Learn to Sing Better: Tips on Better Breathing
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By: Doralyn Bigelow
Breathing studies have found that you can actually have peak health and a longer life, depending on how well you learn to breathe! Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But it is true as you will see below. Breathing properly is really healthy for you overall, as well as developing your ability to sing better! Breathing properly for singing is the single most important factor in obtaining good solid technique in order to sing better. Every singing sound we make, at least, is dependent on consistent and steady airflow. If you have more control of this air flow, you will have more singing control and thereby have better quality of your singing, including strength, duration, and capacity. Breathing for better singing should always include relaxation techniques for quiet inhalations, specifically. Exercises and stretches, include some yawning, yes you heard right, yawning exercises, as you inhale and exhale, to help relax the muscles surrounding the vocal cords. First, stand relaxed yet tall and with good posture. For more information on this, go to www.breathing.com. They have some excellent details on breathing and posture. Since breathing is a three-dimensional process, try this. Breathe in deeply to connect with the diaphragm (muscle that lies underneath the lung sacs, as the lungs are not muscles). Your rib cage should expand and you should have a sense of “expanding” clear around the rib/abdominal area, as the diaphragm lowers, thus, filling the lungs. Exhale completely.
Do the above for 4 counts in and 4 counts out….all the while thinking of not only the three-dimensional expansion, but the silent intake of air, using that “yawning” sensation, which is only a helper for this training…yawning may not work perfect for other vocal techniques, like voice placement, but it does help relax the muscles for a quieter, quicker intake of air. Push out with the belly muscles as you sing or do your vocal exercises. You can even lie on the floor for this one with a book or a couple books on your belly to see how your breathing is doing. Can you raise the book while inhaling? If so, that is just one aspect of the three-dimensional aspect of proper breathing. This is just to demonstrate how you should be breathing. A coach online or offline should assist you in keeping track of these, to make sure you are developing proper habits. Poor habits are so hard to change, so give yourself some time, training, and practice. Do the above everyday (except the book part) for better control of your breathing and forming proper breathing habits. There are, of course, things you should not do while learning the above techniques, and that is you should not move your shoulders, head, or neck while learning these habits. Your chin should not go out or up or down to low, but be level. To breathe properly, specifically for singing, you will want to keep “the instrument” in the appropriate position. You should appear natural and the breathing should seem effortless.
There are also exercises that will assist you in developing better breathing control and stamina without hurting your singing voice. This includes exercises like breathing in through a pretend straw for better breath control and development. Try this. Pretend you are breathing in through a straw (a small pressure hole created by your lips) and perform the above 4-count breathing exercise. This will help strengthen your breathing strength, control, and stamina for those long “tah-dah” notes or just sustained notes that always seem to fall short. There are also many breathing exercises for assisting in developing breath control, strength, and stamina, such as inhaling (yawn) your breath, then “ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” exhaled for 5 times and seeing if you have any breath left, which you should. Learning to sing better through breathing is such a critical step in developing your better singing voice. I just cannot stress that enough. I do hope these tips have assisted you in obtaining some breathing techniques to take with you for your overall healthier lifestyle and in singing better! Let’s march onward to assisting you in continuing your onward progress in taking care of your voice, breathing, and coming soon…warm-ups!
About the Author
Doralyn Bigelow, 20+ years vocal coach, teacher, & mentor. Doralyn provides vocal lessons locally and online vocal coaching, products, and mentoring. Visit http://www.SingYourMusic.com to find out about free vocal coaching sessions and to access specific tips for voice care, warm-ups, and details on better singing techniques.
“Effective vocal coaching today for your singing tomorrow”
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