CG Brass Camp 1992 - Breathing Exercises for Trumpeters by Dr. Larry Miller, M.D.

Transcript Summary

What are you doing right now for your breathing exercises and what are you doing?
We're going to be doing only up to nine counts.
Nine steps?
Yeah, nine counts.
I'm jogging too.
So you're jogging full time?
I'm jogging about six steps.
Okay, and you're jogging about six steps.
Basically what you get to when you finally have gone through the ten steps is just jogging
when you chest up all the time.
And really to reiterate what Dave Evans was saying,
I have found over the years that if I don't do these things,
all of a sudden I wonder why my endurance has come down and my range has come down.
It really pays to do these exercises every day,
mainly because you want to keep that muscle in shape.
You can practice and play the trumpet and not really improve the muscle's correct way of working
and having to set it up that day with the breathing exercise.
So basically we're all about pretty much the same except for a couple.
Why don't we start with about five steps, okay?
And where we do that, if you're not familiar with it,
we start out walking and we start breathing through our nose.
Holding it in for five steps.
Blowing it out for five steps.
Holding it out for five steps.
And repeat, okay?
Let's kind of get the chest up.
And when you think about getting the chest up, you take a big breath.
Where it's comfortable, don't over-expand and don't lift the shoulders necessarily.
Just get real comfortable.
Something that's going to work for you when you're playing on a job
and you start thinking about, I'm getting tired.
What kind of position do you want to get into?
And this is what we're trying to work at.
So get comfortable.
Let the muscles relax that you're not using.
You're not using your arms in this thing.
This is to develop the intercostal muscles, the muscles between the ribs,
the muscles in the neck that lift the stern and allow it to expand the chest.
So like that.
Okay, here we go.
We're going to start with five steps going left foot.
Keep your chest down.
All right, let's go for six.
Five, six.
Keep it up.
Okay, now I want you to keep going.
Let's concentrate on the squeeze as we move it out
because as we get to the higher numbers, we need to move more air.
There we go.
Now squeeze it out.
Keep the chest up even though you're squeezing back here.
You're finding out now you've got to take more air in.
Okay, now we're going to go for eight.
You've got to move it all in and out.
If you don't move it all, you're going to end up with breath left.
Okay, keep it up.
Relax your shoulders.
Let's start with the chest.
Raise the chest up.
Hold on.
Now squeeze in the air in.
More air in.
Now let's go for nine.
Four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
Keep it up.
Okay, now let's stop for a minute.
When you run full time, you think about keeping your chest up.
You want more volume of air in order to supply the aerobic need that you have as you exercise.
In other words, you need more oxygen, so you're moving more air.
You breathe through your mouth instead of your nose when you run.
We're going to start jogging.
We'll do five steps.
We'll do it like we were jogging continuously.
Some people like to do it through the nose.
I was trained as a sprinter.
I like to breathe through my mouth.
There's a couple things about it.
When you do some first lift breathing, it keeps the airway open.
I have a little resistance to it.
You have to get more air movement out of it.
Let's just try it.
Do you have a question?
That's when you know you need to move down a step or two or three or up a step.
If you feel like you're not developing enough to do as far as for a guy who's not done this,
most of these people have done this.
That's why I'm moving along.
If someone's just starting to redo his exercise, he's doing great.
Over the years, I've done the joint before.
I do it all day at five and six.
It didn't get seven or eight.
It's hard to do it when it's three or four times.
A lot of it has to do with your fitness.
A lot of it has to do with how faithful you are at it.
What it builds.
It takes about six weeks to really build the ten steps if you're in good shape.
Really, this is all about physical fitness.
You guys start to do PT all the time.
It makes a big difference in your trumpet playing.
One of the reasons trumpet players fall off as they get older is lack of fitness.
They rely a lot more on their technical abilities than their actual fitness.
As you get older, your limb power drops off.
For most of us, we'll all be able to play as well as we want to,
but the guys that are really the virtuosos know that they can't.
That's why part six playing when I was 60.
Bob played about that same time a little later.
Jefferson was back on some.
All because it's like baseball.
He didn't make it more than Nolan Ryan made it.
It wasn't 45.
It has to do with your fitness.
You may find a limit that's a whole lot different than the number of guys you can really build,
but you can still build for you and have plenty of air to play the horn.
It's a matter of regularity.
I have a program set up like I used to when I trained to run track.
I'll run a three-mile run, and I'll do a five-mile run one day,
and I'll do a long run another day just to train my endurance.
That's essentially what you're doing.
You guys do PT, and you're in good shape for this stuff.
You run every day and all that first stuff.
Well, as a band, it's hard to dance.
It's hard to get into a good job.
Okay. Any questions right then?
When you're running, you're afraid of bringing him to you.
Just because that's the normal way people breathe,
it really doesn't make any difference as far as I'm concerned
whether you bring it in through the mouth or not.
A lot of times, like I was saying, when I run, I need to bring it through my mouth.
The way these exercises developed was they put it through their nose,
and then they blew it out through their mouth.
The interesting thing, it'll also lead you into circular breathing
if you get used to breathing in through your nose.
For right now, learn it correctly.
If you've never done it before, learn it through your nose,
just because that's the way accidents develop.
From opera.
The opera scene is really kind of the best society centuries ago.
It was, of course, really kind of picked it up, brought it into brass playing.
Simple stuff you can do when you're walking.
I do a lot of my practicing when I don't even have my horn.
If I'm walking from my car to the hospital or something,
I may be working on my tummy, double tummy,
some other physical aspects of playing that I want to groove.
It's all a matter of, you'll hear me say this over and over,
grooving neuron catholics so that when you're playing, you don't even think about it.
Have you ever done something like shoot a basket or throw a ball,
and at first you felt so awkward, then all of a sudden it came.
In the middle of a game, you don't even think about it.
That's the way trumpet playing has to be.
You've got to get it so that it's all reflex,
and you don't even think about what's happening.
It's just working for you.
That's when you hear Claude talk about development,
and when a guy develops, that's what he's talking about,
is when somebody gets all these things together,
that maybe it's happening that I've been thinking about.
You mentioned what to do when you start huffing and puffing
and you break the exercise while you're able to perform the exercises.
Basically, what you need to do is just forget about the exercise for a while.
If you've gone too far, just keep walking and let your aerobic depth,
your oxygen depth get taken care of.
You slow down or walk, your body catches up, it's got enough oxygen,
and you may want to start back at three steps, four steps.
This is a building thing.
You don't want to start out like we did here and go to ten steps.
You want to start out where you are and go at probably two-week intervals,
or you can go faster.
You want to go to the point where you hit when you can't quite do it.
Then you need to back down a step.
Then you want to back down a step or walk and find where your level is.
You'll be surprised what a difference it will make if you're going uphill.
I live in a spot that goes like this, and all of a sudden I'm running,
and then I notice, hey, my breathing is not working.
Especially a lot of times when I walk with my wife,
I'll do the breathing exercises with her and with me,
and then start going up a hill and I may be doing ten steps
and pretend I'm doing five steps.
You've got to remember that what we're doing is moving oxygen.
This is a physiological function of the body,
and we're honing that so that at a cellular level,
the muscles will use oxygen efficiently.
It's no different than training for a marathon or a triathlon.
We're trying to make the body an efficient mechanism,
and the physical side of playing is not very much talked about.
I don't know of any other people that really talked about an exercise
that gives your body more physical strength.
The difference is, though,
you're breathing to blow the horn.
You've got a resistance out here.
If you let the gas tank collapse,
like you would if you were just relaxed and not really doing an exercise,
then you don't have any pressure.
If you run track and you're doing a hundred-yard dash,
you watch those guys.
They've all just naturally got their chest up.
In fact, when I ran track, the guy that was my track coach there,
said, think about your sternum being hooked with a rope up to the tree
when you're running, and just keep your chest running like that,
because that's where you keep the gas tank full,
and you apply pressure to it, and it moves the air.
If you let the gas tank collapse, then the pressure is gone.
But you're moving the air.
You're moving air against resistance.
If you drop your chest, you're going to lose your power.
The muscles can't squeeze against a dropped chest.
That's the biggest thing I noticed.
When I started to keep my chest up while I was getting empty,
if I kept my chest up, I'd keep power all the way to the bottom of my chest.
That's right.
If you get down like this, where are you going to go?
The muscles are already down here.
Once you run out of that air, once you get down,
you're going to get more angry.
But if you keep it up, you're going to get so much stress on your body,
that's going to tend to something.
You're going to get a feeling of sound.
That's why I went around and made sure that you guys weren't tense
except in the muscles that you want to use,
and that's part of the development.
When you start to develop, those muscles won't be working.
You're going to be sore.
You guys all know they've done this.
You get sore right back here.
You've been doing it.
You've probably already gotten sore right back here.
That's because those muscles don't work.
I think that will be checked.
Just wait until you'll feel real natural within time,
but it won't happen overnight.
Okay, I think we've got to get back there.
We'll be back.
Forward. It's after that now.