Breathing Excercises

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Ryan06, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Ryan06

    Ryan06 Member

    What are some good breathing excercises to improve playing and to be able to play the notes longer and stuff?

    I only know of 2 things to do...

    1. take a piece of paper, lay it against a wall with your hand, take your hand off the paper and blow on it as hard as you can to try and keep it from falling off the wall.

    2. Take deep breaths and then blow as hard as you can.

    I've been doing these for awhile, they work great but I want to try new stuff to add to my 'breathing repetoire.'
    Any ideas put them here! :)
  2. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    Ah, the secret of good playing.:clap:

    If you have any spare cash(or can borrow the books from friends) I strongly recommend Roger Websters "Preparation, Practice and Performance" and Howard Snells "The Trumpet". The readings in these books with regards to breathing are fantastic, and it certainly explains breathing exercises in a way I have never seen explained before.
  3. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    You could do a lot worse than obtain a copy of The Breathing Gym by Sam Pilafian & Patrick Sheridan (available on DVD or as a book - I would recommend the DVD).
    Some superb exercises on there.
  4. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I find simply blowing up several party balloons to be a good way of getting the air moving prior to a practice session.
  5. fireborn

    fireborn Member

    OK, I've got a couple:
    1) To increase lung capacity/efficiency: Breath in slowly (let the air hiss through your mouth so as not to cheat) over 10 seconds first of all (should be very easy), then 20 an so on. With practice you should be able to get up to 1 minute + of constant breathing in and filling the total capacity of your lungs. (Hope I am explaining this clearly enough). Also you should practice the opposite, i.e. breathing out slowly, building up the time as you improve. It will greatly improve your control.
    2) The Arban Page 13, No.11. Play this exercise at about 100bpm as quietly as possible (not too quiet so as to lose control) in one breath. When you get to the end (if you get to the end) fill in the rest with a crotchet and start all over without taking any more air in. So with practice you should be able to play the exercise 1.5, 1.75 or even 2 times in one breath.
    3)Another is to see how much air you can get into your lungs. So breath in as much as you possibly can, hold it and take a last big gulp of air in again - and again if you can. Don't do this too much though - you may pass out!!

    Hope this all makes sense.
  6. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Hymn tunes! Pick one out of the red book with no rests in it, take one breath and see how far you get on one breath. Then do it again and try and get a bar further, without sacrificing any tone. If you can do it all the way through, pick a longer one or play it slower.
  7. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    Capacity increase is great (and I'm sure the above methods work), but we're missing the main points (in my book anyway)....technique and control.

    One eminent brass band conductor had the whole band do this one instead of running through any part of the music as we waited to go on stage at the British Open; and I use it regularly with the bands I conduct.

    In through the nose over 8 beats (approx. 60bpm)...ensuring correct diaphragmatic technique (belly forward, shoulders still).....out through the mouth over 12 beats (or longer).

    I find it useful in numerous concentrates the player on good breathing technique (intake)....focuses on control (breathing out)....and (repeated a few times)...helps create a relaxed but focussed attitude.

  8. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Fair point; I remember Nick Childs doing a similar thing during a masterclass at the NYBBW - was that who you meant? ;)

    He pointed out that you can practice breath control without an instrument, in the car or at work or wherever by doing just what you describe and varying the number and speed of the beats.

    Thanks for reminding me, I'd forgotten about this - I might try it at the next rehearsal!
  9. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    This is something I'm working on at the moment - but more from the point of view of supporting my playing with good breathing etc.

    My MD has got me blowing as hard as possible through my cornet with the mouthpiece off, basically taking deep breaths and expelling the air as quickly and powerfully as possible. Also, doing things like breath attacks rather than tonguing notes in hymn tunes.

    I'll be trying a few of the above tips as well.
  10. Ryan06

    Ryan06 Member

    I just got my paycheque from work the other day so I do have some spare cash :tup Im going to order this book tonight. It looks great!

    Im going to try your guys' tips and advice as well. Thanks everyone and if you have anymore breathing excercises, Feel free to share them! :)
  11. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Buy PPP by Roger Webster. It's really common sense stuff, all formulated into easy to read (even for Yorkshire folk)formula! Lets face it, he is fantastic!
    I have to admit it made me think about what i wanted from my playing and helped me focus on what i can do. I now wish i had the cheek and the money to ask him for lessons/direction.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2008
  12. flugelboy

    flugelboy Member

    one good tip which russell gray has tought me is lie on the ground with your legs together.Take a deep breath in and as you exhale slowly raise your legs and keep them raised untill you run out of air and it really makes you use your diophram.
  13. zak

    zak Member

    Chris Houlding perhaps??????
  14. Sonny Barker

    Sonny Barker Member

    There's a LOT of **** being spouted on here! Breathing is quite simple; in, then out. I appreciate that some very experienced people have been quoted on here, but I think their 'tips' are driven more by the need to pad out a book, or college syllabus.

    It's astonishing how such a simple act can be inflated to become a whole new science.

    Try this:

    Get fit
    Do some practice
    Stay fit
  15. smaca

    smaca Active Member

    Have to disagree. There has been some good advice on here for people who struggle with the "simplicity" of breathing(I can be one of these).If breathing correctly was so simple, why do so many people struggle with it?
    Breathing can change under the pressure of contest/concert conditions, auditions etc,etc----------for me, I really wish it was as simple as breathing in and out.

    If the simple approach works for you then great. I tried your 3 point approach as one of many different approaches and it did not help.I just happen to think that the advice I have been given by people like RW has helped me greatly, and I am very grateful they have shared their experience and methods to others.
  16. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I'm not sure that is the case for the two texts mentioned here, by Snell and Webster... but you are right, there is a lot has been a lot of poor advice with regard to breathing posted on this forum (and other brass forums) in the past.
  17. MR WMS

    MR WMS Member

    Use your diaphragm to do what exactly?
  18. I'm going to agree again! I think alot of brass players (me included) don't know how to 'breath' properly when playing! this becomes more apparent on stand at a contest, when nerves get the better of use. you can also inhale too much air (without breathing out) when you play which is just as bad!!
  19. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    Both excellent books.

    The one thing I pride myself on regarding my playing is my breath control. The exercise I use is as follows:

    1. Get down on all fours (I'm not sure why-ask Russell Gray!)
    2. Breathe in over 5 beats
    3. Hold your breath for 25* beats (seconds)
    4. Breathe out for 25* beats
    5. Hold empty for 5 beats
    *You can substitute these numbers for different ones, though try to work in multiples of five.

    I found this really really helps. Twice a day (do it while watching the TV!) and in a week you'll see the difference. Once it becomes easy, increase the times. There's only so far you'll ever be able to push it, but it does wonders for your breath control.

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