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 Breath Support
Author: Sara 
Date:   1999-07-23 04:50

At a recent lesson, my teacher has suddenly begun stressing the need to develop more breath support while playing. To make a long story short he told me to imagine that I was trying to blow a pile of sand away using only the air coming from the . Which of course confused even more than before. So he told me to go home and just try if I can 'strenghthen my breath support' but I have absolutely no idea what I'm supposed to do. I'm still not quite sure what he means by the term. He told me a lot of stuff that made absolutly no sense and said to use that imfo to help me when I practice strenthening my breath support. I was wondering if anyone could help me with this. Since its summer I only have lessons every other week insead of once a week during school; so I still have about a week and a half to work on it. Avy suggestion would help, I'm completely lost! Thanks
PS: I just wanted to say that this BB has really helped me a lot!
Sara :)

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 RE: Breath Support
Author: Hiroshi 
Date:   1999-07-23 08:17

Since your question is very difficult to explain,no people seem to try answering.I will try it.
You posted a very difficult question to answer.I will try.You have to understand diaphragm breathing and air colulm also to understand breath support.These are all interrelated.
(1)Diaphragm brathing:this is what every baby does quite naturally.We have to understand physical anatomy.The diaphragm is located just under breast bone cage.This is connected with the back bone by a muscle.If you inhale air the mucle shrinks and diaphagm goes down.At this time your stomack muscle just opposite side should be relaxed.Then when you exale air the diaphragm goes up.At this time your stomack muscle should be used and the muscle connecting the diapharagm is relaxed.This is the basic anatomy of diaphragm breathing.Many people misunderstand air is taken into stomack.No.In the lung.Stomack is where eaten food exists.This breathing is the essential condition for breath support.
(2)Breath support is an abilty to keep air going out at a pressurized state and is an essential to have good air column.
(3)The far you exale air,namely the longer air column,the better your clarinet sounds and the better projection.Very good players tones reach very far even when they play in pp.This is the meaning of projection.
As to diaphragm breathing,there is a good explanation by a proffessional flutist in this page:http://user.uniserve.com/~lwk/faq-1.htm#219
As to air column famous flutist elaborates here: http://www.oberlin.edu/~mdebost/ (Click 'flute talk')
Also there is a good page 'Some Ins and Outs of Breathing' by a French hornist at this place: http://www.whc.net/rjones/brassrsc.html
(1)Of course long tone practice is the first way to have good breath support.
(2)There is another method to train yourself used by singers.In squat position with both knees half bent,(The reason for bending knees is to disable foot support for breathing muscles.Inhale air slowly and very deeply,and then exale small amount of air at a constant speed by constantly pressurinzing my stomack muscle.Measure how long you can exale.By daily practice,your time will become 5-10 times longer in a year.

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 RE: Breath Support
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-07-23 12:27

I have to agree about the long tone practice for air support drills. There are a bunch of references to this essential skill. Look in the other sections of this BBS for warm-up drills and other air/breath support drills.

The idea of controlling your exhaled air stream is critically important to being able to play the clarinet and play it well. Anyone can blow out air. It takes a lot of training and discipline to control the air stream on demand to meet the needs at the time. Try this small and informal drill.

1. Try open G for your drill note and blow air to get it to sound - but as softly and quietly as you can. Barely get the horn to speak at all.

2. Try to blow the open G at a reasonably comfortable volume. Not too much, now.

3. Try to blow the open G so that it's pretty loud. Don't try too hard, just make it loud enough to get your teacher or friends or parents to notice.

4. Now, vary the volume from very very quiet to very loud and back down to quiet.

You will learn to control other notes and at much finer grades of volume later, but this is the start of proper air/breath control.

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 RE: Breath Support
Author: STuart 
Date:   1999-07-23 17:00

I'm inspired to do some breathing exercises!
These are very informative. Your breath is sound, but it goes further:
your breath is your focus, you concentration,
for me the wind is the single thing to save me from my own mind when I'm engaging the muse.
The breath is like a singular thing think about when your wetting your pants in a jury, or playing something spontaneous. Its pretty much everthing.

Man, I GOT to do some breathing exercise.

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 RE: Breath Support
Author: Erik Doughty 
Date:   1999-07-23 22:03

Breathing from the diaphragm is the kind of breathing you do in a yawn.

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 RE: Breath Support
Author: Al 
Date:   1999-07-23 23:00

Lie down on the floor.....on your back. Don't do anything.

Place the palms of your hands at about your beltline. Notice what happens. When you inhale, your stomach seems to swell. This is your diaphragm expanding. When you exhale, you stomach seems to recede. As mentioned in a previous post, babies do this naturally. After you've got the hang of it(don't TRY to do it..just let it happen),try to transfer the process while sitting straight in a chair. Place your hands as before and see if it happens naturally. If not, get back on the floor and don't think about it. Just let it happen. Try sitting or even standing with palms placed at the waist. Don't FORCE the "stomach" out, let it just expand. Do a little every day. This has worked for my students for nearly 40 years now. Don't give up.

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 RE: Breath Support
Author: Margaret Copeland 
Date:   1999-07-26 13:45

You can try reading some information from Arnold Jacob on how the breath works with a wind instrument. This is a web page with a transcript of his lectures, http://www.dana.edu/~trumpet/pedagogy/jacobs.html. My current favorite breath and tone builder (besides Yoga) is this excercise. I set my metronome to 64 and get out my tuner. I start on my lowest and easiest-to-play note and go from ppp to fff in six beats keeping the needle on the tuner centered on the note. I then go fff to ppp for six beats keeping the needle centered. This is hard to do ! Then I play the note at an ff for 20 beats. I then go up the scale chromatically, doing this on each note, and go to my lowest note and back to where I started. This takes a while but you'll see marked improvement by doing it each day for a week. You'll find that when you first start that you'll probably start notes either flat or sharp on the first breath and then you'll settle the note on the tuner. After doing this excercise for a few days, you'll be able to get the note in tune immediately. This excercise enforces good breathing because you can't do it right if your breath isn't well supported and moving at a steady rate.

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