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Which instrument with reduced lung function.

Discussion in 'General Information' started by Mad hatter, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. Hello and pleased to join the forum. I used to play a B flat clarinet during my early high school years in the 70's but nothing since.

    Recently and now middle aged, I have a been diagnosed with reduced lung function in the form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. I have read up on this including medical papers and it has been suggested that playing a woodwind instrument can help and maybe improve lung capacity.

    I am interested in players opinions (even medical players) as to whether they consider the flute or clarinet to be easier to learn to play (in terms of breath) for me. I am thinking that the double reed instruments would be much harder and require far greater breath?

    I intend to learn properly and would like to progress through the grades in the future, if everything works out medically.

    Would appreciate any advice please.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  2. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

    To my knowledge flute takes a lot more breath than clarinet.
  3. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Admin and all around good guy. Staff Member Administrator

    I have heard that folks with reduced lung function have found musical performance happiness with recorders. It is typical for a woodwind player to overblow on a recorder, they require a gentler breath. Good luck.
  4. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    if you don't plan on being in a community band or something then I'll second the idea of a recorder to get things going.

    Many new flute players tend to require more learning on properly blowing into a flute, and subsequently if not done properly (which isn't immediately) get light headed, etc.

    Clarinet would be the next one up, but the recorder is just a much easier instrument to play breathing-wise.
    After the recorder is a fife. But with the recorder you can step up to clarinet. With a fife you can step up to a flute.

    Recorders (and fifes) are much more than the plastic things you see in the stores.
    You can get nice ones made of wood and they also vary, Alto, Bass recorders.
    There's 4 pages of yamaha recorders from basic plastic ones to high end professional recorders
    ==> http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/winds/recorders/#mode=paging&list=all&page=2

    I've been looking for the past several years on actually making a wood recorder.
    It's very interesting on the impact wood has them ==> http://www.lazarsearlymusic.com/Recorder-Woods/recorder_woods.htm
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    +1 on the EWI. (Electronic Wind Instrument -- it's a generic acronym. A bunch of companies make them.)
  6. Thanks all for the suggestions. Whilst the EWI looks good I would prefer an orchestral instrument (if I can improve my lung capacity) so that I could work towards grades in due course. That would keep me determined and committed. Maybe a recorder to start but would like a flute or clarinet but the sax is appealing too...
  7. In the community band in which I play we have a baritone sax player and a flautist who are both playing successfully on one lung. They found it difficult at first but it became easier as their lung capacity increased. The sax player is in his 70's and the flautist in her 80's. It can be done.
  8. I knew an 80-some y.o. trombonist who played with oxygen tubes in his nose -- he sounded great.
  9. I would stick with clarinet or bass clarinet. Flutes and sax take more air for me. Otherwise, consider aux percussion.
  10. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Admin and all around good guy. Staff Member Administrator

    I finally bought an EWI probably because of how interested Pete was in them. I don't like them at all, the time between blowing and sound is way too much for me. I'll be sending this to Pete soon, he will have more fun with it.
  11. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I have also had some issues with my lungs being a smoker for much of my life. If I understand it correctly, the purpose of playing a musical instrument is to try to increase the lung capacity when breathing in and filling up with air. I concur with the clarinet as a good choice. After tone production skills are mastered playing long tones measured by the second hand on a clock is a good exercise. Another way to make yourself fill up with air is to play long phrases in a slow or moderately slow piece on one breath.
  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Oooh. Thanks, dude!
  13. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I've heard, somewhere, that playing violin or cello can help lung capacity. I know that posture is a big thing, too.

    Here's an article about lung transplant patients playing harmonica to build lung capacity. However, I kinda like the idea of recorder a bit better. It's just closer to clarinet. There's a lot of music, too.
  14. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I used to play cello. I don't get it though. Must be a statement from violin and cello players. I guess viola and bass don't have good posture/lung capacity. :)

    As we know posture is a big thing in woodwinds, brass, any musical instrument. Just that few actually have a good posture. Posture is taught really well when people have private instructors, which they also (or should) teach proper breathing, hand positions, etc whether a band instrument, piano, strings, etc.

    Some level of Exercise would also help.
  15. I wouldn't have thought harmonica was ideal for lung transplant patients. You have to suck as well as blow and all sorts of bacteria will no doubt be living inside a harmonica.
  16. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Much like unwashed clarinet and sax mouthpieces. :)
  17. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    Yes, that could lead to the dreaded "saxophone lung". :emoji_smile: (Yes the condition is real--the link will give you the real explanation.)

  18. Aulos303

    Aulos303 _•_ •_• __ •_•_ •____| Banned :(

    Recorder and tin whistle would seem a good choice as they need little breath to sound. But also how about a melodica?
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