Too much concentration?
In my "studio" working on Bach and my heart starts pounding, getting a bit lightheaded and suddenly I realize, I'm not breathing! Put down the violin, deep breaths, and all gets back to normal. (FWIW: This has happened before but I never realized I was holding my breath.)
Just wondering if I'm the only person who does this? Perhaps I just have to concentrate a bit less.
Not at all. Can you explain further what really goes on?
It's not because you're concentrating too much, but because you don't pay enough attention to your breathing while you practice.
George, that has never happened to me in 53 years of playing the violin, and honestly it sounds a bit concerning. In your shoes, I'd be calling my doctor.
You need to sacrifice some ability, for a while, in order to focus on continuing to breath while you play.
Erik makes a good point. While you're working on breathing, make sure you don't squeeze or tense any part of your body when you play as well.
I think basically the answer to your question is Yes. I suggest just dailing back the intensity of the stuff you're working on for a couple of weeks so that you can use a little of your bandwidth to make sure you're not tensing up anywhere (Cotton makes a solid point there), and that you're standing (or sitting) comfortably, with good balance and overall posture, and that you're breathing normally.
Erik is right, pressure on the carotid artery in the neck does cause symptoms of dizziness. Massaging the carotid artery activates the parasympathetic nervous system and through that it lowers the heart rate. It actually happens to every one of us. If the right place is massaged. So this is a thing of not to be tried at home. Parasympathetic nervous system also lowers the breathing frequency.
Try writing "breathe" at the end of each phrase of music. It's what singers and wind players do
Sorry to be so negative, but I agree with Mary Ellen. I had a heart attack 7 years ago and breathlessness in some circumstances was a forewarning of it. Attributing it to concentration is possibly a kind of denial, or rather, it can be a dangerous camouflage. Get checked out. Obviously you may be right, but, as they say, it's better to be safe than sorry.
In my early days on the viola, in a difficult piece, I actually marked breathing marks in my score: out and in.
Yes, this happens with me too. When I am really trying something hard and concentrating I may "forget" to breathe. To me this seems not so unusual but perhaps it is? I knew I was special :-)
Concentration requires oxygen..... You need to Breath...
Thanks to all for your responses.
Let us all hope that those little cells in medulla oblongata will nudge you on time.
I suppose what you can do about this might depend on your goals.
Piggybacking on the previous posts...
I have a similar issue - but not with playing but when I concentrate on deep thinking for my work (scientist). However, I have noticed that this only really happens after breakfast (I like to work after being fed at a diner) so I suspect there is a dietary factor.
I don't forget to breathe but sometimes I wonder if I forget to blink. Turns out, it's a thing.
I do that too Paul! No breathing, no blinking - if I didn't bow they might wonder if I was dead...
You might be freezing during the fast passages. --Scales on long tones, full slow bow-stokes. Inhale on the up-bow, exhale on the down-bow. You want to do this until it becomes an unconscious habit.
Elise, one thing is for sure -- I don't seem to forget to eat. LOL
Kodaly music method (which is singing oriented) has lots of early lessons teaching a preliminary phrasing concept with breathing and hand gestures.