Breathing For Young Low Brass Players

Breathing For Young Low Brass Players

Breathing Basics: Start Early!

Awareness is the most important first level of breath training for young brass players. There needs to be a team meeting at the beginning of low brass class to introduce them to the new world we will live in. Both breathing health and development of airflow mastery are two EARLY goals for them to become life long practitioners of both. A large investment in this very basic area of playing will change your band forever, from the low brass up ! 

Patrick Sheridan and I worked to make play therapies for young band students so they can become highly aware of the relationship between air usage and how you sound…highly aware of how easy it is to play when you are a daily practitioner …highly aware of getting better while consistently working on better body balance, better breathing, better subdivision of rhythm during the exercises, better hearing of pitches in the mind’s ear while wind patterning the music in the exercises. So many benefits by investing in the basic of good breathing !

Breathe It, Buzz It

Young low brass players need to use this sequence at the beginning of every playing day :

First, Breathe It ! Do breathing exercises to eliminate tensions, balance the body posture , and make large amounts of good airflow the norm when making music. This will create the feeling of ease while playing from the beginning of Every Day. Time investment: 5 minutes at the beginning of class and alluding to those exercises throughout the rehearsal to help create awareness of that feeling of ease. 

Second, Buzz It ! Low brass players benefit greatly by buzzing the mouthpiece well. It takes more air than playing your instrument, so musical breathing here will feel easy on the instrument. Buzzing creates clarity in low brass sounds. This intense training needs to be done in INTERVAL TRAINING style…for every 30-60seconds of buzzing, you should rest for one minute. The need for this rest period makes it a very good idea to combine the breathing and the buzzing activities to start a class. 

There are two types of buzzing activities, both of which improve the low brass playing greatly. First, glissing on the mouthpiece from note to note when moving. Practicing this way will eliminate “dead spots” and insure great buzz response when playing. Glissing is also good ear training….”when do we stop glissing ?”…students get more micro accurate by audiating the next pitch while glissing .

Target buzzing all notes ( buzzing exactly the next note… No gliss). This works on the relationship between ear and buzz (hear it, buzz it EXACTLY). Breath attacking such mouthpiece exercises accurately can bring great improvement to the low brass response and centering of pitches( air makes buzz makes great tone on instrument!). Total time invested for breathing and buzzing combined is about 8 minutes at the beginning of each class.  

Practice Sequence

The ease and flow during the beginning of class can be found again by practicing on any passage from the work material in the following  REHEARSAL SEQUENCE  :

  • Wind pattern the music excerpt on your hand
  • Buzz it on the mouthpiece 
  • Play it on the horn

I know no better way to start the day with young low brass players. All beginning players want to sound like that recording you played for them or the playlist you have them follow…..RIGHT?????! So now we are giving them sound breakthroughs daily. Now with the better wind and better embouchure efficiency, they TRY to achieve what they hear on those recordings. The result of this well-integrated low brass diet is an evermore  characteristic sound coming from the low brass, and 


Breathing Gym Materials can be purchased here.

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