Breathing exercises

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Do any of you know of, or use, any drum-related breathing exercises? How do you breathe when you play? I've just noticed I have a habit of holding my breath when I'm practising, but when I try and breathe consciously it throws my timing off, even if it's in time with the click.
 

JJL

Junior Member
hey.

breathing consciously, i feel is absolutely important for everything you do in life.

~Set your click to a slow tempo. Try 60bpm for starters.
~Without playing the drums, sit on your throne and inhale for 4 beats and exhale for 4 beats to the click. Count in your head as you breathe "1-2-3-4, 4-3-2-1".
~If the tempo is too slow move the bpm up slightly because you want to breathe comfortably and deeply, without force or tension. Ultimately you want to breathe in time as slow as possible for you.
~If the tempo feels good and your breathing is relaxed and free of tension, then play your drums. Pay super simple. Hi-hats = Quarters, Bass 1+3, Snare 2+4, and breathe consciously along. Inhale for 4 beats (1 bar) exhale 4 beats (1 bar). Do this for 5 mins. The key is to stay relaxed and focused.

For breathing techniques, for now breathe in and out through your nose for this exercise. direct your breath to your belly, letting your "stomach" inflate and deflate like a balloon, keeping that area and every other area of your body relaxed, free of tension.

apply this way of breathing, inhale 1 bar exhale 1 bar to other beats and tempos. faster tempos breathe in and out for 2 bars each. later on, you can start breathing in phrases, (not just even amounts of beats each, inhale 4 exhale 6 for example) throughout an entire tune and then the music will really "breathe"!
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Be careful. There is a difference between "forced breathing" and "breathing consciously". Being "conscious" of your breath means to be aware of it. Simply noticing it's happening. With that, you can watch for moments when you hold it unnecessarily. This sort of watchfulness is a part of many schools of meditation.

"Forced breathing" is deliberately changing the your body's cardiovascular rhythm. Be careful with that. Your cardiovascular engine ticks over without much interference, and they rhythms of all the systems of your body are dependant on it. Altering it could have unintended consequences. It's not something to be taken lightly or experimented with haphazardly.
 

grannydrums

Senior Member
i have recently started tai chi and the breathing you use there helps me breathe better whilst drumming. Practice it anywhere to get the feeling. Slightly open your mouth, put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breath in and out through your nose. think of a fishing reel about 2 inches below your belly button and two inches deep within you and it has a hook into your diaphram. As you breath in think of this reel turning round and pulling the diaphram down and the air being sucked down as to your abdomen. As you breath out think of the reel letting go and letting the diaphram rise up naturally. Nothing forced--breathe at your normal tempo, just try to get the feeling of your diaphram going up and down.

I normally try to breath out just before a fill and breath in through the fill. if you breath in before the fill the temptation is to hold your breath.
 

fat in the middle

Senior Member
All the suggestions above ring true for sure in their own merit. I breath deeply before I start the tune, while relaxing my muscles and get ready for the count off. That helps alot, I keep better time. Take the 3 seconds and focus the breath. What happens in the song is often like a horn player, I will phrase with the breath......I also hum and sing whilst playing too.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
I'm not an expert by any means..

Usually when we stop breathing there is a reason. I would venture to say it's technically NOT your playing the drums that is causing this, For instance I find myself holding my breath when I am deeply concentrating on a subject. I have found that when I am concentrating too much while playing (drums) I will do the same thing. Instead of focusing on breathing, I just try to relax a little bit. This usually will do it.

It would be my advice to find what is causing it and stop doing that, as apposed to finding a way to complicate the situation even more by imposing yet more exercises to do, and yet more things to occupy your mind ...

And 9 out of ten times it's just going to be .......RELAX......!
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Oh yes, I absolutely agree. I was just wondering if there was some way of practising that with the rest of my practise.
 

Concrete Pete

Senior Member
Hey PQ,

I don't know if this will help, but as I do vocals on some of the songs both my rock bands play, and a lot of backup vox, I just breathe the same way as if I was singing the lyrics. (it's become habit)

It also helps me sinc the beat with the lead vocalist better, too.

Cheers,
C. P.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
In my professional opinion I would say that your body will breathe when it needs to. If you try to breathe in rhythm you will be thinking about it and not drumming. Just drum and let mother nature take care of itself.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
In my professional opinion I would say that your body will breathe when it needs to. If you try to breathe in rhythm you will be thinking about it and not drumming. Just drum and let mother nature take care of itself.
+1

I have to admit, I have NEVER encountered any activity, drumming, running, swimming, whatever, where I've forgotten to breathe. Opinion only guys, but I firmly believe concentrating on these sorts of things is taking the 'good technique' aspect way too far. We're getting into 'can't see the forrest for the trees' territory here.

Concentrate on staying relaxed, yes. This should aid natural breathing patterns. But the need to actually focus on taking a breath? Different if you're singing and need to phrase or hold notes etc. But simply to play drums.......I dunno.......I'm a bit lost!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
+1

I have to admit, I have NEVER encountered any activity, drumming, running, swimming, whatever, where I've forgotten to breathe. Opinion only guys, but I firmly believe concentrating on these sorts of things is taking the 'good technique' aspect way too far. We're getting into 'can't see the forrest for the trees' territory here.

Concentrate on staying relaxed, yes. This should aid natural breathing patterns. But the need to actually focus on taking a breath? Different if you're singing and need to phrase or hold notes etc. But simply to play drums.......I dunno.......I'm a bit lost!
Ditto this and spend your time on your posture. This will aid breathing more than anything else.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
+1

I have to admit, I have NEVER encountered any activity, drumming, running, swimming, whatever, where I've forgotten to breathe.
Not disagreeing with you here PFG, but if you haven't then you don't fully comprehend...

It is very interesting. I have never been in danger of dieing or anything, but, I have gone long enough while in deep concentration that all of a sudden I would start gasping for air. Not realizing that I had gone probably close to a minute with out breathing.

+1

I have to admit, I have NEVER encountered any activity, drumming, running, swimming, whatever, where I've forgotten to breathe. Opinion only guys, but I firmly believe concentrating on these sorts of things is taking the 'good technique' aspect way too far. We're getting into 'can't see the forrest for the trees' territory here.

Concentrate on staying relaxed, yes.
At first glance this appears to be an oxymoron. You can't really concentrate on relaxing. Not mental concentration that is. Don't actually concentrate more, chances are concentration is causing it. But, concentrate your efforts on relaxing. And, you can do this by "concentrating less deeply.."

Please don't take this as disagreeing. Just a bit more of clarification from someone who has dealt with t his too!

And as Gruntersdad says, Posture is very important too, so I'll ditto that as well...!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Please don't take this as disagreeing. Just a bit more of clarification from someone who has dealt with t his too!
Not at all Chip, in fact, I'd read your first post and thought at the time that your inital post was completely on the same page as where I was coming from.

In fact, I saw your comment......

"It would be my advice to find what is causing it and stop doing that, as apposed to finding a way to complicate the situation even more by imposing yet more exercises to do, and yet more things to occupy your mind ...

And 9 out of ten times it's just going to be .......RELAX......!
"

................as being very much on the same track as where I was coming from.

As for the oxymoron, I'll beg to differ (again, opinion only) but I believe you CAN think about staying relaxed. Athletes talk about it often (staying relaxed and staying focused). Tension is a big contributing factor of a poor performance. Eliminate the 'tension' and the rest seems to flow fluently. I think it's highly likely that tension is contributing to the OP stopping breathing whilst playing. Actually thinking about relaxing can make you aware that you are in fact tensing up, and in turn can help ease this.

Hope that goes some way to clarifying my position further. Best regards.
 
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PQleyR

Platinum Member
I agree with all of this guys, thanks for your responses. I'm actually very well-versed in this sort of thing, probably more than most people, so I'm fully aware that concentrating harder is counterproductive. What I wanted to do was restore my breathing to automatic, I suppose, as I'd found that I was unconsciously halting that usually naturally occurring process. The problem is/was in my subconscious rather than conscious mind.

After posting this thread I continued practicing and had no breathing problems, so who knows where that went. I'm sure it's a postural thing, and that is something I'm really keen to work on. I've done Alexander technique in the past, and other things like EFT so I'm used to looking out for these things. It makes for an interesting discussion, doesn't it? I've felt for a while that our instrument forces us to pay more attention to our bodies holistically than most other instruments do. I know guitarists can get away with much worse posture without their playing suffering as much, for example (I'm a guitarist myself).
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
As for the oxymoron,
I think you miss understood. PFG. What I meant is that you are probably as strong as an ox and I'm a moron..! (Just kidding)

Perfect example with the athlete perspective. I see what you are saying. I think I am going to try this approach too! Amazing how a little twist can change one's perspective... Thanks man..!
 
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