation in teaching, it seems, was to introduce breathing devices into his teaching methods and into the practice routines of his students. Does anyone have any experience of using such devices? Here's a few that Wind Song Press sell (a company that specializes in Arnold Jacobs, it seems).

    A wind bag [I know lots of these!]

    Apparently, blowing a ping-pong ball up a tube is a useful exercise

    A Voldyne...used for measuring and increasing lung capacity (apparently, most people only use 50% of their capacity)

    More ping-pong balls...but there are three this time, which will no doubt make you three times the player!

    Anyway, has anyone ever used one of these, and, if so, did it make a difference?
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Arnold Jacobs was a Tuba player in the USA, I guess he had to shift a lot of air for the orchestral stuff he did. With these devices being of US origin (?) you might get more response on a US forum, perhaps via a member who posts on TMP and say Tuba net or the trombone forum (Moomin Dave and Vegas bound both post on the trombone forum).

    I wonder what other devices there are and what works, it certainly would be helpful to me to be able to use my lung volume better.
  3. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Thanks for the reply. Whilst the particular devices I listed above are from America, they are not specifically American. Apart from the wind bag, they are medical devices frequently used over here. My father in law had to use at least two of these as part of his recovery from heart bypass surgery in order to rebuild his chest muscles
  4. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Good subject. I was once told that if I folded out my instrument it would reach to the moon and back, I don't know how true this is? What I do know is that there is an awful lot of air to blow.Because of my 40 a day Benson and Hedges habit I do struggle for breath. With this in mind I visited my GP and he recommended the product below, cheap and readily available at about 30p. I 100% recommend this product.
  5. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    It is my opinion ANY device if used correctly may help your playing. I have heard people say mouthpiece buzzing helped them tremendously, and others call it a waste of time. Anything that will help you stretch out you ability to play will less breathing, will, of course, help with phrasing and even intonation. The blowing "ping pong" balls, to the best of my knowledge, was used by NASA to prepare astronauts. The balls were added to make it more interesting.

    Long tones and more long tones can have a similar outcome. It all comes down to how hard you want to work at such things. There are few, if any, short cuts.

    Post this on the Tubanet. That board is interesting and you will get some very interesting responses (and some will be far from polite).
  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I use one of the single ping pong ball blowy things (no idea what the posh name is). I use it partially for the playing (and it does help) and partially for asthma (it helps that as well). I also use it with some of my students and a couple of them have felt the benefit enough to buy their own.
    With all of these devices, if you are using it correctly it can be a help but if you go in with no clue and no help then I doubt it will give you the benefit that you are hoping for.
  7. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    OT. Indeed, but he only had about one lung's capacity, owing to a childhood illness, so the detailed study of breathing was a speciality of his.
  8. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member


    Dear B***d

    Was the suggestion that you wore it on your head ?
  9. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    By the way

    I knew a girl once who could fire a ping pong ball a considerable distance.

    Hopeless on the baritone however so this clearly doesn't work for everyone.
  10. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

  11. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Thanks for this: I believe the blowy thing is called an Inspiron spirometer (I much prefer your version, though). I had read about asthma sufferers using it to beneficial effect: I might give it a try.

    This looks interesting too! I've just discovered that Thomann supply all of these devices, so, I can see that I am going to accumulate a lot of breathing devices!!!

    Did you make her your wife? If not, I'm sure she wasn't short of offers.
  12. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    Not sure about lung capacity itself being an issue as that only affects the length of time you can exhale. The main issue is embouchure efficiency, and I know from doing a chop rebuild that fixing this can make a huge difference. Part of that is the lip buzzing thing. I was taught that if you can't play it in tune on your mouthpiece you can't play it in tune on the instrument. I do think that is true. Keeping the corners of the lips strong and making sure you are not just vibrating the top lip. All of that is in its own small way part of the answer.
  13. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    OT (Off topic?) maybe but still useful information IMHO. If Arnold Jacobs could play a Tuba for decades and at a top professional level then what he did to achieve that with limited lung capacity is certainly interesting to me.

    OT, a brass teacher who I used to know told me that sportsmen (and women) make the best brass students. A bit of a broad statement but basically the strong lungs and quick reactions that athletes typically have give then an advantage when it comes to playing brass instruments. Maybe taking up jogging will help me play better ....... sounds like a lot of physical effort and perhaps it will take much more than that ;) .
  14. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    I think Jacobs felt that too much attention was placed on embouchure. He had some very funny demonstrations of how a totally warped one could still produce a 'sound'. His point, I think, was that without proper breathing and air support, then no embouchure is going to save you...and the opposite is true also, of course.
  15. Big Fella

    Big Fella Member

    I have used the Power Breathe which is designed for swimmers.
    It restricts the amount of air that you can draw in which in turn makes your lungs/diaphragm work harder.