Learning how to use the diaphragm properly?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Seedhouse, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Hello, to put it in short- i'm not using my diaphragm as well as I should be!

    However, today some very helpful band members (thanks guys! :wink: )told me how I should be using it properly, but I still don't think I can get the hang of it!

    Can anyone please help me to learn to use it properly- thing is I can't tell when I am/ am not using it properly!? :?

    It seems to really be holding me back :cry: pleeeeeeease help me!
    Can anyone tell me any exercises to do to teach me how to use it properly, or help make me aware I am using it properly?

  2. CRat63

    CRat63 Member

    There's a decent article on Nick Hudsons website about breathing;
    That might be of some use to you. Just keep the breathing deep, not raising your your shoulders, and don't make ridiculous sipping noises! Thats what my teacher keeps telling me! The diaphragm should just about sort itself out when you breath in properly and fully-you should be able to feel your whole trunk expanding as the diaphragm works. Remember that like all other muscles, the diaphragm gets stronger and more versatile with practice. If you really get stuck, E-Mail Steven Mead or someone like that-he's brilliant when it comes to breathing excercises and things like that-have a look at his website, www.euphonium.net
    Feel free to correct me anyone-I'm probably completely wrong!
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    If you can't tell whether you're using your diaphragm or not, chances are that you're not- believe me you'll know when you are...

    It'll take time, so give it time... practise long notes first, get the feel of it, strengthen yourself up a bit in that area...

    You'll find that when you are playing proply, that your sound will improve, and that getting those high notes is a doddle and wonder what the fuss was about.

    Have fun :D
  4. Euph-Bari

    Euph-Bari Active Member

    when i was learning how to breayh properly - Still am!
    the first thing my teacher told me to do was - whilst sat down, bend right over and breath in and you automatically breath properly with your diaphram, then got to do the same sat up straight
  5. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Right then:

    - find a simple excersise (anything will do, make sure it does not go to extremes of register, quaver scales are good)
    - don't tongue any of the notes, instead produce the notes by pushing air through the embouchure with the diaphragm (as in Ha, Ha, Ha)
    - try to get each note to start instantly (without any air at the start)
    - get straight to the center of each note
    - play with a full sound
    - don't play too fast
    - notes should be no more than a crochet in length.

    If you do the above properly you will definately feel where you diaphragm is and repeated (but not overdone) practice will build the strength of this muscle.

    Hope this helps.
  6. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Thanks guys for helping, its much appreciated. :wink:
    Any advice from any other tMP peeps would also be appreciated! :wink:
    (113 views of this post and only 4 replies! :? )
  7. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    That's because we're all hoping someone else will answer, but didn't want to admit to not really knowing :)
  8. aons'ghost

    aons'ghost New Member

    Breath in then out- produce note- in time- note in tune - all OK, take it to seriously then you will forget what its' all about. I was always taught that you must consider the whole breathing cycle as one continuous action. Interupt in in anway, i.e change mouth position etc. you cause a 'kink' in the cycle and thus effect the final product. Begin to worry about it and you soon begin to make silly mistakes.
  9. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    This is a very good point and something I used to have trouble with myself. It is important not to stop the cycle. My problem was that I was breathing well but then pausing before playing the note. This caused a bottling up of air and sometime an explosion at the start of a note (not good). So keep the air moving at all times!!
  10. Tuba Girl

    Tuba Girl Member

    Keep practicing your belching!

    I do big burps and when people say how do you do that I say I use my diaphram.

    But seriously, as someone said previously, play a piece but do not use your tongue. If you are doing it right your diaphram will kill untill you have built the muscles. Some music actually sounds alot better when you do it rather than tonguing.

    How do you spell diaphram????????????????????????????? :oops: :oops:
  11. asteria

    asteria Member

    Have a look at www.musicforbrass.com and search through the brass tacks newsletters. There's loads of useful articles on all sorts of areas of playing - particularly read 'breathing 101'.

    A lot of it is about the breathing, as everyone's said. You'll start to figure out what it feels like when you get it right - the same kind of feeling in the stomach area as when you cough i was taught.

    Good luck!
  12. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    One thing that i havn't seen in any comments has been posture , If you slouch or cross your legs you will also hinder your air flow , You need to sit up staight ( raising music stand helps ) and hold instrument up , rather than looking down with your instrument sloping down ,
    All these things will help you to fill all of your lungs with air , not just the top bit and then your diaphram will come into it's own , and with a little practise you will get those accents and high notes with ease :!:
  13. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    yes, naturally posture is very important... you cant use your diaphram proply if you are slouching in your chair... as with crossing your legs, its very bad posture anyway, although it feels a natural thing to do, it shouldn't be when you're playing :p :D
  14. floral_dance

    floral_dance Member

    if you watch a baby or small child sleep they naturally use the diaphragm correctly, just ry and copy this movement :wink:
  15. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

  16. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    Ok then this is going to sound really stupid comming from someone who has been playing for over 23 years but what and were is your diaphragm. :?:
  17. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    it's under your lungs... its the thing that pushes ur lungs up and down when you breathe.... above ya stomach.... isnt it?? lol!!

    Look it up! :p ;)
  18. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    It's just muscle really... I think
  19. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    so do you mean its part of the abdominal group of muscvles that hurt so much after ive been to the gym?
  20. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member


    maybe! lol!
    i was never good at science!

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