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How do you breathe when you play?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lichtaffen, Apr 23, 2010.


  1. funny - I record, and edit, lots of vocalists so I "hear" a lot of breathing habits. . . there's a dude I work alot w/ who takes two quick breaths before he sings - another girl who does short breaths, and this noise w/ her tongue and roof of her mouth on short syncopated rests, another girl who has the most angelic beautiful airy voice takes these monster breathes that sound like it would come from "Large Marge smoker for life" :D
     
  2. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Breathing deeply helps to relax the body. Some people get nervous on stage and grip the neck of the bass with that of a dying man's. Breathing slowly and deeply both before going on and during a gig (the latter is not always easy I agree ), helps release the tension. So, singers don't have the monopoly on this. ;)
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i don't even think about my breathing when i play. i figure as long as i haven't passed out, i'm doing fine.

    i remember reading a story about the new york dolls, and their bassist, the late arthur kane, couldn't breathe when he played at all. so he'd start each song by taking a deep breath, play as long as he could, then stop, take a breath, and play some more. of course, he wasn't very good ;)
     
  4. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nashville
    that is hilarious Jimmy! Urban legend or truth?
     
  5. Time Consumer

    Time Consumer

    Jan 27, 2008
    Joliet Ill.
    One explanation could be they we're brought up in school band programs or something. I was in band from 4th grade all the way through the end of high school, they always taught us to breath in the rests even if you we're a percussionist like I was so I've brought that habit to my adult musical career, lol.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    the story came from syl sylvain, who played guitar in the dolls. so in arthur's absence, i would have to say truth.
     
  7. in and out
     
  8. nsmar4211

    nsmar4211

    Nov 11, 2007
    Never noticed an issue :). My body will get oxygen when it needs it, so if I do hold my breath, my body will override me when it starves enough :).
     
  9. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    I am no expert on this, but from what I have read, it is the regularity that also helps. With your example, your body is tensed up until it receives a good supply of oxygen, then it relaxes until the oxygen gets low again. Better to keep it regular, plus it is more natural this way.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    honestly, it's something you shouldn't even have to think about. if you think about breathing when you're playing, you're not thinking about playing.
     
  11. Unless your in a Buddhist punk bad of course, some of those meditation breakdowns are hardcore :p
     
  12. somegeezer

    somegeezer

    Oct 1, 2009
    England
    Throught my nose and mouth haha. I sometimes hold my breath too, weird that it is so common. I think it just helps me concentrate on what i'm playing.
     
  13. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    I agree.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is for people to try and be aware that they may be holding their breath and to try to rectify it.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    can't argue with that, bro.
     
  15. I've been breathing for so long it just comes natural. If I need more air I breath faster, if not I don't.
    :bag:
     
  16. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland

    Yes, but things dont always function so naturally when you are worried or uptight about something, e.g. playing on stage to a crowd. ;)
     
  17. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    you should be breathing with the music as a horn player would at certain moments. this is another one of those ideas that classical guys will consider essential, but most other types of music not so much.

    if youre in 4, and you have a rest on three and come in on the downbeat, you (weather you know it or not) are probably going to / should probably, be taking a big breath leading into that downbeat, as if you were a singer. it internalises the pulse more than you'd think.

    its not so much a breath as much as it is a physical preparation (through the action of a breath), wich helps lock your physical body into the music as well as mentally keep you where you need to be.

    its a little abstract of an idea, but in my experience, is the best way to get a band / ensamble / whatever, to stay tight.
     
  18. stflbn

    stflbn

    May 10, 2007
    Nashville
    Seeing as how smoking's still allowed in bars in Tennessee (Tobacco producing state) I try to breath as absolute little as possible.


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