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Breathing techniques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gruuv247, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. gruuv247

    gruuv247 Guest

    Sep 18, 2002
    Burlington, NC
    No I'm not in Labor (could see those jokes coming)
    I play in a Improv Jazz band and I'm plagued by inadaquate bretahing.
    Example: Being in the middle of the perfect groove and it seems I almost hold my breath (not meaning to) And as soon as my Brain gets deprived I lose the pocket. Is this a matter of dicipline or is it something I can work on.:confused:
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You can work on it. Breathe as you would if you were playing a wind instrument, that will help your lines, well, breathe.

    Try a Yoga class.
  3. gruuv247

    gruuv247 Guest

    Sep 18, 2002
    Burlington, NC
    Thank you so much for your input. That makes alot of sense, will definately try it. Anybody else?:)
  4. Try studying the Alexander Technique. Yoga is helpful, but not the answer.
  5. Following up on my post, my confident guess is that your breathing problem is not the problem at all, rather a symptom of more fundamental problems having to do habitual wrong use of your body. The Alexander Technique is an educational process that teaches you how to recognize, inhibit, and replace destructive body use habits. Trust me on this, we all have them.
    AT is a very big in NYC, due to the high concentration of performing artists. But it happens that one of the foremost Alexander teachers is in Asheville. Idelle Packer, 828-687-0407. She is also a physical therapist (Alexander is NOT therapy).
    Full disclosure: I am going to enter training to become certified as an AT teacher, in part because of how profoundly I have benefitted from studying it.
  6. gruuv247

    gruuv247 Guest

    Sep 18, 2002
    Burlington, NC
    Thanks for your reply Don. But what do you mean by misuse of your body,are we talking physicaly or mentally?
  7. Rent "The Karate Kid." Mr. Miyagi has some good advice about breathing. Concentrate Daniel-san.
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Interesting stuff and sound advice I think.

    I have the odd problem with this when I'm very nervous, which doesn't happen that often, but when it does... well, let's just say it takes me at least two songs to get comfortable again!
  9. Both. Brain and body are inseparable. The notion that they are distinct and independent is incorrect and damaging in varying degrees to all who believe it. IMHO, although I'm not alone, the astonishing advances in technology in the past 5 decades have led to a tendency to celebrate the brain and denegrate the physical. Human = good, animal = bad, forgetting that we are all animals. This is oversimplification for the sake of brevity, granted.
    The whole point of Alexander Technique is mind-body awareness. My experience has been that after the physical benefits were perceived, I experienced profound changes in how I think. They continue, at an accelerating pace. All while doing the same things as a student.
    Getting back to your specific question, isn't a habit mental? Infants and children naturally use their bodies well. It's only as they grow up, i.e., learn, that they (we) acquire destructive body use habits.
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    As is the case with Yoga. In addition, one of the main thrusts in a yoga practice is the breath. The original poster mentioned that he's 'almost holding his breath'. Regular practice of yoga could teach him to be mindful.

    As a caveat, I'm a certified yoga instructor. I took my training for the same reasons Don is studying AT training - it has profoundly changed my life - on a physical, emotional and intellectual level.
  11. I've probably spent an equal number of hours being instructed in yoga as in studying Alexander. I have no axe to grind, because the two practices' methods, purposes, and outcomes are unrelated. Some AT students and teachers also practice yoga, most do not. AT has no position on yoga, except when someone tries to equate them in any way, usually the result of observing ostensible and momentary similarities in what is taking place without understanding what AT is doing or why.

    I'll say again that AT is an educational process, the therapeutic benefits of which are common and real, but ancillary. Yesterday, I brought together an Alexander teacher who designed an elementary school curriculum merging AT, physics, and architecture designed to address the destructive postures of innercity children, to address a group of child psychotherapists. The psychotherapists understood AT instantly as an educational process.
  12. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I had a teacher at the idyllwild ARts academy summer camp named Marshall Hawkins...first off this man was a living legend. He had played with all the greats, was a close friend to Jaco(met him a few weeks before he died, said he got closer to him that he has with anyone other than his wife)
    this guy knows more about music than I could ever hope to know(hes like 60-something)
    and he plays the upright like no other.
    at anyrate, what he describes your sensation as. He calls it Dying.
    it happens to him when he is in the heat of it all in the middle of a groove while the band is hot and then after the show someone will tell him that he wasn't breathing that whole time....now obviously its a bit of a tall tale legend type of thing, but at the same time it has its vein of truth...cause I think everyoen has experienced it....at least once.(at least any of the performers)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I went on Alexander Technique classes - it was every Thursday for for about 8 weeks and was one of the most beneficial courses I have ever taken - I still remember a lot of the things, although it was a few years ago now.

    Whenever I'm feeling stiff and ache, I know what to do.

    On the breathing thing, I picked up the Kenny Werner "Effortless Mastery" book with CD, which made me feel great. It concentrates on breathing a lot and every time after doing the meditations, along with the CD it made me feel better about playing.

    As I am not a religious person it has taken me a long time to get round to thse sort of things as they usually seem to be associated with some sort of faith - I really like the fact that Kenny Werner emphasises that you don't need to worry about whether this will work etc. - just do it! I wish I had come to this earlier in life.
  14. For the record, spiritual beliefs are irrelevant to the Alexander Technique.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Oh Yes - I just meant with reference to the meditation thing. I think that religious connotations put people off a concept like "meditation" and Kenny Werner is very clear about this.
  16. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Great thread! :) Thank you for all the great advice Pacman and Don.

    I do deep-breathing exercises/yoga daily.

    I do have a problem, though, at my lessons I tend to stiffen up when playing an exercise. I believe it is nerves. I just remember to breathe and my teacher will indeed catch me taking a deep breath before I begin hehe :D.
  17. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Awesome, Stephanie! Try to bring the lessons of yoga to your bass. Specifically, just like when you're in a difficult pose, or trying to balance, the breath will allow you to relax and succeed.

    When in a difficult situation, it's ok to be nervous or uncomfortable, but you don't have to react to it.
  18. elbass


    Aug 6, 2001
    San Antonio TX
    Just to add another idea to the discussion...

    When I start to tighten up, I try to scat-sing my lines and play what I sing. It helps me relax, keeps me from holding my breath, helps my phrasing by forcing my lines to "breathe," and has the added benefit of being a pretty good ear-training exercise. It's a simple idea, but it helps me.
  19. Enthalpy

    Enthalpy Guest

    I agree with the above poster...

    as someone who used to play guitar, I emulated the technique of SRV who appeared to inhale before a phrase in a solo, and exhale as he played. This got me into the habit of breathing as if I were speaking the notes. :)
  20. Groovski


    Sep 20, 2002
    My happy place
    Can't say I've ever had that problem. I have been doing Yoga for a couple of years, but even before the Yoga I don't recall having that problem. I do sing alot in my band and do occasionally run out of air on long held out notes. makes my head hurt too. Ouchies. Oh well, keep on truckin man :D