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Should you fully exhale?

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MariFreakinA
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When I sing I always have extra air left over, and I'm curious as to whether I fully exhale the air or just take in a new breath while I still have air from the previous breath.

MariFreakinA: Its up to you. However, you cannot exhale all the air in your lungs. There is still residual there even when you have exhaled as much as you can.

IMO, you would do better simply not to inhale so much. Use good posture, and sip in just what you need for the phrase you are on. This makes support more easily done, too, as less potential energy is stored in the body on the inhale that you have to manage during the notes. Inhalations between phrases look far less arduous this way, too. Give a better artistic impression, unless, of course, you want to make it look hard, for performance effect...

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So steven- your saying that taking small more frequent breathes rather than trying to "expand" completely is more practical for singing?

neugie92: My point is that inhaling more than you need for the phrase is just not usually necessary, especially for those that have to exhale after the phrase before they inhale. Most sung phrases are short enough that they can be sung on 1/2 breath.

There are a few exceptions I can think of that would moderate this a bit. First, if a singer desires to sing with very light registration, or breathily, that phonation will use breath more rapidly, and the singer may need more to start. Second, for singers with smaller, especially shortwaisted, bodies, the amount of air required for the phrase may be a larger percentage of a breath than that which would be needed by a larger singer. Finally, the singer who undertakes songs with very long phrases or sustained notes may need to 'tank up' before those phrases.

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As soon as you are done phonating you should release your support. There is absolutely nothing wrong with and pretty much the norm to have residual air left over and to take the next full breath on top of that just re compressing what was already there. Not releasing your support immediately and completely after phonation has stopped is poor support technique and can lead to stiffness in your support among other issues.

As far as taking in less air. I'd always rather err on the side of having more air then less. Beginners to intermediate singers often biggest issue is with not taking in enough air and once you have fully developed resonance and super efficient technique you can go to refined support where you take just what you need. But unless your at that point the negatives of not taking in enough air far outweigh any issues of taking in more than you need. I am developed enough where I can used refined support but when you have a huge voice and sing over a wide range I still err on the side of taking in a ton of air for the most part. I've seen advanced singers with huge voices take in less air to try to be "more efficient" and then wind up not taking enough causing issues such as heavyness, range, etc. I've seen a million singers pay the price for underbreathing, I'd be hard pressed to remember a case where someone had vocal issues from taking in too much air. As long as it was a loose relaxed open breath and they weren't bringing any tension into their body when trying to take in more air. Air is good. hehe. Also remember good to practice the feeling of taking in a ton of air so when live and tired and not thinking about breathing like you do when practicing you have plenty of buffer so if you breath 20% less then when practicing at home, you still are on solid support.

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david,

some novice singers have a tendency to over inhale as well, and overpressurize and can end up blowing too much air, too forcefully into the vocal folds because they haven't developed good control of expiration.

you can actually sing a phrase with virtually no inhale.

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Its true actually, whenever I am just screwing around just singing I dont take in a lot of air and I can still sing a long phrase. Just want to thank you all for the advice, it means a lot. However, how does breath support and breath pressure work when belting?

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Its true actually, whenever I am just screwing around just singing I dont take in a lot of air and I can still sing a long phrase. Just want to thank you all for the advice, it means a lot. However, how does breath support and breath pressure work when belting?

hymm....not sure what you're asking....

i believe that breath support to one degree or another should accompany every sung phrase. when done correctly it has a way of diverting tension away from the throat too. whether it be belting or a gentle soft line...soft lines may need a lot of support depending on the piece..even more than a belt.

i am learning about appoggio technique which (very simplified) requires the ribs and back to remain expanded during all singing. it is physically demanding, but when done right it helps with passagio issues.

here's a link if you'd like to explore it...it's not for everyone....

part 1

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