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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > I can’t breath please help.
I can’t breath please help.
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6 posts
Jan 12, 2019
1:49 PM
Sure i Can breath so don’t worry :D but i start to get the hang on single tones and i play “When the Saints go marching in” but i don’t know the tactic how to breath When im playing. Is there a good video out there how i Can learn it? Can’t find any :)
5749 posts
Jan 12, 2019
3:37 PM
Breathing is what its all about, in a way.
A foundational skill.

It’s a fairly broad question though.

How about this for a starting place?


Last Edited by SuperBee on Jan 12, 2019 3:38 PM
1 post
Mar 15, 2019
8:54 AM
I can't breathe either. I am concentrating on making sure I am breathing from my diaphragm while playing slowly. Hopefully it will become more automatic. I noticed that when I play faster, sometimes my abdomen is moving in the wrong direction. I guess my body just gets confused in the panic of finding the next note. Maybe after I learn to breathe better, my singing will improve too.
352 posts
Mar 15, 2019
10:57 AM
One of the best resources I’ve found on breath are books by David Harp (yes, that’s his real name).
3 minutes to Blues, Rock and Folk Harmonica
Instant Blues Harmonica which has an accompanying CD

Both available through Amazon.
254 posts
Mar 17, 2019
6:11 AM
I had never heard of him so I looked him up.
Seems like a good player. Interesting how he ties it into meditation and what not.

When it comes to breathing and playing. I find that when video recording. I am always checking that I don't look like some fish gasping for air.
So If you have to sneak a breath on occasion try and do it behind your hands. Or perhaps stated another way when the harp is to your mouth.
Even if you finish the lick or whatever and you need a breath, do it discretely keeping in mind what the audience see when looking at you.
I'm a big believer in audio recording oneself frequently during practice and then from time to time a video esp before you play it out at a gig for example.
...good luck with all ...
238 posts
Mar 19, 2019
3:33 AM
I think of playing as breathing. So if you are playing you are either breathing in or out. The problem occurs when you are doing more of one than the other and it catches up with you. It's a matter of equalizing.

I believe that equalizing becomes fairly intuitive. Grabbing or expelling air where and when necessary and using your nose or corners of your mouth. I also believe that becoming more efficient with the use of air happens over time.

It's a foundation skill for sure. If you have ever played a blow only instrument: sax, tuba, or bass harmonica... it's significantly different because you do have to break from playing to catch a breath. In some ways that may be simpler.

Yes, some of those single hole songs will do a good job of challenging you to equalize. So will unbalanced chord chugging (in, in, in, out, in, in, in, out...)

There was a post a while back about circular breathing. That technique does allow you to play blow notes while breathing in. I have found the reverse is possible but less practical. If nothing else it's a good exercise on breathing and control.

It's about time I got around to this.
4 posts
Mar 19, 2019
9:20 AM
I'm new to the harp and having the same problem. Being focused on getting clean single notes was disrupting my breathing. Yesterday I think I had a breakthrough. I realized I was blowing and drawing to hard. I eased up a little, breathed in through my nose when needed, and was able to play through the tune a couple of times without running out of air. Hopefully that lesson will stick with me.
Jeff B
2098 posts
Mar 22, 2019
5:07 PM
See the thread below I posted called Richard Sleigh on Tone. It's a good starting point, IMHO. There was a young lady at the jam the other day who wanted some advice and I told her to breathe, not suck, and the tone will be much better. I also had a bad habit of trying too hard and tensing up. In reality, you want to be mentally focused or even in a dream state and relaxed in the body.
BronzeWailer's YouTube

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