Understanding Breathing When Singing

Arts & Entertainment

  • Author Marquis Van De Mark
  • Published February 28, 2010
  • Word count 1,166

When one breathes normally you inhale shallowly and then pause and exhale slowly before you repeat again. But when singing you must turn off the autopilot and learn how to inhale quickly and exhale slowly as you sing the phases of a song at the same time of maintaining proper posture.

Learning proper breathing will give you the ability to sing efficiently. We must train our mind and body to work together because it is not natural, you must learn how to breath and sing.

The best way to learn how to breathe is to feel it, by making it fun. Visualize yourself singing and feeling the breath as one.

You inhale by breathing inward and exhale when you speak or sing.

Inhaling to sing songs requires getting a full breath quickly - a quick inhalation. So knowing how your body feels when you inhale helps you to get air in your body quickly to sing the next phrase. Use the following exercises to explore your own inhalation.

Imagine that air is really heavy as you inhale. Visualize it weighing 100 pounds and let it fall low into your body. Let it fall lower than your belly button. Notice the sensations.

Then let the breath fall in faster. Still visualize it being heavy but let it fall quickly into your body. You can also fill your lungs as if you were going to blow up a balloon. You will feel your abdomen and lower back expanding.

Yawning happens all the time when working on breath control. The body gets confused with the different amount of air coming in, and you yawn. Voice students yawn plenty during lessons and are embarrassed at first. Don't worry - it's okay to yawn when you're working on your breathing.

Exhaling to sing means that you have to control your exhalation. You want to have a sustained and smooth exhalation. This control helps you to sing those demanding high notes and long slow phrases.

To explore exhalation, blow a feather around the room.

Try to blow the feather really high up in the air and use a long stream of breath to get it to go up high. Try not to collapse your chest as you blow the feather. While chasing the feather with your breath, notice what moves in your body as you exhale. You should feel that your abdomen has slowly returned to normal and that your chest has stayed in the same position the whole time. At the end of the exhalation, you should feel the need to immediately inhale again.

You want to develop good posture while you breathe. When your body is aligned correctly, taking and using an efficient breath is easier.

Your own two hands can help you to maintain great posture while breathing. Try these breathing exercises, place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your abdomen. As you inhale, use your hand to feel whether your chest stays steady; you want it to stay in the same position for both the inhalation and the exhalation. (If your chest rises during inhalation, you create tension in your chest and neck.) With your other hand, feel it moving out with your abs as you inhale and back in toward your body as you exhale.

Positioning your body to feel breath different body positions also help you to feel your breath movement. Moving through different positions can help you feel the movement of breath.

Start flat on the floor and gradually work your way up to standing. Work your breath on the floor, but you can't perform on the floor. You have to get up sometime and breathe correctly, so it may as well be right away. By starting out on the floor, you're able to totally focus on breathing and the movements in your body. By gradually working your way up, you can continue exploring the same movement of breath while working your way up to standing. Some singers have trouble finding the right movement for breathing when they stand. When they begin on the floor, they often find a sense of release in their body and can really feel the movement. Lying on the floor

Lie down on the floor or bed with a heavy book on your abdomen. As you inhale, you should see the book rising up then lowering back down as you exhale. If you don't see the book moving, notice what's moving as you breathe. Feel the sensations in your body. When you inhale, your lungs expand and take in air. Your body, specifically your abdomen, moves out as you inhale.

As you exhale, the air is leaving your body, and you should see or feel the abs moving back in. This movement happens because of the air moving and not because you move your abs. You can bounce your abs without breathing, but that won't improve your singing. Getting down on your hands and knees

Get down on your hands and knees. Yes, you need comfortable clothes to survive these exercises. In this dignified position, take some slow breaths and notice what you feel moving in your body. During inhalation, your abs fall toward the floor. During exhalation, your abs move back in with the outgoing air. If you feel just the opposite motion, try it again. Your chest should stay steady and not collapse. Notice how your back expands out with the inhalation.

When you're successful and feel the correct movement of your body and breath, try the next exercise. Squatting is just as exciting as getting down on your hands and knees, and it requires comfy clothes, too. Squat down on the floor. You can keep your heels on the floor or lift them up off the floor. You can also place your hands on the floor to steady your balance. As you inhale, notice the movement across your back. What you want to feel is your abs moving out and your lower back expanding as you inhale. If you're not sure about this breath movement, change your position just a bit. You don't have to be in a squat exactly. Slumping is illegal among singers, but don't tell anyone. Stand up and slump over. As you're slumped over, feel the movement in your body as you breathe. Release your neck so that your back can stay pliable for breathing. Notice that when you take in the air, you can feel the lower abs moving out, because they're all flabby from being slumped over. Those of you who are really thin, you may not feel your abs move much in the beginning. That's okay. You can still acquire great breathing habits for singing.

Notice also that your lower back opens as you inhale. Try to let your ribs close slowly as you exhale instead of collapsing right away.

By working on these exercises you should be able to find the right breath control and the right balance to find a good tone, tempur and resonance.

Marquis Van De Mark is a financial adviser that writes on topics of interest you can visit Marquis' websites by visiting links to Jet Band Saw here: http://jetbandsaw.org/ as well as visiting links for Gas Grills on Sale here: http://www.gasgrillsonsale.org as well as Fiesta Gas Grill here:http://www.gasgrillsonsale.org/Fiesta-Gas-Grill.html

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