breathing exercise


Here is a natural breathing exercise that I use for myself and my students.

Play a two octave C Major scale up and down from low C with a nice tone in one breath as slowly as you think you can. Put on your metronome and play two notes to the beat. You might have to experiment a bit to find the right metronome setting but try around 70. If you find you have way too much air left at the end try a couple of notches slower. If you can't get through the scale try a couple of notches faster.
Now, once you have found the speed, take a full breath until you feel you are about to float away like a ballon and without holding at the top of your inhalation start a second scale - still C Major but start on low D and play two octaves up and down.
When you finish feel yourself fill up again in the same way and play E to E. Carry on like this till you have played B to B, then rest. Each scale will have taken a little bit more air and if you are consciuosly trying to take in a full breath each time you will be increasing your capacity.
Now, move the metronome down one notch and repeat the entire exercise. You can play the same scale or you could change to F or G Major for variety - but still start on low C.
Then move the metronome down another notch and play through the exercise a third time. The whole process might take you ten minutes or so. Do this every day and you will quickly find that you are able to start at a slower metronome speed (and so finish up at a slower speed :-)) There is no reason why you shouldn't be down around sixty in a week or two - just make sure you don't achieve that by playing softer each time.
One trick to help with the inhalation:
When you have inhaled and are about to start your scale take an additional quick "suck" of air. And remember, don't "hold" your breath either at the top or bottom of the process.

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