Forgetting to breathe

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Ned Henderson

Forgetting to breathe

Post by Ned Henderson » Fri May 15, 2009 10:28 pm

Hi. Recently I have noticed that I am forgetting to breathe when I practice a piece, particularly a new piece or one which I find technically challenging... of course I do breathe in the end, I seem to hold my breath for twenty or thirty seconds at a time and then gulp down air like a fish out of water... it certainly doesn't help my technique and I wonder whether any of you have encountered a similar difficulty or have suggestions which might help me relax a bit more when I am playing?
Any ideas welcome - thanks.



Re: Forgetting to breathe

Post by kat » Fri May 15, 2009 11:47 pm

I used to be really bad for that. My teacher ended up marking on the music places to breathe in. Consciously breathing with the music helped with understanding phrasing.


Re: Forgetting to breathe

Post by ksjazzguitar » Sat May 16, 2009 3:42 pm


I occasionally do that too. Like Kat said, you can mark breathing points in, maybe even phrasing it like a singer would do. Often, I just try to focus on continuous deep breathing, like a meditation. I find it very calming and it helps me with nerves. I make sure I'm doing it in practice, then when it's time to perform, I do it automatically.



Re: Forgetting to breathe

Post by Olarte » Sat May 16, 2009 4:42 pm

What's worse is that not breathing, is a sign of tension not just in your lungs but your muscles as well.

Best thing I would do in a situation like that is to stop, take a short break, slow down the piece a lot until it's completely comfortable to play no matter how slow, or how difficult the package is. Focus on relaxing, then as you master it, shift the focus more into the music, and speed up slowly.

I have found that over the past year, the tension in my arms\shoulders and breathing has decreased. And because of this, the guitar feels more comfortable in my hands when play.

User avatar
Posts: 9861
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: Forgetting to breathe

Post by pogmoor » Sat May 16, 2009 7:33 pm

There's a thread here on breathing you could also look at: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=36872&p=389659&hili ... ng#p389304
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

Ned Henderson

Re: Forgetting to breathe

Post by Ned Henderson » Tue May 19, 2009 11:48 am

Hi and thanks for all of your suggestions. I seem to have been incorporating several of them into my practice and it is gradually making a difference.
Doing a gentle focused breathing practise before a session seems to help as it relaxes the breathing muscles and I have certainly found that slowing down my practice, so I am not trying too hard, makes a big difference. I am focusing on the process rather than the end product...
And thanks for the link Pogmoor

Warm wishes


Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”