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I forget to breathe when playing violin.
A meditative breathing exercise for me
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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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June 17, 2014 - 7:45 pm
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No, not really, if I did then I would not be able to post this, and everyone knows about breathing while playing, but me.

While working hard to relax my shoulders and arms muscles, I noticed that the more I practiced or the more intense the tune, the harder it became as all my muscles were more and more tensed and aching. Found out that I forgot to breathe regularly or hold my breath over some hard passages.

So here is what I've been trying to do, hopefully sharing it with you just in case needed, a meditative breathing exercise, almost like Tai Chi in action, but with a violin instead.

Before starting to practice, I took a few deep breaths first, picked some slow tunes, scales, or just random notes/improvisations, something real familiar so there would not be much effort in playing and instead focusing on deep breathing, slowly in and out, empty my mind as there are just my violin sound and breathing timing. Slow movements, controlled breathing and relaxing are working like meditation for me. A few minutes for the exercise and then to some tune, or whatever, but with breathing in mind while playing, it seems to help quite a bit.

I find that it's much better, much more relaxing, as better tone, more precise fingering, better bowing control, and better vibrato.

May be a bit strange, but I like to share with you my experience in learning violin.

Don't laugh at me as I've been known as a rebel.

Thanks all for taking time to read this.

Robert

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coolpinkone
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June 17, 2014 - 7:55 pm
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Hello my rebel friend.  I think this is a fine bit of advice.  I can't wait to get home and try it.  I do a deep cleansing breath when getting ready to play but I haven't been paying attention to my other breathing.  What you says makes sense for all activities in life and it seems that it would be of assistance in violin playing.

You know.. Mind, Body, Soul.

Great topic.

Thank you,

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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June 17, 2014 - 8:24 pm
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I try to breath like I would if I were singing the melody..Other than not turning blue and falling over or something from forgetting to breathe, I feel it helps with phrasing and with making pauses and dynamics feel more natural.  

I also make it a point to move a bit while playing, since it helps to keep from tensing up.   Often I'm playing while walking through the house.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Tucson1
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June 18, 2014 - 1:01 am
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Welp , thanks for bringing this to every ones attention , Ratvn ...

I think proper breathing is important to most things we do everyday ...

Heard the expression ...Relax and take a deep breath ?

It really does matter ...need oxygen to the brain and muscles to work right and being able to relax burns less oxygen and un tenses our mind and body

AS a student of Kosho we were taught / reminded , among other things , that breathing in and out trough yer mouth will dry yer mouth out so it is advised to inhale through yer nose and exhale through yer mouth ...yep , some folks acctualy need to be taught how to breath properly ...and then reminded to breath , period ...

For the breathing challendged like myself , i do advise useing Breath Right Strips ...they work ...Body , Mind , Spirit ...playing violin is good medicine fer all

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ratvn
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June 18, 2014 - 1:16 am
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Thanks, Tucs for your valuable inputs and thoughts. They really reinforced the practice.

Yes, better breathing helps me a lot.

Maybe my burning sensation of violin learning goes better as there is more oxygen to it now? LOL. But as I thought violin learning would be meditation to my health when I first started, I've found one of the missing links, proper breathing, and it really enhances my learning experience.

Thanks again, Tucs.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 18, 2014 - 10:32 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Great topic as breathing is important in expression and definitely worth some consideration. When I think about it, I can't remember breathing while playing but as you said, then I wouldn't be alive. :)
I think that breathing helps enhance phrasing. My guess is after playing for so many years it comes automatically but I'll give it some thought one of these practice sessions in the future.
Thanks for bringing the topic up.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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suresh
Tuticorin, India
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June 18, 2014 - 11:59 am
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Yes a great topic.  Thanks Robert.

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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suresh
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June 19, 2014 - 10:13 am
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If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 19, 2014 - 5:50 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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He plays great Sarasate. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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June 19, 2014 - 8:37 pm
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Thanks, @DanielB, @suresh, and FM for your inputs.

I will try to incorporate phrasing, expression with breathing as I think it's great idea.

Thanks again.

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