Everything your want to know about:

Circular Breathing

Have fun with extended techniques! Using them also gives you better flute control!

Circular Breathing in short:

Circular breathing gives the flutist the opportunity to breath while playing so longer phrases can be played.

10 steps for learning circular breathing

Learning circular breathing takes time. Be patient and enjoy the journey to using circular breathing. 10 small exercises have been added here below. Take your time with each exercise. It is best to practice each step for a few days. There are two main things that often go wrong and therefore this advice: take very short amounts of air and use circular breathing if you don’t really need it. Don’t wait until you’re out of breath.


Composers mostely don’t write in the scores that you should use circular breathing. It is up to the flute player whether or not to use circular breathing.

Piccolo - alto flute - bass flute

This technique can be used on all flutes.

Composer information

Not all flute players, even professional players, are capable of circular breathing.

Flute players

Studying circular breathing on the flute is useful for:
– Embouchure control
– Co-ordination tongue and abdomen
– Good, steady breath control
– Total control

Sound example

Here you can listen to a short example of circular breathing. I’m playing Xi by Stockhausen.

Another example. This piece ‘The Great Train Race’ by Ian Clarke contains a lot of extended techniques including circular breathing (2:30 – 3:24).