Greg, what is your thoughts on Yogi Complete Breath (Wedge Breathing)? It does call for the shoulders to raise during the last stage of inhalation and I realize that raising the shoulders if frown upon by trumpet instructors (maybe in this case the raising of the shoulders would be positive tension?). I’ve been practicing wedge breathing for about a month now and it has helped me to stay open and has helped me to overcome grunting. Thanks, Rob..
Clavicular breathing, aka upper lobar breathing, is negative when that is your primary breathing style. The brass teachers are trying to teach kids to take full breaths. Shallow breathing while playing an instrument can lead to musical and physical problems. Clavicular breathing is better than shallow breathing using mainly the muscles between the ribs. Breathing in this manner puts a person at risk of hyperventilating. This is not what you are practicing. You are learning to fill from the bottom up.
I would say if you feel more relaxed and open while releasing air into the horn, go for it; however, you are going to have negative tension if you leave your shoulders raised while playing. I am sure you are not doing that. But I wonder if the effort of raising your shoulders is worth effort. A full breath is going to cause the whole chest to expand and displace some organs in the abdomen. This means that upper parts of the chest are going to increase in girth and naturally push the shoulders up. I wonder if raising your shoulder is effiecent add-on to taking a deep breath? Can you take a quick, deep breath between phrases using wedge breathing?
Actually with the Yogi complete breath (wedge breathing) you fill from the bottom up and you lower your shoulders once you start to release. You only raise the shoulders to get the last portion of the inhalation into your upper lungs. Check out the book “The Science of Breath” and read chapter 8. It’s free on the internet. Maynard practiced breathing this way and taught it to Bobby Shew. I read that Shew said he couldn’t hit a double C until he started breathing this way. I too would like to see what Greg says about this.
Wow, great information–thank you for sharing! I am at the point where I need to focus on my air support / breathing–I want to increase my volume / dynamic range in the upper register and I think I might be hitting a bit of a wall / break in my range at about F#/G above High C.