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Excercises

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Each morning I go outside and do my breathing excercises. Filling my belly, working the lungs upwards, raising the arms, doing my best to improve the weakest aspect of my playing at the moment, breathing. I hope the neighbours think I am a martial art nut. I got some excercises off the internet and have been at this about a week. I know its not long, but no improvement so far that I can see. Does anyone actually do this stuff, any of you out there? I have found so much improving info in other areas that I have to believe that this is the way, but I still get out of breath far too easily. I am more than happy to work at this, but someone tell me they do it too, please. I also downloaded Tims long note practice pieces. How long will it be? Dont smoke and have even cut down on alcohol since strangely I find this affects my breathing far more than I remember smoking ever did. I started off a bit confused about the excercises since I have never thought of my lungs as being in three parts, but I think I have sorted that and it is really just making sure that the entire capacity is used, sort of stretching excercises for the lungs. To be honest I think I just forget about proper breathing a lot of the time when I practice, but even when I remember I need to improve. Does anyone really do this stuff apart from your misses down at the yoga class?
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Somewhere, that nice Mr. Thomas suggests when walking, that you breathe in over so many steps, hold your breath for so many and then breathe out over a number of steps.

Too late for me, get confused about what comes after two..... or is it one?
 

Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
Subscriber
Messages
2,362
I don't and never have done any breathing exercises. I swim every day when I can (and have since I was a kid) and I think this has probably helped me in using all (or most) of my lung capacity. The only thing I find can affect my breathing is tension. It tightens everything and often you don't realise you are tense. I'm sure there will be a host of good advise for you but keep at it. :)
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Used to run a bit years ago, always very hard work for me, and that breathing in over a number of steps and out again is exactly what I used to have to do. V interesting and I will try it next time I have the misfortune to find myself afoot.

Can barely swim myself. Probably wouldnt drown but the way I move in water is downright embarassing.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I have done some decent exercise for the past few years, in the gym, and now mainly 2-3 hours of dogwalking per day. I also play both trumpet and trombone which require more air than all saxes except baritone & beyond.

The following points I'd sum up:
1. Choosing the right mpc/reed combo is important - nothing too straining/large/hard for our individual capacity.
2. Being relaxed when playing is important.
3. Having a decent warm up is important and taking regular breaks during practice.
4. Think "Bagpipe", when breathing, so that your belly expands not your chest.
5. Make sure that you let go of your air in a disciplined way, not all at once.
6. When you are learning/playing a piece practice taking just enough air in so that you do not have to get rid of stale air at the same time as taking new air in - again it can be a bit of a discipline, butmeans that you can refill quickly rather thanget breathless trying to do too much all at once.

Just some spontaneous thoughts on the subject of breathing.
Kind regards
Tom
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Hi Tom. Really having it bad today. I have stopped my backsliding habit of sitting down and have just finished a horrible thirty minutes sight reading. I am a bit concerned about mouthpiece/reed combo. After playing around yesterday in my quest for high F# straight off I finally got it with Selmer mpc and Vandoren V16 #3, a harder reed than I usually use. I was also getting low C and so I thought I had a breakthrough. Put the exact same on today and cant get high or low consistently. I have used combos of two mpcs and three reeds today and nothing has gone right. Very disappointed cos I concentrated on breathing, which went so weak after 30miniutes I had to stop the awful noise I was making. Points 2, 5, and 6 I will work on concientiously. Havent thought about only taking in what air I need. I lose track of breathing, even when like today I made a good effort to get it right. I will have another session this evening. My aim is to play for at least an hour making only nice noises.
Cheers Tom
Mike
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
I was finkin ...

Hi Tom. Really having it bad today...

----------------------- 8< ----------------------- Polite Snip -----------------------


I lose track of breathing, even when like today I made a good effort to get it right.
I thought about this yesterday - But didn't comment as I thought it was too simple an answer ... :shocked:

This may well be you key to resolving your breathing difficulties ...

I have noted this is a problem that I can fall into if I don't think about what I am doing ... :blush:

Some passages require short intakes - "Little and Often"

While other passages seem to demand a full intake of breath to enable fluid playing over a number of bars without breaking for breath ... :eek:

Try planning your breathing a little more "breathing discipline" may be the answer rather than exercises ...

Cheers Mike :mrcool
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Hi Tom. Really having it bad today. I have stopped my backsliding habit of sitting down and have just finished a horrible thirty minutes sight reading. I am a bit concerned about mouthpiece/reed combo. After playing around yesterday in my quest for high F# straight off I finally got it with Selmer mpc and Vandoren V16 #3, a harder reed than I usually use. I was also getting low C and so I thought I had a breakthrough. Put the exact same on today and cant get high or low consistently. I have used combos of two mpcs and three reeds today and nothing has gone right. Very disappointed cos I concentrated on breathing, which went so weak after 30miniutes I had to stop the awful noise I was making. Points 2, 5, and 6 I will work on concientiously. Havent thought about only taking in what air I need. I lose track of breathing, even when like today I made a good effort to get it right. I will have another session this evening. My aim is to play for at least an hour making only nice noises.
Cheers Tom
Mike
Forget about high F# at the moment, it's too early to worry about it. Concentrate on everything below it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I have been doing these Breathing Exercises from Taming The Saxophone for well over a six months now and have found it really, really helps! I doubt I'll stop doing them! As for drinking beer, never had a problem with breathing until at 12 pints :cool: plus I always sound better after six :)))
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Yeah, point taken about beer. Had a better time tonight. I think this is why. I spent 40 minutes recording stuff of my own. So, I know exactly what is coming next, so I breathe for it. When sight reading I have always dived into something, anything that I dont know. So I have to read it, not guess or cheat with it. I'm getting along fine with it but I obviously am not reading ahead, so dont know whats coming, so am not preparing for it. Just figured this today. I am going to carry on with excercises since excercise works in general and it must help in the end. Also the long note warm ups. I got some good stuff off Taming the Sax yesterday. Reed care and modifying, and lots of stuff about reeds I did not know, and getting the high notes. The altissimo stuff was really interesting, never knew anything about that or the fingering. It is a whole lot of genuinely useful information very well presented. Also about the positioning of the lig. I wonder if a better one of them would be a good move. When I look at it end on the curve of the lig does not quite follow the curve of the reed. It grips it at the sides and is a little clear of it at the top. Also, how far up the reed should the lig grip? Just clear of the machined bit and flush with the end of the round bit of the mpc? Anyone know? My whole set up is very budget. Sax was 160 quid so though the horn bit of it is pretty good for tone, intonation etc., it obviously didnt come with any class in the mpc or ligature.
Thanks all
Mike
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Reading, same for me and repeats are even worse... Timing is my big wall to climb at the moment. As soon as I try to get it right I stop myself reading. I don't multi-task...

Lig - many mouthpieces have a line scribed/cast into them, it's a good starting point If there isn't one the front/tip/mouth end of the lig should be just behind the window. If it's too near the sax, you'll get squeaks.

I don't think the lack of pressure in the centre of the reed matters. Quite a lot of ligs only apply pressure to the sides of the reed, by design. The reed tends to swell underneath, in the middle along it's length and naturally exerts pressure there. When you take the reed off, is there moisture under it? and if so where? This will give you an idea of where there's a gap. Most problems for me have been when the sides of the reed are high, I get a lot of squeaks then.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Hi Kev. Well now, moisture. The Selmer mouthpiece keeps me this side of reasonable, the other mouthpiece, with weaker reed, causes so much slobber that the cooling fan I have to use when practicing blows it back in my face. Isnt that lovely? I do know that that is not normal and there is something wrong but sometimes that set up works better for me than the other. On the original cheapy mpc, not prob with slobber. I read Pete's stuff on reeds, and what you raise here so it makes sense. I will stick with it. Beautiful morning, outside for excercises now. Cheers,
Mike
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Couldnt swallow that lot, I'd drown. But that makes sense. The mouthpiece that does that gives the most wonderful tone but it is like blowing into something that is half closed. Hard work.
 
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