Thursday, April 17, 2014

Just Breathe: Ease Nerves and Regain Calm in Less than 1 Minute

I don't know about you all,  but this is an incredibly busy time of the semester for our students and faculty alike.  Lots and lots of concerts, exams, juries, auditions, etc, etc.

But hey,  as musicians,  being "busy" is usually considered a good thing.  Unless you let it lead to stress.  And there's no reason to feel stressed as long as you can gain control of your breathing.

Here's an exercise I give to my students to help them calm down and regain focus just before big performances/events or anytime they feel stressed.

You can turn a metronome on to quarter note= 60 for this exercise,  or just count seconds.

1. Breathe in for 2 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 2 beats/seconds.
2. Breathe in for 3 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 3 beats/seconds.
3. Breathe in slowly for 4 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 4 beats/seconds.
4. Breathe in slowly for 5 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 5 beats/seconds.
5. Breathe in slowly for 6 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 6 beats/seconds.
6. Breathe in slowly for 7 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 7 beats/seconds.
7. Breathe in very slowly for 8 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 8 beats/seconds.
8. Breathe in very slowly for 9 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 9 beats/seconds.
9. Breathe in very slowly for 10 beats/seconds,  breathe out for 10 beats/seconds.

At this point you should be feeling calmer and in control of your breath.  Doesn't it feel good?

Repeat as needed, and share with others.

You're welcome.

Oboe and out,

The Oboist.

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