Back to the Practice Room


Mouth Corner Breathing
by David H Sherman

Little has been written about how to learn breathing through the mouth corners. For some it is easy while for others it can be difficult. I hope the following will make it easier for you.

Learning to breath through the corners of the mouth is a very beneficial technique to learn. This the preferred breathing technique recommended by Dr. Donald Reinhardt. Breathing through the mouth corners allows the player to keep the mouthpiece on the lips without having to remove it to breath. Breathing through the nose is also a good way to breath but it is not always. It took me about 6 months before I felt comfortable breathing this way. I still spend time during my morning warm-up concentrating on this technique making sure that am doing it correctly. While teaching this to my students I figured out a great way to learn this technique. 

Note: This is to be done with just the mouthpiece. Before placing the mouthpiece to your lips put your lips in the correct playing position. Your lips should be closed and slightly puckered. Wet your lips. Place the mouthpiece on your lips. Plug the end of the mouthpiece with a finger. Keep your lips closed using just enough mouthpiece pressure to maintain a seal. Now try to take a breath. If you are doing this correctly there should be little or no air flow. While keeping your finger blocking the mouthpiece pull back the corners of your mouth to allow the air in. Easy isn’t it. 

Now try it with the mouthpiece in the horn. Be patient. Go back to the above mouthpiece technique and try it again. Repeat until you understand how much the corners have to be pulled back to allow ample air flow. Your tongue should be lowered to the bottom of your mouth so that it does not block the air flow This is a common problem.
You can inhale a large amount of air this way by breathing using the “bottom” of your lungs. Keeping your lips wet allows whatever slight adjustment, or re-pucker to your lips is necessary to put them back to their proper playing position.
Try to use mouth corner on your next gig or rehearsal. Over time it will feel more natural and then it will become part of the way you play.

Back to the Practice Room