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 Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-01-21 09:59

I practiced all of last summer with a glass of water and a straw, but it never seemed to work. I plan on trying again to see if I can learn how to circular breathe, and so far the same results. I think my problem is I can't use my cheeks to puff out the air, I seem to only be able to do it with my lungs. Therefore, I can't use my lungs to take in air from the nose.

Any tips? I found this on the Bboard search, and I am trying it right now: http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Study/CircularBreathing.html

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-01-21 10:09

Just realized if I'm not exhaling through my mouth and my mouth is open, I can't even puff up my cheeks. I can only puff them up if I'm exhaling through my mouth or if my mouth is shut

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-01-21 12:30

You need to practice it with the instrument itself in order to get used to the breath resistance - a glass of water and a straw has no breath resistance, so you'll lose the stored air much faster compared to how fast the air is lost whilst playing a note on a clarinet.

Chris.

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2018-01-21 14:41

Disagree, Chris. Just find a thinner straw or use a deeper glass and the resistance will be right. It's the way to begin.



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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Clarineteer 
Date:   2018-01-21 17:02

I read somewhere that circular breathing is very unhealthy and can lead to a heart attack and that is what killed Grover Washington Jr.

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2018-01-21 18:14

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7mToSjKu1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcyY0tsGm6A

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-21 20:32

Johan H Nilsson wrote:

> Disagree, Chris. Just find a thinner straw or use a deeper
> glass and the resistance will be right. It's the way to begin.
>

I don't doubt that you can find a straw to create the right resistance - probably with or without the glass of water at the other end. But what is the advantage of practicing this with anything other than the clarinet?

Karl



Post Edited (2018-01-21 21:09)

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-01-21 21:55

>> But what is the advantage of practicing this with anything other than the clarinet?<<

The advantage for me was that I learned the two parts separately. You can't do it at all on the instrument if you can't get a sound from it while breathing. The straw is much easier to do, so you can practice and understand the "circular" part before being able to get a sound with a mouthpiece by "squirting" air.

I learned it with a straw in just a couple of days. When I tried it only with the instrument before, since I couldn't get a sound, I just had next to no progress in a couple of weeks. Since I had the "circular" part already from the straw, I started practicing only getting a sound by "squirting" air. Once that started to work, progress was very fast.

>> I can only puff them up if I'm exhaling through my mouth or if my mouth is shut <<

That's the way it works. When circular breathing you don't exhale through the nose anyway. You can't puff your cheeks with your mouth open because you (i.e. anyone) need resistance. This is normal.

>> I read somewhere that circular breathing is very unhealthy <<

Any real evidence?

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2018-01-21 22:05

Karl, it's way easier with a straw and glass of water. More oboe-like with more resistance and with both visual and audible feedback. Going to clarinet with less resistance is the next step of progression. Going to alto and bass clarinet with even less resistance and more air consumption is another step.



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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-01-22 03:13

In Michael Lowenstern's video (which has been posted by tucker), he actually suggests pinching the straw to add a little bit of resistance

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-22 03:26

So, since (obviously, I would think) resistance is crucial to being able to do this, does wanting to use circular breathing on clarinet dictate to any extent the mouthpiece/reed combination you need to use?

Does anyone know of a flutist who uses circular breathing?

Karl

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-01-22 04:19

Sir James Galway uses circular breathing. I'm sure that some of his solo flute stuff would be unplayable without it.

Tony F.

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-01-22 04:48

I think many teachers don't break this down into enough steps. It's hard to be methodical enough because the whole process feels so natural and flowing once mastered.

I found this particular video to be more useful than the total amount of information I got from all other sources combined. Maybe it will do the trick for you as well. It does take persistence and patience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5pcmfe3V60&index=2&list=PL9xFfsgreebZHTCim6ZOqy8x4nk_lBPMc

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-01-22 08:34

>> Does anyone know of a flutist who uses circular breathing? <<

Can't remember anyone specific but I've seen a few flutists do it. Probably much rarer than on reed or brass instruments.

>> So, since (obviously, I would think) resistance is crucial to being able to do this, does wanting to use circular breathing on clarinet dictate to any extent the mouthpiece/reed combination you need to use? <<

Can't say for sure, but probably not. I don't know of anyone who changed mouthpiece or reed because of it. I always use a relatively light, non-resistant setup, and just stayed with the same setup from before I started to do it.
Resistance isn't "crucial" in that sense. It's possible to do on instruments/setups that are much less resistant than a clarinet.



Post Edited (2018-01-22 10:13)

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2018-01-22 14:15

Tony F wrote:

> Sir James Galway uses circular breathing. I'm sure that some of
> his solo flute stuff would be unplayable without it.
>

Actually he doesn't. He just breathes in really quickly. Here's a master class where he explains and demonstrates. He says he didn't want to learn circular breathing because it looks foolish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulKmP5ZVQus

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-01-22 15:08

I heard that Sharon Bezali can circular breathe on flute - I can't see how that can be easy as flutes don't have any breath resistance. Harry Carney could circular breathe on bari sax - even on the lowest notes!

I can circular breathe on oboe and cor, but not on clarinet or sax as the breath resistance on them is much lower compared to oboe/cor. I only worked out how to do that by watching a Sicilian oboist play the entire opening of the Strauss concerto (on my oboe) using circular breathing. It's easier to learn something by having someone demonstrate it to you rather than by reading about it.

Chris.

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-22 17:57

clarnibass wrote:

>> kdk wrote:
>> So, since (obviously, I would think) resistance is crucial
>> to being able to do this, does wanting to use circular
>> breathing on clarinet dictate to any extent the mouthpiece/reed
>> combination you need to use? <<
>
> Can't say for sure, but probably not. I don't know of anyone
> who changed mouthpiece or reed because of it. I always use a
> relatively light, non-resistant setup, and just stayed with the
> same setup from before I started to do it.
> Resistance isn't "crucial" in that sense. It's possible to do
> on instruments/setups that are much less resistant than a
> clarinet.
>

I probably misused "resistance." Most of the time we mean a reed's resistance to vibrating, needing more air and embouchure pressure to overcome it. I mean instead a mouthpiece that presents a smaller aperture with a reed that vibrates easily with minimal air flow. Easy-blowing might better describe it than resistant.

I'm wondering if using a very open mouthpiece with a reed that needs some embouchure pressure to control will make circular breathing harder to do than, say a close-tipped mouthpiece with a more flexible reed.

Karl

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-01-22 19:01

>> Easy-blowing might better describe it than resistant. <<

Do you mean softer reed and/or closer mouthpiece? I'm not sure what you mean by "more flexible" reed or a reed that "needs some embouchure pressure" since that can apply in different ways to any setup.

It's all relative to what a player is used to. Excellent players use setups that vary significantly from very light/soft to extremely resistant. Setups of players who circular breath also vary just about as much.

Circular breathing can be more tiring on the embouchure (jaw muscles...?) because you have no rests, though it's almost insignificant to (e.g.) those who use it just a few times during a long piece.

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2018-01-22 22:28

Just search for >flute circular breathing< on Youtube and there is plenty.



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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-01-23 10:31

> Sir James Galway uses circular breathing. I'm sure that some of
> his solo flute stuff would be unplayable without it.
>

Dibbs wrote:
Actually he doesn't. He just breathes in really quickly. Here's a master class where he explains and demonstrates. He says he didn't want to learn circular breathing because it looks foolish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulKmP5ZVQus

Thanks, that was an interesting clip. His description of "bouncing off the breath" sounds very much to me like a variation of circular breathing, although using a different technique.

Tony F.

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: JonTheReeds 
Date:   2018-02-05 13:02

I learnt circular breathing with a straw and glass of water in about 10 minutes. However my smugness was crushed when I tried it with a clarinet. Tried for 2 weeks and got nowhere - the air just rushes out through the clarinet in about 3 seconds - any tips?

--------------------------------------
Music is 95% preparation, the other half is performance

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 Re: Struggling with Circular Breathing
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-02-05 13:31

>> the air just rushes out through the clarinet in about 3 seconds - any tips? <<

The breath you take through the nose i.e. the amount of time you have the "break" in your air flow is usually much less than three seconds, so "running out" in three seconds shouldn't be a problem. You might be trying to make the transition too slow. I made that mistake when I first started practicing it. It is usually about half a second to one and a half seconds.



Post Edited (2018-02-05 13:33)

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