Applying Breathing Exercises
If you haven’t already read “Breathing Exercises” read that first as I explain many of the fundamentals of breathing.
The breathing exercises we do are not entirely like how we breathe when we play the trumpet. When we are first learning to breathe while playing the trumpet, we will likely think too hard about it. This is okay at first, but the long term goal is for trumpet breathing techniques to be second nature. To get there, it will take time but one can follow these steps to get there.
Step one: Sit or stand up with good posture like I talk about in “Breathing Exercises”
Posture is the building block that everything is resting on so we must do this right first.
Step two: Focus on breathing openly and without tension like how we did with the rolled-up paper. Breathing in without tension will allow us to play the trumpet without tension.
Be advised, breathing should be silent. If there is sound when you breathe, then there is a restriction of flow somewhere. Common places to have air flow restrictions include the jaw or lips being closed too tight, the throat is tight or slightly closed, or the tongue being too high in the mouth.
Step three: Take full breaths and fill up to 100%. This will allow you to play longer, higher and lower, louder and softer, and with a full beautiful tone.
Step four: Repeat steps one through three until you are thinking more about when you will breathe and less about how you will breathe.
Step five: If you are practicing a piece of music it will be beneficial to spend the time to write in breath marks in every place you think it is fit to breathe. Take into consideration rests and phrases, and then look forward to see if there is a long stretch coming up where you won’t be able to breathe.
A good rule of thumb is to breathe in the style that you will be playing. For example, if I am playing one, high, loud, fat, note, then I should breathe in hard and fast one beat before I come in. But if I am about to play a long 8 bar soft melodic passage, then I should take a softer and longer breath, maybe four beats.
At the end of the day, learning to breathe is a career-long process. But, applying these basic principles will allow you to take good trumpet breaths and eventually it will be second nature. If you need help monitoring these changes you can schedule trumpet lessons.