As for breathing"right before the phrase begins", that seems to be a pretty sound way to look at the breathing process. Over the years, I've found a good analogy comparing starting a note on a brass instrument to a golf or tennis swing when trying to explain the breathing process. Watch a pro golfer take a swing and then breathe the same way -- smooth--full inhalation (good backswing), immediate smooth swing through the ball (a start to the note with energy of air) and then follow through (the idea of keeping the air moving through the note -- the ball going 200+ yards). This seems to work quite well with most students and especially those who have played golf, baseball or tennis -- anything involving a swing.
My students (of widely varying skills) all seem to benefit when I can get them to breathe in this natural, energetic manner. Combine this with a consistent open syllable (I've always used "tuh" generally & "toh" on lower notes or skips to low notes) and most of them will sound better almost immediately and will play with more relaxation (providing that they are not tensing up the body much anywhere other than the corners of their mouth).
...just ask your students to watch 15 minutes of pro golf next Sunday (if it's on) and to watch the swing that they use on a drive -- they *should* understand then.
>I'm by no means an expert, but I thought I might be able to throw
in my two
>A few weeks ago Dave Monette was here in Omaha with John Henes (and Andrew
>Balio for those of you who might recognize the name). They did a little
>But relevant to this question, he was told to breath *right before the
>phrase begins*. As they said "breathing and playing are one word." A
>constant motion. This as opposed to taking in a huge breath and then
>having to hold it for a count or two while waiting for your entrance.
>Breath in and play. No pause between. Its like if you inhale and
>immediately exhale, but buzz on the exhale...
Dr. Steve Wright
[Steve Wright Music Endeavors]
Trumpet, Arranger/Composer & Contractor