Breathing for playing a brass and wind instrument should be as natural as possible. It is a natural process to breath in and breath out.
However, when playing a trumpet, we need to develop the breathing technique to be able to breath in and blow with as little tension as possible. In other words, we need to develop a natural breathing. This is ironic, as we mentioned previously that taking a breath is a natural process, so why should we develop this “natural” process?
When we yawn naturally, hundred of muscles in our body work together in a highly synchronised way to perform the process. Any muscles involved somehow know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Everything seems so simple and natural. But if we analyse in details, the motion involved are extremely complex.
When we are told to mimic a yawn, or to try to be conscious about the process, then everything crumbles. This is just a example of what is too often happening when we practice breathing exercises, or when someone tells us to “take a big breath”. We start to over-consciously influence the muscles involved and to somehow try to steer them to how to take a breath. The all problems start to appear, we tense up, the body cannot function properly, and the result is very little air is being breathed in.
When we do breathing exercises, we need to have some kind of indicator that tells us that everything is fine, that the process is natural. Some players are fortunate to just do it without any tension, but many players, have a very difficult time to just take a deep breath.
Using some tools to visualise the air coming in our body, will actually help those frustrating moments of tension. One of the practical tool we can use is the Respirometer, that is a medical tool for practicing breathing (inhaling).
The Respirometer is quite a simple instrument that consist of different tubes and two or more balls inside, that will move up according to how we inhale…Very simple to use, yet very effective:
When we inhale using the respirometer, we need to be totally relaxed to be able to move the little balls up… If for any reason we are tensed or over-controlling our body, it will be very hard to perform the action.
A Respirometer or often known as Spirometer is an apparatus for measuring the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs. Generally used in medical therapy, but often used in breathing therapy as when performing meditation exercises.
With a respirometer, we can develop various breathing exercises that can be beneficial to all trumpet, brass, and wind players.
Remember…We play the way we breath.
Coming soon…simple breathing exercises using the respirometer.