The technique of breathing is the basis of playing the clarinet and each clarinetist has to practice it. It is firstly done without an instrument. Very important thing is to learn how to save air consumption and a long breath.

     Breathing technique has three stages:    

        1. INHALINGThe air is inhaled through the mouth (not through the nose!). While the mouthpiece is in the mouth, quickly, quietly and easily inhale a larger amount of air with the corners of the lips (Do not raise chest and shoulders!).


     When doing this, we should feel that the inhaled air  automatically “drops” into the lower parts of the lungs. Diaphragm (a muscle that divides the chest cavity from the abdomen) curves down and leans on the abdominal cavity. The stomach is arched forward, and the lower ribs are spread in all directions (see picture left). Then we get  a sense of simultaneous filling of the stomach downward, forward, backward and from the sides.

       2. HOLDING. Hold the inhaled air for a short time. At this stage of breath-holding, a clarinetist is like a rifle at the ready. In this way a firm supporter to a qualitative air column is created.


  3. EXHALATION follows after a short breath – holding. Shrinking the abdominal muscles and returning the ribs to their natural position, the diaphragm arches upwards into the thoracic cavity (see picture right) and the air is being forced out.


     During exhalation we should have a sense of gradual forcing out the air ”from the stomach” on all sides evenly to the clarinet mouthpiece (as through a narrow tube).

Taken from my book
I Am Studying Clarinet I


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