How To Apply the Breathing Bag To Exercises – Part 1

breathing bags

The following describes first examples of how flutists could use the breathing bag through different exercises from Marcel Moyse’s method books.

Example 1: De La Sonorité – Suppleness in the Low Register

This exercise emphasizes tone production in the low registers and the long phrases. There are five small sets which are A, B, C, D, and E. ‘A’ set is to play whole notes, ‘B’ set is to play dotted-half notes, ‘C’ set is to play half notes, ‘D’ set is to play quarter notes, and ‘E’ set is to play eighth notes with sixty quarters per minute. Each set has dynamic markings ranging from pp to ff  to pp. Figure 1. presents a portion of the first exercise in this section.

Figure 1. Marcel Moyse, De La Sonorité: Art et Technique, p.10-11


















Breath control is challenging in this part due to sets which require flute players to play sixteen beats in a single breath. Flutists can use a breathing bag to control the volume of air with a graduated exhalation and inhalation process. For example, the student practices exhaling into the bag for 4 beats to fill the bag. Then, the student inhales the air from the bag for another 4 beats (to simulate 8 beats of phrasing). This process continues with the student exhaling for one extra beat, and inhaling for one less beat for each repetition (e.g. exhale 5 beats, inhale 3 beats; exhale 6 beats, inhale 2 beats, exhale 7 beats, inhale 1 beat , and exhale 7½ beats, inhale half a beat). By doing the “Breathing Bag Exercise in 8 beats”, it will help flutists control the volume of air with a graduated breathe in and out process, especially for the long phrases. Also, it helps flutists know how to inhale quickly and deeply.

Breathe Out      Breathe In

1 2 3 4                    1 2 3 4

1 2 3 4 5                 1 2 3

1 2 3 4 5 6             1 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7          1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7.5       0.5


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