Review: New DVD on Breathing, The Breathing Gym Daily Workouts

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Many brass players are familiar with The Breathing Gym book and DVD. Following on the success of the original Breathing Gym tuba virtuosi Sam Pilafian and Patrick Sheridan created their second DVD, Breathing Gym Daily Workouts. This collection is organized as a series of sequences of Breathing Gym exercises specifically designed to address topics including Warming Up, Tone, Phrasing, Articulations, Dynamics, and Advanced Training.

What is great about this new product is it is exactly like going to a series of master classes with Sam and Pat on breathing. It may be used very effectively by individuals, small groups, and full ensembles of wind players and can be used exactly as it is very well—put the DVD in your DVD player and let it go, it will guide to you more than twenty complete routines focused on different topics.

The original Breathing Gym book and DVD set remains a great product. The most popular version is the book/DVD combo, which includes a 32 page book and a 50 minute DVD. Widely used and aimed at players of all levels who wish to improve their breathing, this very practical publication includes twenty-nine different exercises and fifteen breathing routines.

When I speak to people about this product I always tell them that the DVD should be used with the book! In particular there is a chart at the end of the book that lays out how to use the materials effectively. The problem as originally laid out is that many individuals and groups were putting in the DVD and using it from beginning to end, which is not at all how Sam and Pat conceived using the exercises. The exercises are prescriptive and need to be organized into workouts. This is why I am honestly pretty excited about the new Daily Workouts product, as it really lays out how Sam and Pat would teach these materials to a group of students, and it is cheaper as you don’t need the book for the new DVD to make total sense.

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While I am talking about their products, I should also mention The Brass Gym. I helped Sam and Pat develop the horn version of this, which includes a 108 page book and a 78 minute play-along CD featuring the two authors performing on tuba. Originally developed for tuba/euphonium, this is a great, comprehensive playing workout for moderatly advanced students and above. But, to repeat, it is a playing workout. We try to make it clear in our sales page that for breathing exercises you need to refer to the Breathing Gym products, above. The Brass Gym may be used by individuals or by small groups of like and mixed brass instruments.

If you were to see Sam and Pat lead a morning warm-up/breathing session it would look a lot like a combination of all three products, but you will get very close to their methods if you in particular combine the Daily Workouts DVD with The Brass Gym.

UPDATE: There is a video clip from the Daily Workouts DVD in this post.

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