Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Hello. I am somewhat of a newbie — I grew interested in the keyless flute in around 2015-ish(?) and decided to get myself one, and started down the road of learning to play it. I now have an 8-key and a 6-key, although I’m focused on the 8-key as my main flute since I like having a C foot. The thing is, once I started blowing opera tunes through it, I drifted away from Irish music. Hand even an Irish flute to an Italian, and eventually we end up blowing opera out of it, plus classical tunes are my home court on other instruments. I’ve been listening to it for my whole life, so it feels more natural to me.

But I still really do like the Irish dance music; it’s fun as anything, and I like the freer sense of tone in it. However … HOW THE H*LL DO YOU BREATHE?! Opera is so much easier, and with the exception of Bach lots of classical tunes give you rests and places to breathe. Where they don’t, you can usually just phrase things to give yourself a little room.

But the Irish dance music just takes no prisoners on this front. I can’t even manage to get through Willy Coleman’s without either losing air or tensing up like mad to the point where my embouchure completely falls apart.

To any self-taught flute players who remember what it was like to learn this stuff as an adult: do you have any tips or hints? A lot of it seems to come down to "well, just work it out," and clearly I can’t. And there have got to be some general guidelines for this sort of thing. 🙁

Any advice?

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

In Irish flute playing, unlike classical music (at least as its played now), notes are left out in order to take a breath. In jigs, it is common to leave out the middle of a group of 3 8th-notes. In reels, the 2nd or the 4th of a group of 4 8th notes. But if you have a pattern of a quarter-note plus 2 8th notes in a reel or hornpipe or a dotted quarter-note in a jig or reel or hornpipe, you can ‘steal’ the breath from the value of the longer note just as you would when playing, e.g. Bach. The ‘musical’ places where you do this are afaik the same as where you would take a breath in classical music. Something which is noticeable in the Irish tradition is that good players routinely vary where they take breaths when a section is repeated. This is done to give variety to the phrasing. Chet

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Not sure how you breathe for opera tunes, except for the fact the melodies are slower, contain rests, and sustained notes, after which a breath can be taken. In Irish, there are no set places to breathe. There are two basic techniques to master. One is easy once you understand the basics of Irish dance tunes. You must think in terms of phrases. At the end of a phrase, you inhale. It needs to be intuitive, the same way you breathe when you talk. Phrases in Irish music are very short, but the music is fast and there are no tests, so you have to be ready and quick. I suggest working out your breathing spots ahead of time until you can do it without thinking. Knowing the music well enough to identify each phrase is vital. It comes from listening.

The second technique is harder for a newbie. You can develop your ornamentation as an opportunity to take breaths. For example, you can skip a note to give the tune a bit of syncopation, while at the same time creating a gap in which to breathe. Sometimes a roll or crann can shorten a run of notes, creating room for a breath. When all else fails, if you know you’re coming to a tough spot for air, you can pre-select a run of notes to simply drop out, take your breath and then come back in. I do this all the time when playing a tune that I don’t know well in a session. I simply drop out and come back in. In time you’ll be able to play the whole thing, because with time and experience, you’ll stop anticipating running out of air.

That’s really all there is to it.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Managing breath control is, pretty clearly, a main element of playing any wind instrument (to say nothing of singing) and there’s some helpful advice about it in Conal O’Grada’s book,’An Fheadog Mhor - Irish Traditional Flute Technique’. (Other tutorial material is available). Something I’ve found helpful, as someone doesn’t have the puff I had when younger, is the observation that we don’t usually find ourselves running out of breath when we speak - unless we have a serious lung disorder - because we govern the duration, phrasing, and volume of speech without thinking. In fact we almost automatically regulate the flow of speech to fit in with a comfortable rate of breathing. I find that trying to achieve the same relaxed approach helps to get the balance between air supply and musical structure. One of these days I’ll start to get it right.

Also remembering to use one’s diaphragm to draw plenty of air down the tubes.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I’ve noticed changes in my patterns of speech as I’ve gotten older, and I’m a teacher for a living. Fatigue sets in earlier.

I didn’t start playing flute till I was 59, partly as an exercises in thinking about breathing and keeping the breath up. It’s been challenging. At this point (61) my problem is less running out of breath than it is embouchure fatigue. I’m great for a minute.

I’ve no doubt that if I was thirty years younger I’d be much better by now, but the journey is the destination, etc etc.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

The breathing thing is just about the most important thing you can do with a flute. I’ll second Conal O’Grada’s tutorial. He makes a better case for the importance of breathing than I can. You can get it on line from him and it’s worth every bit of the modest cost. And let’s not forget the most practical way to learn just about anything … copy somebody that’s good at it. Listen, listen, listen. Listen to Matt, Conal, Catherine, Harry, Hans, Patsy, or anybody else you like. They all, have different approaches. Pick one, listen a lot, listen carefully, then listen some more. I’m guessing you are a sight reader, not a bad thing for sure, but don’t hang too much on what you see. The trasnscriptions are pretty shaky. Spend your time on what you hear and what you want to sound like. By the way I play a few classical pieces on my wooden flute with no problem so it can’t be that hard!

Other than that you breathe on the flute the same way you breath for anything else … from the diaphragm. 😉 It’s impressive how many people forget that.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Woo, thanks, folks! This speaks to where I’m at after a year of working on flutery. I’ve been working through Charles Nicholson’s book for the 8-key flute, which of course is "classically" -oriented, but even he doesn’t seem to specify breaths. Fintan Vallely’s book is great for learning the cuts and rolls, and has a lot of good tunes in it., but again, no breath indications. So from the above advice, I should be listening for phrases as potential spots to grab a breath? Sounds do-able, with practice.
One thing I picked up from the Boehm system players(on FaceBook) is the idea of what they call a "fish breath". Not halitosis, but simply grabbing a quick mouthful of air when the opportunity/need arises. Take a quick inhale into the mouth (not the lungs) and you can get enough to complete the phrase, and get a lungful after. I would think this would work on those dropped notes spots.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Breathing is something I’m still working on.

I have found that tunes by Vincent Broderick (a flute player) have a flow and melody line that makes it easy to find places to breathe. On other tunes you might have to think about it or plan. Learning orally/aurally is probably a benefit.

I don’t know much about Irish dancing so I can’t comment on how the tune phrases match the dance phrases. Irish tune may be usually built out of 4 & 8 bar phrases, but the phrases don’t necessarily pause at those places. Frequently you slide from one phrase to the next as one or two pick-up notes rush your forward.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Find anything on YouTube by Mike Rafferty or Kevin Henry. These two old men can show you just about everything you need to know about effortless phrasing and making beautiful musical phrases.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I’m not far enough into this journey to have any ancient wisdom to impart, but I can mention one trap for new players, and that’s the timing of where you breathe when you’re first learning a tune, vs. how you have to breathe once you have it under your fingers and are playing up to session speed.

Your need to breathe is a constant, but when you first learn a new tune you will probably be playing at a slower tempo to figure out how to finger it. So just IGNORE where you feel like you need to breath in the tune when you’re first learning it at a slower tempo, because that will change when you get it under your fingers and you play it faster. The notes will come faster, and the logical or "musical" places to take a breath will change.

So, don’t worry too much about where you’re going to take a breath until you have the tempo up to session/dance tune speed. I think this was the most significant "Ah Ha!" moment I had in learning how to breathe with this music.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

That’s good advice. Let me add, though, that even though where you breathe and how often will change, if you heed the posts you’ve read so far, you’re unlikely to breathe in places that don’t make sense. To do so will slow down your ability to learn tunes, and worse, inhibit you from playing in the style you wish to master.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

It’s all been said above, but to lend weight to the thing I found trickiest: the flute is neither a fiddle nor a set of pipes. You have to have the courage to MISS NOTES OUT. Advice on where is above.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I played Baroque flute in University and when you see a big long string of 8th-notes coming up you take a big breath to get through the lot.

Irish reels and jigs, one could say, are entirely long strings of 8th-notes! So that approach can’t work. You can’t try to sneak in breaths in between notes either- the tunes go by too fast.

If you’re learning a reel or jig off generic sheet-music, or from the playing of a fiddle, box, uilleann pipe etc, breathing-spots per se don’t exist in the settings. You have to create them yourself! Unless you learn every tune in your repertoire from the playing of fluters (which isn’t a bad idea, early on) you will have to arrange your own flute settings. One of the main things is to create those breathing-spots.

I’m guessing that people will criticise anything I say that tries to find a pattern or system in the placement of the breathing spots ("you have to feel the music" "Irish music doesn’t conform to rules" yadda yadda yadda) but if you play a pile of tunes, looking at the way they’re played on fiddle box pipes etc and then looking at the way they’re played on flute you will find that convenient breathing-spot opportunities exist whenever a tune "parks" on a pitch for the length of a dotted quarternote. Often this parking spot is occupied by a roll, which can be thought of as being three 8th-notes of the same pitch, say GGG. You can leave out the middle G to carve out your breathing-spot G ’ G. (An apostrophe can be used in flute transcriptions to indicate taking a breath.)

When I’m first learning a tune from a fiddle box pipes etc and haven’t had the time to work up a nice flutey setting I’ll do that, take any "long roll" place/"long note" place as a potential breathing-spot.

It’s not the end-all be-all but it’s frequently done by fluters, consciously or no, and it might be a practical way to start.

By the way in that example of turning G3 or GGG (or GF#G or GAG etc) into G ’ G to breathe, you don’t play the first G as a full-length note, rather you just touch upon it and take your breath. Thus you have nearly the space of a quarternote to breathe.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

"You can develop your ornamentation as an opportunity to take breaths."

Ailin, this is great advice and something I never thought of.

The thing about opera tunes that makes them easier is that since they are designed around the voice, they’re kind of pre-made with wind-friendly breathing room in them. And you can get away with slowing down in places or putting in pauses. Dance music doesn’t give you that room, and I think that one difference — that so much of Irish music is dance music — is what makes it so brutally difficult for me.

Bazza and ross, I’ll look up Conal O’Grada and see what he has to say — thanks. 🙂

Mackeagan, what a coincidence, I finally had Nicholson’s book printed and spiral-bound for myself yesterday! (I assume you’re talking about his preceptive lessons?) Up to now, I’ve been pretty much just doing scales and trying to use as little air as possible and keep my hands relaxed, and playing whatever I like; it’s made me unafraid of the keys at least. I did some Trevor Wye, but that’s really Boehm-centered. I also bought Grey Larsen’s book, but it’s such a tome that it was a little intimidating.

"You have to have the courage to MISS NOTES OUT."

Alex, I think that’s the hardest part along with having to keep up that metronomic perfect pace that dance music needs. Classical really does give you a lot of wiggle room pace-wise, but when people are moving around based on the sound, you really do have to keep the pace rock-steady. Maybe that’s easier in a group of players since you can leave notes out or even drop out for a bit without really hearing it, and that gives you chance to be a beginner and still get yourself up to speed. When I’m the only person in the room, all the flubs are right there.

Anyway — thanks, everyone. I’ll look up O’Grada and just keep practicing and listening, and try to figure out how the players I like manage it. (I could listen to Orlaith McAuliffe and Mike McGoldrick all day long.)

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Thanks for that advice, Richard — looks like we were typing at the same time! Everyone’s given me a few really nice tips:

1. Use ornamentation to give yourself a chance to take a quick breath.
2. Use longish notes as a spot to breathe.
3. Watch people I like and see how they do it.
4. Leave a note out if you’re turning blue. 🙂

I guess I have to be content to do it a few different ways — and dislike some of them — before I hit on the ways that work. And maybe after The Plague has finished with us, I can actually drive to a session someplace, although that idea scares the pants off me.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

A while back the topic of when to put in breathing-spots came up and as an illustration I added my setting of The Mooncoin Jig purposely written to show the breathing places I tend to use.

It’s the last setting here:

https://thesession.org/tunes/206#setting38709

A comparison of my flute/whistle specific setting with the other Mooncoin settings will illustrate what I was trying to verbalise above.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

The Nicholson book in question is "A School for the Flute", Being a New Practical Instruction Book, Dedicated by permission to Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Adelaide, by Charles Nicholson, Flutist to His Majesty. In 2 Volumes, published by Wm. Hall & Son, 230 Broadway, New York. It contains a rather extensive fingering chart, with several options for the third octave notes, which may or may not work on a particular flute, depending on make, etc. I was given this one (a reprint) by my teacher years ago. You’ll have to look around, but I think Terry McGee may know where to find it. It also has several Irish airs, some even in playable keys.
And some good advice about tone and embouchure.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Don’t know if it adds anything more to what’s above, but here’s an extract of some old notes I have on my website about learning to play the Irish flute….

Breathing
There is a great temptation, especially among music notation readers, to breathe only at the end of parts of the tune. This usually means that a lot of the tune is played weakly for want of air, that breaths are long and loud and that parts of the tune get lost. Experienced players find smart places to breathe often, and turn the pauses for breath into punctuation. Smart places include long notes, which might otherwise be rolled. So, for example, a long G might be played as G……G, or rolled as GBGF#GGG, or used as a place to breath as GslurpG. In this way the need to breathe is turned into a virtue and the breath, instead of becoming a hole in the tune, becomes a statement, a rhythmical variation. Varying where the breath is taken can also add variety.

A good tune to try out some of these tricks is The Leitrim Fancy. Keep in mind that jigs should have a happy skipping rhythm (each bar will sound "tick-e-ty, tick-e-ty"). Rendered into "FluteSpeak", the Leitrim Fancy might sound like this:

G roll, F# roll | E slurp B, B cut A B |
G roll, F# roll | D slurp A, A cut F# D |
G roll, F# roll | E slurp B, B cut A B |
G cut B, d B G | A cut B G, F# cut E D |

(repeat first part)

G cut B , d B d | e roll , d B A |
G cut B , d B G | A cut B G , F# cut E D |
G cut B , d B d | E roll , d e f# |
g cut f# e, d B G | A B G , F# cut E D |

(repeat second part)

(Hmmm, I note I hadn’t got around to showing any breathing in the second part. Or maybe I left that for you to work out given the first part?)

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Mackeagan, I was able to find it on IMSLP, which is wonderful!

https://imslp.org/wiki/A_School_for_the_Flute_(Nicholson,_Charles)

It’s certainly well out of copyright, so I plan to print and spiral-bind this for myself as well. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.

And Terry, thanks for the worked example — that’s always the best way to see how something really works.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Here’s sort of a Masterclass in Irish reel flute breath-spots

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQnhJVMc5CE


He’s doing one thing that I forgot to mention, which is breathing AFTER a long roll in a reel.

Each half of a bar of a reel occupies the equivalent of four 8th-notes. A long roll occupies three. The leftover 8th-note can come before or after the roll

GGGA

AGGG

What Morrison is often doing there is removing the final 8th-note of the four, in situations where the roll comes first, thus:

GGGA (becomes) GGG ’

When it’s the other way round, fluters often do this:

AGGG (becomes) AGG ’

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I forgot to mention this. You can look up the various offerings, tunes, from Shannon Heaton on youtube. You get a lot on technique, breathing, and a few common tunes that actually get played. Costs nothing and you get a lot. Shannon also has offered a "50 tunes" book and each tune is scored with great places to breathe indicated. Assuming you are a reader, by the time you get halfway through I’ll bet you’ll have no more problems with breath. I think it’s still available as a download. You can also find her contact information through the Irish Flute Store website.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

FirexAir, the Nicholson’s is available from Noteworthy https://noteworthysheetmusic.com/ in two separate volumes at $10.50 US each, plus shipping. I recommend just getting the first volume, unless you’re a very determined fluter who really wants to handle the classical stuff.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I’d third (or fourth) that recommendation to get Conal O Grada’s book/CD. It does a great job of teaching a whole range of flute techniques and explaining the context too. Breathing is planned, if left to chance you’ll run out of steam or adopt a repetitive pattern neither of which maximise the value of effective breath control.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Yes, Conal O Grada’s book. But for me the most useful thing he teaches is listening. "When learning an instrument it is important that you educate your ears to recognise and understand what is happening in the playing of those you admire" (in his Author’s Note - before even the Introduction).

For breathing what helped me was listening to a recording of a good player with a score that is a reasonable match and annotating every breath point each time through the tune. Then practising breathing in the all those places. Then do it with another good player on that tune. Then play the tune not trying to copy the originals but with a lot of already practised potential breath points to draw on.

After doing that a few times I found I could skip the annotation phase and just pay attention to the phrasing when learning the tune.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I disagree that breathing is planned. If that works for you, fine. However, I think you’re cheating yourself to depend on it. You don’t plan your breathing in life. If breathing becomes studied, you will forever be a slave to that process. Better to have your breathing be an organic process that comes without thinking. At its best, music should be played from the heart, not the head. Use your head when you learn or when you practice. If you want to plan your breaths then, I think it’s fine for tough passages, but you don’t want to stifle the ability to vary things, especially in a session where someone may start a tune you know, but play differently than you are used to.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Mackeagan, I was able to print it out from the version on IMSLP for $26 for both, including spiral binding, so that was very convenient. And I will probably keep doing classical tunes; that’s still sort of my native language, especially opera tunes.

Ross, yes — I also just today watched Shannon Heaton’s YT channel where she does a tune a month, and it’s a lot of fun! She starts slow with the phrasing and then makes the phrasing a little longer, which seems to help in terms of finding the "right" places to breathe. I’m playing the Swallowtail at the moment, and it’s great. I also just watched a livestream that she did with her husband(?), and I paid close attention to her breathing as well.

I’m really happy to have run into that channel — if I can pick up even just a tune a month, that’d be great. Maybe someday when the Plague is behind us, I might even be able to join a nearby session and play a tune or two with everyone else.

Thank you for all the info, everyone!

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I agree with Ailin about not planning the breathing except for tough passages. Just didn’t want to put it so strongly! But I think we do have to build up experience of fitting breaths in.

I think it’s good fun at sessions with other flute players present to switch between matching their breathing to emphasise a flute take on the tune or deliberately not breathing in the same place. For the latter find a breath point a few beats after them to be sure of being able to carry on past their next breath to another good place. Either way it can’t be planned.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

To plan or not to plan … that is the question. I believe that these tunes we play have a LOT of opportunities to breathe. We need to "plan to breathe" in a place where the tune wants to breathe. The absolute worst place is when the player just runs out of breath. That certainly doesn’t mean that we sit down and "memorize’ (oh how I hate that word) places to breathe. It means we be aware enough to spontaneously pick the right spot in the moment. Our choices can make or break the tune.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

FirexAir (and all), I didn’t intend to downrate classical, so I hope I didn’t give off that impression. I’ve been passing the time during the past year shutdown by battering away at Boismortier’s Suite in E-minor, in addition to the much-loved jigs and reels. Also I have discovered that Bohemian Rhapsody is playable on the 8-key flute—not easy, but playable.
Another thought, Shannon Heaton’s Tune of the Month series is just grand. Catching her grabbing a breath is often tricky though…

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Mackeagan, you didn’t give that impression at all. No worries.

I think planning is probably necessary at the outset but that one should try to stop having to do it. It’s a bit like learning a new language — you do start out having to memorize the verb endings, but you must aim for not having to memorize them and just doing it by instinct.

I also think I may have found how to learn to breathe better as a beginner: just keep the pace, no matter what. If I have to breathe, don’t STOP and breathe. I just breathe when I need to and keep my fingers moving in the meantime, and keep the tune going in my head. Eventually I’ll get to the point where I can breathe more musically and leave better sounding gaps, but for now, I just have to keep going no matter what, and keep the pace. Ex. if I have to take a breath between a D to C# to B phrase, I just finger the whole passage and breathe in anyhow as quickly as possible. So I might not make that C#, but I’m still fingering it. And at some point as I improve, I’ll be able to breathe in a more conscious way. I’m probably not explaining this right.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Good call, FirexAir, I think that’s the way. Keep it going (in my case, slowly) and when the need arises, grab a breath, but don’t pause the tune while we breathe. Eventually it will sort itself out.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I’ve had group classes with Kevin Crawford and he is very much into planning when to breathe. It’s an integral part of each tune he teaches. He is an advocate of leaving notes out to breathe. I took a group online class with Seamus Egan who also stresses planning the breaths, although he doesn’t like to leave any notes out! I’m not a very good student, however, as I usually just blindly go and hope for the best! My usual mode of operation.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I have found this a very interesting thread to follow, as a fiddler player and a baroque recorder player who has never dared to play recorder in a session! I stopped playing the flute at school after a couple of years after being told my mouth was the wrong shape…

The most important thing is to learn to breathe from the diaphragm when you have long enough gaps to do so, maximising the air you can take in. Then I was taught to get into the habit of taking top up breaths from your chest instead when you can’t quite last out to a long enough break for a full diaphragm breath. So these would be quick breaths in tiny breaks in the music where you can do so unobtrusively and in a hurry. You can check which is diaphragm and which is chest breathing by lying down and trying to make either your chest or stomach go up and down when you breathe.

One teacher pointed out I was running out of air as I was breathing lots of it out of my nose, which was unconscious. If anyone knows how not to do this, please let me know! Something to do with somehow blocking your nose internally but I cannot figure out how to do this… I stopped the lessons as I left the area, so never got to the bottom of this mystery.

Another thing is that you lose puff if you do not play regularly. I am coming back to the recorder after a gap of several years and I am a total wimp. And it is particularly noticeable for playing solo. In a group, you can sneak breaths more easily and nobody is going to notice the occasional missed note here and there.

Not sure what the differences are between flute and recorder though? Good luck!

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Try this. Take a deep breath and then force the air out. As it comes up, block the air so it can’t exit the body. Two things should occur, but neither are necessary. One is, the back of your tongue will come to the roof of your mouth. The second is, your mouth will close. Now try it without doing either of these. No problem, right? It’s like stifling a sneeze. Once your muscles get used to the feel of blocking the nasal passage, it should happen naturally.

The difference in the use of air with flute is that your embouchure must focus the minimum amount of air needed to produce the desired tone. On whistle and recorder, the fipple does most of the work for you.

Another tip about breathing: many players gulp their air in an effort to avoid using their nose. It sounds terrible and is without purpose. Breathe with mouth and nose. Whatever my shortcomings are as a flute player, the ability to hear me take in air is not one of them.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Hello, Ailin, I cannot quite picture what you’re describing. Are you describing flute or fipple air/breath control?
Also when you say breathe with mouth & nose is that when you are inhaling (breathe in through nose & mouth)?
Cheers.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

I’ll second the post about Shannon Heaton. She actually is informative in many of her tutorials about where she is taking in a breath. Here’s one example w/Morrison’s Jig as the Tune of the Month.
https://youtu.be/EhtgOXVypoc

(don’t miss the last bit ;)

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Ben, what I said about breathing pertains to both flute and whistle or recorder. Breathing through nose and mouth means take in air through both simultaneously. The ratio will vary, but absolutely no reason to avoid the nose. The sound of breath intake should never be audible. Ever. It should also never be desperate, even with Irish music. I explained how to block off the nose because we were asked, not because you should ever do it unless you are in a place that stinks.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Thank you, Ailin. That is brilliant.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Thanks Allin. Brilliant description about blocking nasal airway like stifling a sneeze, I think I get how to do it now. I was trying to block it with my tongue on the roof of my mouth, but you need your tongue for articulating the notes too, so that was not working. This could revolutionise my playing!! Happy practising!

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

You can also listen to your favorite flute recordings trying to listen only for the pauses while ignoring everything else.

Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

"I explained how to block off the nose ¹…"
~
"Another tip about breathing: many players gulp their air in an effort to avoid using their nose. It sounds terrible and is without purpose. Breathe with mouth and nose. ² " Those bits I think were less than brilliant, Ailin.

Since reading the descriptions about stiffling a sneeze ¹ , blocking off the nasal passage, inhaling through mouth & nose I can only imagine it might help other players but none of it is what I’m doing. Though when I blow into the flute (this post is only about flute because I don’t think it’s an issue w/fipples) there’s no air going out my nose. If there were I don’t see how the reflex to stifle a sneeze would be necessary because it is focused at the end of the nasal cavity. Best I can tell my breath goes out the mouth because of how much pressure I use; tending to make a smaller aperture for higher notes.

Thanks for the descriptions though, Ailin, since it seems to be helpful for some players. Also I did
try it out to see if anything worked for me. Not so much.

I did find a fluter’s video who seems to play flute similar to my way ² regarding the current topic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_JZGvyLZAQ

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

Ben, you are not the op. I didn’t know you had an issue. I don’t understand what you are now trying to say. Are you asking a question or seeking clarification? All I know is you are saying my advice does not help you, but you never articulated a problem. I simply don’t know how to respond.

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Re: Okay, breathing. HOW?!

You don’t have to. If it helps the OP your observation has served the original purpose of the thread. 🙂

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