The purpose of this exercise is to learn to reduce your effort when exhaling a full breath. I will expand on how this makes a more resonant sound in other breathing exercises.
Without the instrument, take a large breath, then let it go.
A lung-full of air should take less than a ½ second to exhale without pushing or blowing the air out. If it takes longer than ½ second to release a full breath, you are probably holding the air in or restricting your throat.
The elasticity of your body is more than enough to exhale quickly. Simply let your breath go. There is no need to “blow” the air out.
An unrestricted inhalation and exhalation produces a low-pitched, quiet sound. The larger the aperture, the lower and softer the sound. If you hear a rushing air sound like “fff” or “hhh,” your mouth or throat is restricting the flow of the air. When you relax your throat and tongue, the air passage opens. There is no need to intentionally “open” your throat.
Sometimes players will not fully release the inhalation. The air also is held back if you lift your shoulders.
Let go of a lungful of air while keeping your lips closed, allowing your cheeks to puff out. Then open your mouth to release the air.
After comfortably releasing a full breath, do the same on your mouthpiece setup. Without the reed vibrating, release a lung-full of air through the mouthpiece. Do not let any air escape out the sides of your mouth. It will take a little longer to release a full breath through the mouthpiece because of the tip opening. A lungful of air can move through a mouthpiece in one second or less without pushing.
Again, the air should sound low and quiet.
See if you can reduce the time it takes to release the air with the least amount of rushing sound by relaxing your throat, tongue, jaw, and embouchure. Remember, everything becomes forced when you blow the air out. Most of the work in breathing is when you inhale. Exhalation releases the inhalation without blowing the air out.
Inhaling while forming the word “hoe” will relax your tongue and throat.
You can add these routines to your warm-up.
Related videos, articles, and exercises:
Freeing Your Breath is part one of three-part series on the breath.
Part 2. Producing A Tone By Releasing The Breath
Part 3. A Fully Vibrating Reed
© 2019, Steve Duke