Breathing - Important for Life, Important for your performance.


Breathing is vital for life and critical for saxophone players to optimize their performance. Without proper breathing technique, saxophonists may struggle to play long phrases, leading to subpar performances. Here are some essential breathing exercises for saxophonists to improve their breathing technique and enhance their overall performance.

To maximize your breathing technique, ensure you assume a comfortable, upright position when playing, whether standing or sitting. The most natural way the human body breathes is by the movement of the stomach and belly, not by raising the shoulders and expanding the rib cage. This way, the lungs can be optimally filled, unlike the shallow filling that occurs when raising the shoulders and expanding.

Here are some exercises to help you improve your breathing technique: 

1. The "1-4-2" Exercise:

  • Stand straight with your hands on your hips.
  • Inhale for 1 count.
  • Hold your breath for 4 counts.
  • Exhale slowly for 2 counts.
  • Repeat 10 times.

2. The "2-1-8" Exercise:

  • Pick a note on your sax (middle C or G as a suggestion).
  • Inhale for 2 counts.
  • Hold your breath for 1 count.
  • Exhale (play) for 8 counts.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. The "Rib Cage" Exercise:

  • Sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight.
  • Inhale and simultaneously raise both your arms above your head and hold your hands together for 2 counts.
  • Hold your breath for 8 counts.
  • Exhale slowly and lower your hands to your sides for the length of 4 counts.

4. The "Floor" Exercise:

  • Lie down on your back on the floor.
  • Raise your hips and buttocks off the floor.
  • Inhale for 2 counts.
  • Hold for 8 counts.
  • Exhale for 4 counts.

Practice these exercises at least once a day to improve your breathing technique.

Contrary to popular belief, the diaphragm is not a voluntary muscle that saxophonists can control consciously. Instead, they can access it through abdominal breathing, as demonstrated in the above exercises. Practicing breathing patterns also activates the lymphatic system, which gets rid of impurities and improves overall health.

In summary, proper breathing technique is crucial for saxophone performance. By practicing these exercises regularly, saxophonists can improve their breathing technique, enhance their performance, and improve their overall health.

Have fun!

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