Why Breath Control in Singing is Key to Professional ToneMar 04, 2023
Why Breath Control in Singing is the Key to a Professional Tone Quality
- by Philippe Hall
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Have you ever noticed the difference between professional & great amateur singers isn’t their range or volume - it’s simply a “quality” a “special something”. Amongst industry insiders we call this “professional tone quality.” We also know how it is created. Would you like to learn how to give your vocals that “special something” - professional tone quality? If yes, keep reading!
Professional Tone Quality comes from breath control. Personally, I call this singing skill “Airflow Control”. In fact I have created an entire course to reveal to singers how this works.
Why is breath control so important?
No airflow = No sound. You see, singing starts with Air Flowing through your vocal folds. It is the most fundamental of all skills a singer needs to learn to develop & master because everything else in singing depends on it. If you have no control of the way your breath - breath control - you have no control over your airflow. If you have no control over your airflow, you have no control over your vocal sound. No airflow = No sound.
What is breath control in singing?
Breath control is the ability to control one’s airflow, its rate of speed & the air pressure created in order to sustain sound for different lengths of time, at different pitches, pressures and volume levels.
How does breath control work in singing?
Control of one’s airflow in singing is achieved through balancing the coordination of the major muscle groups of the respiratory system which move air in and out of the body efficiently, powerfully & deliberately. Not: All of the air (past, present, future) you inhale or exhale passes through your vocal folds. In order to develop a professional tone quality you need to:
- Learn to inhale in a way that engages the diaphragm while maintaining dynamic movement.
- Learn to exhale in an even, consistent, sustained manner that maintains the vocal folds in motion at the speed required for the pitch of the singing sound you want to make.
- Synchronize your airflow, muscle activity & the movement of your vocal folds to achieve balance. This synchronicity is what produces professional tone quality.
What singing issues does breath control solve?
- Running out of air
- Voice Cracks & Vocal Breaks
- Volume & Dynamics
- Sustaining long notes or longer phrases, as well as riffs, runs & coloratura.
- Range Related Issues
- High Notes
- Low Notes
- Passaggio security
- Transitioning from chest to head, head to chest
- Transitioning between sounds mix - belt - falsetto
- Transitioning from high to low volumes. Crescendo/Decrescendo
- Resonance Balancing
- Advanced Vocal Effects & Distortions
- Relieves Vocal Strain
- Relieves Tightness, Tension & Constriction
- Maintains laryngeal height & control
- Improves Health of the Vocal Tract & Vocal Folds
- Improves overall physical health.
Advantages of Proper Breathing Technique?
Before we dive deeper into breath control in singing let’s take a quick look at the incredible benefits of proper breathing technique for our non-singing-lives!
We breathe on average 25,000 times per day. If we’re doing that wrong day after day, our body is not going to function properly. The importance of proper breathing has been a main focus of traditional medicine practices for thousands of years around the planet. Proper breathing technique is the core exercise of mindfulness, meditation and many rituals to increase health of the body, mental focus & spiritual enlightenment. There are 100’s of years of research into the benefits of proper breathing & how it can resolve many chronic conditions in Western Culture and 7 entire books in the Chinese DAO talking about all the bad things that will happen to you if you breathe wrong & all the good things that will happen when you breathe correctly.
Nasal Breathing Inhalation Technique
At the center of all of these we find repeatedly the guidance to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Perhaps the true purpose of the nose today has become overlooked, neglected or misunderstood.
Ask anyone the question, “Why do we have a nose?” You’ll likely get the answer “to smell with,” right? Yes, sure, the nose does enable us to do that, but what if the “smelling” function of the nose weren’t the most important reason we have one? Consider for a moment, that you have a nose for another more important purpose & that it just happens to serve you as a great smelling instrument as well.
When we breathe in through our nose we force air through this beautiful labyrinth of tubes & different structures. The air is heated, conditioned & moistened on its way through our nasal passages, & down through our pharynx, larynx, trachea and down into the lungs.
If you breathe in through the mouth, you make the lungs into an external organ instead of an internal organ, directly subjecting them to everything in the air like pollutants, pollen, bacteria, viruses, dirt & other particles.
The General Benefits of Nasal Breathing have been well studied and documented. Let’s start off with listing some of these well-known benefits of inhaling through the nose.
#1 Inhaling through your nose Warms & Humidifies the Air you take into your body via your pharynx, pass through your larynx & vocal folds, down through your trachea and into your lungs. Studies have shown that inhaling warm and humidified air can help to reduce symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold.
#2 Nasal breathing Filters out Dust, Pollen, Particles in the Air you take into your body via your pharynx, pass through your larynx & vocal folds, down through your trachea and into your lungs.The nasal cavity contains tiny hair-like structures called cilia that help to filter out dust, pollen, and other particles from the air. Studies have shown that the nasal mucosa plays an important role in filtering and trapping inhaled particles, which can help to reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
#3 First line of defense. Taking air in through your nose Reduces the Risk of Respiratory Infections. Filters, traps and keeps many harmful things out of your body, pharynx, larynx & vocal folds, trachea and your lungs. Studies have shown that inhaling warm and humidified air can help to reduce symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold.
#4 Breathing in through your nose Increases Oxygen Flow into your blood, all systems of your body including increased oxygen to your brain. The nasal cavity contains blood vessels that help to increase the oxygenation of the blood. Studies have shown that nasal breathing can help to increase the oxygenation of the blood, which can improve overall health.
#5 Improves Lung Function, Health & Efficiency. Inhaling through the nose can help to increase the amount of air inhaled, which can improve lung function. Studies have shown that nasal breathing can help to improve lung function by increasing the amount of air inhaled.
#6 Nasal Breathing Improves Your Overall Health. Studies have shown that regular nasal breathing can help to improve overall respiratory health by reducing the risk of respiratory infections and promoting good lung function.
#7 Inhaling through your nose Increases the Effectiveness of Meditation. Nasal breathing is an essential part of many meditation and yoga practices, as it helps to focus the mind and relax the body. Studies have shown that nasal breathing can help to improve the overall quality of meditation and yoga practice by focusing the mind and relaxing the body.
Additional conditions breathing technique can eliminate or improve:
- Sleep Apnea
- Autoimmune Disease
- Dental Health
- Respiratory Issues
Benefits of Nasal Breathing for the Singer
I told you nasal breathing was “magical.” It really is incredible how much it benefits our body, mind & spirit to inhale through the nose. Hmm, the “body+mind+spirit” combo sounds amazingly similar to singing. The body is our instrument. The mind coordinates our instrument (body). Our consciousness (spirit) communicates our emotional intent (vibration). Powerful singing is the combination - the synergy - of all of these. Singing is powerful & has quite the magical effect on the singer (sender) as well as the listener (receiver).
Learning nasal breathing definitely enhances the quality of your life! Cool! But what about singing? How can breathing in through my nose - nasal breathing - improve my vocals? Improve singing?
When it comes to singing, the benefits of nasal breathing are essential for great vocals. Here are some of the ways nasal breathing techniques can optimize your singing vocalization:
Nasal breathing technique reduces dryness & irritation. Nasal breathing can help to reduce dryness and irritation of the vocal cords, making it easier to produce clear, resonant sounds.
A study from 2015 published in the Journal of Voice found that nasal breathing exercises can help to improve the overall quality of vocalization by reducing hoarseness, cracking, and other vocal problems.
Breathing through your nose strengthens Vocalization Muscles. Additionally, the study found that the resistance provided by the nasal cavity can also help to strengthen the muscles used for vocalization, which can improve the overall control and power of the voice.
The moistened and filtered air that is inhaled through the nose can help to reduce dryness and irritation of the vocal cords, which can improve the overall quality of vocalization by reducing hoarseness, cracking, and other vocal problems.
Improves Singing - More Resonance
Nasal breathing helps to improve the overall quality of singing by creating a more resonant sound. A study from 2019 published in the International Journal of Speech Language and Hearing found that nasal breathing can improve the overall quality of singing in individuals with voice disorders.
The study found that by providing resistance to the airflow, nasal breathing can help to increase the amount of air that is expelled during singing, which can help to create a more powerful and resonant sound.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Nasal breathing can reduce stress and anxiety levels by slowing down the heart rate and relaxing the body, according to a study from 2020 published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. This is because nasal breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "rest and digest" response in the body. By slowing down the heart rate and relaxing the body, nasal breathing can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
This can be especially beneficial for singers & vocalists who universally experience & must learn to manage nervousness and performance anxiety. Performing is always a stressful experience. Nasal breathing can turn around negative stress levels and shift them into a more positive zone of excitement, anticipation and heightened joy.
Nasal breathing can improve concentration by providing more oxygen to the brain, a study from 2019 published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine says. Increasing the oxygenation of the blood, provides more oxygen to the brain. Additionally, the resistance provided by the nasal cavity can help to focus the mind and improve concentration.
This can be especially beneficial for singers! It can help you to focus on your singing techniques and stay present in the moment during your singing practice sessions as well as your vocal performances.
It’s easy to incorporate nasal breathing into your singing warm-up & technical practice sessions! Use nasal breathing in your warm-up routine before you begin singing. This can help to prepare your body and mind for singing and get you into the right physical & mental state for optimal performance.
When working on your technical practice exercises, breathe through your nose. This can help to increase the strength and control of the muscles used for nasal breathing, which are also needed in singing & simultaneously improve the overall quality of your singing.
Another way to ensure you’re breathing through your nose & improve your nasal breathing for singing is by practicing singing with a closed mouth. This will ensure that the air passes through the nose, help to increase the resistance and improve the overall quality of your singing.
Taking it to the next level you can increase the difficulty level and try singing while holding your hand in front of your nose. This will increase the resistance & training intensity. Just don’t over do this one.
Nasal Breathing Conclusion
So let’s wrap this up! For every singer nasal breathing can be an incredibly powerful tool for improving your singing ability & vocal technique across the board. Incorporating nasal breathing into your practice and singing to:
- Improve your Airflow. Breath Support. Appoggio
- Strengthen your diaphragm & respiratory muscles
- Increase your Vocal Resonance
- Strengthen the intrinsic muscles involved in Vocalization
- Maintain a healthy voice. Improve your timbre & vocal clarity.
- Improve your vocal Control. Smooth out transitions. Eliminate vocal breaks.
- Increase your vocal Power. Increase your volume level.
- Enhance your practice efficiency & speed up your rate of progress
Not only can you improve the overall quality of your singing and vocal sound, you will reduce performance related stress and anxiety, improve your concentration and overall personal well-being.
It's essential to remember that becoming a great singer takes time and dedication. You may not see improvement overnight, but if you continue to practice and incorporate nasal breathing into your routine, you'll be amazed at how much your singing will improve.
Essential to Your Singing Success
I use nasal breathing personally during my activation warm-ups, my technical practice and professional performances. Nasal breathing techniques are essential to my singing success. Every day I get to see & hear the instant progress and improvement my clients make in their singing lessons, when they apply nasal breathing to their exercises, techniques & songs.
I encourage you to use nasal breathing every day on your singing journey. It is a vital singing technique proven to enhance & improve your vocalization & vocal quality. With dedication, the right techniques and guidance you can achieve great success as a singer.
The job of the Diaphragm is very straightforward: Move air in and out of the lungs.
1. Inhalation. Pull air into the lungs
2. Exhalation. Press air out of the lungs.
A helpful thing to remember as a singer is that all the air you breathe in, you have to exhale back out.
Lungs Never Empty
Most people don’t know that the lungs never empty themselves completely during breathing. There is always some residual air left inside them. If the lung were to completely empty itself of air
The lungs are never completely empty; there is always some air left in the lungs after maximal exhalation. Air needs to remain in the lungs to help keep the lungs from collapsing.
If there were no residual volume and the lungs were to empty completely,, the tissues that make up the lung could and would stick together, making it almost impossible for us to re-inflate and force them open with natural breathing effort.
Residual volume is necessary for proper lung function and simply to be able to breathe. It also prevents large fluctuations in respiratory gasses—oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
When you take in a breath, you draw atmospheric oxygen into your lungs, which replenishes the oxygen-depleted residual air for gas exchange in the alveoli.
Why is residual air volume significant knowledge for singers?
Nearly all singers are over inhaling and over filling their lungs with air. Because they’re not aware of the residual volume of air they don’t ever consider the need to “sing out” the air they breathe in. Each new breath they take simply adds to the residual air volume until the singer is completely full of air and yet feels like they have no air at all. As a singer you must sing out what you breathe in!
Remember the diaphragm wants to get out all the air you breathe in. The greater the volume of air in your lungs the more pressure that air will be under. Pressurized air will rush out and destabilize the vocal cords. Over-inhaling increases the amount of energy and muscular strength you need to control your airflow. In short it makes singing unnecessarily difficult & your vocal sound will be “stressed” and lacking professional tone quality.
Again, the secret is to always sing out what you breathe in. If you breathe in more than you can sing out, you have inhaled and put your body & voice under pressure. The amount of air inhaled should be enough to sing the phrase following the inhalation and no more. Sing out what you breathe in!
Exhalation Training | Breath Control Training
Gaining conscious control over an unconscious / subconscious muscle activity is not easy and arguably never completely achieved.
Let’s face the facts, breathing is vital to our survival. It wouldn’t be good if we forgot to do it, so we simply put breathing on autopilot. It’s an involuntary coordination that we just “do” - not so different from our beating heart.
Now we know with practice people are able to change & slow down their heart rate at will. How do they achieve this? Through Breath Control! They train their breathing. They learn to influence their breathing. By gaining conscious influence over their breathing they also gain a measure of control over their heart rate.
As singers we need to do this. Reminder: No Air Flow = No Sound.
Steps to Breath Control
3. Guidance (Breath Control Mastery)
By observing our natural breathing process we will become aware of how the body is designed to move air in and out of the body. When we are aware of the system and muscles involved then we can begin to exert conscious control over those muscles. Next, we can develop coordination, control, strength & stamina.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: This exercise is recommended by many experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil, who is a renowned physician and author. It involves breathing deeply from the diaphragm, which can help you become more aware of your breath. To practice, lie down on your back and place one hand on your sternum (chest) and the other on your belly. Spread out your fingers so you can feel your abdomen. As you inhale, try to relax your belly and let it rise and expand instead of your chest. Exhale slowly and repeat. To make this exercise more interactive, try doing it while listening to some relaxing music or nature sounds. You could also do it with a partner and see who can take the slowest, deepest breaths.
- Body Scan Meditation: This technique is recommended by mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn. It involves lying down and focusing your attention on each part of your body, from your toes to your head, while breathing deeply. The goal is to observe any sensations, tensions, or discomfort in each area and release it through deep breathing. You can make this exercise more fun by adding some visualization. Imagine that each part of your body is a different color, and as you focus on it and breathe deeply, that color becomes brighter and more vibrant.
- Mindful Walking: This technique is recommended by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. It involves walking slowly and mindfully, paying attention to your breath and your surroundings. With each step, focus on your breath and how your body moves. This exercise can help you become more aware of your breath in a relaxed and natural way. You could make this activity more interactive, by trying it out with a friend and playing a game of "I Spy." Take turns pointing out things in your surroundings and see who can spot the most interesting objects or details.
- Breath Counting: This exercise is recommended by meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. It involves counting each breath as you inhale and exhale, up to a certain number, and then starting over. This technique can help you stay focused on your breath and become more aware of it. It may make this exercise more engaging, if you try counting in different languages or using silly voices. You could also challenge yourself to count to a higher number each time you practice.
- Box Breathing: This technique is recommended by Navy SEAL Mark Divine. It involves inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, and then holding your breath for four seconds again. This technique can help you regulate your breathing and become more aware of it. Try doing it with a partner or in a group if you’d like to make this technique more interactive. As you exhale, make a funny noise(s) or gesture(s), and see if everyone can match it and add to it.
- Yoga: Yoga involves various postures and movements that require you to control types of breathing. Trying out Yoga can help you become more aware of your breath and learn to regulate it as well as helping you to warm up your body & increase flexibility and strength. All great things for singers! Group classes are often more fun. You can even try outside yoga in a park or by the beach or hot yoga. You could also try different yoga poses and breathing with friends and see who can hold and sustain them the longest.
- Pranayama: This technique is recommended by yoga teacher Richard Freeman. Pranayama involves various breathing exercises that can help you become more aware of your breath and learn to control it. One example is Nadi Shodhana, which involves alternate nostril breathing - LOL - sound entertaining & challenging. To make this technique more engaging, you could try incorporating some visualization or affirmations. For example, as you inhale, imagine yourself breathing in positive energy or repeating a mantra to yourself.
In the beginning no child walks from birth. Physical growth, skeletal alignment & most importantly coordination, strength & stamina must be developed. It is never a work of art on the first try. The art of walking is achieved after weeks, months and even years of trial & error, falls, bumps & bruises - failures. Don’t expect your first attempts to be perfect. Expect this to be a process.
I like to say interfere, because that is exactly what we must do in order to learn how the system works. You have to touch water, go into water and nearly drown before you learn how to swim.
The great news is that you already breathe perfectly - without thinking. This is not something you don’t know how to do. It’s simply something you’ve never “tried” to do before now. Until you do your vocals will never have a professional tone quality. Singing requires conscious control over this involuntary action. You can do it - because you’re already doing it! You just don’t know you can do it yet! ;-))
Here it is important that you always remain an acute observer of what your “interference” creates. Is it helpful or unhelpful? Does it increase efficiency or activate tightness, tension, constriction? Are your vocal sounds improving and becoming easier or becoming more difficult & getting worse. Remain the master observer!
There are several techniques that are designed to temporarily interfere with breathing and respiration in order to increase awareness and control over breathing. Here are a few examples, along with the sources that support their effectiveness:
- Breath Holding: This technique involves holding your breath for a short period of time, typically between 10 and 30 seconds, before exhaling slowly. According to a study published in the journal PLoS One, breath holding can increase awareness of breathing patterns and improve respiratory muscle strength. You can make holding your breath exercises more fun by trying them underwater, while swimming or playing a breath-holding game with friends or other singers. Why not try incorporating it into a mindfulness practice, such as holding your breath while focusing on calming images or concepts?
- Hyperventilation: This technique involves taking rapid, shallow breaths in and out for a short period of time, typically between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, hyperventilation can increase awareness of breathing patterns and improve respiratory muscle endurance. Try incorporating this technique into a physical activity, such as doing jumping jacks or running in place while hyperventilating. You can also try using it as a tool for energy and focus, such as before a workout or a big presentation. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737848/)
- Breath Suspension: This technique involves holding your breath after exhaling for a short period of time, typically between 5 and 10 seconds, before inhaling slowly. According to a study published in the Journal of Breath Research, breath suspension can increase awareness of breathing patterns and improve respiratory muscle control. Mix up your breath suspension practice by incorporating playful movements or activities into it, such as holding your breath while doing a yoga pose or playing a game of "statues". This technique can also be used as a tool for stress relief or mindfulness, such as holding your breath while visualizing yourself releasing tension or negative emotions, colors or sounds.. (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1752-7155/6/3/036005/meta)
- Breath Retraining: This technique involves consciously changing your breathing patterns in order to improve respiratory function and increase awareness of breathing. According to a review article published in the journal Respiratory Medicine, breath retraining can be an effective treatment for respiratory disorders such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Want to make breath retraining more interactive? Try incorporating it into a breathing game or challenge on your own or with friends, such as seeing how long you can breathe slowly and deeply without pausing. It can also be used, for example, as a tool for relaxation or creativity, such as practicing deep breathing before writing or drawing. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4544912/).
- Breath Suspension with Movement: This technique involves holding your breath after exhaling while simultaneously performing a physical movement, such as reaching for the sky or bending forward. According to a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, this technique can improve diaphragmatic breathing and increase awareness of breathing. You can try incorporating playful movements or activities into breath holding, such as holding your breath while jumping up and down, doing a spin, or reaching for an object. You can also make it into a game with friends or family, challenging each other to hold their breath for longer periods of time. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1360859213001263).
- Pursed Lip Breathing: This technique involves exhaling slowly through pursed lips, as if you were blowing out a candle. According to a study published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, pursed lip breathing can increase oxygen saturation and improve respiratory muscle function. You could have some fun with this by imagining you are blowing bubbles or sending out a signal to a faraway friend. You can also try incorporating it into a relaxation or mindfulness practice, such as taking deep breaths while focusing on a calming image or word. (https://journals.lww.com/jcrjournal/Abstract/2002/01000/Effects_of_Pursed_Lips_Breathing_on_Ventilation_and.3.aspx).
- Breath Control Exercises: These exercises involve practicing breath control through the use of counting, humming, or other techniques. For example, you might try counting to a certain number while inhaling, holding your breath for a few seconds, and then exhaling slowly. According to a study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, breath control exercises can improve respiratory muscle strength and endurance. Consider turning breath into a game or a challenge, such as seeing how many counts you can do before needing to take a breath. You can also try incorporating them into a yoga or fitness practice, or using them as a tool for stress relief or anxiety management. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812907/).
- Singing Exercises: Singing exercises can be particularly helpful for actors and singers, as they can improve breath support, control, and stamina. Examples of singing exercises include lip trills, vocal sirens, and scale exercises. According to a study published in the Journal of Voice, singing exercises can improve respiratory muscle strength and control in individuals with respiratory disorders (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0892199711002011).
See my blog posts on SOVT’s, Warm Ups, Strengthening your Voice & expanding your range for more detailed instructions on how to do these exercises.
Interference Exercise: Fiery Breath
Let's get fired up with Fiery Breath! This fun exercise will help you master a new way of breathing and help improve your singing abilities.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and inhale deeply into it.
- Exhale forcefully so that your stomach muscles push in and the air comes out suddenly.
Do this 30 times, gradually increasing the tempo as you get more comfortable with it. Breathe in through your nose & out through your mouth to maximize the effect.
As you pick up the pace, you might find yourself reverting back to old habits of breathing vertically. Don't worry, just take a break and start over by breathing slowly and gently into your lower lungs until you feel the proper sensation again.
Fiery Breath is simply meant to make inhaling properly more natural and intuitive.
Mariah Carey says,: "I do a lot of breathing exercises before I go on stage. It's not like I have to do it all day, every day, but before I perform, I do it for about an hour." So take a cue from Mariah and breathing exercises are a part of your pre-performance routine.
If you still need some scientific proof, a study published in the Journal of Voice found that diaphragmatic breathing exercises (like Fiery Breath) significantly improve vocal performance in singers. So give it a try and let your fiery breath light up the stage! ;-)
GUIDANCE (Breath Control Mastery)
In the end you will come to the same conclusion all humans come to - you can’t control your breathing - at least not for very long and not very well at all. So why do we even attempt breath control? Well, because it’s necessary. That’s why I’m revealing the truth right here in the beginning - you can never control your breathing consciously! You can, however, learn to guide your respiratory system amazingly well!
True Airflow Control Masters have mastered the art of “Guidance”. They influence their respiration to create synchronicity of air, movement & sound and gain real control over their breath and their singing without needing to “control” the system completely. Yes, I know it sounds very “Zen”. Well… it is.
Remember, you are still a master observer. Now, however, you are also very deliberately manipulating your airflow & balancing your internal air pressures through active guidance of your respiratory movement. This also means you’re doing nothing at all when you know no action on your part is needed..
Proven exercises & activities recommended by experts that can help enhance the quality of vocal sound, increase stamina and sostenuto:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing:
- Lie down on your back and place a book or small weight on your belly. Inhale deeply and feel the book rise as your belly expands. Exhale slowly and feel the book lower as your belly contracts. Repeat for several breaths.
- Sit comfortably and place your hands on your belly. Inhale deeply and feel your hands move outward as your belly expands. Exhale slowly and feel your hands move inward as your belly contracts. Repeat for several breaths.
- Lip trills are a gentle, vibrating sound made by blowing air through pursed lips. According to singing experts, lip trills can help warm up the voice and improve breath control, as well as increase stamina and sostenuto. (Source: The Complete Singer's Guide to Becoming a Successful Professional, by Jeannie Deva)
- Inhale deeply and then exhale through pursed lips, making a buzzing sound like a motorboat. Repeat for several breaths.
- Say the word "brrr" repeatedly, keeping your lips buzzing and your breath steady.
- Humming is another exercise that can help warm up the voice and improve breath control. It is especially helpful for singers who have trouble with breath support. (Source: The Art of Singing, by Jennifer Hamady)
- Inhale deeply and then exhale while making a humming sound with your lips closed. Repeat for several breaths.
- Sing a simple melody while humming, focusing on maintaining a steady breath flow.
- Sustained Notes
- Inhale deeply and then sing a sustained note in a comfortable pitch range as long as you can while focusing on maintaining a steady breath flow.
- Select a song with sustained notes and practice singing along, focusing on your breath control while sustaining the notes.
- Vocal sirens involve sliding the voice smoothly up and down through the vocal range. This exercise can help increase vocal range, improve breath control and develop a smooth, sustained vocal sound. (Source: Singing For Dummies, by Pamelia S. Phillips)
- Inhale deeply and then exhale while making a siren-like sound with your voice, gradually increasing and decreasing the pitch. Repeat for several breaths.
- Practice making siren sounds in different octaves and ranges to improve breath control and vocal flexibility.
- Breath control exercises involve inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, while focusing on the muscles used for breathing. These exercises can help improve lung capacity, control, and stamina. (Source: The Contemporary Singer: Elements of Vocal Technique, by Anne Peckham)
- Imagine you are underwater and letting out a steady stream of tiny bubbles. Why not try this under water?
- This is a great way to fall asleep and sleep deeply. Do this when you’re comfortably relaxing in your bed ready to sleep.
- Breath Suspension:
- Inhale deeply and then suspend your breath for a few seconds before exhaling slowly. Repeat for several breaths.
- Practice holding your breath for gradually longer periods of time, increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.
- Counted Breaths:
- Inhale deeply and then exhale while counting to a specific number (such as 5 or 10). Repeat for several breaths.
- Practice counting your inhales and exhales separately, aiming to make them equal in length.
- Equal Breaths:
- Inhale and exhale for an equal number of counts (such as 4 counts in, 4 counts out). Repeat for several breaths.
- Increase the duration of the counts over time, aiming to maintain a steady breath flow throughout.
- Box Breathing:
- Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4 before inhaling again. Repeat for several breaths.
- Visualize a box as you practice, inhaling for the length of one side, holding for the length of the second side, exhaling for the length of the third side, and holding again for the length of the fourth side.
- Resonant Breathing:
- Inhale deeply and then exhale while making a resonant "mmm" sound with your lips closed. Repeat for several breaths.
- Sing a simple melody while using resonant breathing, focusing on maintaining a steady breath flow and creating a resonant sound.
- Tongue twisters are phrases or sentences that are difficult to say quickly and correctly. They can help improve diction and articulation, as well as increase breath control and stamina. (Source: Vocal Workouts for the Contemporary Singer, by Anne Peckham)
- "Unique New York, you know you need unique New York, you need unique New York to succeed."
- "Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry."
- "She sells seashells by the seashore, and the shells she sells are seashells for sure."
- "How can a clam cram in a clean cream can? It can't, but a canner can can a clam in a can."
- "Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said the butter's bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter will make my batter better. So she bought a bit of butter better than her bitter butter, and she put it in her batter, and the batter was not bitter. So it was better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter."
- "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?"
- "Irish wristwatch, Swiss wristwatch."
- "Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat."
- Pure Vowel sounds are an important part of vocal training. Singers should practice sustaining long, smooth vowel sounds to develop a strong, sustained vocal tone. (Source: The New Voice: How to Sing and Speak Properly, by Alan Greene)
Work with these vowels. Visualize your vowel sounds being as focussed as a laser.
- Straw Phonation: Singers can use a straw to practice various vocal exercises, such as humming, lip trills, and vocal sirens. This technique can help improve breath control, sustain, and resonance. (Source: Vocal Science: Anatomy and Physiology for Vocal Artistry and Healthy Singing, by Joseph Stemple)
- See my Blog on SOVT’s & Straw Phonation!
- Yoga can help improve breath control, posture, and overall body awareness, all of which are important for vocal performance. Singers can practice yoga poses and breathing exercises to develop a strong, healthy singing voice. (Source: The Yoga of Voice: A Holistic Guide to Singing, by Catherine Potter)
- Visualization exercises involve imagining a desired vocal sound or performance, and then working to achieve that sound. This technique can help singers develop a clear vision for their singing, and then work to achieve that vision through breath control and other vocal exercises. (Source: The Art of Singing, by Jennifer Hamady)
- Imagine Your vocal folds vibrating effortlessly in a light steady breeze
- Imagine your breathing as gentle waves washing up the sand on a beach and gently pulling back down into the ocean.
- Tai chi for singers: Tai chi is a gentle, flowing exercise that can help improve breath control, balance, and body awareness. Singers can practice tai chi movements and breathing exercises to develop a strong, healthy singing voice. (Source: The Tao of Voice: A New East-West Approach to Transforming the Singing and Speaking Voice, by Stephen Chun-Tao Cheng)
- Join a Tai Chi Group in a Park near you
- Check for Tai Chi Groups on social media
Calming Performance Anxiety & Nerves with Diaphragmatic Breathing
Did you know that simply breathing can help calm your nerves before a performance? Yep, you read that right! Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that many performers use to relieve anxiety and improve their vocal quality.
Here's how to do it:
- Sit or stand up straight and place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly
- Breathe in deeply through your nose, feeling your belly expand as you inhale.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your belly contract as you exhale.
- Repeat this for a few minutes until you feel more relaxed and centered.
Even some famous artists swear by this technique! Adele, one of the greatest singers of our time, said, "I have anxiety attacks, constant panicking on stage, my heart feels like it's going to explode because I never feel like I'm going to deliver, ever. But remember, breathing is key."
And, it's not just anecdotal evidence. According to a study published in the Journal of Music Therapy, diaphragmatic breathing can effectively reduce performance anxiety in musicians. So, next time you're feeling jittery before a performance, take a deep breath and try out diaphragmatic breathing. Your nerves will thank you and so will your performance!
Common Breathing Technique Mistakes
Are you ready to have some fun and explore some breathing techniques?
Imagine you are a singer getting ready for a performance, but you are making some common breathing technique mistakes. Let's see if you can spot them and learn how to fix them!
First, let's test your lung capacity. Take a deep breath in and hold it for as long as you can. Ready? Go!
(Time yourself for 10 seconds or until you need to exhale)
Great job! Now let's move on to the first mistake that singers often make -
Common Mistake: Tanking Up
Imagine you're a singer getting ready to sing a song, but you're taking in too much air. You're "tanking up"! Can you try singing the first line of the song like this? (Take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds before singing the line.)
How did that feel? Not so great, right? You might have felt like you were running out of air before the end of the line, and your voice might have sounded strained.
Now, let's try it the correct way. Take a smaller breath and try singing the same line. Focus on slowly and steadily pacing the outgoing breath.
Did you notice the difference? By taking a smaller breath and pacing the outgoing breath, you can sing more comfortably and smoothly.
Common mistake - Pushing Out the Air
Imagine you're singing again, but this time you're pushing out the air instead of allowing it to flow out on its own. Can you try singing the same line again but push out the air as you sing?
Did you notice a difference in your voice? It might have sounded forced or shouty.
Now, let's try it the correct way. Take a breath in and allow the air to flow out on its own as you sing the line.
Did you feel the difference? By allowing the air to flow out naturally, you can produce a more pleasant and steady tone.
Common Mistake - Holding Back the Air
Imagine you're singing once again, but this time you're holding back the air either at the laryngeal level or at the supraglottic level. Can you try singing the line with a breath hold or a choke-off?
How did that feel? You might have noticed that it was difficult to produce a steady sound and that your voice felt a bit strained.
Now, let's try it the correct way. Take a breath in and focus on turning that breath into tone immediately.
Did you notice a difference in your voice? By coordinating your breathing and voice production, you can produce a more steady and free sound.
Congratulations, you've learned how to spot and fix some common breathing technique mistakes! Breathing is an essential part of singing, and with practice, you can improve your technique and produce a beautiful sound.
Fun Breath Control Exercise: The Farinelli Exercise
So, have you ever heard about this exercise before? Let's discuss its benefits and have some fun learning how to do it.
The Farinelli exercise is named after the famous Italian castrato Farinelli who lived during the 18th century. This exercise has been used for centuries and is still practiced today by many voice students to develop more strength of the 'support' musculature and prepare the singer for applying appoggio technique to their singing.
The Farinelli exercise divides the breath cycle into three phases, all equal in duration: inspiration, suspension, and expiration.
In the first phase, inhalation is sustained over a count of three seconds, with minimal displacement of the chest and down in the 'lateral expansion' area.
In the second phase, the breath cycle is suspended for an equal count, and the air is retained in the respiratory tract without being actively held in by either the glottis or the mouth (nose).
In the third phase, exhalation is sustained over three seconds.
This exercise helps the singer learn to gauge how much air they'll need for a given task so that they won't 'overfill' or 'over inflate’ their lungs. It also teaches singers how to relax and avoid the urge to 'panic breathe’ when it feels as though there is not enough air.
Modern science supports the benefits of this exercise, as it helps to develop the correct coordination and pace of breath flow, using air more efficiently, and keeping the diaphragm in a lower position for longer during the breath cycle.
To practice this exercise, start with a count of three seconds per phase and then immediately start extending the next breath cycle, adding one second to each of the three phases. Continue to lengthen the breath cycle like this each time until you have reached your maximum length.
Many people find that six or seven seconds per phase - for a total of eighteen or twenty-one seconds for the entire breath cycle - is about all that they can do at first. Then in the subsequent breath cycles, slowly make your way back down to the initial count of three seconds per phase.
The Farinelli exercise is a historical and legitimate exercise that can help voice students to develop better control over their breathing, learn to relax and avoid the urge to panic when there is not enough air, and develop the correct coordination and pace of breath flow. Why not try it out?
Good Posture Makes Breathing More Efficient
Did you know that good posture can actually help you breathe better while singing or speaking? Let's explore how we can achieve this!
First off, we want to focus on expanding our breathing from the sides and back of our body. This means taking deep breaths that expand our lower ribs and the area between our ribs & hips as well as upper back (latissimus dorsi). Give it a try! Take a deep breath and try to expand your sides and back as much as possible.
Next, we want to make sure that our sternum (that's the bone in the middle of our chest) stays comfortably raised while we inhale, and doesn't collapse when we exhale. This will help us use our intercostal muscles (that's just a fancy word for the muscles between our ribs) to expand our chest cavity even more, creating more space for air molecules to flow in and out of our lungs.
To practice raising our sternum, we can try the "Garcia position." Place your palms flat on your lower back with your fingers facing outward and let your sternum rise up as you inhale. Keep practicing until it becomes easy and automatic!
Another helpful tip is to place your fingers on your upper abdomen and your thumbs on your lower side ribs while breathing. This will help you feel the lateral expansion of your ribs as you inhale.
Remember, good posture is not just important for singing, but for speaking too! So next time you're giving a presentation or speaking in front of a group, try to maintain good posture and use your intercostal muscles to help you breathe deeply and easily.
Finally, lying on your back with your knees bent is a wonderfully relaxing position to help you feel the sensation of breathing into your lower back. Try it out and see how it feels!
So there you have it, folks! Why not incorporate these tips into your practice routine over the next few days and weeks and watch as your singing and speaking improve!
As important as good posture is, don't let it stress you out and make you become robotic and stiff! Remember to have some fun while you're working on your singing & breath control!
Here are some of the most frequently questions I’m asked as a professional vocal coach:
What techniques can I use to improve breath control in singing?
Alright, folks! If you want to take your singing skills to the next level, you gotta nail that breath control game. Lucky for you, I've got some tips and tricks that'll help you get there.
First things first: diaphragmatic breathing. Now, I know that sounds like some fancy medical jargon, but it's really just about breathing from your belly instead of your chest. Take a deep breath in and feel your tummy expand like a balloon. Then, exhale slowly while engaging those abdominal muscles. You'll notice a big difference in your breath control right away!
Next up, breath support. Think of it like a team effort. Your abs, back, and sides all need to work together to support your breath and give you that killer sound. And let's be real, who doesn't want a killer sound?
Now, here's where it gets fun. Lip trills, aka the motorboat or raspberry exercise. Not only do they warm up your lips, tongue, and facial muscles, but they're also great for promoting breath control. Who knew making fart noises with your lips could be so beneficial?
But wait, there's more! Sustained note exercises are a must-do. Hold that note for as long as you can and gradually increase the time. You'll be amazed at how much this helps with breath support and control.
And finally, don't forget to relax. Tension in your body can totally mess with your breath control. So, take up meditation, do some yoga, or try some deep breathing exercises. Trust me, your breath control (and your mental health) will thank you.
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Improving your breath control takes time and practice. But if you incorporate these techniques into your regular vocal warm-up routine, you'll be on your way to singing like a pro in no time. So keep practicing and keep rockin' those tunes!
How can I learn to control my breathing when singing?
Controlling your breathing while singing can be a real struggle, especially if you're just starting out. But fear not! With some practice and dedication, you can master the art of breath control and take your vocal performance to new heights. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Breathe, baby, breathe! Breathing exercises are a fantastic way to improve your lung capacity and control your breath. Start by taking a deep breath in and holding it for a few seconds before releasing it slowly. Repeat this exercise several times, focusing on expanding your stomach as you inhale and releasing the air slowly as you exhale. For an extra challenge, try alternate nostril breathing or work with a vocal coach who can guide you through some customized breathing exercises.
Belly breathing is key. When it comes to breathing for singing, it's all about the belly. You want to inhale deeply from your diaphragm instead of your chest. As you breathe in, imagine filling up your belly like a balloon, and as you exhale, let the air out slowly while keeping your core muscles engaged.
Sing like you mean it. Practicing singing exercises that focus on breath control is crucial. Try singing a sustained note for as long as possible while maintaining a steady airflow. Or sing a phrase and hold the last note while gradually decreasing the volume. The key is to keep your breath support strong and steady throughout the exercise.
Relax and let go. Tension in your body can interfere with your breath control, so it's important to practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Not only will this help you relax, but it will also improve your breath control and overall vocal performance.
Remember, mastering breath control takes time and practice. But with these tips, you're well on your way to becoming a breath control boss. Keep practicing and don't forget to have fun!
What is the most effective way to practice breath control for singing?
Let's face it, breath control can be a real pain in the diaphragm, am I right? But don't worry, we're here to make it fun and easy. So, let's dive into the most effective ways to practice breath control for singing.
First up, we have diaphragmatic breathing. Sounds fancy, right? But it's just a fancy way of saying, breathe from your belly, not your chest. Imagine you're a balloon and your belly is inflating as you inhale, then deflating as you exhale. Easy peasy! And for an added challenge, why not try the book-on-the-belly exercise? Not only will you improve your breathing technique, but you'll also have a handy makeshift pillow for those long studio sessions.
Next, we have lip trills. No, we're not talking about the sound you make when you've had too much champagne at the after-party. We're talking about that buzzing sound you make with your lips. It may feel silly, but trust me, it's a great exercise for building breath control. Think of it like playing a musical instrument, but with your lips. And hey, if it's good enough for Beyoncé, it's good enough for us!
Breath holds are up next. Now, before you start holding your breath until you turn blue, let me explain. This technique is all about building endurance and control over your breath. Inhale deeply, hold for as long as possible, then exhale slowly. But don't overdo it! We don't want any dizzy divas on our hands.
Vocal exercises are a staple for any singer, but when it comes to breath control, it's all about those long, sustained notes. Think of it like a marathon for your lungs. Start small, then gradually increase the length of the notes over time. It's a great way to build up your stamina and control.
And last but not least, we have yoga and meditation. Now, I know what you're thinking. "I'm a singer, not a yogi!" But hear me out. Yoga and meditation can help you become more aware of your body and your breath. Plus, it's a great way to unwind after a long day of belting out those high notes. So, strike a pose and let's breathe our way to vocal greatness!
That's all we have time for today, folks. Remember, breath control is the foundation of great singing. So, don't forget to practice these techniques regularly and you'll be hitting those notes like a pro in no time!
How does breath control affect the quality of a vocal performance?
As a professional vocalist, you may have heard the phrase "breath is life" many times, and there's a good reason for that. Breath control is a fundamental aspect of singing, and it can significantly affect the quality of your vocal performance. In fact, it's one of the most critical elements in singing.
Breath control is all about managing the air that you inhale and exhale while singing. When you have proper breath control, you can support your voice, create a more powerful sound, and improve your overall vocal performance. Conversely, poor breath control can cause a range of issues, including pitch problems, strained vocal cords, and even vocal fatigue.
Proper breath control helps you achieve a more stable and consistent tone. It allows you to sing longer phrases without running out of breath or gasping for air, which can be distracting and ruin a performance. By controlling your breath, you can create a smooth and steady sound that flows effortlessly, making your singing more enjoyable for your audience.
Another way that breath control can affect your performance is by improving your ability to sing high notes. High notes require more breath support than low notes. Without proper breath control, you may find it challenging to hit these high notes correctly, leading to a strained or shaky sound that can ruin a performance.
Through proper breath control, you can also achieve better dynamics and expressiveness in your singing. By controlling the airflow, you can create softer or louder sounds, varying the tone and creating a more engaging
How does breath control affect the quality of a vocal performance?
Breath control is like having a tool that allows you to shape your sound and emotions, adding depth and meaning to your music during your vocal performance.
On the other hand, poor breath control can cause problems such as breathiness, cracking, or even loss of voice. It's like driving a car without proper fuel management – you won't get very far, and you risk damaging the engine. Similarly, if you don't manage your breath properly, you can harm your vocal cords and compromise your singing abilities.
Overall, breath control is a crucial component of vocal performance that can make or break your singing career. It's like the foundation of a house – you need to build it strong and solid, or everything else will collapse. So, take the time to practice your breath control techniques and make sure you have the right foundation for your singing success.
How can I use my diaphragm to control my breath when singing?
Let's face it, using your diaphragm to control your breath when singing can be a bit tricky, but don't worry, I've got some tips to make it fun and easy! Here's how to become a diaphragm diva:
Strike a pose: Stand up straight, shoulders back, chest lifted, and imagine you're ready to take on the world (or the stage, whichever comes first).
Visualize your breath: Picture your breath as a big, beautiful ball of air that fills your lungs and expands your diaphragm. As you exhale, let the ball shrink and your diaphragm relax.
Ha-ha-ha! Try the "ha" exercise: Take a deep breath and say "ha" for as long as you can, like you're laughing at your own jokes. This builds strength in your diaphragm and helps you control your breath.
Engage those abs: As you exhale, pull in your abs like you're trying to button up a pair of tight pants. This will help push the air out and give you more control over your breath.
Warm up your diaphragm: Before you start singing, do some deep breathing exercises and focus on expanding your diaphragm. Pretend you're blowing up a big balloon or imagine you're a dragon breathing fire!
With these tips, you'll be using your diaphragm like a pro in no time, belting out those high notes and impressing everyone around you. Just remember, practice makes perfect, so keep on singing and breathing like a champ!
What exercises can I do to strengthen my breath control when singing?
As a professional vocalist, breath control is one of the most important aspects of your performance. It ensures that you have the necessary power, control, and stamina to deliver a flawless performance on stage. Fortunately, there are various exercises that can help you build your breath control and develop your vocals to the next level. Here are some exercises that can help you strengthen your breath control when singing:
- Lip trills
- Sustained notes
- Breathing exercises
- Straw Phonation
Building your breath control takes time and dedication. Incorporating these types of exercises into your vocal warm-up routine can help you develop the necessary skills to create beautiful melodies and deliver an exceptional performance.
Remember, breath control is not only important for sustaining long notes, but also for expressing emotion and adding depth to your vocals. Practicing these exercises regularly and you can train your breath control and take your vocal skills to the next level.
As a professional vocalist, it's important to prioritize your vocal health and take care of your instrument. Overworking your vocal cords or neglecting proper breath control can lead to strain and injury. Be sure and listen to your body to avoid pushing yourself too hard. With the right techniques and consistent practice, your breath control can be drastically improved allowing you to create beautiful melodies that leave a lasting impression on your audience. So take a deep breath, focus on your technique, and let your voice soar!
What are the benefits of mastering breath control in singing?
As a professional vocalist, mastering breath control is one of the most important skills you can develop. Not only will it improve your vocal technique, but it can also have a significant impact on your overall performance. Here are just a few of the many benefits of mastering breath control in singing:
- Improved tone and range: When you have better breath control, you can support your voice more effectively, which can lead to a richer, fuller tone. You will also be able to control your range more effectively and hit high notes with greater ease.
- Increased endurance: Singing requires a lot of physical energy, and having strong breath control can help you maintain your stamina throughout a performance. With better breath control, you can sing longer phrases without running out of breath, so you'll be able to perform more complex pieces without feeling fatigued.
- Better Communication & Musical Expression: When you have more control over your breath, you can use it to add nuance and expression to your singing. You can manipulate your breath to create dynamic contrasts, shape phrases, and emphasize certain words or phrases.
- Reduce Vocal Strain and Tension: Poor breath control can lead to tension in your throat, neck, and chest, which can cause muscle fatigue, strain and potentially damage your voice. By mastering breath control, you can reduce this strain and sing with greater ease and comfort.
- Improved overall health: Proper Breathing is essential for your overall health, and the deep breathing techniques used in singing can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure
What is the best way to hold your breath while singing?
As a professional vocalist, you must have come across the term 'breath support'. It is the foundation of any good singing technique. Breath support is more about controlling the way you exhale than how you inhale.
However, “holding your breath” is equally important as it helps you to control the airflow and sing with more power and accuracy.
Remember, holding your breath are just words some singers use to describe the sensation of singing on the breath or singing with breath control & support.
So, what is the best way to hold your breath while singing?
Firstly, it is crucial to understand that holding your breath is different from taking a deep breath. Taking a deep breath before singing is essential, but holding your breath is about controlling the airflow.
Here are some effective ways to hold your breath while singing:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
This technique involves using your diaphragm to control your exhale. Inhale deeply, and then exhale slowly while maintaining the support of your diaphragm. This technique will help you control the airflow and hold your breath effectively.
- Lip trills
Lip trills or lip bubbles are an excellent exercise for breath control. It involves blowing air through your lips and creating a buzzing sound. By doing this exercise, you will learn to control your airflow and hold your breath with more ease.
- Counting beats
Another effective way to hold your breath is to count beats silently in your head. This technique will help you to maintain a steady airflow and hold your breath for an extended period.
- Yoga breathing techniques
Yoga breathing techniques like Kapalbhatiand Anulom Vilom can also improve your breath control while singing. These techniques involve rhythmic breathing exercises that enhance lung capacity and strengthen the diaphragm.
As a professional vocalist, mastering breath control is crucial to creating beautiful melodies. By practicing these techniques regularly, you can improve your breath support and sing with more power and accuracy. Remember, it's not just about taking a deep breath; it's about controlling the airflow and holding your breath effectively. So, take a deep breath, practice these techniques, and watch your vocals soar to new heights!
How can I improve my breath support when singing?
Professional vocalists should know that breath support is key to achieving a great vocal performance. Advanced breath support allows you to hit beautiful high notes, maintain long phrases, and add emotional depth to your singing. So, how can you improve your breath support when singing? Here are some tips that will help you take your singing to the next level.
Practice breathing exercises:
Breathing exercises are essential for developing strong breath support. You can try diaphragmatic breathing, which involves breathing deeply from your diaphragm rather than shallowly from your chest. You can also try yoga breathing techniques, such as pranayama, which involves rhythmic breathing patterns.
Stand or sit up straight:
Your posture can affect your breath support. When you stand or sit up straight, you allow your lungs to fully expand, which gives you more air to work with. This also helps to reduce tension in your body, which can restrict your breathing.
Sing from your core:
Your core muscles play a significant role in breath support. When you engage your core muscles, you create a stable base for your breath to flow from. This allows you to control your breath and produce a more consistent sound.
Focus on your exhalation:
When singing, it’s easy to get caught up in the inhalation phase and forget about the exhalation. However, it’s the exhalation that powers your singing. Focus on pushing out the air from your diaphragm in a controlled manner, rather than letting it rush out all at once. This will help you maintain control over your breath and produce a smoother, more even sound.
Overall, improving your breath support is a process that takes time and practice. With dedication and hard work, you can create beautiful melodies and become the best vocalist you can be.
How can I learn to manage my breathing while singing?
I understand that managing your breathing while singing can be challenging, but as a professional vocalist, you already know that it's crucial for delivering a flawless performance. Proper breathing techniques can help you control your voice, hit high notes, sustain long phrases, and protect your vocal cords from strain and fatigue. If you're struggling with breath control, please don't worry. There are many ways to improve your breathing and make it second nature.
Let's start by understanding the mechanics of breathing. Breathing for singing is different from regular breathing for speaking or everyday activities. You need to use your diaphragm, the muscle beneath your lungs that controls the flow of air in and out of your body. I suggest standing up straight, placing your hand on your abdomen, and inhaling slowly through your nose while feeling your belly expand. Then, exhale through your mouth, letting your belly fall. Repeat this exercise until you feel comfortable with the sensation.
Next, try breath control exercises that train your diaphragm to sustain breath for longer periods. For instance, the "four by four" exercise, where you inhale for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, and exhale for four counts. You can repeat this cycle multiple times, gradually increasing the number of counts. This exercise can help you build endurance and control over your breathing.
Another helpful technique is to practice breathing while singing. Start with simple songs or scales and focus on inhaling deeply before starting each phrase. As you sing, feel the support from your diaphragm and try to sustain each note as long as possible. You can also try adding crescendos and decrescendos to your singing to challenge your breath control further.
Please remember that breath control is not something that can be perfect overnight. It takes time and practice to master. However, with consistent effort and dedication, you can improve your breathing techniques and create beautiful melodies that leave your audience in awe. So, don't give up on your dreams of singing like a pro. Keep practicing and know that you can do it!
Ready to increase your knowledge & know-how about becoming a better singer?
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