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 RE: breathing problem
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   2001-10-31 17:11

Stephanie -

Here's what I posted almost two years ago:

For me, what works is inhaling starting from the bottom -- from my hips -- and continuing until my chest rises by itself, pushed up from beneath.

Two exercises are good for this.

The first was taught to me by the great teacher Keith Stein many years ago. Suck your belly, and then let it drop down and out, making a "pot belly." An instant later, breath all the way down to the bottom, filling your lungs up from bottom to top.

When you're full of air, relax and let it flow out. You don't blow -- you let the weight of your chest and of the air do the work. If you push at all, it should be down, not up. You want the feeling of your air stream connecting directly with the reed and the sound, so that the sound almost becomes part of your body -- so that you can "taste" it. Listen to the live recital recordings of Harold Wright, where this is very audible.

A second exercise to get the air in is to open your mouth and inhale saying "Hulp!" (without voicing it). This opens up your throat and fills your lungs from bottom to top.

You'll probably get a little dizzy from hyperventilation the first few times you do this. Don't worry. Once you get used to it, everything will be fine.

For more, it's worthwhile to read about the great master of breath exercises, Arnold Jacobs, the legendary tuba player in the Chicago Symphony. There is a site devoted to him at Look under Breathing Devices to see the things he developed. I don't think the prices are too high. Then go to the notes on his master classes. They're a revalation. You can find them at , and

Finally, once you learn to get a lot of air in, you need to start thinking about phrasing -- making breaks even when you don't need to breathe. Nothing is more uncomfortable than listening to a player who goes on forever without breathing making you feel suffocated and turn blue in the face because they keep on going and never take a breath and you feel that they ought to be uncomfortable because you are and you're about to die for going on and not taking a breath even though you need to sometime only there's never any stop (see what I mean).

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 Topics Author  Date
 breathing problem  new
Stephanie 2001-10-30 22:06 
 RE: breathing problem  new
GBK 2001-10-31 01:37 
 RE: breathing problem  new
sarah 2001-10-31 02:38 
 RE: breathing problem  new
Sue 2001-10-31 08:12 
 RE: breathing problem  new
Gordon (NZ) 2001-10-31 10:57 
 RE: breathing problem  new
Ken Shaw 2001-10-31 17:11 
 RE: breathing problem  new
Uwe 2001-11-01 06:28 

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