Correct breathing for singing

Breathing for singing

In light of our upcoming performances at various year end and Christmas events, now may be a good time to have a quick refresher on breathing…all those long notes we have coming up, and we’re expecting many an encore…best be prepared!

Posture and breath control

Supporting your voice whilst singing is vital. Singing when the breath is finished is a sure way of tiring and even damaging your voice.
Read on to be reminded of how to maintain good breath control, or indeed improve your breathing.

Breathe deeply from your lower lungs – imagine a rubber ring around your waist (your diaphragm)
Breathe in and try to push the ring outwards.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose and mouth.
Avoid raising your shoulders as you breathe in – keep them relaxed and level.
Relax! Tension will prevent you from making a good sound.

To practice breathing well, try this:

Lie on the floor on your back with your hands on your stomach. Breath in (inhale) and your hands will rise. Now breathe out (exhale) and they will lower. In this position it is virtually impossible to breathe incorrectly. Try to breath in the same way when you sing.
If you can’t lie on the floor, sit on a chair, sit well forward in the chair, back straight, shoulders back, feet flat, head facing forward and at a comfortable angle, not tilted down or up, as this will impede or alter the breath.

Practice breathing regularly to improve your technique and build your capacity
Exercise 1 – Hissing

Breathe in to the count of 4, breathe out, hissing, to the count of 4
Then, breathe in for 6, and hiss out for 10
in for 6, out for 12
in for 2, out for 12
in for 4, out for 16
in for 2, out for 16
in for 4, out for 20
in for 1, out for 20

The idea is to monitor your breathing, and ensure that you can last through long phrases. Be economical with your breathing. Make sure the hiss is consistent; that it is not louder at the beginning than at the end. You are aiming for a smooth even sound.
Exercise 2 – Snatched Breaths

Breathing in gradually, think of your lungs filling up in fractions, when you count. Focus on the diaphragm, being careful not to hold tension in the throat.
On the count of ‘1’ – breathe in (¼ full)
‘2’ – (½ full)
‘3’ – (¾ full)
‘4’ – (full)
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 – breathe out, gradually.
Repeat, on the count of ‘1’ – breathe in (½ full) ‘2’ – (full)
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – breathe out gradually.
Happy practicing, and here’s to some big, controlled sounds from us in the coming weeks!