Just Keep Breathing

A photo of Killian Weston.

Breath is a key aspect of successful movement, and movement affects every caption score in winter guard competition.

Fuel Your Muscles

Performers must breathe—and breathe properly—to provide their muscles with the oxygen needed to move and stretch.

Proper breathing helps performers develop strength, flexibility, and stamina.

Find Your Rhythm

The first step in incorporating breath into your performance may seem obvious, but it’s often a challenge, especially with new performers: Make sure you’re actually breathing!

Be sure you’re not holding your breath and that you’re breathing correctly throughout everything you do. Make sure breathing is part of what you’re checking as you go through your warmups, conditioning, stretching, and every other aspect of rehearsal.

If you’re having trouble remembering to breathe, try humming along to music. This strategy will force you to keep breathing, and eventually you won’t need to think about it anymore.

Use your diaphragm to breathe deeply. Add some brief yoga into your daily routine to help you practice this type of breathing.

Be Expressive

As performers progress, breath becomes a means of expression that can bring life to a show and help the performers connect with their audiences.

Take a deep breath and notice what happens to your body. When you inhale, your ribcage expands and your chin may lift while exhaling returns your body to normal. Use these natural motions to help your movements flow—inhaling as your movements grow and exhaling as they shrink. Try doing the opposite and notice how unnatural it feels.

Experiment on Your Own

The key to learning how to use your breath effectively is to experiment. Try something different to see how it affects the way you move. Breath is very individual, so don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work the first time. Just keep breathing!

About author

Killian Weston

Killian Weston is a color guard instructor and designer in southeast Michigan. She began performing with her high school marching band in 2002 and continued with college marching band and collegiate winter guard. She has taught several guard units and is a prospective judge in the Michigan Color Guard Circuit.

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