Topic: Playing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

Hello Double Reeds!

I have my first recital in the fall and one of the piece I am playing is the Osborne Rhapsody. It is an easy going (yet tough) piece and I honestly can not get through it in one go. Actually I can barely get through the first page and a half without being fatigued. I am usually feeling some sort of chest pain and shortness of breath.
Does anyone have any tips to help enhance my performance endurance? I feel like I won't be able to get through 3/4 of a page come recital time because being nervous worsens everything.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Undergrad Bassoon Performance Major at the Conservatory at Shenandoah University

Re: Playing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

1. see a doctor immediately to determine if you are having any physical problems. 2. Make sure your reeds are not too hard. 3. In the Osborne, observe all breathing places and add more if you need to. Be aware that you need to exhale occasionally to get rid of excess carbon dioxide in your lungs (e.g. measures 19, 42, 62). The longer a piece goes on, the more necessary exhalation becomes. 4. Warm up for a few minutes before practicing the Osborne.

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: Playing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

I really don't think that it is a medical problem, but if it persists then I will definitely see one. Thanks for the tips!

Undergrad Bassoon Performance Major at the Conservatory at Shenandoah University

Re: Playing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

If you do not feel that you are experiencing a medical problem, then to what do you ascribe your shortness of breath? I have a few guesses, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.

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Re: Playing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

Well, I mean I just feel exhausted and out of breath. Like I've run a mile.

Undergrad Bassoon Performance Major at the Conservatory at Shenandoah University

Re: Playing Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

To follow up on what Chris Weait wrote, my guess (without seeing and hearing you play) is that you are breath stacking.

That is to say, my guess is that you are breathing in, then using up some of your breath, then breathing in again without expelling the rest of your breath first.

If you do this several times in a row, then you'll feel out of breath, because, in a sense, you will be.

The solution is to make sure to use up all the air in your lungs, possibly by periodically exhaling as well as inhaling.

I bet that your teacher can help you with this phenomenon. (He's a student of Chris's.)

Best wishes!

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