Circular Breathing - Help Needed!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by brassneck, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    One aspect of brass playing I've never mastered is circular breathing. Even on the advice of players who use it effectively, the outflow always stops when I take air in through the nose. I have tried various ways of working on this technique (blowing air bubbles in water through a straw seems the most popular) but cannot get past this hurdle. Some of you may have had this problem too, so how did you get overcome it? Help very much appreciated!
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... any 'informed opinions' on how to succesfully initiate circular breathing? ;)
  3. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I worked on it starting from trying to understand how it could work.

    I was advised to puff out my cheeks, breathe in slowly, and let out out a raspbery.

    If you can do this, then you have the basic technique needed for exhaling the avaailbale air in the mouth whilst breathing in at the same time. I developed it from there, despite some early problems with the continutity of sound in the change over from "ordinary" note production to circular breathing, (and some serious mickey taking from LBB).

    My longest "note" is around 35 mintues.
  4. impycornet

    impycornet Member

    That's the thing that takes the time, training yourself to 'squeeze your cheeks' :) whilst breathing in through the nose.

    Takes hours - makes you look stupid - but is very satisfying when it finally works

    Good luck
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... granted that you use your cheek muscles to expel air (I can breathe in through my nose whilst I prod my puffed-out cheeks to get air out!), I cannot fathom how to get air back into the mouth to continue the process. Some players seem to 'snort' during the transfer phase and it has left me miffed trying it. :-(
  6. impycornet

    impycornet Member


    How do you explain that in words !!

    It's like gulping down the air - But it's something that will come !!
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    basic lessons follow these steps for circular breathing (for the oldest of techniques, the

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Exercise 1:[/font][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] Fill your mouth with water and push a stream of water out using only your tongue and cheek muscles. Make sure not to use any pressure from the lungs to help. Stay relaxed and breathe in and out with your nose while making the stream. Keep trying until it feels very comfortable. This is a good exercise to do in the shower![/font]​
    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Exercise 2: Get a straw and a cup of water. Twist the end of the straw so that almost no air can come out. Push air through the straw and into the water creating bubbles. Breathe in and out with your nose while doing this as in exercise 1. Keep the pressure even and the flow of bubbles smooth. [/font]
    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Exercise 3: Slowly transition to just breathing in with your nose and keep the bubbles going nonstop. Master this until the muscle contractions you are using feel totally comfortable and the bubbles are flowing smoothly.[/font]
    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Exercise 4: You are now circular breathing. Keep your cup and straw right next to you. Try to play your didge and circular breathe (it is just a bigger straw). You will find this difficult so go right back to the straw and water to practice again. Then, try on the didge again. Keep going back and forth between the cup and water and the didge until you can successfully do it on your didge. Take a look at the diagrams on the next page for a visual explanation of circular breathing. [/font]
  8. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    Eeerm I asked this a while ago and finally gottit going :)... from this bit of advise... "Be a goldfish" LOL

    No seriously... I practised for hours and hours with water and a straw, did the whole squeeze your cheeks whilst breathing in through your nose, i even walked round blowing bubbles in bubble gum whilst trying to circular breathe as well and blew on my hand trying to do it as well once I had sort of mastered it! It just takes a lot of patience but u can work on it wherever... sat in your car, at home, watching TV, just practise blowing on your hand seeing if you can keep the air flow going! buy some hubba bubba and practise --- thats the tasty method :p

    Good luck! Don't give up! Keep up the practise! :)

    Vicki xx
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    lol! Goldfish, eh? Roll on 'Moto Perpetuo' :rolleyes:
  10. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    I've tried and tried to master it, I just can't go from playing with my cheeks to playing normally without breaking the airflow.

    Anyway.....Here's Sergei Nakariakoff making it look easy!!
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    sergio nalariakov, wynton marsalis, rafael mendez and a host of others make circular breathing sound effortless. Lol! I've now got people at work to try it out and see if we can learn from each other! :-?

    Anyone else want to try it from scratch and report back here when and how the breakthrough was made??