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 Post subject: New player
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:18 pm 
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im an intermediate harmonica player and wondering if theres any exercises to that will help breathing and octave pressure for penny whistle?? Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:58 am 
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It's not a complex instrument. I think the best exercise you could come up with to help your playing is playing it.

Play the whistle. Sound bad. Be conscious of when you sound good and when you don't, but don't - and this is critical - engage your conscious mind in adjusting your technique. Your unconscious brain will be far faster, and more reliable in the long run, at this task. Soon, your muscle memory will know exactly how much air to blow for every note, and you'll never have to think of it again. In fact, you won't ever think of it again. Thinking about it is a waste of time. The solution comes from practice and repetition, not thought.

You'll be able to switch between whistles with differing breath requirements, and to adjust automatically within moments. If you had to think all these adjustments, it'd take a whole lot longer. Trust your reptile brain. What you want to do is to build the connection between your ears - this sounds good, or it doesn't - and your lungs and fingers, without engaging your brain. It's totally doable.

If you're a newbie whistle player, you're going to sound bad for the first X hours. My advice is to hurry up and practice through this period. You can do it, and your brain will adapt. That's where success lies.

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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:33 am 
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sobertogod1 wrote:
If you're a newbie whistle player, you're going to sound bad for the first X hours. My advice is to hurry up and practice through this period. You can do it, and your brain will adapt. That's where success lies.


This. Exactly.

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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:34 am 
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Breathing in Irish dance music is a more complex question. It's hard to learn this without a lot of examples, but the short answer is that there are emphasized notes and passing notes. In ITM, you breathe by dropping an 1/8th note's worth of a passing note and taking a breath. Emphasized notes are the odd-numbered notes in each bar, if you give every note the same time. Passing note are the even numbered notes.

When I first started playing whistle, I memorized a few breathing opportunities and panicked if I ran out of breath before reaching them. Eventually, I realized there was a place to breathe in almost every bar. The important thing is embedding the overall rhythm of the piece. If you keep that, you can get away with anything.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:55 am 
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By the way, don't take my posts here as dismissive of your motivation. It's always wise to ask the experts for their experience. In this situation, I suspect that what you need is practice. In other situations, it won't be. Sometimes, it'll be insight. Don't let my answer to this question discourage you from asking another question in the future.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:32 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
Eventually, I realized there was a place to breathe in almost every bar.
Somewhere way back on the forum is a suggestion to - as an excercise - try and find somewhere to breath in each bar in succession in a few tunes. A lot of them sound bad, but it helps one to explore the phrasing of the tune and eventually to start putting the breaths in automatically - and then maybe revising them if it could be done better.


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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:55 am 
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I used to play blown instruments before taking up chromatic harmonicas, & it was very difficult to adjust to the different technique of not filling my lungs with air before starting to play, you have the reverse problem, you need to fill up your lungs before you start, & keep them topped up.

In music, you will find phrases, these are where you take your breaths, as you become familiar with a piece of music, you will recognise the phrases.

As with everything, practice is the key word. :)

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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:38 am 
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In music, you will find phrases, these are where you take your breaths, as you become familiar with a piece of music, you will recognise the phrases.


All the same you need to take care not to breath in the same place each time round, your tune needs to flow and not start/stop in the same spot each time. You don't want to make things unnecessarily monotonous and choppy.

I'll give the usual shout out for some thoughts with regards to this issue:

Bro. Steve : Where do I breathe?

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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:43 am 
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Thanks to all for your responses. Since ive learned all that i play by ear it makes perfect sense.
i know especially with shooting its all about building new neural path ways again much appreciated!!
gary


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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:09 am 
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me again i dont want to sound appreciative of the music provided but any suggestions for slower tunes to practice that are a wee bit slower?
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:17 am 
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As a long term Harmonica player (60 plus years) I would second Mr Gumby's comments.

As a recent convert to whistles (7 years) I have and continue to realise that breath control is an on going process and that the techniques used for the Harmonica is different from that of whistles. The plus side is that you are able to control the length of the outward breath, perhaps a little longer than most players who are new to the whistle.

I still try too hard to control the breath flow. I have found that by relaxing the upper body the easier it is to let the whistle sound as I wish.


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 Post subject: Re: New player
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:27 pm 
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Thanks Parf makes perfect sense. i think that tone quality comes from diaphragm and relaxation even the throat.


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