Good breathing or breath control is absolutely the fundamental basis of good wind and flute playing. The first thing you must do is to breath correctly. Practicing in front of a mirror is always very beneficial. Always make sure that your posture is correct. Without the correct posture the rib cage is not free to expand to its full potential and the air stream will be constricted as it leaves the body. Good posture is- shoulders always above the hips. This means you have to turn your head a little looking over your left shoulder. When you are comfortable take a deep breath and try to be aware of what is happening within your body. Your rib cage should be expanding and you should fell your back moving up and out. At no time should your shoulders move from their relaxed above your hip position!!
To expand your lungs more, daily practice of breathing exercises are necessary. Try playing long notes (beneficial to tone too) and time yourself playing one note as steady as can be with no vibrato. Aim to lengthen this time at least 2 or 3 times a week.
Try taking in a breath for a counted time and then whatever that time double it and breath out.
e.g. in for 4, out for 8.
in for 6, out for 12.
also: breathe in for 4, hold your breath for 4, exhale for 4- building up the time you take.
And try: In for 8 out for 8, in for 6 out for 8, in for 4 out for 8, in for 2 out for 8, in for 1 out for 8 etc
Control is the important factor here! You have to not waste any of the valuable air in your lungs, passing the air-stream across the mouthpiece hole as if it was coming out of a straw. To practise control, take a 2 inch square of paper and place it on a wall. Try to keep it on the wall without any help from your hands by blowing on it!!! That's a hard one!!
There are three types of breath. The Super-Deluxe luxury breath where you have a lot of time to take a breath e.g. at the start of pieces. The snatched breath where you just suck in enough to get you to a convenient spot. Finally the normal breath where the music allows and the action of breathing doesnt interfere with the flow and the listener would find it hard to detect it.
These exercises are designed to improve three things.
1.quantity of breath at your command
2.your control of it
3.your economical use of it.
Have you any thoughts on Breathing?
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