OverBreathing: I Say It Is Misnamed I Call It UDB Because It Stems From Poorly Developed  Breathing

OverBreathing: I Say It Is Misnamed I Call It UDB Because It Stems From Poorly Developed Breathing


Over Breathing


Breathing too much.

In science it is also called hyperventilation, dyspnea, hypocapnea. In music it is called overbreathing.

I say it is miss named and call it UDB because it stems from poorly developed  breathing. When the breathing development improves the so called overbreathing symptoms often reduce and disappear. I believe overbreathing is largely a byproduct of UDB.

A Russian system for asthma believes that breathing too much is the cause.  I have observed that UDB is the primary cause of overbreathing, not necessarily breathing too much.


Both timed breathing and overbreathing are covered in "The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System". Must reading for any serious trumpet player.  Now for the full breath on every note or phrase.

Have you ever had to play 1 note by itself to fill out a chord in a song? What about the 3 or 4 measure phrases? These do not require as much air as a full 8 measure phrase. At the end of a very short phrase an inexperienced brass player will feel a need to exhale before he or she can take a breath.

If this overbreathing continues for any length of time the player will sometimes turn red or gasp for air. No you didn't run out of air for playing; however, your body NEEDS to have oxygen in your lungs.

What has happened is you took a full breath and used less than half. Now when you take a full breath you only replace half of the stale oxygen depleted air in your lungs. As this continues you end up gasping for air. Does this sound familiar?

Overbreathing really is a kind of self suffocation (in the extreme). In the extreme upper register overbreathing becomes more apparent. Have you seen people get dizzy, lightheaded, or blackout?

They were overbreathing. I know some people say if you release the pressure really slowly it will not happen. If you did not overbreathe and have so much leftover air under pressure it would not happen either.

The summary of the effects of overbreathing should address subsequent loss or gain of carbon dioxide and the exact form of the carbon dioxide--for example, dissolved carbon dioxide gas, carbonic acid, bicarbonates, carbonates, etc. 

It also should discuss the obvious paradoxes that may result from the various shunts between defensive and compensatory mechanisms. Examples of such paradoxes include high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood of asthmatics, and compensating shifts between respiratory alkalosis and metabolic acidosis.

Whether over-breathing causes hyperventilation, or hyperventilating causes over-breathing, the two are linked but the underlying cause of both is very often a dysfunctional breathing pattern aka UDB.

Do you often experience a little or a lot more of any of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Voice troubles
  • Chest pain
  • Asthma-like symptoms of wheezing
  • Tension
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Blurred hazy vision
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Chronic muscle tension
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Constant sighing or gasping 
  • Poor concentration or focus
  • Yawning episodes
  • Fatigue
  • Angina
  • Mental confusion
  • Getting sick more often
  • Poor digestion
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Overreacting to stress
  • Feeling of not being able to take a big easy breath and/or
  • Can't take a deep breath or can't get over the hump as it is often called
  • Gas, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Tired yet cannot sleep
  • Feeling on edge
  • Phobias
  • Chest pain
  • Hyperventilation

    Regardless of the so-called diagnosis, develop your breathing and many or all above symptoms will improve or disappear altogether.

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