Many singers can sing like an angel, but have horrible breathing technique, if any. Correct breathing is a basic principle that is often absent in a performance, and that is tragic. If one learns to breathe correctly, they have to ability to greatly improve sound and also expand stamina and range. Also, breathing and relaxation go together like a hand and glove when done the right way.
What is "A Singers Breath"?
A singers breath is a term that I coined to make this type of breathing distinct from the shallow breathing that we do in everyday living. When a singer takes a breath to sing a note, it should be very calculated and technique driven. When I was growing up, I was always told to "sing from you diaphram", but correct breathing is so much more than that. Your diaphram is only one of the muscles involved with singing. In acutallity, your entire abdomen should be engaged when you sing, not just "the diaphram", as many people think.
How to breathe
Shallow breathing is the only thing essential for maintaining life. It is what we do everyday without any thought. It involves part abdominal muscles, part chest muscles. However, when a singer is performing, they must learn to think differntly about how to take a breath, and how to let that breath out. A short excersise: Stand upright and when you breathe in, fill your abdomen with air (Your abdomen shoud look and fill up like you are blowing up a balloon). Do this as slowly as possible. When you have completely filled your abdomen with air, slowly blow the air out. Maintain as much control as you can using your muscles in the abdomen, and no other muscles. Your objective is to take in as much air as you can, but you don't want to involve your chest muscles at all when taking in the breath. When letting the breath out (which is what happens when you sing), you want to be as controlled as possible, using only your abdominal muscles to allow air to seep out (Imagine that you are letting the air out of the balloon that you just blew up while pinching the entrance of it. Only allowing the air to leak out, not flow out). The focus is filling with air the right way by isolation of the abdominal muscles(breathing in), and exhaling with a strong and controlled motion(Singing with control). Do this repeatedly by counting to ten while you slowly fill your abdomen with air, and also when you are letting the air out. If you look into a mirror, there should somewhat of a butterfly motion going on only in your abdominal area. The rest of your body should be as relaxed as possible.
If you have been breathing incorrectly for years, this is something that takes work, but don't be discouraged. You must retrain yourself to correct something that you have been doing for a long period of time. That is where a Professional Vocal Coach comes into play. If you are a serious singer, seek one. You will only get better at your art if you do! I hope that this will at least start you on a quest to become the best singer that you can be.
Professioal Vocal Coach
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