Breathing properly for singing is the most important foundation technique. Each and every tone we create is carried on the airflow of our breath. The more control you have over the air flow, the more control you will have over your singing tone.
Imagine a kite flying high in the air. When the airflow is consistent, the kite will fly smoothly and steadily on top of the air current. When the airflow is inconsistent the kite will bob and dive with no rhyme or reason. Your singing tone is much like that kite. If you provide a strong steady airflow, your vocal tone will have the opportunity to ride strongly and smoothly to our ears. But if your airflow is uncontrolled and inconsistent your voice will break and waiver.
The purpose of this narration is to teach you to breathe properly. The purpose of the breathing exercise below is to increase your breathing capacity and control.
Before beginning this breathing exercise variation, please note that bringing more oxygen into your body than accustomed can sometimes result in lightheadedness or dizziness. Please take care to stand close to something that offers support should you need to steady yourself. Conferring with a physician is recommended before beginning any exercise routine.
To breathe properly for singing, you must breathe low into the bottom portion of the lungs, engaging the diaphragm. Your rib cage and back will expand. Your shoulders and upper chest will remain still and will not rise.
Try it yourself: Inhale deeply and exhale completely. Again inhale and exhale.
Now try it again, only this time inhale for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, exhale over four counts and then wait four counts before inhaling again. Let’s do three complete sets of that counting exercise. Remember to inhale deeply and properly for singing.
Inhale 2 3 4, Hold 2 3 4 Exhale 2 3 4 and Wait 2 3 Again.
Inhale 2 3 4, Hold 2 3 4 Exhale 2 3 4 and Wait 2 3 Last Time.
Inhale 2 3 4, Hold 2 3 4 Exhale 2 3 4 and Wait 2 3 4.
This basic exercise is an easy one you can do every day. Plain fact, the more you exercise your breathing, the more control you will have over your voice. With a little time and practice you will be a master of breathing control. As you make progress, challenge yourself to increase the breathing count to 8, 12, 16 and more. For best results mix and match the numbers. The size of singing phrase is never the same, so practicing all different airflow situations is ideal. Breathing correctly needs to be a habit, meaning you need to do it correctly without thinking about it. So in the beginning you really want to concentrate on the proper technique.
BONUS TIP: Are you sure you’re breathing right? If you are uncertain of yourself see if this little experiment helps. Sit in a chair and while keeping your back straight, lean over and put your elbows on your knees. Take a deep breath. Feel your back and rib cage expand? Now sit up and work to duplicate the feeling, only the expansion should be a ring around your entire body.
For more information and exercises on breathing properly for singing, please refer to the vocal training product Basic Foundation Series – Singing Is Easy, Singing Success Step #2 (Airflow).
Yvonne DeBandi, author of this article, created the vocal training method known as Ten Steps to Singing Success™ available to everyone as presented in the vocal educational curriculum, Basic Foundation Series – Singing Is Easy! ™ Get started with free online singing lessons – now available as downloadable software modules.
Other Articles by Yvonne DeBandi
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Should I Sing This in My Head Voice or My Chest Voice
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Singing Is Easy!
Basic Foundation Series Home Study Course (Book / 2 CD Set)
SINGING IS EASY is divided into ten detailed sections known as The 10 Steps to Singing Success. Each singing lesson step provides comprehensive concept explanations and singing tips, followed by detailed diagrams and a variety of contemporary vocal exercises. Using the revolutionary 10 Steps to Singing Success method, created by Top Vocal Coach Yvonne DeBandi, you will learn the facts, the secrets, the details…everything you need to know about singing. Click Here for full details and information on other singing products by Yvonne deBandi.