Problem of holding breath in piano playing

breathing source:

Usually I get extremely tired after piano practice,  even though I just practise within a short period of time. Moreover, I face difficulty in memorizing piano pieces. I am good at memorizing many things such as  data, concepts, events and other daily stuff but except involving piano playing. I feel annoyed with my situation but so far I haven’t come across with people with similar case.

Traditionally piano pedagogists claim that fatique in piano playing is deal to improper posture and body movement during piano playing. And the pedagogists recommend the use of visual, aural, kinetic memory,  with the assistance  of thorough music analysis, to improve music memory. I’ve tried the above remedies but there is very little improvement for me.

In this year  I come across the sleeping disorder from my psychology self-study. Sleep apnea is a kind of sleeping disorder about stopping breath occasionally during the sleep.   The interruption of breathing during the sleep affect the sleeping quality greatly. So patients with sleep apnea feels very tired in daytime even they sleep quite a duration of time at night. I have heard some piano teachers about importance of breathing in piano playing but they often relate breathing to musical phrasing and expression. I start to think breathing in physiological way and wonder if my breathing during piano playing is related to my fatique.

Then I find two interesting webpages about breath holding. The first one says we may grow up with bad breathing habits and hold our breathing during daily life unconsciously.


I also get some hints from mindfulness meditation. The writer from the following link thinks breathing should be done unconsciously. He suggests we just focus on our nostrils to see if we hold the breath.


Afterwards I try to check my breathing while I play. I focus on my nostrils and find that I really hold my breath in some difficult passages such as quick passages of scale and arpeggios, and when I play in memory. I also find that I can play in memory better when I ensure I am breathing by focus on my nostrils.

These are just my tentative findings. Hope this can solve my problems. Please let me know if it works to you also.

Copyright © 2015 Alice Ho — All Rights Reserved

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