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Beginner When to breathe?

Frnic

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Florida
Sounds silly doesn't it?

One week in now and making progress except for breathing. If I could play and entire set without breathing this would be much easier - LOL.

Any suggestions on how to learn when to breathe, what to practice? I find I need to breathe before I run out of breath. I mean, my body is craving a breath, but I still have plenty of air to keep playing. I assume I need to do some cardio exercises, but in the mean time when I do breathe to play I first have to exhale then inhale. Which makes for a bump in the tone.
 

BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
Sounds silly doesn't it?
No. It's a huge issue when playing any wind instrument, and you'll be working on it for as long as you keep playing (or at least, you should).
Any suggestions on how to learn when to breathe, what to practice? I find I need to breathe before I run out of breath. I mean, my body is craving a breath, but I still have plenty of air to keep playing. I assume I need to do some cardio exercises, but in the mean time when I do breathe to play I first have to exhale then inhale. Which makes for a bump in the tone.
Too much air leads to a build-up of CO2 in the lungs. Very uncomfortable. Happens more on the smaller saxes, and even more on the clarinet. You need to find places in the music where taking a breath sounds natural (ie between phrases). It shouldn't cause any "bumps". You need to stiop the sound before you breathe. The tricky part is starting it again cleanly. That's another thing you'll be working on for ever. Enjoy :)!
 
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Frnic

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Florida
No. It's a huge issue when playing any wind instrument, and you'll be working on it for as long as you keep playing (or at least, you should).
Too much air leads to a build-up of CO2 in the lungs. Very uncomfortable. Happens more on the smaller saxes, and even more on the clarinet. You need to find places in the music where taking a breath sounds natural (ie between phrases). It shouldn't cause any "bumps". You need to stiop the sound before you breathe. THe tricky part is starting it again cleanly. That's another thing you'll be working on for ever. Enjoy :)!
Thank you, it is nice to hear it is not just me being old... (69)
 

GCinCT

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Not silly at all. Very common. I had lots of trouble with breathing when I first started. If you do a Google search, you can find lots of breathing exercises for saxophone players. I did exercises from Dave Liebman's book, "Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound".

As for when to breathe while playing, you can put breath marks ( looks like an apostrophe) on the page between phrases. You will eventually develop a feel for where to breathe in the natural flow of the music.

I still have trouble once in a while. In my big band, we're playing Channel One Suite and at the end, there's a run of several measures of 16th notes that ends with an ascending crescendo to a high Eb that is held for 7 beats. Ritardando no less! It took me quite a while to get my breathing down on that one.
 
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MandyH

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On which note ... my piano teacher is trying to teach me to put “breathing space” into my piano playing.
I have no problem (now) doing it on a saxophone, but I am finding it strangely counter-intuitive doing it on the piano!
 
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Frnic

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Florida
Breathe when you need to breathe. The most important thing about breathing is that you do it. The music will stop abruptly if you pass out. Breathe out before breathing in.
Its the having to breathe out that seems hard to me, I guess I will get used to it.
 

Wade Cornell

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Several of the above touch on the concept of breathing with the phrasing. MandyH's is similar to what has happened in teaching some string instruments as well. Instruments like keys and stings can continue to play "non-stop". But this doesn't always sound natural or pleasant to a listener. So it's becoming common for teachers of these instruments to ask the students to breathe like a singer (or wind/brass instrument player) would when they are playing and make their playing "sync" with their breathing. This is about always playing in phrases. Our brains are hard wired to hear speech or singing and the natural pauses (for breath) within which we organize and recognize thoughts and sounds.

It's difficult when learning an instrument and having so many other things that you're thinking about to have a natural flow, but should be kept in mind so that one doesn't develop bad habits like playing until you run out of air and then taking a breath at wherever you're at within the phrase.
 

David Dorning

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Its the having to breathe out that seems hard to me, I guess I will get used to it.
Breathing out becomes easier when you get into the habit of not automatically taking an enormous breath before starting to play. Taking in just enough means you are more likely to do as @jbtsax says, use all your breath on the phrase you are playing and so not need to exhale stale air before taking the next breath.
 

Jazzaferri

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There is a lot of promotion in his talks but there is usually a gemstone in them as well. Stig is amazing in his breath holding ability
 

s.mundi

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Houston Texas
You meant to ask how AND when to breath..
How to breath:
It's similar to kissing and I love to kiss, because it's one of the most important forms of communication. We have many different types of kisses for many different situations.. How to breath is extremely similar..
When to breath:
If you are not extremely proficient at sight reading, I would use my "two month vacation" technique..
Think about the person that know better than anyone in the world. NOW add a two month vacation for just the two of you. How well would you know that person.. Listen to the song like you would listen to "the love of your life". If you learn to listen to the song (many many times), you will know the basic cord changes and you WILL KNOW WHEN TO BREATH!
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
When you get dizzy and start turning blue then it's time to breathe...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrojrDCI02k


On a serious note...C#...your lungs are the vessels to hold the air and your diaphragm is the device to control the air in your lungs - if the tune you are playing has lyrics - learn the words and think about how you would sing the song in your head while you are playing the sax and breathe when a particular phrase or sentence has finished - as Charlie Parker apparently once said "sing sax" or words to that effect...

Greg S.
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Seeing a post earlier, I remembered that I'd written an article about basics of breathing technique as taught to me by my singing teacher. I've linked to it above.

The only thing I would add to the article is when sitting to play, the reason you sit 'forwards' on your chair is so that you are sat in your 'sitting bones' - I discovered the reason for this at a recent session on Alexander Technique at a singing technique workshop I was on
 
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