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Help!

This message was contributed by Simon Hogg on 9/4/02.
It was in reply to this message: Help!
posted by Paula Russell on 6/4/02.

1. How important would you regard your breathing technique in performance?

This is the most important issue for any wind player or singer. We all have to constantly remind ourselves of its importance. However like all technique it must be studied to the stage of becoming natural and instinctive and then (almost) forgotten. When you are on stage the important thing is to perform the music, not to worry about what you staomach muscles are doing!

2. Are there any particular exercises that you would recommend to increase your lung capacity/breathing technique.

There are many good exercises for lung development and breath control. Try playing gentle cresc. & diminuendos with a tuning machine. I would reccomend Arnold Jacobs book Wind & Song. www. windsongpress.com advertises many breathing aids.

3.Have you suffered much from nerves in the past and if so, do you now have a set routine that you use to prepare your selves mentally with(and physically)?

Yes. All performers get nervous occaisionally, although the clever ones have learnt to use the nerves positively.
Here are some thoughts
1. Prepare well. Everything starts in the brain, if you are aware that you are not prepared that will create anxiety and stress.
2. Live in the moment. Don't worry about a tricky passage that is coming up, or who is in the audience. Concentratye on the bar you are currently playing. This is hard!
3. Breathe deeply and get oxygen to the brain.
4. Do everything slowly. Like a beautifil goldfish sailing through a tank.
5. Treat practice as a performance. Tape record yourself practicing.


4. How do you view the use of drugs such as beta-blockers in performance?

Don't go there.

5.Have you ever had an injury that has affected your performing for a period of time or one that may have prevented you from playing?

No, I have been very lucky, but a lot of musiicians have suffered.

6.Do you use any preventative techniques such as the Alexander Technique of stretching for example?

I have had Alexander & Yoga lessons and found them beneficial.

7.Do you have a basic practice routine that you would recommend to others?

Practice for no purpose can be very boring.

I sometimes write a list a elements I would like to improve; flexibility, scales, studies, pieces to learn etc. and spend a limited ammount of time (say 5-10 minutes)on each one. I find this helps, rather than clock watching for an hour.
8.Do you find that physical activity has a positive effect on your playing?If so what form of exercise do you prefere?

Yes. Exercise help[s breathing and makes you more relaxed. I love swimming but sadly only have time when we are on tour.

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