Breathing

February 8, 2008

So obvious, yet so often forgotten! Kids don’t know how to breathe.  They pick up their instrument and buzz or blow, bless their hearts, and wonder why the sound is as muffled as a mouthful of cotton candy.  

Nor is it enough to say “breathe.”  Not even “Don’t forget to breathe.”  No, breathing must be taught.  Even using a spaghetti breath (pretend you’re sucking in the world’s longest piece of spaghetti) or a swimmer’s breath really doesn’t get the point across all the time.  

Well, let me share my success story!   Demonstrating how deep the breath should go wasn’t enough of a visual, so I said “If you take a deep enough breath, you should be able to walk completely around the bandroom playing one note.”  That has led to eager students showing up for lessons saying “Can I do my laps?” and learning how to control that diaphragm muscle till the very end when they push out that last remaining breath.  We measure how far they get, cheer their results, and get them motivated to breathe even deeper next time.  

Of course, they’re always so surprised when they suddenly have more air to play the same music that was giving them trouble earlier.  Light bulb moment! 

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2 Responses to “Breathing”

  1. J. Pisano Says:

    Liz,

    Welcome to the blogosphere! I am really happy that you have “risen to the challenge”!

    You’re very right about breathing… Not only does proper technique help with extending their ability to maintain notes…it drastically helps them to correct intonation problems on the long notes that they might have been having due to lack of support.

    I wish you well on your new endeavour! Please take the time to get yourself known to the other ME bloggers by visiting and commenting on their sites (Join in our global conversation).

    You can also tell them your site os “out there” by adding them, and me :), to your blogroll. Once you add them, they will be notified on their site that you’ve linked to them and most likely will travel to your site to see what you are all about.

    I will be posting you on the new list as soon as I get it out toward the end of the week. Please feel free to comment on mustech.net as much as you like and use our forums if you need help with anything!

    I am keeping the latest information about our campaign and also help for the ME bloggers here:

    http://www.mustech.net/100-me-bloggers/

    Best regards,
    J. Pisano

  2. Kyle Gardner Says:

    That is a really good idea I think I will try that. I have done blowing competitions before and kids love that. Its hard to get them focused afterward so I have learned to do it only at the end of the day. I have also found a really good resource called the Breathing Gym that has helped me teach breathing.


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