Musicians! Wind players! Singers! I have found an amazing tool that has improved my breathing and with that the power and stamina of my play. I am a professional musician and have played the trombone since I was 10 years old, which means that it has now been my permanent companion for 38 years. Since springtime I have practiced with the breathing retrainer, the Relaxator. When I exhale it gives a resistance similar to what occurs when I play the trombone. Given that I play my trombone almost every day, I am very well trained in my breathing muscles.
But training with the Relaxator have made my diaphragm even stronger. The abdominal support has become as strong as a bloody warship, like a hefty ground to lean on. When I let my diaphragm assist me, the rest takes care of itself.
Better abdominal support means
I can hold the tones for longer
This has, in turn, given me better stamina and the tones gets a much better buoyancy . I can play stronger and hold the tones for longer. I also become more present when I play which, in terms of the artistic expression, is very good.
Sometimes I use my Relaxator on the subway. Some people look but I don’t care, let them look. I might as well train my breathing as much as fiddling around on my phone….
Currently I play the trombone and sing in a big show here in Sweden, “Körberg och Dalle” at Intiman. In this show I sing a lot more than I usually do. In the past my throat would always hurt when I sang a lot but I have noticed that now it doesn’t hurt at all. It feels like I’m singing “correctly”.
I can sing with power and I have the confidence to really sing out in a better way than before, thanks to better abdominal support. So far my improved abdominal support is new knowledge that I need to practice everyday. But practice makes perfect and hopefully the conscious diaphragm-strengthening breath will become more and more natural over time, without the need for me to think about it.
In my work as a Mental trainer for music students and artists, I focus a lot on breathing since it is a major part of dealing with nervousness and stress before stage performance. When you walk up to stage and just freeze, normally it is the (incorrect) breathing that’s the biggest issue.
Shallow breathing increases nervousness. You then lose your presence and the access to your full potential as a musician. You get limited and shackled.
Since springtime I go for walks and to the gym with my mouth closed. The first time I was about to try mouth taping whilst out walking (to make it easier for me to keep my mouth closed), I thought I’d put some lipstick over the tape so it would look more natural, so no one would notice. But when my daughter saw me I almost scared her to death, haha.
Since a while ago I also tape my mouth every night. It is so nice not having to sleep with an open mouth, since I get so dry in both mouth and nose. Plus the fact that I often wake up by my jaw “hitting the ground”.
Breathing plays a big part
in my well- being
For many years I’ve had some sort of breath-holds during daytime. It is like my breathing just get stuck in the chest. And it has become worse and worse over time. I give a lot of workshops and in conjunction with this I have become nervous and felt as if I could not breathe at all. When I’m stressing I lose my breath and I probably switch between not breathing at all in one moment and breathing far too much the next second.
After I came into touch with Conscious Breathing, I’ve understood that breathing plays a big part in my well- being. When I’m stressed or nervous I just use the Relaxator for 5 – 10 minutes, which calms me down and gets me back in touch with my breath.
I also use it before I practice on my trombone, in order to get the whole system going. It is also a good way to put myself together so that I can focus on what I am about to do. Almost every morning I start my meditation with the Relaxator.
I contacted Anders when I noticed that I was almost hyperventilating through my mouth go get air when I was talking to people. It was really hard. I had to take a long pause to get in any air at all. After two, three sessions with Anders it was completely gone and I could breathe calmly through the nose. I am also practicing to talk slower and trust that what I have to say is so interesting that people can wait for me to inhale through my nose.
– Mimmi Hammar, 48, Fruängen, Sweden, trombonist, singer and mental trainer