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I was reading Dave Liebman's "Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound" and he mentions something in his introduction that was like an epiphany for me. He said that Joe Allard would tell him that "To blow is to breathe, there in no difference." It suddenly hit me that this was the key to playing relaxedly and naturally. I've recently been working on lessening the tension in my body and mind whenever I play. This quote is really great in reminding us how it feels like to be relaxed and natural whenever we play. I've been working on this aspect the past week and I have to say it definitely improved my playing. Whenever I think of blowing in the horn as if I was breathing, I would get a better sound and better feel overall. There's definitely a change in the way I play whenever I get it right, no matter how small it seems right now. I'm sure in the long run, this new habit will help my playing even further. And the change is not just physically (embouchure, lip tension, etc), but mentally as well. So whenever you feel like your tensing up when you play (especially with the lips and face), just remember to blow just like you were breathing. ;)
 

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lobertz...i am gonna say thank you for this thread. I have a very similar thread, posed as a question, up this morning....peace..a
 

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You're welcome, adrian! I read your thread just now. As a supplement, I suppose you could learn more music theory and do singing/ ear training exercises in the meantime while you're still recovering and can't play yet. Anyway, best of luck on your recovery!
 

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I've always fallen back on another similar and equally epiphanous quote about breathing. "Breathe like a baby".
Just like blowing...the act of taking in air should also be relaxed and natural. Breathing like a baby is about breathing from the diaphragm. Expanding the upper chest instead of the lower abdomen is unnatural and restricts the amount of air you take in...but that's the way many wind players breathe. "To blow is to breathe"...but first you have to know how to breathe.
 

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CoolJazz...man thankyou. That is it! " Expanding the chest is unatural, and resticts the airflow ". Separation...brilliant! With the tension i have had, my chest is near wrecked. I have obviously been expanding more and more. Hence more and more restiction. Hence muscle damage. Now...ten mins. after reading your post, i am back in touch with the concept. Thankyou so much...have a great day....a
 

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CoolJazz...man thankyou. That is it! " Expanding the chest is unatural, and resticts the airflow ". Separation...brilliant! With the tension i have had, my chest is near wrecked. I have obviously been expanding more and more. Hence more and more restiction. Hence muscle damage. Now...ten mins. after reading your post, i am back in touch with the concept. Thankyou so much...have a great day....a
I'm glad you were able to use that bit of wisdom I learned from my high school band director over 37 years ago. The way he taught me to visualize it was a key part of understanding what it meant to breathe from the diaphragm. He said very literally...to watch an infant sleeping in its crib...to notice how its stomach (abdomen) would rise and fall as it breathed...with little or no chest expansion. It's something I've had to remind myself of over the years because chest breathing is an easy habit to fall back into when we aren't thinking about proper breathing...especially since I no longer play on a daily or even weekly basis necessarily. I can go for a while without playing...and then when I do play, I notice myself going back to some of the old "beginner's bad habits"...the worst of which are bad breathing habits.

The concept of "breathing like a baby" has been of particular importance to me recently as I'm recovering from a broken rib that happened over two months ago. It's still quite painful when I inadvertently start breathing from my chest instead of from my abdomen. Not only does visualizing a sleeping baby help drive home the thing about breathing from the diaphragm...but it's also a peaceful image that helps me to relax my entire body more when I play.

"Be the Baby".
 

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I thought about it, and does this really ring true! Sometimes, I close my eyes relax, and don't try to overblow, or force it, just be natural; like breathing! It definately is better this way, than focusing so much on all the details!
 

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I tweak around w/this way too much myself! I get into this thing about trying to inhale huge amounts of air to play, and all it does is create excess tension, which ironically kills my chops, especially the corners, prematurely. When I back off and just take a relaxed breath the entire system functions better: tone, intonation, endurance. It's easy for me to fall into a mindset where I'm actually fighting myself...
 
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