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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000095.txt from 2000/04

From: David Glenn <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Circular breathing
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 19:05:33 -0400

chr wrote:

> I just wrote and announced the recent success of my children in a
> competition here in Germany. I also told you my 19 yr. son played 3 of the 5
> Folk Songs by Eric Mandat. He played 1,2 and 5. For the 5th one, I think it
> would be really cool if he could circular breathe. He is extremely motivated
> and willing to work very hard to attain this but doesn't know how to go
> about it and neither I nor my husband, both clarinetists, know how to teach
> him that. Do any of you have suggestions/ideas about how to learn circular
> breathing? We would really appreciate any ideas you may have. The national
> competition is in June so I don't know if it's possible to learn something
> like that so fast???
> Cindy in Germany
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Congrats on your son's 25 points! Herr Klein had already told me at
lunch that
"Christensen was very good". I was judging the younger clarinets across
town and
ran into him in the restaurant.

Here are some thoughts on circular breathing: I find it easier to do it
on the
bass clarinet. (Once had to hold a note on the bass for ten minutes in a
with Alan Hacker in Freiburg) I know your son plays basset horn as I
bought his
old one so that might be also good to start on. The low register works
better than hi. At points where there is a moving passage, one is less
likely to
notice the "bump" if there is one. So: replentish air supply during low
passages as far as possible. Fit it to the music.

If he is disturbed by the tone degrading when at the point of pushing
the air
out with the cheeks, he might want to practise with a straw in a glass
of water
first until he can do the circular technique. Then carry it over to the

Good luck in Berlin at the finals! And I wish Michael a lot of fun


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