Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Circular Breathing

Can anyone give some input on proper breathing while playing music? In particular, how does one circular breathe?

I have no idea how this is done, though I’ve read that Kenny G has the worlds record for the longest note…45 minutes and 47 seconds.

How does one apply proper breathing to playing a stringed instrument? :thinking:


good air in…bad air out…

hint: don’t stop! :wink:


Can you imagine being near Kenny G during those 45 minutes? I would have murdered him by minute 2

I play harmonica so I tried to learn some circular breathing, there is a little technique to it. Basically you do not use the lungs as the exhale mechanism., you capture air in your mouth and use your cheeks to exhale whilst breathing in through your nose.

You can practice blowing into a straw in a glass of water to get the method it takes a bit to get it but it can be done. ( in can be amusing watching someone trying to get it


@Treblemaker, once you figure that out for a stringed instrument, I’d love to learn as well! The comment from @frankb_be about circular breathing on a wind instrument is spot-on. If you listen closely to recordings of these kinds of instruments being played using this technique, you can even hear the air being breathed in through the nose as the tone continues. Trumpet players in particular often wish to master this technique (had buddies in high school and college who fit this category).



Yeah, I did look it up later, and found a clarinet player talking about using the glass of water and straw.

I was really just trying to find if there is a way to breathe that will help improve playing on stringed instruments.

I did however find this after my post. Probably should have searched more before posting.


I’d heard of the Alexander technique many years ago for singers and stage performers, but didn’t even think about it possibly being useful for string players (not that I’m all that familiar with it). Thanks for sharing this! :+1: