Posts tagged “breath support”

January 18, 2016

Endurance and breath support

Physical endurance can be an issue for woodwind players, most often manifesting as fatigue in the muscles of the embouchure. But in most cases I think tired facial muscles are a symptom of a more fundamental problem.

November 11, 2015

Confidence and air

When I ask my students to play more confidently, they don't always seem ready to rise to the challenge. But I've worked out a useful equation that helps them get on the right track.

September 5, 2013

Breath support, register breaks, and resistance

A few months ago I wrote this about the clarinet: If breath support, embouchure, and voicing are correctly established, then Crossing the Dreaded Break ceases to be a Thing. It’s just another note: a moment ago you were playing B-flat, and now you are playing B-natural. As long as your fingers get where they are supposed to go, ...

May 8, 2013

The magical properties of air

Good breath support, besides helping tone production in obvious ways, can have a surprising (and positive) impact on other aspects of woodwind playing.

January 16, 2013

Clarinet/saxophone doubling and “loose” and “tight” embouchures

I have been watching with dismay some recent online message board conversations about clarinetists picking up the saxophone and saxophonists picking up the clarinet. I am of course a big supporter of doubling, but much of the discussion seems to center around embouchure, and the language used is not only misleading but also vaguely pejorative. ...

November 30, 2012

Changing octaves on the flute: a survey of published opinions

On the flute, there are several notes that have identical fingerings: each note from bottom-line E through third-space C-sharp has exactly the same fingering as the note an octave higher. Obviously, some factor other than fingerings must account for the octaves, but flutists as a group seem to be unclear on what it is. I ...

February 5, 2012

Balancing voicing and breath support

My oboe students frequently have this problem: These notes don’t respond well These notes are sharp and thin-sounding (Okay, sometimes I also have this problem.) The solution, in most cases, is quite simple. Step 1: Use the correct voicing. For oboe it should be low and open, like blowing very warm air. This is usually ...

October 12, 2008

Breath support

Quick: define “breath support.” I fear that to many woodwind players (or wind players in general, and maybe singers too) breath support is something mysterious. I have often had teachers stress to me the importance of breath support, but I can’t remember ever having one explain clearly what it is.
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