Flute Punch

Posts Tagged ‘breath

I just finished Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind, which discusses Arnold Jacob’s renowned philosophy on breathing (stay tuned for more posts on that). I thought I’d see if there were any videos out there of Arnold Jacobs teaching. A search on YouTube turned up this video, which is not the most well done, but it does introduce a few basic concepts of breathing. The concept that stood out to me the most was Jacob’s mention of the “old school” method, which asks the player to tighten many abdominal muscles and exert far more pressure than is required to play wind instruments.

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Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

You must be supporting the sound from the diaphragm before you can produce vibrato correctly. The addition of vibrato to a well-supported sound adds elegance and beauty. To start experimenting with vibrato, take any note which is easy to play and produce a series of “huffs” on this one note. Next, try to connect these huffs together. Start slowly at first, your tempo should be about quarter note equals 80 MM. Then, increase your tempo and try different vibrato speeds and intensities.

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

To produce a beautiful tone, it is absolutely necessary to breathe and support from the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle under the lungs. Stand or sit up straight, relax stomach muscles, open your throat and breathe in deeply as though yawning. Do not raise the shoulders. If the stomach moves out gently while inhaling, that is correct! Now that you have properly inhaled, you must be sure to release the air correctly. While playing (blowing out), resist the natural tendency to let the stomach muscles collapse inward. This is done by pushing out against your waistband or belt with your stomach muscles. That is breath support from the diaphragm! While there is no secret to achieving a gorgeous sound, the most important key is breath support.

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

I was fortunate to study with both Ann and Greg (saxophone, jazz studies) at WSU. I like to loan her album Intuition to my students as an example of a full, quality sound thoughout all registers.


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