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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakPolls(Moderators: bhcordova, RedHotMama, BFW) Do you use a breathing tube?
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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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #8 on: Jun 17, 2016, 08:52PM »

How far down my throat do I have to put it?
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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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #20 on: Jun 18, 2016, 05:07PM »

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.

Ouch. That was rude. I am used to retorts to my opinions about "just practicing" (note that I did not say anything about anyone who uses the pipe, and only talked about it's use), but for that last line you wrote, take this!

PLEASE TELL US WHY!!

Well, I know it's a gimmick the same way I know that training wheels on on a $5000 road bike is a gimmick. Perhaps you personally needed "training wheels" once or twice, to demonstrate a difficult concept like breathing air, but like riding a bike once you figure it out you can figure it out again and again afterwards without training wheels. If you feel like you can't get enough air in fast enough to make it through a passage, it's not too much of a stretch to think about taking a bigger breath and trying that passage again.

I usually get a lot of backlash about downplaying buzzing and freebuzzing and saying that these are harmful. Truth is, I will pull my mouthpiece out and buzz for about two seconds on it if I'm off stage or on a bus where I can't play. But I know that some people sit in the practice room buzzing for extended periods of time while their trombone sits in its case next to them. And they wonder why they can't get the buzzing to line up with the same feel on the trombone. It's craziness.

Imagining a person sitting in a practice room sucking air through a pipe while their trombone sits next to them is even crazier.

There is a measure of overthinking something that is pretty easy and simple that goes along with these training aids. I would like to think that the simpler we make our approach, the better we all will play and the more fun we can have.

As far as knocking it before I've tried it, I did do it once in a lesson. It took a lot longer to fill up the tank using it than just breathing normally. I couldn't figure out how to spit it out in time to start playing once I was filled up.
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« Reply #21 on: Jun 18, 2016, 05:48PM »

Harrison, your statement that something is a gimmick is pure opinion based on ignorance. It doesn't account for the many reasons to try it, and it certainly doesn't account for the many teachers who use it and suggest that their students use it. That is not only dismissive, but it is arrogant.

You receive a lot of backlash about some of the opinions you post because they simply are opinions. They are not based on sound performing or pedagogical principles. You present simplistic solutions to problems that many musicians face. If it really were that simple, don't you think people would have figured these things out for themselves?

You did it once during a lesson but you "couldn't figure out how to spit it out in time to start playing once [you] were filled up." That's not the way that tool is intended to be used. (You wouldn't use a hammer as a screwdriver, would you?) Practicing breathing away from the horn helps people learn to breath more efficiently when they do have the horn in their hands. During that lession, your teacher saw something and suggested a way to deal with. You disagreed with him and (presumably) didn't try it again. It didn't fit with your view of the world. That's not just narrow-mindedness and arrogance: it's contempt prior to investigation.

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I'm asking the moderators to shut this thread down. It has devolved into bickering.
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« Reply #22 on: Jun 18, 2016, 06:16PM »

Hahahahahaha!  :D Get your beathing tube out and breathe deeply, buddy. Calm down. It's going to be OK! This is a pretty good discussion, I think, and I think other people may have yet more to say.

If you want to shut down a thread over simple differences of opinion and keep slinging insults for no reason, just turn your computer off and find your safe zone.

Back to topic. It seems like based on the poll that most people who have tried this don't find it useful?
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« Reply #23 on: Jun 18, 2016, 06:19PM »

Harrison, your statement that something is a gimmick is pure opinion based on ignorance. It doesn't account for the many reasons to try it, and it certainly doesn't account for the many teachers who use it and suggest that their students use it. That is not only dismissive, but it is arrogant.

You receive a lot of backlash about some of the opinions you post because they simply are opinions. They are not based on sound performing or pedagogical principles. You present simplistic solutions to problems that many musicians face. If it really were that simple, don't you think people would have figured these things out for themselves?

You did it once during a lesson but you "couldn't figure out how to spit it out in time to start playing once [you] were filled up." That's not the way that tool is intended to be used. (You wouldn't use a hammer as a screwdriver, would you?) Practicing breathing away from the horn helps people learn to breath more efficiently when they do have the horn in their hands. During that lession, your teacher saw something and suggested a way to deal with. You disagreed with him and (presumably) didn't try it again. It didn't fit with your view of the world. That's not just narrow-mindedness and arrogance: it's contempt prior to investigation.

    "Never argue with an idiot. Onlookers won't be able to tell the difference."
      --Mark Twain

I'm asking the moderators to shut this thread down. It has devolved into bickering.


Wow.

You say Harrison is ignorant, dismissive and arrogant for expressing some unequivocal opinions in straightforward fashion. Then you go on to do the same...

Why don't you have a beer or a lie down or something?
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« Reply #24 on: Jun 18, 2016, 07:52PM »

If you think, and feel, and KNOW that it works, do it.
Don't forget that the placebo effect is well documented.

I suspect there are at least as many teachers who DON'T use it and DON'T suggest that their students use it. Count me as one of them.  I teach the same concepts quite successfully without it.

Quote
I'm asking the moderators to shut this thread down. It has devolved into bickering.

Is that somehow different from nearly every other thread?
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« Reply #25 on: Jun 19, 2016, 05:03AM »


Imagining a person sitting in a practice room sucking air through a pipe while their trombone sits next to them is even crazier.


Touche. You'll note I said I keep mine in the car. When I came back to the horn after a 30 year lay off I was having breathing issues. My teacher handed me "the pipe" in a lesson and said "Take a couple of deep breaths through this." You cannot breathe through the tube without opening your throat and breathing from the bottom up. It turned on a lightbulb for me. A big part of proficiency in any physical activity is developing muscle memory. A few deep breaths on "the tube" every once in a while is not a futile exercise. Kind of like taking a couple of swings of a bat with a weighted donut on it before stepping into the batters box.
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« Reply #26 on: Jun 19, 2016, 05:23AM »

There are lots of things sold to help breathing, opening the throat, exercise the lips and more.
I tried it all.
To me it does not make a differense. But I am sure it works if you really believe it will.
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« Reply #27 on: Jun 19, 2016, 05:53AM »


I usually get a lot of backlash about downplaying buzzing and freebuzzing and saying that these are harmful. Truth is, I will pull my mouthpiece out and buzz for about two seconds on it if I'm off stage or on a bus where I can't play. But I know that some people sit in the practice room buzzing for extended periods of time while their trombone sits in its case next to them. And they wonder why they can't get the buzzing to line up with the same feel on the trombone. It's craziness.

Imagining a person sitting in a practice room sucking air through a pipe while their trombone sits next to them is even crazier.

 simpler we make our approach, the better we all will play and the more fun we can have.

I think it's about smart moderation.  Like with buzzing.  I don't sit around and buzz for hours on end, but I do free buzz a bit to remind myself how not to rely on the m'pc to hold my embouchure together.  If I'm in the middle of practicing and I feel things going askew, I'll play a pitch, then buzz it with proper form and place the horn back on my face.  It's like a reset button - retraining my self.  As time goes on I find I need to do this less and less.

Anyway, I could see the tube helping the same way.  I think it's only a gimmick if you think it'll solve all your problems.

But as in the case of buzzing, it has made my playing much more fun.  I can get through 2+ hour gigs now with almost no fatigue.
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« Reply #28 on: Jun 19, 2016, 06:35AM »

Right. If the tube as a teaching tool helps a young student flip a switch and think about breathing differently then it served its purpose. Using it every day or even once a week? I'm not so sure. I like that this poll actually had options for that.
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« Reply #29 on: Jun 21, 2016, 07:47AM »

Harrison and Doug,

You're right. I was rude, and at the time, I meant to be, which was uncalled for. You pressed a button, and I played on old tape. I apologize. I'm sorry.

(Where is the "flame off" emoticon?)

Some of my reaction comes down to the word "gimmick," so I looked it up. From the online Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Full Definition of gimmick
1
a  :  a mechanical device for secretly and dishonestly controlling gambling apparatus
b  :  an ingenious or novel mechanical device :  gadget
2
a  :  an important feature that is not immediately apparent :  catch
b  :  an ingenious and usually new scheme or angle
c  :  a trick or device used to attract business or attention <a marketing gimmick>


Definition 2c seems to fit best in this conversation. The online Cambridge dictionary has a slightly different meaning: "Something invented esp. for the purpose of attracting attention and that has no other purpose or value."

The use of the word "gimmick" in this conversation seems to have the implication or flavor of "useless" as in "no other purpose or value," or perhaps even "snake oil" as in "trick." That's what I don't understand--how a simple teaching device that serves a purpose can be called a gimmick.

Perhaps I'm just arguing about words here, or their meanings, but I *ahem* obviously have strong feelings about this.  Yeah, RIGHT.

FWIW: I use a breathing tube or some other breathing device almost every day.
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« Reply #30 on: Jun 21, 2016, 08:50AM »

My breathing tube is my trombone. My bass trombone is especially effective, and it's fun at the same time.
Never mind my first thought when I read this question. Then I remembered I was reading a TROMBONE forum.
However, the answer is "no" to either type.
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« Reply #31 on: Jun 23, 2016, 06:03PM »

I never used it but I had a student one time with astma. We used it and I believe it helped her. In fact she became a good trombone player and we used it as a part of warm up. It was a breathing tube where there was a small "ball" inside. The point was to make that ball stand high when blowing in to it. It helped her.

It reminds me when I was 16 and had an accident in skiing. In hospital they did many things and one was to blow into a thing where a kind of pencil make a graph on a paper how hard I could blow. This was in the seventies and I remember the hole thing broke down when I blow. But of course this was meant for people with heart and lung failure.

Today I'm not sure what will be the result if I blow into that machine. Better still skiing and hope for the best....

Anyway, serious, it cant hurt to use such a tool?

Leif

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robcat2075

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« Reply #32 on: Jun 23, 2016, 06:42PM »

Could you get the same result by wedging your mouth open with two fingers like voice teachers make you do?
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« Reply #33 on: Jun 23, 2016, 07:13PM »

Seems as if there are many people that have not tried it, and yet they are vehemently against it.

Seems ignorant to not try it at least... To try it and find it unbeneficial is respectable.
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M&W Custom Bass Trombone
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