When thinking about all of the necessary steps to keep in mind while playing an instrument, I am sure that the way you breathe is the last possible thing to consider. If we all took a closer look into how we breathe during in home trumpet lessons and improve our technique (with breathing), we will notice a huge difference in not only our tone while playing but also our stamina or “chops”!
The first way to improve your breathing during in home music lessons is to have proper playing position. Slouch down into your chair and picture your lungs and rib cage. What do you imagine? Whenever we sit with a curved back, our rib cage is restricting our lungs and is only allowing them to fill up at a minimum capacity. Now, sit up straight as if a string was pulling the top of your head to the ceiling – what do you feel?
If you take a deep breath now, you will notice your lungs have much more room to expand! It is very common in band classes for students to relax all the way back into their chairs, I like to call this “question mark backs”. If we straighten them up and move to the edge of the chair, their question marks will turn into exclamation points! With instruments that we hold up such as trumpets, trombones, flutes, etc., we can actually use our broad stance with our arms to our advantage! If we keep our shoulders and elbows out wide and strong, it will help keep our backs in line and straight.
The Source Of Breath
The next point to consider is where your breath actually comes from. Take a quick breath right now- where do you think the source is? We most often always breathe out of the air in our chest for talking or casual breathing. What I like to think about is a pyramid.
If we take a full, proper breath, it should come from our stomach (or at least feel like it). When executed correctly, your stomach should actually expand out. Sometimes you might even hear sounds when you do it! A good way to feel if you are breathing right is to place a hand on your stomach and one in front of your mouth. Practice breathing a few times and see how far you can push out your lower abdomen. If we follow the pyramid exactly, we should have most of our air come from the bottom and the amounts should feel smaller as we go up.
To practice this, try breathing in 8 slow counts. Let’s give our stomach 3, our lower chest 2, our upper chest 2, and our throat 1. After doing this a few times, try adding your instrument and hold out a note. One thing to keep in mind is when we collect a good amount of air, we have to make sure our air stream flows out smoothly and stays constant.
If picturing how to fill up a pyramid is a little difficult, try this instead-
Now take a deep breath and feel how low your air comes from! You can try doing this with different counts and sustaining pitches as well.
Improvement Over Time
To improve your breathe control over a period of time, put this into your everyday warm up and you’ll be amazed with the difference! The more exercises we do with our lungs, the more air they can support over longer periods of time.
Are you ready to get started with your in home trumpet lessons today? Contact us to get started!