- Step 1: Practice breathing with puffed cheeks Puff out your cheeks, and then breathe normally through your nose to get the feel of breathing with your cheeks extended.
- Step 2: Blow air out lips while breathing in Puff your cheeks and create a small hole between your lips. Control the muscles in your cheeks to allow air to exit slowly through the hole while you breathe in and out through your nose.
- Step 3: Use a straw to mimic an instrument Place a straw in a glass of water, puff your cheeks, and squeeze the top of the straw between your lips.
- Step 4: Empty your lungs Inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale through your mouth at a constant pace until you empty your lungs. Keep the bubbles in the water as regular as possible.
- TIP: Fill your mouth with water and push it out in a stream using your tongue and cheek muscles. Next, breathe in and out through your nose while making the stream.
- Step 5: Close your throat Repeat step four but, before your lungs empty, fill your cheeks and mouth with air and inhale quickly and deeply through your nose. Close your throat off with the back of your tongue, and continue to exhale.
- Step 6: Switch between mouth and lungs Breathe in through your nose to replenish your lungs with air while continuously blowing out the air stored in your cheeks and mouth. Switch to pushing air out from your lungs; then close your throat and expel the air in your mouth while you inhale.
- TIP: Lay aside the straw and start practicing with your instrument as soon as you feel ready to improve your circular breathing skills.
- Step 7: Practice holding pitch with a mouthpiece and barrel Practice holding a steady pitch using only your mouthpiece and barrel. Blow air with your cheeks alternately puffed and unpuffed. Then introduce circular breathing.
- TIP: Mask the "bump" that is commonly heard when switching between lung air and mouth air by transitioning during a quick series of musical notes.
- Step 8: Add the rest of the instrument Incorporate your entire wind instrument into your circular breathing practice. Focus on mastering the technique before worrying about making a perfect sound.
- FACT: A U.S. postal worker known as 'The Puffy Cheek Bandit' pleaded guilty to robbing 27 banks in five different states.
You Will Need
- Glass of water
- Your woodwind instrument