Talking to Ingo R. Titze, professor of voice and speech and direction of The National Institute of Voice and Speech.
When my brother visited conversations moved to the respiratory system and I had to access his knowledge of breathing while playing the piano. My I-Phone would only let me do five minutes segments of the twenty minute Periscope and there is some overlap from segment to segment. I hope you find the information helpful.
Introductions and Setting My Intentions
Ingo R. Titze is a scientist of the voice and has been studying the mechanics of making sound for forty years. I knew he could enlighten me on the respiratory system and wondered if we could apply his knowledge of breathing to the issues I was facing with a few students who hold their breath.
My question: I have a student who holds his breath while playing through difficult passages. How could I help?
Answer: "He needs to use his breath cycle to enhance what ever else he is doing. We do things in cycles almost always returning. We have to bring the rhythm of one cycle and bring it together with the rhythm of another cycle. When the cycle of breathing interferes with the cycles of playing then we get tense and we don't use our body effectively. But, if we are aware of our breathing then we start the phrase with a breath and we end the phrase with a breath. Then we have two cyclic movements going together and enhancing each other.
Question: How short of a segment could I expect a child to work on?
Answer: I would choose something about a second or two in length. Make that student aware that taking a breath and releasing it is really part of the playing.
Inhale before playing the passage and exhale while executing the phrase. Use other movements such as extending your arm to use the body and breath. Breath is a rhythm. Breath is not holding on to something, it is always a gradual letting go. But the timing must synchronize with what you are doing physically.
What can we observe in regards to how they are breathing?
Answer: Watch to see if they are regulating the amount of breath they need to play through phrases.
Question: Should we teach breath along with introduction to legato and wrist lift?
Discussion of how a vocal teacher could relax the student breathing
Introduction of "Fascinations of The Human Voice" and invitation to use a straw to reset and relax your vocal cords.
Using a simple straw
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I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST, but next week on Monday 9:00am, and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.
Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog.
Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.