Slow practice and breathing

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Brus
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Slow practice and breathing

Post by Brus »

Musicians (and others) are often advised of the necessity for slow practice (before, presumably, speeding up).

But ...

On wind instruments, to play slowly, one must breathe far more often (not in elapsed time, but times within in a tune) to play slowly.

Isn't this a problem? To do this, one must play the tune in a manner that doesn't correspond to what will be done at full speed - that is, breathing much more often at the "practice" speed. Making the practice unrealistic in an important way.
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ytliek
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Re: Slow practice and breathing

Post by ytliek »

I believe in 100% accuracy while playing. I slow down my playing to the pace where I get the accuracy while adjusting my breathing to accommodate. Isn't breathing while playing flexible? Even during familiar tunes played at the normal pace my breathing isn't always at the exact same spots. It can change. Its accuracy first for me. YMMV
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Re: Slow practice and breathing

Post by Mr.Gumby »

to play slowly, one must breathe far more often (not in elapsed time, but times within in a tune)
On the other hand, you could think it helps you identify more appropriate spots to take a breath and make you more flexible moving your breathing spots around when playing faster.

Practice is not solely intended for developing precision. You should also be creating flexibility, being at home with both your instrument and your music rather than learning a few yards of notes by heart so that you can roll off a carbon copy each time you need it.

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Re: Slow practice and breathing

Post by calanthrophy »

Expanding slightly on what Mr. Gumby said, I read somewhere (and tend to agree) that it is advisable to vary where you take your breaths when playing a song lest your breathing become a recognizable part of your rendition. Following that advice, it won't matter where your breathing is during slow practice. I do agree that it adds an additional (sometimes difficult) element to have to find different breathing points when adjusting speed, but that only reinforces the point that breathing spots should be varied.
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Re: Slow practice and breathing

Post by Mr.Gumby »

it won't matter where your breathing is during slow practice
I know what you mean but I think it does matter as practice makes permanent and picking random spots will leave you with random spots when playing faster. It's better to find the spots where you can take a breath comfortably without disturbing the flow of the music and use them. If you identify these when playing slow, using them when playing faster will come more easily. And because you have used more spots when playing slowly you can be more flexible about breathing when playing faster.
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Re: Slow practice and breathing

Post by benhall.1 »

Mr.Gumby wrote:
it won't matter where your breathing is during slow practice
I know what you mean but I think it does matter as practice makes permanent and picking random spots will leave you with random spots when playing faster. It's better to find the spots where you can take a breath comfortably without disturbing the flow of the music and use them. If you identify these when playing slow, using them when playing faster will come more easily. And because you have used more spots when playing slowly you can be more flexible about breathing when playing faster.
Totally right. Just to add - I have found that it really pays, especially when practising slowly, to deliberately change where I breathe. That means that you find even more places to breathe when you play up to speed, and also that you do practise all the notes. If you don't do this, there can be a tendency not to play certain parts of the tune - ever. And that's not good, in my opinion. You should be able to play every note, and choose not to at certain times, whenever takes your fancy.
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Mr Ed
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Re: Slow practice and breathing

Post by Mr Ed »

I guess I'm fortunate in that slow practice is also normal speed for me. Whether it's talking or playing the whistle, speed causes tenseness/anxiety. Which also makes things harder on the breathing.

Being a former smoker of 20 years, breathing and not having it break up the tune too much can be a challenge. Even though things are much better since kicking the habit 6 years ago, I'm sure the body didn't heal completely. I probably take more spots to breathe in a tune than a lot of players, but it beats getting dizzy and falling over!
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