Breathing Techniques and Exercises

Playing a wind instrument often requires us to have more air available than is normally necessary in order to generate sound. Furthermore, a more efficient use of the air is required in order to play for long periods of time without a new breath. In fact, many of the difficulties that arise in wind playing—a non-resonant tone, overblowing and/or squeaking, poor pitch playing, non-legato finger technique, inability to sustain long phrases, etc.—are a result of a poor breathing technique. All wind instrumentalists and singers need to gain an understanding of the breathing process in order to achieve their best musical results.

My presentation will help to provide the student with a thorough understanding of the inhalation/exhalation process. A detailed discussion of the functions of the thoracic cavity, lungs, ribs and abdominal regiona during breathing will lead to specific exercises designed to improve one’s awareness of the specific muscles involved. I will also introduce various tools specifically designed to aid in the breathing process. Musical examples and exercises will be offered that can allow one to measure the effectiveness of one’s breathing capacity and efficiency. Finally, audio and video examples of great wind players and singers who demonstrate this type of approach to breathing as it influences their musical artistry will be played.