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How can I take a bigger breath?

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We need plenty of air for our flute playing - there's no denying that.  But many of us struggle to get in enough air.  We try and try.  We lift up and pull down.  We work this muscle and take that shape.  We work really hard ... too hard, if I may say so.

One of my colleagues, Lanny Pollet (retired Professor of Flute, University of Victoria, BC, CANADA) once said, almost off-handedly:  "I sometimes wonder if we have to hear ourselves breathe to know that we have."

That was eye-opening!  It changed how I do things and how I teach breathing.  Try this to show yourself the wisdom in Lanny's statement ...

1)  Purse your lips like you are going to whistle.  Pull in a really hard breath through that tiny opening.  Feel the cold spot that forms on the front of your tongue?  Do it again to be sure.

2)  Shape a firm EEE with your lips and tongue.  Pull in a really hard breath through that tiny opening.  Feel the cold spot that forms across the roof of your mouth?  Do it again to be sure.

3)  Now, move the cold spot to the back of your throat ... then around your vocal cords ... then behind your collar bone ... then behind the bottom of your sternum ...

Ah!  But that last one!  You can't do it, can you?  And wow!  Isn't that breath silent?  And you can barely tell how full of air you are, right?  So, full.  So, comfortably, freely, strongly, controllably full.  You probably didn't hear it.  You probably didn't feel it.  But there it is - a perfect breath.

Give it a try!  See how it sounds when you blow the flute.

Let us know how it goes.