How to Breathe Through Your Nose While Playing an Instrument

Breathing through your nose while playing an instrument is a technique called circular breathing. Performers use their cheeks to act as a reservoir to continue pushing air through the instrument when the lungs run out of air. As the cheeks push air through the instrument, the nose brings air into the lungs. With practice, an instrumentalist can hold a pitch for long periods without a break.

Step 1

Practice playing the instrument with your cheeks expanded. This is contrary to the normal method of playing with the cheeks taut. Practice until this becomes comfortable.

Step 2

Play your instrument only by pushing air from your cheeks into the instrument. Do not use any air from your lungs. You won’t be able to sustain a note for very long, but it is important to get a feel for this technique.

Step 3

Practice the technique of breathing through the nose and pushing air out of the cheeks simultaneously. Continue to do this until you can perform this action comfortably.

Step 4

Play your instrument as normal. Fill your cheeks with air when you begin to run out of breath. When your cheeks are full, begin to push air out with the cheeks and breathe air into the lungs through your nose.


This technique can take a significant amount of time to learn. Master each step before moving on to the next step.
Practice this technique daily to improve. Like any practice routine, it requires consistent effort.


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