Breathing exercises abound. The worst example I ever encountered came to me via my friend Tom Horning, who said he had encountered a band director instructing others on his secret breathing method in an undisclosed state. The band director called it the “Sip & Hiss” method, as he encouraged his band students to follow his example. Recently, another band director introduced me to “sizzling”, or hissing the rhythm. Rhythmic acuity and ensemble benefits aside, I would approach the internalization of resistance with great caution, less the tension become transferred to the act of playing. Many breathing exercises seem innocent enough, and are certainly well intended. But what if they do cause harm? Perhaps the most sensitive among us would be the first to notice; the one to whom might be one the most harm-the asthmatic.
david brubeck.com is delighted to continue our tradition of offering some of the finest material available by presenting the work of Dr. Steve Eckert, prominent South Florida trombonist. Dr. Eckert has written a dissertation re-examining the panoply of breathing exercises through the prism of his experiences as an asthmatic and a professional trombonist. We have serialized his work and are beginning with physiology…. Enjoy!
c. 2019 Steven Eckert Used by permission