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Is Circular Breathing Necessary?

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Have you tried circular breathing?  Do you need to know how to circular breathe to become a better piper?

Carl and Andrew discuss the advantages of circular breathing and whether it is important for pipers.

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Video Transcription:

Andrew:
Brian is back, January 4th now, says he's reading about the advantages of circular breathing. Any thoughts?

Carl:
Advantages of circular breathing, first of all, it's only relevant to practice chanter. We don't really have any need or desire to do it on the bagpipes because we have a bag, which is the whole purpose of circular breathing, is to have a continuous sound. On the practice chanter, it's really just useful as a teaching tool if it's easy for you, but there are plenty of world-class pipers that don't or can't do it. You just take a little quick breath and it's no big deal. I don't think it needs to be something that you need to focus or try to learn. If it's useful for you and it comes naturally, great. There you go.

Andrew:
Yep. Okay, cool. My thoughts on that is I don't think it'll ever come naturally. It is something that you just have to practice, but it should be something that you screw around with occasionally. It should not be something you feel like you need to do or need to practice in order to get better, because it's just not true. I was a professional piper for six years before I could circular breathe. Rob Mathieson, I still don't think he circular breathes at all. Lots of people don't and lots of people do.

Andrew:
It's just a fun thing to screw around with and then eventually maybe it clicks eventually. Then, suddenly as a teacher, I just found that it started to click and I started to use it more and then now I just do it all the time without thinking about it and that's that, but it's not a priority. It's approximately the last thing a beginner or an intermediate should be thinking about seriously, because there's scale navigation, basic rhythm, articulation, embellishments, ALAP, ASAP, four questions of bagpipe maintenance, tonal quality and tuning to think about, which is plenty.

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Andrew Douglas Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, having been active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He's also the founder and creator of Dojo U and of PipersDojo.com

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