The strap was originally made to help manage a cervical hernia that I developed, so that I could continue my career in performance. At the time, I would put on a regular strap and 30 minutes later, would be unable to move my fingers or even hold onto the keys. Under these circumstances, I would’ve had to give up performing but I was determined to find some way to control the stress on my body so that I could recover and return to playing fully.
Thinking back to when I was teaching at many middle and high school band programs, there were quite a few students that have expressed discomfort, specifically citing nausea, headaches, and body fatigue. Until I was diagnosed with cervical hernia, I hadn’t even thought that perhaps these issues stemmed from the burden of having a heavy instrument hanging from our neck.
I would then hand make straps and have students and other saxophonists try them out and all of them have expressed in joy that the “body feels great!” or that the “sound comes out so easily!” This made me realize that there were many other people suffering from the weight of the instruments. I also noticed that by removing these stresses, the sound became more rich and there was a higher degree of musical freedom and expressivity. The fact that so many factors were connected to the use of a strap was illuminating.
For a while, I continued making straps by hand upon request but after a certain point, I couldn’t keep up with the growing demand. With encouragement from many people around me, I decided to commercialize the product. Four years later, the BREATHTAKING Strap was officially launched in 2007. It stemmed from my wish, to help as many musicians as I can, to fully enjoy with good health, the act of performing music.
This wish remains that same to this day. With the camaraderie and passion of like-minded friends, we continue to research the relationship between the body and the instrument, working as a team in product development by making constant adjustments and improvements. Our greatest source of happiness comes from hearing strap users express their enjoyment in making music.
Through the strap, we’ve been able to meet many performers around the world. And each of these extraordinary beginnings and each and every smile drives us to further provide for the community.
We will remain committed to the promotion of musician health and improvement of performance, keeping the “enjoyment” aspect alive with each step to provide the future generations of music something worthwhile, something special, something truly “breathtaking!”
-Yumiko Komura CEO, BREATHTAKING Co., Ltd
CEO, BREATHTAKING Co., Ltd.
Ms. Komura started freelancing as a performer while enrolled in college as a music major. Upon graduation, she formed the Mercy Saxophone Quartet and extended performances across multiple genres including jazz combos. She has had numerous appearances in orchestral concerts, conventions/events, television, and radio. In high demand as an educator, she created a unique program for the development of playing fundamentals. After discovering the strong connection between anatomy, musculature, and posture on performance, she began her dedicated research on “the body and the instrument,” leading to a regular series in the saxophone specific magazine, THE SAX (ALSO Publications), titled “Optimal Sound Method” -expressing your inner musicality- from 2009 to 2011. She has consulted multiple medical professionals to uncover the many issues surrounding performance, such as her research with dentists specializing in teeth alignment for further understanding of TMJ and the effects teeth alignment have on performance. She has traveled both nationally and internationally as a clinician and lecturer, helping to spread her research and help students/professionals understand their physical relationship with their instrument(s) and music. She is a graduate of Hiroshima Music High School and the Elisabeth University of Music. Her former instructors include Mr. Shunsuke Kamita, Mr. Koji Akimoto, and Mr. Nobuya Sugawa.