Breathing Concepts and Exercises
Peter Stoll
Clarinetists often talk about “breathing low.” This is a reference to the diaphragm muscle, which contracts to flatten downward, drawing air into the lungs. It is also an acknowledgement that the upper portion of the body cavity is a relatively immobile structure made up of the rib cage and breastbone, which protect vital organs like the heart, lungs, etc. Trying to “breathe high” into this firm structure is not as expansive in drawing air into the much softer abdominal region. Breathing high usually only results in unhelpful playing tension, particularly in the shoulders.
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