We’ve all heard how important the breath is for singing, but unfortunately many voice teachers don’t thoroughly explain it. Most instructors fall back on the same response – “breath from your diaphragm.” Problem is most singers simply don’t know how to do it. More specifically, unless you’re in the medical field and are highly in touch with your body, this comment isn’t going to help you at all!
While describing how a singer should breathe using their diaphragm without visual confirmation isn’t something I feel comfortable doing, I CAN give you 3 Breathing Tips for Singing. These tips are things I check for when I’m working with my private voice students. Applying these vocal tips will help you better utilize the breath and come closer to singing your best.
Tip 1 – Singers Should Avoid High Chest Breathing
Also known as Clavicular Breathing, this is when the chest rises during inhalation. This is a very bad habit to have for singers and results in shortness of breath, vocal tension, and often a breathy tone. As an alternative, take relaxed breaths deep down in your stomach and lower back before singing. This should give you more control vocally.
Tip 2 – Singers Shouldn’t Breathe too Deeply
Many voice teachers tell their students to take deep breaths, but often times what they leave out is taking overly deep breaths before singing results in unwanted pressure underneath the vocal folds ultimately creating tension. To feel this, just take the deepest breath you possibly can then hold it. Feel that strain in your neck and throat area? That’s bad. It’s bad because it puts extra pressure on the voice making it heavy and more difficult to sing. So breathe consciously and don’t take overly deep breaths before singing.
Tip 3 – Singers Should Avoid Grabbing While Inhaling
This is bad habit that many, many singers possess. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing for a moment. Feel how easy and effortless it is in the throat and neck area. Now, pick the bridge of a song you like to sing and sing it (typically the bridge is where the high notes are). Feel the same? Now do the same thing, just this time pay attention to your neck and throat area while breathing in. Odds are there are some muscles in your neck grabbing during the breath before you sing. This like any other tension you may feel is bad. So stay conscious of the breath while singing and make sure that your breath stays easy during the inhalation. This not only will help vocal stamina, but it will also lighten up your voice which in turn will open up your full range.
Using the breath properly is simple in concept, but it’s not always easy. However, if you can learn to apply the tips mentioned above you’ll be further ahead of the game than most singers.
As always, if you’re interested in taking singing lessons with a vocal coach in the Orlando area, please visit Vocal Coach Ken Taylor.
That’s all for now! Happy singing!