Feb 14

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Free Your Breath

How you use your air is key to controlling the sound of a wind instrument. Yet, most players restrict their air without realizing it.

Try this.

Without the instrument, take a big breath and let it go. A lung-full of air takes less than a ½ second to exhale, without pushing. The connective tissue, know as the fascia, and letting go of the muscles used to inhale will move 80% of your air without doing anything. Just let it go. If it takes longer than ½ second, you are probably restricting your breath by holding back your air, restricting your throat, or making a small opening with your embouchure. An unrestricted exhalation also sounds soft without making a “fff” or “hhhaa” sound.

Now do the same on your horn. Let out a lung-full of air through your instrument without making a tone. See if you can move the air through your mouthpiece without letting the air escape out the sides of your mouth. You should be able to release a lungful of air in one second or less.

There is no need to push the air out. You simply release the air. See if you can reduce the amount of time it takes to empty your lungs with least air sound as possible. You do this by relaxing your throat, tongue, jaw, and embouchure.

This moves much more air than you will normally use with playing at your loudest level. You tone will become more resonant and you will reduce tension in your playing.

This is a great routine to add to your warm up, and it only takes a couple of minutes.

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