If you're like me, you may do a lot of thinking about how to be the most efficient when getting tasks done. When you work smart, you can spare some more time to rest, have fun, and enjoy some of the finer things in life.
One way that I like to think about this is in the area of exercise. As a woodwind player, I realize the extreme importance of developing good, solid breathing habits. Learning how to take relaxed, controlled, full breaths and manipulate the timing is really essential to becoming a better wind player. Here are three great ways to double up on exercise and practice using swimming.
1. DO THE FRONT CRAWL
When you're doing the front crawl, you are alternating taking a breath out of the water and blowing out in the water. When you do this, you are forced to learn how to take full, quick breaths or else its game over! Swimming laps is a great way to tone your body's muscles, too.
2. PRACTICE SITTING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL
My good friend Justin recently showed me that if you breathe out heavily in a focused stream while going underwater, it will sink you to the bottom. Try this at the shallow end of the pool and see what it does for your outward breathing. It will challenge your endurance-- make it into a game and see how long you can stay under before having to go up and take a breath!
3. WORK ON YOUR SWIMMING TECHNIQUE
"What does this one have to do with practicing music?" you may be asking. Well, in fact, when you tone the muscles in your upper body, you strengthen the muscles that allow you to keep a good posture, which will allow you to breathe with the proper technique. Your back, arm, and shoulder muscles all play an important part in woodwind technique, because they deal with the air support as well as the physical ability to hold the instrument effectively.
I hope this gives you some ideas of ways you can incorporate exercise into your practice routine.
is a saxophonist/composer residing in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.