Richard Burdick's thoughts for his horn students


I. Breathing

For all breathing, (1) open your mouth. (2) Then exhale fully. (3) Inhale with a silent “ahh” which opens the throat. As you breath remain relaxed & move your elbows outwards to allow the lungs to expand more.

I use three different kinds of breathing the fat breath, the tall breath and the complete breath.
For the fat breathing, breath deep in your lungs first. Making an effort to expand the lungs downward in the lower back & sides. Getting fat then expanding in the chest as well. This should give you a huge breath. Most students who do this the first time are so unused to having so much air that they miss notes. I like this when I want a vibrato, during a very hard concert or when I want a dark tone. , breath in and immediately play.

For the tall breathing, take a fast breath letting the body expand naturally, but keep your attention with the expansion of your chest in the heart region. The breath to the chest has the advantage of expanded chest muscles. The air use is aided by the natural contraction of the chest muscles. There is no forcing of the air outward, or extra tension from overly stretched body parts. Breathing this way eliminates most of my nervousness and I can get a nice steady tone. Breath in and immediately play. The only time I breath and hold in the breath before playing is for really scary high note entrances. These entrances are aided by the built up air pressure in the lungs.

The complete breath has taken me a while to perfect. I had to overcome the problem of too much pressure in weird places of my body. My favorite analogy for this type of breath is that of filling a sealed paint can with air from an air compressor. When it get too much pressure it starts to bend & bulge in strange places. Likewise, a large breath will cause ones horn playing to be out of control in strange ways. I recommend a lager exhale followed by a timed large inhale, then before you play, let out a little air to reduce the extra pressure from the large breath, then play. This is my best breath.A shallow breath is never acceptable. Always take a full breath. The resonance of lunges is important for your sound quality. With practice you learn to use the right amount and speed of air for the quality of tone you wish to produce. Use just enough air to make the correct vibration.

Richard Burdick

P. S. I Just (17/02/2011) Added a new rule to my list of reules! Breath at dynamic changes. I am not sure this is for all music, but for lots of etudes this really works.


New comments on Breathing:

April 7 2011

For students, I think it is important to practice deep breathing, a breathing that is not natural. One must get used to breathing deeply and by forcing it at first I think you will achieve the goal of deep musicians breathing faster.   But, one must be relaxed in performances and forcing breathing in those times is not a very good idea.   My most important teacher who talked about breathing, suggested that one can feel the breath at the base of the spine. I never did achieve that, but I can feel it on my sides by my belt and I think that is important for a deep breath. I tell my students to relax their sides under their arms almost lifting ones arms away from the body like they have wings. This allows the lungs to open more.







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CD42 I sound My Horn

CD42 cover-88CD42
Music of
B. Heiden and Burdick


CD41 American Horn Music vol. 2

Burdick's CD41Music by:
R. Burdick
J. Graas, R. Johnson
J. Ott, A. M. Ingalis
A. D. Schmutz, T. Strong

CD40 Retrospective II
Horn Quartets No's 1 - 5

Burdick's CD40Retrospective II
Horn Quartets:
No. 1, Op. 39,
No. 2, Op. 51,
 No. 3, Op. 136,
  No. 4, Op. 149,
                       No. 5, Op. 154

CD39 Bach by Popular Demand

CD39 A sequel toCD39 cover-88
R. Burdick's
Easter Oratorio CD and his Favorites CD Bach Cantatas, 26, 84 & 99

CD38 Matthew Locke:
Broken & Flatte Consorts

CD38 Richard Burdick performs trios from the late renaissance: CD 38 Locke-Brokenall 6 Broken Consort Suites and both Flatte Consort suites - 36 track of Christmas like music.

CD37 Microtonal music of Richard Burdick

CD37 Richard Burdick's compositions:
Earth & Moon, Op. 202
Polar Flux, Op. 204 Microtonal music of Richard Burdick

A multi-track recording of Mr. Burdick:
A microtonal duet (Op. 204) & quartet (Op. 202)

64 tones per octave.

CD36 Classical Natural Horn
Music By Duvernoy & Schneider

CD36 Classical Natural Horn
Music By Duvernoy & Schneider

CD36 Natural horn Burdick Beautiful authentic practice classical era natural horn music, for horn trio and duo.

A very popular style of music in Beethoven's lifetime.

CD35 Twenty-Two Trios
for Horns

CD35 Twenty-two Trios
fCD35or Horn, Op. 156

Nothing else like it for horn ensemble! These trios are full of memorable tunes interwoven in fascinating ways, with wonderful twists and turns.

CD34 Natural Horn Music FOUND

Thanks to IMSLP a number of works have come to my attention from moderately obscure CD34composers, which I'm happy to present here performed on the Natural horn. Nineteenth Century composers Du Puy, Comte de Champigny, Alexandre Javault, Johann Peter Heuschekel. Released February 2013.

CD32 American Horn Music
American Horn Music
of the 40's & 50's


“This CD proves that what may have sounded weird sixty years ago now sounds normal and often beautiful.”

There are many lesser-known 20th century composers, who have great worth!

Let’s not forget the music of:
Wendell Otey
Alan Hovhaness
Henry Cowell
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Gunther Schuller.