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"The Breathing Book for Oboe" by Stephen Caplan

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"The Breathing Book for Oboe" by Stephen Caplan

This spiral bound book offers an extremely clear and accurate picture of the parts of one's body that are involved in our breathing and our playing and guides us to putting these into practice with some of our favorite melodies and scale patterns. Stephen Caplan gives a series of 30 practical exercises to help focus on the quality of one's breathing. Be sure to watch his 3 minute video for a personal introduction to his book. There are also two more videos which give some samples of the exercises using the trombone but one can see how it crosses over to the oboe. Check up above for the links.

How the Breathing Book Works

The Breathing Book presents anatomically accurate descriptions of breathing paired with musical applications. There are images with verbal descriptions of each facet of breathing followed by musical examples incorporating each breathing element. embedded within the musical examples are reminders about the breathing information so musicians can begin to breathe based upon anatomical reality rather than vague metaphor.

Unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings about breathing embedded in traditional pedagogy.The Breathing Book strives to correct those misunderstandings in order to enhance breath support.

Here is a sample of the philosophy behind The Breathing Book:

When the ribs move in conjunction with the diaphragm’s descent, air is brought into the body. It is the movement of the ribs and diaphragm and subsequent expansion of the thoracic cavity which causes air to come into the body.

Air coming into the body does not cause the ribs and diaphragm to move – that’s backwards.

The lungs don’t do anything by themselves – they depend upon surrounding structures (the ribs and diaphragm) to move. If it weren’t for the ribs and diaphragm moving, the lungs would just sit there like a liver or an appendix.

Quotes by well-known oboists about the book

“The Breathing Book is a “must-read” for oboists of all levels, from students to professional performers. Stephen Caplan has clearly defined and clarified the complexities of proper breathing and posture, with all of the exercises having been carefully crafted and sequenced to achieve the optimal performance results.”

Carolyn Hove – Solo English Horn, Los Angeles Philharmonic

“As oboists, everything we do rests on the air we breathe, and comes from that. The Breathing Book cleverly explains many easy-to-practice exercises which will help to improve any oboist’s approach to this, the core of our technique.”
Gordon Hunt – International soloist and Principal Oboe of The Philharmonia Orchestra, London

“Dr. Stephen Caplan’s new book, The Breathing Book, is an oboe-specific guide to all things having to do with breathing and tone production. Stephen says that understanding breath is the key to improving every aspect of oboe playing and I certainly agree. His book has thirty less

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