I’ve heard competition judges at the NFA convention discuss with the audience how competitors need to learn how to take quieter breaths. Their estimation of the competitor went down simply because the breath was too loud and distracting. It especially took away from slower more melodic passages.
Trevor Wye gave a presentation at an NFA convention and complained about that very same thing. Everyone went home after that analyzing their breath technique. Let me tell you, I-for-one wasn’t going to be criticized for loud breathing!
How about you? Do you know what you sound like when you take a breath in the middle of a piece?
If not, listen to a recording or record yourself, because 9 times out of 10, the breathing is too loud and usually, usually it’s because our throat is tight when we take the breath.
When you take a fast breath, all the listener should hear is the fast intake of air, not the air vibrating in your throat such as when you gasp for air after running the 50-yard dash!
We all know the feeling when we are in the middle of the piece and need a very fast breath, we gasp for it. The throat is automatically tight. So, when you take that fast breath, it comes from a tight throat and a gasp is heard (the horror of it all).
But, if you really think about it, couldn’t you take just as fast of a breath if you loosen that throat, and loosen up that jaw?
Try it and see what you think.
Can you take a fast breath by using a yawning throat?
It really is just as fast and it’s completely quiet.
Now, I know that it is slightly hard in the middle of a piece when you are playing fast and you need to grab that breath to think, “Oh, just loosen up.” It seems that it would take too long but if you can just get into the habit of loosening your throat, relaxing the jaw, the breath will come just as fast and just as big as you need it.
To get in the habit of taking a quiet breath, practice stopping every time you need a breath and consciously take a quiet breath. I know it messes with the continuity of the piece but believe me it will help make a habit out of breathing correctly – quietly. If you don’t, I guarantee that you will go back to your old habits more often than not.
So, listen to yourself, and practice taking that quiet breath
Try this and let me know how you sound.
Watch me demonstrate this: FluteTips 21 Quiet Breath