Part 1. Freeing Your Breath in this series showed when we relax the throat, jaw, tongue, and mouth, the air moves more freely. However, there are other reasons why people will force their air and restrict their sound.

A simple question reveals if you are forcing the air when playing.  When you make sound using a breath attack, without using your tongue, do you feel that your airspeed accelerates, remains the same, or decelerates? Very player I ask believes that their air accelerates.

Try this:

Blow a lungful of air through the mouthpiece without vibrating the reed. This should take less than one second.

Now use a lungful of air to play with the loudest sound you can make. Be sure that you take a full breath and use all the air. Notice how long it takes before you run out of air?

Most people will sustain the sound like this for 8 – 12 seconds.

It takes about ten times longer to use a lungful of air when producing a loud tone than blowing air through the mouthpiece. The airspeed decelerates when you make a sound. There is no need to blower harder or accelerate the air. 

Accelerating the air forces the breath, which interferes with a fully vibrating reed.  

Practice reducing the effort in blowing by releasing the breath through the mouthpiece using the exercises in Freeing Your Breath.  

Now, without pushing or accenting and note, produce a tone in the middle of an exhalation. Notice if the air remains steady or surges when you make the sound. The speed of the air sound should flow freely and evenly when going from air sound to making a tone.  

Also, notice if it takes longer than one second to release the air through the mouthpiece. If it takes longer than one second, you probably are holding back your exhalation breath, restricting the reed with your jaw or jaw, and/or limiting the air with your throat. 

When you produce a sound in the middle of an exhalation without accenting the note, the tension in your throat will let go, and your reed will vibrate more freely. FFFF-AAAA.

Notice if you anticipate the need to pump the air at the beginning of the sound. Practice producing a tone in the middle of releasing the inhalation.


  1. You use more air when the reed does not vibrate than when you play as loud as you can.
  2. It is not necessary to accelerate the air to make a sound.
  3. Producing a note in the middle of letting go of the air relaxed the throat.

Related videos, articles, and exercises:

Release The Breath To Produce Tone is Part 2 of three-part series on the breath. Also, see:

Part 1. Freeing Your Breath

Part 3. A Fully Vibrating Reed