Breathing For Singing Is Way Easier When You Stop Taking A Breath! What if I said that your singing will dramatically improve if you stop actively taking breaths? You would probably think I was nuts. But hear me out. . . . . I hate the phrase “take a breath”. It implies a certain violence – a grabbing, a taking, a fast manipulation to pull as much air into the body as possible in the shortest amount of time. This inevitably creates tension in the ribs, in the muscles of the abdomen, in the muscles of the neck and throat that surround the larynx and tension in the jaw. In my experience, excess tension in a singer’s body is the number one saboteur of a good sound. By “taking” or grabbing a breath, you are setting up the rest of the phrase you’re about to sing from a place of tension rather then from a place of open release. The ensuing phrase will suffer because you receive much less air then you would if the body was free, open, soft and released during the inhale. Additionally, if you breathe with tension in your neck, throat and abdomen, that tension inevitably continues
A Tip On The Anatomy Of Breath Support How many of you have been told to “use your diaphragm!” by a voice professional? I want to let you in on a little secret . . .you can’t actually “use” your diaphragm. It’s a futile request. While the diaphragm is an essential muscle for breath support and for the production of sound, you can’t actually direct your diaphragm to do anything because it is an involuntary muscle. Just like another very important involuntary muscle in our body, the heart, the diaphragm has an essential job to do, but we cannot directly control it. Telling a singer to “use your diaphragm!” is like telling an athlete to “pump your heart!” It’s an impossible request and contributes to much confusion around the nature of breath support for singing. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle at the bottom of your ribcage that separates your thorax (where your heart and lungs live) from your abdomen (where your digestive organs live). When you inhale, this dome-shaped diaphragm contracts downwards flattening out. When this happens, the volume of the thoracic cavity increases, a vacuum is activated and air is then drawn into the lungs. It’s the
In this video I explain two techniques to help eliminate feeling tight and out of breath while singing. There’s nothing worse then worrying that you will run out of air before the end of the phrase. Understanding breath support is one of the main issues that confounds singers no matter how long you’ve been singing. The two elements I explain in this video will help you form a more consistent understanding and foundation for your breath support while singing.
One of the very first things I remind singers when they begin to study with me is that their whole body is their instrument, not just their voice. The way a singer uses and treats their entire body has a great effect on the sound that comes out when they sing. To that end, I often recommend that singers do a few simple body warm up exercises before they start doing their vocal warm up exercises. These simple movements aim to unblock tension and move energy through the body so that their “instrument” is more open and receptive to the free movement of sound and vibration during singing. Here are 4 exercises I find helpful prior to vocal warm up: 1) Reach Then Hang – Breathe in and circle your arms up to the sky, looking up and reaching up through your ribs, up through your armpits, up through the tips of your fingers. Really reach and stretch up. – Then fall forward bending at the waist letting your head and arms dangle heavily towards the ground. Let the weight of your head pull out your neck, let the weight of your arms pull out your shoulders and just dangle
Singers – Are You Out Of Breath? Do you feel like you never seem to have enough breath when you sing? Are you constantly grabbing bigger and bigger breaths only to run out of air in the same place each time? If so, the problem may be that your breath quality is affecting your air quantity. Many singers unknowingly approach breathing for singing as a fast manipulation to pull as much air into the body as possible in the shortest amount of time. They think the only way they’ll be able to get enough air to make it through the phrase is if they actively grab, take, pull, suck, force or “tank up” as much air as possible into their lungs before they sing. What these singers don’t realize is that a breath of this quality creates tension (in the ribs, in the muscles of the abdomen, in the muscles of the neck and throat, and in the jaw), and this tension negatively affects the quantity of air they are receiving. The very thing they are doing in an effort to draw in more breath is actually causing them to receive less. If there is any tension in the body