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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakPolls(Moderators: bhcordova, RedHotMama, BFW) Do you use a breathing tube?
Poll
Question: Do you use a breathing tube?
Yes. I use a breathing tube every day
Yes. I use it every few days
Yes. I use it every once in a while
No. I have tried it but don't use it anymore
No. I have never tried it and do not use one.

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SethMatrix

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« on: Jun 17, 2016, 04:54PM »

Hello,

I'd like to use this poll to see whether the use of breathing tubes is widespread, and if so to what degree.

Thanks

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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 17, 2016, 05:29PM »

I was forced to use one when I reclassed my job in the Army. The trombone instructor was all about it.

I used it once during a lesson to humor him.
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 17, 2016, 05:54PM »

Does this refer to one of those contraptions with the floaty ping pong ball inside? I think they look very silly and don't have an obvious correlation with breathing control for brass playing.

On the other hand, doing some breathing exercises through a largish (c. 3cm diameter) bit of pipe is something I find relaxing and beneficial.
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SethMatrix

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« Reply #3 on: Jun 17, 2016, 06:03PM »

Does this refer to one of those contraptions with the floaty ping pong ball inside? I think they look very silly and don't have an obvious correlation with breathing control for brass playing.

On the other hand, doing some breathing exercises through a largish (c. 3cm diameter) bit of pipe is something I find relaxing and beneficial.

This is talking about the pipe. Such as the one pictured here http://s90.photobucket.com/user/rtg222/media/anchor/DSC_0302.jpg.html
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Russ White

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« Reply #4 on: Jun 17, 2016, 06:19PM »

I keep one in the console of my truck. I just got a 4" piece of 1" schedule 40 PVC. It is a good mechanism to get one familiar with how an open throat feels and how to fill the lungs from the bottom up. At least, that's how I visualize and internalize it. Another of my favorites is to put a small balloon on my mouthpiece and blow it up at differing rates simulating volumes. I suspect there are a million different similar exercises designed to help one isolate and understand the different aspects of what it takes to make the instrument work. I hope folks will chip in with others. The more different angles you can find from which to look at the process, the more you'll figure out about it.
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 17, 2016, 07:24PM »

I don't think I have ever heard of it until now.

What is the intended benefit?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #6 on: Jun 17, 2016, 07:50PM »

It's like you stick a pipe in your mouth to open up your throat. Better air intake through practice while breathing. Like a lot of things teachers want students to do that isn't actual face time on the horn, it's a gimmick. It can help someone who is struggling realize that they are constricting their air, so in that sense it's a good demonstration device -- just like a mouthpiece visualizer.

Far better technique in my opinion would be to start or continue a running or swimming program. That is not a gimmick.
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SethMatrix

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« Reply #7 on: Jun 17, 2016, 08:33PM »

It's like you stick a pipe in your mouth to open up your throat. Better air intake through practice while breathing. Like a lot of things teachers want students to do that isn't actual face time on the horn, it's a gimmick. It can help someone who is struggling realize that they are constricting their air, so in that sense it's a good demonstration device -- just like a mouthpiece visualizer.

Far better technique in my opinion would be to start or continue a running or swimming program. That is not a gimmick.
You can swim all you want, and it won't give that sensation of the open throat that the breathing tube gives.

I swim on the off days of my workout routine, and I do think it is beneficial for the lungs and therefore playing, but not in the same way as a breathing tube.

I think that the breathing tube is a way to practice the openness of the throat and free flow of air without the horn. Because when you pick up the horn you can't be thinking "gotta make sure my throat is open" you have to be thinking about the sound and the music itself. I think most of us can agree on that.
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robcat2075

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« Reply #8 on: Jun 17, 2016, 08:52PM »

How far down my throat do I have to put it?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #9 on: Jun 17, 2016, 08:58PM »

How far down my throat do I have to put it?

You can just make a seal around it with your hand so it doesn't even have to touch your mouth. Or it can be installed as a permanent medical device inside the windpipe.
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 17, 2016, 08:59PM »

How far down my throat do I have to put it?
Funny enough the tube is supposed to go just past the front teeth I believe. I don't put my breathing tube far in at all.

I'm not sure if your question is serious or for humor, but both work.
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SethMatrix

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« Reply #11 on: Jun 17, 2016, 09:00PM »

You can just make a seal around it with your hand so it doesn't even have to touch your mouth. Or it can be installed as a permanent medical device inside the windpipe.
Yea I have a 4 inch long pvc pipe installed in my windpipe. Keeps things nice and open Haha  ;-) ;-)  Good! ;-) ;-) Eeek!
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 17, 2016, 09:34PM »

I'm not sure if your question is serious or for humor, but both work.

I'm not sure if the "breathing tube" is serious or for humor but apparently it's at least good for humor as I've gotten one hell of a good chuckle out of this thread.
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 18, 2016, 03:58AM »

Well the word "tube" has intrinsic comedy connotations.

Like "probe" or "crevice."
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Russ White

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« Reply #14 on: Jun 18, 2016, 04:30AM »


Far better technique in my opinion would be to start or continue a running or swimming program. That is not a gimmick.


Well, I've learned in life that I have much better results when I work smarter as opposed to harder. But, you are making, i suppose intentionally, an apples and sofas comparison. They are two completely unrelated activities.
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 18, 2016, 05:25AM »

I am using the breath builder (the tube with the ping pong ball) quite regularly when I practice. When I do Cimera studies or slurs exercises I find the sound to be quite different (that is, "larger" and "more open") and the slurs easier to perform after 3 - 4 long breaths with the tube. I think this is learning me to use air more efficient or just to "use air".

This an approach/technique that I learned from my teacher. You can also look at David Vinings youtube videos to see how it can be used.

For me it is not a gimmick, I think it has improved my playing. (Must also mention that I am an amateur or "returning trombonist" so at my level it worked fine, as I said.)

I think some place David Vining is also showing how to use the cylinder pictured above in the tread. I think I will try to do some work with that at a later point in time...

I also think one needs to work some time with these tools for them to have any "permanent effect".
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 18, 2016, 08:54AM »

It's like you stick a pipe in your mouth to open up your throat. Better air intake through practice while breathing. Like a lot of things teachers want students to do that isn't actual face time on the horn, it's a gimmick. It can help someone who is struggling realize that they are constricting their air, so in that sense it's a good demonstration device -- just like a mouthpiece visualizer.

Far better technique in my opinion would be to start or continue a running or swimming program. That is not a gimmick.

Please tell us why you believe a breathing tube is a gimmick. Please tell us why a simple teaching device that aids in an esential aspect of playing a wind instrument is a gimmick. When many of the most respected players and teachers of wind instruments (not just trombonists) use and recommend such a simple device, please tell us how you know it is a gimmick. While you're at it, please tell us why practicing things that aren't "actual face time" are gimmicks. Please enlighten us with your superior knowledge.
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SteveP
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« Reply #17 on: Jun 18, 2016, 10:31AM »

Please tell us why you believe a breathing tube is a gimmick. Please tell us why a simple teaching device that aids in an esential aspect of playing a wind instrument is a gimmick. When many of the most respected players and teachers of wind instruments (not just trombonists) use and recommend such a simple device, please tell us how you know it is a gimmick. While you're at it, please tell us why practicing things that aren't "actual face time" are gimmicks. Please enlighten us with your superior knowledge.

I sense that you're not seeing the humor in this.  It may be an effective tool but it's also fun to joke around with.
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #18 on: Jun 18, 2016, 10:59AM »

Many people, including myself, are quite capable of opening their throat to breathe or play, and using a tube seems like a gimmick.  And I prefer to teach creating a smooth flow of air yourself, since that's what you have to so when playing.

I can see that using a tube would have the same effect as a car's long exhaust pipe (or a chimney), which is to create a mass of moving air that has its own momentum and helps to keep a smooth flow going.   In the case of a car's engine the air's momentum helps pull exhaust out of the cylinder when the exhaust valve opens, so the piston doesn't have to push it out against resistance.  The exact same thing happens when playing - the standing wave helps the lips to vibrate by pulling each little puff of vibration out with perfect timing so you don't have to push so hard.  That's the feeling of "openness" when a horn/mouthpiece combination has good resonance.

In answer to the poll's question, I tried it once and never did it again.
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« Reply #19 on: Jun 18, 2016, 11:41AM »

You're right--I don't see the humor in it for the reasons I mentioned. Additionally:

Breathing tubes, incentive spirometers, breathing bags, ping-pong ball tubes, etc., are all heuristic devices. They are teaching tools designed to isolate one aspect of a complex problem to help discover how it works, and help develop that particular aspect. It helps develop a proximal goal, whereas the distal goals are to improve breathing efficiency, help optimize lung capacity, develop familiarity for the "new" feeling of relaxation and flow, etc., etc. Most importantly, when the student starts putting the entire process back together (lips, mouthpiece and horn), it will help the student focus on making music, rather than concern with air flow. 

Students of all ages are taught heuristic methods that seem to have nothing to do with their ultimate goal, whether it's handwriting, driving a car, gun maintenance and safety, dog obedience, building things... So why not in music? 

Don't knock it until you've tried it.
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Kenneth Biggs
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