Circular Breathing, Demystified

Posted on Posted in 2017 Wisconsin Flute Festival, Session

Circular Breathing, Demystified

Cecilia Piehl Price

From regular breathing to circular breathing in less than 50 minutes.

Circular breathing is a skill that opens significant possibilities to the flutist, not only as an extended technique in contemporary music, but for breathing assistance in any (traditional or modern) repertoire. It also improves regular breathing significantly, which the performer needs to perfect in order to make circular breathing happen. Although there is enough written information available, this technique has been hard to put in practice for most classical trained flutists. In my opinion, this is a “hands on” learning process, and not something you easily learn from a book.
I was inspired to learn circular breathing by (one of) my Argentinean flute teacher, Beatriz Plana. Since then, I have applied it to my playing constantly. In Argentina, Circular breathing is taught as part of the flute degree content, and most students learn it together with flutter tonguing or multiphonics. It is important not to provide a lot of preliminary information, to avoid creating expectations, fear, or anxiety in the student.
During the workshop, I will teach this technique, guiding all attendants through simple and progressive exercises which will gradually move each performer from traditional breathing to circular breathing; this is the hardest step to achieve in the whole technique.
With the help of short samples on the screen (videos, diagrams, and rhythmic excerpts) and by my own demonstrations, the audience will be able to understand each exercise, the noise/sound it produces, where to put pressure, how to shape the embouchure, having a close look at the model they have to imitate and making this experience the closest to a “one-on-one” lesson.
Towards the end, I will lead the audience in a short discussion on “Circular breathing, Why? Q+A”, closing with a demonstrative performance:

Date of composition: unknown
Composer’s dates: 1847-1909

Cecilia Piehl Price (MM and DMA in Music from UA) was piccoloist and assistant principal with the Orquesta Sinfonica in Mendoza, TSO in Alabama, and principal flute with the Ludwig Symphony in Atlanta. She appeared as guest soloist with orchestras in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, and USA.
Price performed and lecture at the 2013 NFA Convention, Mid-South Flute Festival, and Flute festivals in Ecuador, Argentina, and Colombia.
Dr. Price teaches Flute Ensemble at KSU.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room 112