Letting the Air Out…

Myths, misconceptions, and misinformation are rampant in wind instrument pedagogy. I’ve addressed some of them, such as “play with an open throat”, “only the thumb holds the instrument”, and “don’t move when you play!” in other video lessons. In my newest video, I re-evaluate THREE myths at once, all related to breathing. It turns out that some of the long-held truths about breathing, when re-examined, just prove to be full of hot air.

We often hear teachers recommending that students should keep shoulders low, that they should lift the sternum high to take in more air, and that they should breathe from the belly. Although each one of these admonitions has a grain of truth to it, upon close examination we discover that each actually can cause more harm than good.

These are just three inaccurate statements about breathing that are unfortunately overused in wind pedagogy, but there are others. And as one begins to learn the TRUTH about how our breathing mechanism works, it becomes a great challenge to change old breathing habits which have been based on false information. This is why I wrote a Breathing Book for oboe players. It includes thirty lessons that have helped me to embody the truths about the anatomy of breath, and to find a legit basis of support for music making. “The truth will set you free” and understanding the authentic nature of breathing has set me on a course toward much greater freedom and security for performing music. I hope it will do the same for you.

The Breathing Book by Stephen Caplan

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