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Physical and Mental Training

If we made it a point to give only twenty minutes a day to rhythmic, systematic, methodical and melodious exercises, which include glandular motions, only twenty minutes a day; if we did it consciously, which means thoughtfully, with our mind upon every motion, action, vibration; if we did it religiously, seriously and for three hundred and sixty-five days, what would be the result!

We can prove to ourselves with just a few moments' exercise, that the mind and thought will become clearer, at the same time strengthening the circulatory system; we feel it and have greater poise. That should prove to us the value of breathing exercises of a conscientious, religious nature. Please do not forget that when we take up voice culture, we need just as much the operation of the upper lobes as we do the diaphragmatic action—just as much as we need the muscles of the abdomen to make our singing effective, so as to carry on the notes and therefore the melody. In song it is the spirit back of it; we need the control of all the dynamic muscles in addition to the diaphragm and the muscles of the abdomen. In gymnastics, even of a higher aesthetic nature, we do not need the diaphragm; we only need control of the abdominal muscles by contracting them, to become effective. The same in equilibristic stunts or acrobatism—there we need to control the muscles of the abdomen. We do not need to pay so much attention to the rhythmic side of breathing, just so long as we breathe fully, thoroughly and retain the breath.

When it comes to the study of rhythmic breathing for organic and brain control as in the study of music, we need an established range of an octave. There we must train, for remember, by nature we do not possess any trained parts and portions. We have to develop them. Were it not so, a baby just born would walk as soon as it takes its first breath, but such is not true. The babe has first to learn to gain control of its fingers and the use of its hands. Those little legs, how crooked they look, but little by little, day by day, the babe learns to stretch itself and its strength increases. The more the babe exercises, the sooner will it be able to stand alone and walk.

What is true of the body in general is true of every part in our make-up, as we grow in years. When manipulating an instrument, we must have more training, more exercise, practicing over and over again until every joint becomes flexible. We must relax these wrists, the elbows and shoulders, to give these triceps and biceps full control, because, not only technique, but beauty and shading in music depend upon the bridging of tone or the directing of talent from the brain to the finger-tips, and that bridge is formed by the triceps and biceps. All of that requires Training. ....

(source US Magazine p.14 May 1936)

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