As a singer, you may have some questions about breathing! — this is why this article will focus on its importance and answering common doubts. Plus, we will be sharing useful breathing exercises for you to practice at home.
— November 19th, 2020
Without breath, we can’t sing; but, you probably already knew that! However, two other vital reasons why breath is so essential when singing:
- Your inhale is your preparation to sing. The way you prepare will determine how the notes or phrase sounds.
- Your exhale is your breath support as you sing. It influences your vocal control, strength of tone, and stamina.
As a result, your inhale should always be silent, flow through an open mouth and throat, and expand your belly, ribcage, and back. On the other hand, your exhale should have a smooth, slow, steady flow of air while keeping your chest and ribs lifted (even when you’re running low on air.) For a better exhale, try to engage the low belly muscles and pelvic floor with a gentle “down and out” movement.
Also, know that while singing, never breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose moisturizes the air, so your throat doesn’t dry out. But considering your mouth is open when singing, you should get used to breathing with an open mouth.
Inhale with a short, relaxed breath; exhale on a steady and strong hiss — engaging your low belly and sides down and out.
2. Four-step Breath:
Inhale, suspension (the engagement of your support muscles), exhale, relaxation.
3. Yogi Breathing:
Pretend your lungs have three chambers, and practice filling the lowest chamber, then middle, then top, pausing for a second between each step.
4. Breathe through a song
Instead of exhaling to sing on lyrics, exhale on a hiss or “shh” as you practice; doing so will help you plan and rehearse your phrasing with nothing but a breath.
5. Full catch-breath
When you need to breathe but don’t have a break in the music, try a quick but full catch-breath.
If you get light-headed, it is usually because you are over-breathing, so do not exaggerate. Try to be as relaxed as possible when practicing these exercises.
This article is a re-post, with small modifications, of “Breathing exercises for singing” an article by Camille van Niekerk, published on makingmusicmag.com