April 26, 2012

Taking your breath away

Breathing is essential – we all know that.  So, why is it that so many people don’t breathe when they get behind their harp?  Most people don’t even realize they aren’t breathing.  Of course, you don’t see people turning blue, but you do see people just not breathing enough.  So, how do you keep the wind in your sails?  Here are three things you can do.

1.       Start by taking a deep breath – when you sit to your harp, take a deep breath.  Let that breath relax you.  If the simple act of taking the breath didn’t dissipate your stress, then take another. Deep, slow breath – focus on the breathing.  That breath will help you not only get oxygen in but can help you relax enough to both enjoy your time at the harp but also to get more from it!

2.       Breathe while you’re thinking about it – whenever you have a free second in your brain (that is, if the thought “breathe” enters your head) take a breath!  No short, panting breathing, but gentle, deeper breaths.
3.       Practice breathing.  I can already hear you, “when I’m practicing, I already have a lot of work to do and you want me to add another task!”  But, just like you have to practice the physical task of setting levers you have to practice breathing.  If you practice the breath as part of the overall physical activity of playing, when you are not practicing (you know, when you’re competing or on stage) you will breathe.  Which will be good – because you’ll need it!

Try these three tips – it will be like a breath of fresh air in your playing!

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